I Made this on the weekend of 06/20/2020. This was a birthday / fathers day weekend. I got some money as a birthday gift and decided to use it to chip down the price of Serum, and finally pick it up. I have been eyeing up Serum for a long time.
I called it ‘Bass House’ because it is 128 bpm, like a house track and is made almost entirely of bass like tones. When the last drum kit part comes in a 4 to the floor kick holds until the end for the full house vibe.
Whenever I listen to someones track and they have a really cool synth, I ask how they made it. 9 times out of 10, its Serum.
“Reason 11 has a wave-table synth, why should I pay extra for another one “
– Me up until now
To me it was immediately apparent, that at the least, Serum had much richer sounding presets than Eurpoa does. Move movement, more rumble, that sort of thing. I am sold that its a better synth. (I will still use Europa.. just less)
This isn’t really one of my usual tracks, its set at a lower bar than most of my material. It has no vocals for one, and for another its just a jam, it has little substance structurally.
Despite this, i quite liked it and decided to put it up on my soundcloud page. I pinged the IMF discord asking for some ideas on what to do with it. NEON M suggested I use it as transition music, or for a live show. Both these ideas are great and I had not really considered transition music at all up until he said that. I needed a track for that! this is it! (and maybe a live jam, but im more pumped about the transition music / waiting screen music etc..) .
That being said, I’m not doing much of anything else with this track, its done!
This track was written and recorded on the weekend of 06/13/2020.
06/27/2020 Version 4: Its really still mostly version 3. I did a few eq passes against each layer looking for areas that could be tuned up. I adjusted the EQ on the chorus bass line to try to get a bit more high tone back into it. Its still not right.
I also added the tiny piano riff that first appears at the end of the first chorus, then comes back a few times.
Overall its pretty close to me being done with it. I will do a few more light adjustments yet.
06/19/2020 Version 3:
I ran all the vocal parts through Izotope Nectar, and made some adjustments. I think they sound overcompressed a bit, and not quite right still. The vocals in the outro bridge are not right either, and 2nd verse entry of the high take also feels off. I think ive got most of everything else where I want it at this point. Going to make a few more vocal adjustments before moving to the next track.
Updated 6/17/2020: Mix is now version 2
Its not quite right still but a number of changes were made from feedback received on reddit. I got some good pointers from Murr, and chatted a bit about it on Discord. I had kind of a misshapen overall EQ / sonic balance on the structure complete version. Tones in the 50-80hz range (sub bass) were peaking too low. I think theres a bit too much of it now actually but I do prefer this way, it just needs adjusting.
I reworked layers in the chorus. There is now a grand piano following along with the bass. The sub bass moved from short quick notes, to long slow notes for the section. They are filling up space on the low end in the section
A new drum layer was created for the chrous, its the big thump kick, and it hits a little too hard right now.
The Ending / outro bridge got updates, with a change to the lead synths part. The bass extends further with a new riff on the sub layer.
I made some updates to fix the timing issues in the WIP version, I also fixed up those sloppy notes. I think the vocals are too loud in the first part but not fixing it yet. Adjusted layers and eq with a focus on the chorus, added a new drum take for the super washed out drums in the section.
Worked on the tone and eq of the synth bass to bring out its wonkyness more.
Changed the last chorus piano to a honky tonk style sound.
Added more drums to the outro section
Still not quite ready for feedback. I want to adjust the 2nd chorus some more, and possibly the ending a bit.
Posted to reddit to gather feedback:
The post got a lot of upvotes! I think this is the most upvotes I ever got on the sub. I did try to time the post, but not when i was thinking. I saw 250 people were currently online on reddit. Ive never seen it go that high and rushed to post the track to try to take advantage of the situation.
After hitting submit, I noticed the counter was now reading 54 users. Oh well… Welp turns out it didnt matter I got a lot of feedback and positive comments. I cant figure reddit timing out, might just be luck.
WIP – not yet out for feedback, theres a few major timing issues I want to iron out first , as I know most of my feedback will get pointed at these problems and I already know they exist.
The basis for the track comes out of an IMF genre spin challange that was about 2 weeks ago. I never posted that track as I didnt feel it meet the bar for ‘Somewhat Incognito’ sound. I did however get some very positive feedback and encouragement to further explore the piano pop sound.
Technically there is not much new going on with this track. The idea I am exploring is more about getting a loud, belting, piano pop chorus, something that could almost be sung by a Disney character. I think the overall end product is very ‘cheesy’ in this way, however I actually do quite like it for what it is.
