As an amateur musician for years/decades, I used to play guitar and bass in mostly punk grunge bands in Japan. I have started being serious at last with recording music since joining Weekly Beats in 2020 and am trying to continue with this good habit. :)
All work done in FL studio, and most of the samples I use come from Splice.
This track actually started as a jig with a piano and violins. I was stuck in the process and started playing with variations of instruments, vibes. A few iterations later I ended up with this glitchy breakbeat dark cyberpunk industrial track, closer to Atari Teenage Riot than to Irish music. It also reminds me a little of the great glitch tracks that TQI would make for weekly beats 2020 (check him out there, he's just so good: https://weeklybeats.com/tqi )
I kept it rather short and noisy but I think it's appropriate for this track!
Done in FL Studio with lots of samples from Splice and some FLEX synths.
For some reason I had been thinking about aborigines and the dreamtime. Dreamtime is a mythological time at the creation of the universe - a time for gods and where the reality was not the same as it is now today.
This inspired this didgeridoo and jaw harp filled track. Add some Native American flutes and Tibetan tuvan singing, some Japanese percussions and you got an international mix of trance music.
Done in FL studio, using a wide range of samples from Splice.
A western inspired horror soundtrack!
The song started as this dark melody about exploring a cave and going into the lair of a giant spider. But it kinda pivoted in this western inspired horror like trailer soundtrack. I guess playing red dead redemption too much lately has had an impact.
A stormy night, the sound of hooves in the distance, figures slowly emerging, weird shapes, the number growing and the tension increasing. This is the image i had in my mind.
Some experiments for this track - I used quite a lot of inverted keyboards here. Some are for risers but one of the section has an inverted harpsichord where I wrote the melody, then inverted the melody and then inverted the resulting audio to go back to the original melody but with this inverted effect on it. There are also dissonant violins in the high range to create that weird tension towards the end. And of course samples of gallops and horses, courtesy of Splice.
Here's a funny, funky and kinda cheesy track but I had some fun with this one. It started with a jam on the bass that led to the main bass lines. It was then mixed with some funky jungle/drum and bass drums samples from Splice. I added some eletric keyboard, like a EDM version of Ray Manzarek (not as good obviously) and finished with some other synths and brass. I think the brasses that are both from FLEX and Sytrus are the cheesiest part of the track but they do add some dynamic so here they go.
For some reason, the electric keys and the general weird silly vibe of the track reminded me of the blue elephant in Return of the Jedi, in Jabba's palace. I could see this guy jamming this kind of weird stuff with his octopi friends.
I started a few tracks this week, including but not limited to a disco track with bagpipes and a rock track about stupidly inebriated evenings but in the end nothing really motivated me so I was playing around with samples on Saturday morning. I enjoyed the combination of drum n bass like staccato drums and guzheng and shamisen. I have used that in quite a few tracks last year during weekly beats, but hey I think it deserves more investigations and experiences!
So this is a track mainly built around guzheng/shamisen/traditional Japanese singing and then aphex twin like drum patterns. There is some neuro bass there. I wanted some more low ends but did not find the right sound and ran out of time. It's still raw, it's a draft but i kinda like it. This is one track i'd need to go back to and plunder for bits and ideas. The structure is a bit simple and would benefit from some variation as the end is really just a repeat of a previous section.
Done in FL Studio, featuring samples from Splice. I played with risers - from inverted toms to piano chords rendered as audio and inverted.
This is yet another uninspired track.
It started with a simple bass line (which I suspect I probably have used in tens of other tracks in the past) that I was playing around the other day. I was not very inspired so went for simple and efficient, if a bit sad - arps and rubber leads. This always kinda works, like doing pasta in water and instant tomato sauce.
Most of the synths and bass come from FLEX in FL Studio. I had fun with one aspect, which was syncing the bass with the drum kick and leaving pauses. That was inspired by watching a Nik West video where she was explaining her approach to bass. The drums are mostly drum samples from Splice.
Overall I am pretty unhappy with the track. It does not sound bad in itself but it's easy, unoriginal, not trying out something new - it's a bit of a cop out. I feel like a sell out, though I have never really sold anything. I'll need to get more inspiration for something more adventurous. A friend of mine said that weekly beats is like "a celebration of the act of creation". This is what I really want to do every time, hence my disappointment at doing something uninspired. But a lame track is better than no track, so here we go.
This track is still at the stage of "storyboard". I think the ideas are not bad for the composition but the execution is still very very raw. The concept was slowly walking into a dense jungle, both physical and metaphorical and ending up either at a cave or at a cenote where the trance takes place.
