I started this tune off sometime Friday, thinking of doing a Weather Channel jazz type of thing. In sticking to that idea, I ended up layering several drums and percussion instruments, in an attempt to evoke an urban kind of feel. This is an informal homage to my love of Pat Metheny Group’s “We Live Here” record from 1995, which has no doubt introduced 5-day forecasts to countless millions.
A few notes on this tune: the drum tracks are coming primarily out of IK Multimedia’s Sonik Synth and Arturia Spark (the 808 sample set). The bass is double tracked, with a Logic upright bass and AAS Lounge Lizard. Acoustic piano is another Sonik Synth offering, while the Rhodes is the NI Scarbee.
Some other plugins:
Okay, so I feel a bit like I’m cheating this week. I don’t feel too bad about it, since I don’t have the time to flesh out a new piece to keep up with my own weekly deadline. But this week’s tune is not new at all. I’m dusting off some old stuff from the closet here. Of course, no one has ever heard it before anyway, so nobody’s any wiser, right?
In fact, I wrote and recorded this 13 years ago. This is a very bad recording, since I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I think it’s a pretty good song, so I thought I’d finally share it.
Some background: this tune was recorded on a Teac 2340 1/4″ tape machine (4-track), and I never really got around to naming (hence the name “Experiment”). I used that machine to record a lot of demos, and only recently got rid of it. At the time, I had a computer, but I don’t think it even had a soundcard. I was pretty far off from getting into digital recording at that point, so it sounds even more amateur than everything else I’ve posted!
The composition is highly inspired by Dave Stewart-related Canterbury progressive rock bands from the 70’s (i.e. National Health, Hatfield and the North, etc.). I’d thought that I would flesh it out more, but there was something satisfying about writing a song under two minutes, but had a ton of crazy meter changes and parts. This is a tune that I could have seen playing with Volaré back in the day.
Having said that, there are no software synths on this song. It’s all hardware!
Home Studio Tour
Here’s my recent rundown of my home studio rig. Enjoy!
Interesting interview from 1984. He plays some pretty cool old synths, the Yamaha CS-80 in particular!
January 08th, 2014
I’m a little early for this one, since I just posted something two days ago. But I couldn’t help myself.
While I was in the middle of tweaking the last bits of my submission for January 6, I had this guitar riff idea pop in my mind. An hour later, I had this pretty much done.
You could call this an attempt at wanting to be a guitar player (all keyboard players suffer from this. If they say otherwise, they are in denial). And instead of dialing in a guitar sample or some kind of synth emulator, I thought it a good idea to layer a bunch of the Arturia synths to get a big, fat wall of synth-rock.
The intro features two tracks of the ARP 2600 V, panned hard left and hard right, with one slightly out of tune. A third track of the 2600 comes in on bar 3, an open-fifth type of bass synth. Overall, I was shooting for a Jeff Beck meets Led Zeppelin kind of a vibe.
Some other synths featured are:
This tune has been in the works for over two years. I can’t even really remember exactly when I started it. I think it started with a piano improvisation, and just went from there.
At any rate, the main themes of the piece were developed separately. The first theme is made up of the first two minutes of the piece. The second, starts at 2:05, and continues to develop at around 2:40 into a passage that I wrote about a year ago. This particular passage is comprised a very busy, yet fluid, melody that had the working title “Nine Years”, named in honor of my son who had turned nine at about the time that I wrote it.
Though I wrote the two melodies independent of one another, they both had the same 6/8 meter. In scouring my harddrive for ideas one day, it dawned on me that the two parts might work well together on account of the meter. The title “Nine Years and Going” seemed appropriate, since it almost seemed like a song that just kept going!
The Photo Player
An amazing instrument used during the silent film era. Incredible.
Musings about keyboards, synthesizers, and music in general.