Have you ever been stuck at an airport in the middle of the night? Either you have a night flight at 2am or you just arrived at 4am and waiting for a correspondence that goes 5 years later. This is the dead zone of airports, you meet other zombie voyagers stuck there, people mopping up the floor. If you're lucky, you can find somewhere in the concrete maze a small open café. There is the smell of smoke lingering in the air, the ceilings have a yellow tinge and there are a few insects dead in the corner. You get a coffee that has a slight taste of bleach and feel like you're in the purgatory, drifting between worlds.
That's a bit of the atmosphere I wanted to capture in this track. Drifting between worlds. I had this melancholic and simple guitar chord progression. Recorded a one take solo - not super clean, a bit off here and there, but I felt that if I tried to capture the soap bubble it might pop.
The guitar is an Epiphone explorer. Done in FL Studio with Sakura synth for the stand-up bass, FLEX for the piano and some cool jazz drums samples and other atmospheric and jukebox samples acquired on Splice.
I really like the track and the description you made of where it came from. It was really cool to listen to. Really like the guitar parts, I could picture a lonely guitar player in an empty hall hearing a jazz band in his head. Nice track.
Ha, I think all of the songs I listened to this week had guitars so far.
Lead playing sounded nice. Groove and rhythm is good, the atmosphere is nice, with the distant background ambient noise and the thick reverb. The track is strangely consonant and mellow. The lead-in with the rev crash and the drums coming in was really tasty, has a light taste of soft jazz. The "second" guitar and some of the other "band elements" were a little too far away for me reverb-wise, but I think this is a really cool track. If you were going to pick a few tracks this year to put on an album, I'd nominate this one, it's got that kind of inspired feel to it that I think you can work with.
I am closing the year with a subpar track. I could not quite make it work. I like that it's kinda silly and goes into a lot of directions but it misses something to make it work. Anyway, a track is a track and what matters is to finish something and learn from it! :)
This year was fun! I did a compilation of some tracks I enjoyed making this year and put it as a small EP. You can check it out there.
It was great doing the streak and seeing everyone producing cool and original tracks. I'll continue with Weekly Beats 2022. For those who go there, see you there next week! :)
This is another experiment track, playing with half step slides chord progression. It kinda reminded me of Sleepy Hollow or other eery/mysterious vibe, and I built from there.
The title comes from the movie Krull, where the heroes have to visit an elder lady who is at the heart of the web woven by a giant crystal spider. They have to ask here where the fortress of the beast will be the next morning! Yeah, it does not make any sense if you have never seen Krull. I loved that movie in the 80s. Haven't watched it in more than 20 years, I suspect it has not aged well.
Speedtrash of the week! I had the bass riff, loosely inspired by a new track from one of my favorite punk bands. But i had only that on Sunday night, so just added random horror samples, a disco beat and some silly synth lines. Leave in the oven 20 minutes, serve hot. Disco Terror.
A bit of a meh track, not very inspired. For some reason, I had this image of an evening on a sand beach , sand from silicon chips. Which made me think that having chips silicon sand in your shoes must be quite uncomfortable.
Playing with some new libraries, including Arkhis for some atmospheric cinematic sounds. me like.
I got myself an early Christmas present with a compilation of libraries. I made this track to try them out, between the Symphony ensembles, percussions, choirs, etc. It's quite a derivative track that sounds like a pirate jig but that was a fun exercise.
A derivative track with glitch, throat singing, some arps and of course whales.
I had in mind a maze like multi-dimensional library when starting this track. This was like the conflagration of a gigantic steampunk clockwork like building, with staircases that loop unto themselves like in an Escher painting, with rooms full of bookshelves that cross dimensions (a la Interestellar), and the occasional orangutan that goes "ook". Maybe it rearranges itself, like in the movie Dark City, or curves into itself a la Inception. Anything that speaks of structures that bend and suggest that there is something going on that we don't really get.
For that, I mixed traditional elements to give that mechanical vibe, between pianos, brass, stand up bass, and some arps that give a good structure. I also went for these strange sineous chromatic piano lines that don't seem to go anywhere. I did not have good "ook" samples but elephants can do surprising good job!
Last week was very busy and pretty stressful, leaving little power to go on with the track. I went for this weird speedtrash track, that I feel reflects the mental state I'm in. The weird stress/dopamine induced ADHD-ic energy, it goes over the place and just won't let go. It's not pleasant to listen to, but at the same time, it was not a pleasant week.
I need sleep now.
Here's a slightly derivative track this week. I had a few light and fun melodies which I mixed in one track, poured some samples, stirred a little and here's this... thing. It's not bad, it's not very good either, but it kinda flew together in a random fashion. The process was not unpleasant.
I was stuck at Sagami station this Sunday for the whole day - without a computer and not even having started the track for the week. I therefore resorted to what I had in my pocket - my phone to record street sounds, Thai restaurant music, train station, a guy collecting money for cats, an Indian chef slapping the nans, etc. I added some drums and some arps and here you go. Put together quickly, super rough not only on the edges but really everywhere. It does not sound really good in any way, but I like that it will remind me of that day I spent, stuck in Sagami.
This is Halloween season, it's appropriate to go into horror/goth territory. Here's a track inspired by the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
It actually started with the slightly campy bass line. I then did an abbreviated version of the poem, and used vo.codes to generate appropriate reading of the text.
