Weekly Music Project - Song #6

February 9, 2014

Being trapped indoors can be a great way to encourage productivity - listen to the frosty results and read on for the gory details:

This week brought Portland a rare blast of snow which made it all the more easy to justify some solid basement music hideout sessions. Somewhat subconsciously, this track took on a very icy tone despite the seemingly sunny major key I settled into on day one. I made a point to set aside some of my usual go-to instruments and effects and instead explored some different sounds that I hope you all enjoy.

The song is framed by another field recording - this time capturing the frosty wind and crunchy snow under foot on a very chilly walk to the closest grocery store - recorded with my Tascam DR-2d. The other essential atmospheric element at the beginning of (and throughout) the piece comes from a fantastic granular synth/sampler called Alchemy. The drums are once again coming from Maschine, using a custom kit I put together from 808-style tuned kicks and a variety of layered snare/crackle sounds. On a separate drum channel are a number of glitchy percussion elements running through the OhMyGod comb filter and one of my favorite Reaktor ensembles: The Finger (triggered by live-recorded MIDI notes from my keyboard).

Last but not least, we have the main chord progression - a warbly synth pad created from a sample of my voice. A simple "C" note was recorded through my mic, loaded into a new granular synth called The Mangle, and configured to repeat and modulate this vocal snippet into a unique cloud of audio particles. This new plug-in makes such a process very intuitive and musical, with a great UI displaying real-time visuals of the granular processing applied to your audio. Finally, we have a distorted lead melody on top of the mix provided by a compelling new (free!) mono synth called Kairatune. I have a lot more to explore with this one.

Enjoy, and stay warm my friends.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Sound Guru The Mangle plug-in
- Tascam DR-2d digital audio recorder / Lots of snow
- Native Instruments The Finger Reaktor ensemble
- Futucraft Kairatune plug-in
- Camel Audio Alchemy plug-in
- OhmForce OhMyGod plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine MKI

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

And a behind the scenes look at the production...