Weekly Music Project - Song #34

August 25, 2014

Time for something new this week as my fiancée and I hit the road for a trip down the Oregon coast. A week in a small camper van naturally calls for a slick mobile studio setup, so I say it's time to put this iPad to the test. Initial tests with the Garage Band app were less than satisfactory so - with Cubase already at the heart of my studio - it only seemed logical to purchase the mobile Cubasis companion app and give it a go.

Amidst our adventures and beautiful scenic drive along the 101, I made sure to allow time for some field recording and songwriting. The first recording - captured on a very foggy beach in Charleston, Oregon - contains the softly-crashing waves and a nearby ship emanating a perfect 'G' tone. And so our intro in G Major begins, with a rumbling Monotron Delay line that slowly gives way to a Rhodes-esque sampler melody that I managed to play in using the Cubasis touch-based keyboard. Maybe you had to be there, but I think this combination of sounds captures that maritime vibe impeccably.

But as quickly as we move from the Oceanside RV Resort to our next stop in the redwoods, this tune must switch over to its second passage in E Major: comprised of more beach waves recorded the next morning and a new, more subdued melody and bass line. Finally, we reach the third and final verse, now that we've setup camp amidst the massive trees and stoked the fire. The crackling fades in and blends with the buzzing of noisy unseen insects while yet another electric piano melody takes center stage. But this time we build with some distorted, playful drums and a number of synth layers stacking higher and higher to intensify our outro and provide a satisfying finale to a wonderful week on the road.

I learned a lot on this trip (both about the world around us as well as producing music on the go!) and was very happy with the capabilities of such a portable setup, with Cubasis providing an impressive amount of functionality that I normally expected only on a proper PC. Being able to import my project from the mobile app into the real-deal Cubase after returning home allowed me to fine-tune the track and mix it in my normal environment. Very cool, and highly recommended. Always happy to answer questions about my approach to things, especially when it involves unique workflows that I myself am still learning as I go along. Hit me up!

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Steinberg Cubasis iPad app
- Tascam DR-2d digital recorder
- Korg Monotron Delay analog synth
- Steinberg HALion Sonic SE sampler plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- Audio Damage Eos reverb plug-in

Key: G Major, E Major
BPM: 100.4
Time Signature: 4/4