Adding some horror sound effects to finish everyone. This is a good training for what i've been working on with a friend: a re-imagining of Christmas traditional songs into dark gothic versions.
10 weeks to go!
I was watching the documentary about Billy Milligan, a criminal who allegedly had up to 24 personalities coming with his dissociative identity disorder. The documentary in itself is interesting but the soundtrack has really some great atmosphere and the banjo use in building a spooky vibe was really cool.
I then started on Saturday, took my guitar with a resonator from the wall. I have not heard enough banjo music to be able to catch the vibe of that kind of music but a couple of riffs appeared and i recorded them on my phone. Plugged that into FL studio, and started adding layers of drums, strings, static elements. Reused the Vintage Vocals sample pack from Splice (including samples of the Night of the Living Dead, which is now open source). And then added a couple of elements using the site to generate spoken voices by famous people (https://vo.codes/).
This kinda reminded me of David Lynch's Lost Highway, a great dark movie from the mid 90s. It has an awesome soundtrack (Barry Adamson! Angelo Badalamenti! Trent Reznor! David Bowie!) and has sections of free jazz with atonal saxophone. I went for more samples from splice, rearranged them and put layers here and there.
Here you go. I like the general moodiness of the track and the fact that the creation was really easy to go - it just flew with free association.
A super derivative track - I spent a couple of hours on Sunday. This is more an exercise than anything else. I wanted to try to make an interesting bass line that plays with a breakbeat drum beat. I sliced the breakbeat sample, isolated the kicks and programmed a bass sound against these kicks. This is an interesting technique I may try to use in the future, instead of going stupidly 4/4 with my bass beats.
Week 40! The year is flying fast.
I started this track very late - i had barely the start of something on Saturday night. By Sunday night, I had something that I quite enjoy but that would deserve one more day of listenings, of the dreams erring around and letting the track evolve and morph further. It is still pretty raw but it has the promise of something interesting. I'll return to it.
This week I wanted to explore the dynamic range of a track and how compression affects that, etc. Consider yourself warned on this one and go easy on the speaker or volume if you check this track as there as some sudden volume peaks!
It started on Friday night/Saturday without much inspiration, and the chord progressions or melodies are extremely uninteresting but I had fun playing with synth and finding some interesting textures and sounds to make that track somewhat interesting. I kinda like it in the end.
I was uninspired, nothing really worked. The only way was therefore to go back to the basics with Funky bass and Dog samples!
Still waiting for the inspiration!
I struggled with making a track this week. I had seeds of different tracks, including this one here. There was another one I was working in parallel to it, to see which one could be completed (and totally different, some funk track with dog sounds).
I ended up finalizing this track, but I am not really happy with it. It is uninspired, derivative, has a bass that has been heard 10,000 times (and probably at least used in 30 other of my tracks) and the melodies are meh. The only thing I enjoyed here was finding a very cool drums sample that has a lot of punch.
Hopefully next week will be more inspired.
Here's a speedtrash this week. I had a few bits and ideas of tracks here and there but upon seeing a video of Instragram of Robin Finck (NIN guitar player) jamming in the desert with his Orange amp in the sand, I knew I had to do some Kyuss inspired stoner track.
This is raw, the sound is bad (i especially dislike the drums) but it works and I like this stupid prehistoric riff. I'll definitely bring it to the band when we're back to playing together in real life!
A track is a track is a track.
Note: no keyboard player was hurt during the recording of this track.
In the late 80s/early 90s, Tsui Hark became a very famous filmmaker in the West with the success of his Chinese Ghost Story movies. Mixing traditional Chinese atmosphere, humor, mysterious horror, and romance, they are classic, especially the first one. And fortunately, they are on some streaming services, at least where I live. Rediscovering the movies made me want to play around with the horror atmosphere and traditional Chinese instruments.
The strings are a Guzheng, using several note samples and getting them into Directwave. The drums are Japanese taikos. This is mixed with some violins samples, and xylophone and bells. The drums might be a bit too much for the mysterious vibe I was going after, and I am not satisfied with the melodies used for the Guzheng. I like how they feel strange and slightly eery, but I don't like that I was not able to reproduce the type of melodies that are typically played on a Guzheng. This sounds more like a weird piano played on a stringed instrument. But this is a step in the right direction.
Anyway, I had some fun making this track. :)
This is a track about the end of summer. The height of season is behind us, the sun is lowering in the sky. This is about sitting on the beach, with the feet in the water, a broken sandcastle near you, as waves slowly take it away.
"Les pieds dans l'eau" means "feet in the water" in French.
I wanted to go with this slow jazz/bossa nova feel, it kinda naturally went to a slightly melancholic atmosphere. There is a basson that sometimes doubles the contrabass or is even alone. The idea came from listening to Emir Kusturica and especially the track "In the Death Car", used as the main track for Arizona Dream.
I like this track as it's different and a bit more subtle than my usual arp filled bombastic breakbeat tracks.
@soulfish Thank you! Indeed, that's kinda the vibe I was going for. :)
@Arcana It was guitar week last week!
I am not a big fan of the tone I got for the guitar solo. Too much reverb and also I did the mistake of playing in the same range as the arpeggios, and with the same guitar. I should have played one octave higher and maybe gone for a dryer sound. Still kinda works but could be better.