Lyrically, it’s about inspiration, how it can be fickle and moody. How as an artist it is a desperate roller coaster of grasping at this intangible thing that seems to choose its own time to emerge. I often go from ‘whelp, I’ve used up all the ideas I can think of, there’s nothing original left in me’ to ‘this is the greatest thing I’ve ever worked on’ in the span of a few hours.
The songs structure alternates between this depressed mood and this triumphant chorus in the same way. I do think inspiration will come with steady effort, the song is not suggesting to sit around and wait for it, its more about how it comes in waves and is unavoidable and overpowering.
This is a simple track in its layering for me. Lately I’ve been pushing 30-50 layers on a normal track. Currently there are 20 layers, many of them stacked up vocals.
Currently I’m not out for feedback as I need to retake the ‘default keys’ and piano parts. I recorded them and then quantized at 1/32T which I think was a mistake, they feel ‘off’ , the chorus sounds too dense and needs EQ attention. The ending isnt interesting enough. All of these will be worked on over the next few days before I drop links on my normal feedback channels. In the meantime, feel free to follow along here with changes as I make them.
Current Status | Done, but not publishing to distrokid.
There were 2 main things I wanted to do with this track, first was to give rapping an honest try, I still may rework the lyrics, its repetitive, but I think most of the flow and vocal tones are where I want them. The second thing is I want to start compiling some ultra simple tracks, that are essentially layers of loops with the exceptions of the vocals and automatons.
I’ts a live performance track
The reason for this is to get a small pile of tracks that can be done fairly easily in a one man live-stream show environment. I would like to try a streaming show with a novation launchpad on ableton live, Reason running as a VST on it to power the sounds of the midi keyboard, with live looped bass lines, and live vocals. I am fairly sure I can execute this track with the set up, the one note bassline was also designed so it could be played with one hand (an open e string).
On the Lyrics
This started out as ‘I wanna do one of those Beck – Loser style nonsense raps’. Where the words just kind of sound cool and flow in a memorable way, but don’t add up to mean anything at all. As I went along I started to kind of actually tell a story, the current version is kind of a bit of both the beck idea, and driving around with friends on a joyride.
Version 3 is final. There were some light adjustments i was considering but i moved on to several other tracks and am overall pretty happy with the sound of this one. It has been put into distrokid with a release date of July 15 so i can roll the dice on a an editorial placement.
Updated 6/11/2020: Now on version 3: I worked some more on this track last night and made several changes. I tried to bring more clarity to the vocals, the levels came up and EQ adjustments were made.
I also spiced up the solo section, and played the beepy synth more in general from the solo section forward. I think its a little too high in the mix right now.
I adjusted the falsetto layers towards the end to send them back further into the mix
I built this on the weekend of 5/31/2020. It is what I think is ‘structure complete’, with some smoothing needed. The transition into the 2nd groove is too harsh, and needs attention. I think something as simple as a SFX on the changeover may ease it, but I’m also going to try some drum stuff.
This track is doing a few new things. First is that I got my 4 string bass out of the closet, this is the first track to be recorded with it. My 4 string has a flatter, warmer tone. The 6 string featured on all my other tracks is unusually bright in tone, its what I like about it.
The bass line is 2 takes of the same part stacked. One layer focuses on bringing out rattly / roughness out of the sound. The 2nd layer focuses on low warm sounds and bringing those out. Splitting the track allows me to configure HIKU in 2 different ways for the bass – HIKU is great at bringing out both high and low tones, but the settings change.
The guitar is the first time ive used an instrumental sample, other than on Get to Know You, which was part of Lifes Everyday Soundtrack. I used Dr Rex in reason and a funky guitar riff.
I laid out the chord progression that utilizes 4 of these.
The vocals were done with my new SM7B microphone and cloudlifter set up. The quality is fantastic.
Lyrically its kind of a light hearted but heavy handed at the same time. Its about music becoming a legacy once its publicly spread around on the internet. I got the Izotope $50 bundle thing, and am using a number of the tools in the package. De-Noise is used on vocals, Stutter-Edit is used to do the vocal chops in the 2nd half. The tools are cool and I need to explore them more still.
I am currently gathering feedback on Reddit. I plan on doing a discord feedback pass against the track after reddit feedback, (I usually start on discord, but wanted to shake things up a bit)