Well, this is it! The final track of the year!
First of all congratulations everyone, it's been a great experience and I've certainly discovered some great tracks from you (even if I've been very bad at commenting).
I also had a very interesting journey, going from more heavy-generative tracks in the beginning of the year to improvisation and looping and finally to more structure and composition / evolvement towards the end.
This track is the result of a nice process. First I improvised a clean-guitar track over which I afterwards layered the pad sound and saxophone-like melodies. I then found out the initial guitar track (which was done without accompaniment) a bit too busy so I re-recorded it listening more to the pad and sound. Finally I sequenced the drums and other short melodies.
Happy new year and see you very soon as I'm definitely going to keep going with the weekly challenge!
So here's that period of the year where we kinda have some more free time...do we? :)) This piece is about time and is longer than the recent ones, even if it keeps the same ingredients: Korg Wavestate for most of the parts of the track (this time having several programmes and using a looper to add layers) and an electric guitar.
We're getting close, people!
Quite a busy week so only had time for a short experiment, with 4 textures from the Korg Wavestate over which I play the bass. Quick and dancy with just a touch of eerie and cinematic.
For this week here's another facet of the Wavestate: this time I sequenced an acoustic guitar arpeggio, a pad underneath and percussion + drums in a composition reminiscent of the German band Empyrium. Over this I played guitar and bass. It's funny that since I got the Wavestate I moved to more structured arrangements and per-part recording as opposed to the loop-based techniques up until then. I think it's really nice how a new instrument is able to refresh one's work and at least for a time make him work differently. I am sure I will return to looping with the synth adding even more to the arsenal.
This week I began experimenting with live internet radio. We all know how this is in shady territory due to copyright so my intention is not to simply sample things but use it as fx by more drastic manipulations such as gate sequencers, reversals and hopefully spectral processing. But long time until then, for this week I have quite a light hearted guitar, bass, synth and drums track, with the radio almost at the threshold of appearing. It's just a start and I'll continue experimenting.
So here is the track I almost submitted last week. I re-recorded almost all parts and since I work in an improvising manner, you could say they are new material. I kept the main melody themes and developed them slightly different.
Being far away from my instruments, in a hotel room with just an iPad around and rain outside. Surely no chance to do a track, is it? Well, I surprised myself into actually managing it...
As the title says, lots of running around this week (for work, not for athletics, haha), so here is the simple recipe all over again: electric guitar improv, bass, drums, synth.
A pentatonic-oriented piece with a constant rhythmic synth keeping a pulse throughout, on top of which I layered distorted guitar, bass guitar and drums. Simple recipe, but great fun.
Still away from my usual setup so another very simple, chill track with post-rock clean electric guitar and bass. The delay system is like last week made in VCV Rack which I used as pseudo-daw to record the bass layer (using one of nysthi's plugins). One-take improv on both instruments.
This is quite a chill track with an electric post-rock vibe. Still some minor glitches in the setup but overall I am quite pleased with the result. The main melody is one improvised track (using the ever faithful looper) over which I added another clean layer, the distorted lead guitar, the bass, some subtle pad (Arturia MicroFreak) while the drums are still from the Rock Drum Machine app - still working on that aspect to find a midi workflow that doesn't make me draw each and every note but still feels more natural and has a better sound.
A change of texture this week as I returned to the first instrument I learned, the electric guitar. Many years ago I did a song based on a harmonic minor riff which I now (kind of) revisited. Back then I was in the painstaking composing rut, and I know it took a lot to create that song, many edits and re-takes... and probably I still wasn't too happy with it.
This is why I took the beginning riff and started a new improv in my current style, just feeling free and improvising alongside a looper. The drums are coming from Rock Drum Machine on the iPad and the synth is the Arturia MicroFreak (which also provides the bass, would you believe it's not a real one?). There's also a bit of 12 string acoustic.
This is a nice step forward for me as I used the voice as an instrument throughout the piece. I usually do instrumental pieces since I don't feel the need for lyrics as a lot of the time music can express so much more than mere words. On the other hand, the voice is one of the most flexible and emotional instruments, even without using words. So I made this ritual-like piece which starts somewhat melodic and evolves to be more floating or textural. There's an F minor vibe given by a repeated note pattern on the Magellan 2 synth and the acoustic guitar, as well as a wooden flute. The voice goes through an octaver which is used sparsely and there's ongoing looping provided by Gauss. The reverb and delay FX are from Eventide (UltraTap and Blackhole).
An unusually high temperature for this month had kept constant in the last days and I've done some work in the garden I would usually do in March or even April. While I know this kind of weather is probably a very bad sign for the environment, I still was very happy for it and did this joyful little tune with very simple elements: a violin (that is in fact played on the GeoShred app so it's an acoustic modelling soft synth), ambient background, bass, drums. There is also a kind of viola or clarinet kind of sound which is in fact another layer of the violin but slowed down to a quarter speed.
I've had several options for this week in my usual style with lots of synths and acoustic instruments on top. However, after I recorded one it then occurred to me to use just a single instrument for the task whilst keeping the big reverb, expansive delays and looper I usually use (Eventide Blackhole, FAC Alteza, Eventide UltraTap and Gauss Looper).
I chose the panflute I have since I really love its tone but I didn't do much with it lately, having focused on acoustic guitar. Since I'm mostly a beginner with it, I can't do any complicated phrasing so the accent was more on the texture the looper and delay create together, alternating octaves and mostly using the Eminor key (the panflute is tuned to G major). I also tapped on the wood of the instrument from time to time to create a sort of a ritualistic feel to the whole track, I like how the delays also catch that up and compliment nicely.
I had a sort of a background structure for this weekly track in the form of repetitive rhythms played on synths and messing them up with delays and loopers as well as a nice bass melody. But i had to drive away to a distant city for two days and I arrived in there straight into rush hour. It was a complete mess of long ques, weird direction turning, missing underground passages and so on...and it took me long enough to get to the meeting I had.
So today at home I felt like a lo-fi distorted guitar with would perfectly resemble what could be going in people's mind at that time, alongside with some slightly aggressive drumming. It's sudden and grasping, that's why I thought it's like a "chorus-first" format.
Just like my earlier tracks, I use FAC Alteza to add the big ambience, a Marshall amp emulation for the guitar, drums are sequenced by the LaunchPad Pro Mk3 and the repetitive textures come from Arturia MicroFreak and Volca Modular, with Gauss and Kosmonaut iOS FX applied.
This week I was improvising acoustic over a static pattern, initially an arpeggio pattern on the MicroFreak synth which I then spiced up with a delay and high-resonance filter sweeps. As I was building atmospheric textures with Magellan 2, Korg Volca Modular and Keys I had a reminiscence of those moments you sit on a window, rain is outside and thoughts just emerge and disappear at once, each pulling into their own direction then just as quick releasing tension, like the dance of the drops of rain in water puddles.
With that in mind I went to add a recording of rain I once did from my window and then to wrap up the song I added a meditating drum rhythm, a short solo on the Volca Keys and let the acoustic looper run on its own for a couple of seconds.