Weekly Music Project - Song #39

September 29, 2014

Time to say farewell to what has probably been my best summer yet, and wrap up this batch of songs with a solid finale. Let's get to work, and continue developing some of the sounds we explored last week…

So I've mentioned Telefon Tel Aviv (ad nauseum) in the past, and have diligently worked my way towards programming similarly-complex, minutely-detailed drum beats. With my Week 38 experiment turning out so well, it seems only natural to try out my new techniques once again; this time with a slower, more delicate rhythm at the core. One part Maschine drum beat, three parts sliced and panned granular noise. This time, I used the standalone TimeFlux software to morph the bounced drums into new shapes using its spectral and granular processing chops. The resulting audio render gets loaded back into Cubase and split into many small segments. To add some additional flare to these "slice" channels, they each get routed to a group bus and further processed with compression and automated delay effects from BowEcho. I can't get enough of this stuff, guys.

But all right, I'll move on. Sitting behind the drums is a gentle yet fuzzy chord progression that slowly opens up as we progress. This harmony is comprised of three layers of Phonec plus one instance of Prologue, panned liberally and automated to slowly raise the filter cutoff. And hey, since it's been a while, let's lay down some vocals to really round out the mix. I conjure up my best wispy falsetto and a few lyrics I had bouncing around my head on a recent plane ride and record a few passes into the mic, standing nearly two feet away to capture the right tone. This channel is gated, compressed, EQed, de-essed, slightly tuned, and passed through some reverb, while a second version of the vocals is sent through a vocoder and subtly layered with the main channel.

Finally, the outro. Bigger, more energy-filled drums enter the scene while the synths regroup and quickly fade in with their downbeat noticeably attenuated by the sidechained kick drum pattern. The layers build and hit their peak with a distorted lead melody from the same Prologue sound we used more subtly in the intro, but this time at a higher octave and volume level. A simple quarter note bassline from Retrologue keeps this moving along until there's nowhere else to go, and the reverb tails suddenly let us echo away into a warm summer memory.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- SoundMorph TimeFlux standalone processor
- Inear Display BowEcho effect plug-in
- TAL-Vocoder 2 effect plug-in
- Steinberg Prologue synth plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: A Major
BPM: 102
Time Signature: 4/4