I like some elements of this track - happy to have found this Tuvan (Tibetan throat singing) sample on Splice, the flute is a cool sample too. The trance is a good idea in itself but kinda clumsily executed. It also misses an apex. The mix is raw. A track is a track is a track is a track.
I'd probably come back later to this track to scavenge it or build upon this flow and try to make something more interesting. Of course this is an obvious lie, I never go back to past tracks. :)
Ok here is a track I believe in more than what I have done in a few weeks. I did struggle quite a bit to get it started but after putting a lot of polishing touches, piano melodies and experimenting with structures, I feel I made a track I feel good about.
This is inspired by synthwave and a cyberpunk vibe, something between blade runner and akira, cowbow bebop and gunnm.
This week has been very stressful and I could not focus properly. Here is a synthwave like track, with some Japanese percussions on top. Not my favorite track but at least I got to experiment with different sounds and textures. If I spent more time on it, there are a few lines I would modify as there is some dissonance in this track but this is as far as I'll go this week on this one. Time to focus on next one.
It's already week 9, time flies! I enjoy listening to the range of music that the community produces, from jazz to video games music to goth wave. This is inspiring and motivating!
Here is a speedtrash that ended up a bit better than my usual speedtrash or even some tracks where I did spend some time (looking at you, Week 8 track!).
It is a pretty straightforward EDM + Guzheng (Chinese string instrument) + Travis Barker drums but it works. I learnt a couple of things when doing that track so it was really worth it in the end.
What I need to try out next time: start earlier in the week instead of waiting until Sunday morning to get started. The streak name is "weekly streak", not "Sunday streak".
I am not really happy with this track but at least I learnt a couple of things doing it. I actually wanted to do something inspired by Nintendo soundtracks for mario kart or mario brothers. I was inspired when I heard my son playing minecraft on the nintendo switch and they had a cover of mario theme, but with breakbeats in the background.
I failed at making a track like that unfortunately. There is some samba, some trumpet ideas, some bass that was live bass then became FLEX hardcore bass then became chiptune bass. And I learnt how to use Directwave to make a guzheng, though I replaced it with chiptune as well.
A track is a track, I hope next week will be better.
For some reason I had this riff running in my head, with a strong surf rock vibe. It's usually a bad sign that I have probably commandeered a riff but until someone screams, I'll still record it.
I tried to go for the surf rock guitar sound. I do not have plate reverb but it's not that bad. Played on my ibanez with split coil, it sounds twangy enough. I added a live bass and then used samples from Slice for the drums and trumpets. And cars and radio and traffic sound. This was a fun one to make!
This week I went for a mash up of Animal Planet and Zombie movies. The concept started with "What if David Attenborough narrated a documentary about zombies?". I listened to quite a lot of zombie games soundtracks (Undead Redemption) and western music.
For the voice of David Attenborough, I used vo.codes, which uses an AI to deepfake celebrities reading a script. There are quite a lot of samples also in this track, wind, crows, zombies. They all come from Splice.
This is a silly track but I had a lot of fun making it!
This track is more the seed of what might become an interesting track. I lacked the time or to be honest the motivation to work properly on the track this week but I kinda like the main melody. There is this on-the-edge-of-cheesy synthwave melody that could be reused in something epic - this will be kept in the fridge until a better idea comes! Until that time, this is a speedtrash but a track is a track!
I used FLEX and Sytrus on this one, along with quite a few different Splice samples for the flute and the drums.
Last week I was watching a very fascinating documentary on Netflix. This is the story of a movie director who had lost his passion and reconnected with his passion and life in general by relocating close to the sea and going freediving everyday. Through this activity, he got in touch with the ecosystem of the kelp forest and developed an unexpected relation with one of its local inhabitants - an octopus. Very cool documentary.
Inspired by this documentary and also interested in the challenge of making music without an heavy bass or strong beat, I went deep and tried to make a track that took one from the shore and slowly deeper into the sea, with its different ecosystems and life.
What does a jazz club sound like in the 24th century? A double bass and synthwave?
This track is a bit more inspired than the tracks from the previous couple of weeks but we are not there yet. It's one of these tracks that started very differently, with a main melody that generated a few other lines. In the end I binned the main melody and ended up with that. It still kinda feels like it's two different tracks, which is not totally bad in itself but some polishing could help. Also the synthwave version would benefit from some lead on top. I was experimenting with saxophone solos but my libraries just sound too bad. I'll need to invest!
I have had low inspiration for the past weeks so I'm going for a fast food version of music. As it features koto samples, I guess Instant Ramen is the right choice for this.
I put together a bass structure, got some cool koto samples and drums samples from Splice, collaged them together and here you go. That will do for this week. I hope inspiration strikes back soon!