Hey there! in the past few months I've taken to the production of a monthly music podcast called 199X, it's been a year and 4 months now since I've started this project and it feels like a good time to show my progress here and perhaps get some well earned feedback, so without further ado, here's 16 and the whole process it took me to create this 25 minute frankenstein.
The inital concept was simple, produce four to six tracks in a perioud of 30 days and put them together in a dj style set. I had a lot of incomplete songs lying around so I'd thought I'd finish those instead of building new stuff and taking more space in the hard drive. The tracks were chosen on a random basis, I would later decide how to fit them together. The first step of finishing incomplete songs was incredibly gratifying, and I can't say this enough: Finish your creations. There's nothing worse than a folder cramped up with uncomprehensible and half-done ideas.
So after I was satisfied with my new old tracks I recorded a mix of those songs on traktor that ended up being about 23 minutes long, I had now what they call The Meat. But the meat was raw, and hard to swallow, so the third process started, creating an overture and an ending, something to lead the listener throughout this journey. The first song's name was Acqua, so it made sense to bring up some ocean waves to locate ourselves somewhere in space, we needed a voice too, so I wrote a short introduction text and played it over google translate (thank you google translate robot lady). I had been binge watching Twin Peaks so I wrote the text backwards and then reversed the recorded voice to make it sound like the red room and transport the listener to an oniric state (thank your David Lynch). The result was a robotic voice speaking far away in a deserted beach, pretty close to what I had in mind, that would do as an intro. As the piece develops the percussions become more and more prominent, to the point you're in a darkened state of mind, when the piece reaches it's climax you're left alone in a cold and windy space, with a howling chord progression playing in the distance, the sound of waves can be heard again, but the song is at it's end now and you're left with a slight nastalgia. The very last element that can be heard is a morse code spelling the name of the piece, one hundred ninety nine "x" sixteen.
Each song had it's own motif and approach;
First track was produced while on a skiing trip, inspiration came mainly from the mountainy landscape, I eventually added the idea of the ecstatic feeling of drinking bottled water during a rave, it somehow ended up like an evian or villavicencio commercial. Following track was produced around a Massive (VST) pre-set. Having the sample playing on 3/4 and the drums on 4/4 lead to a deformed structure, therefore calling the song 5D. The sample had been previously used on 199X-10 on a more secondary role.
Autopistas was a track I had lying around for a while, the sounds were very very harsh and it was definitely not an easy listen. A sampler however, was enough to rearrange it into a techno beat and as a few layers were added I felt very satisfied with the result. Closing the club set is a cute minimal song with samples of Anthony Hopkins in The Elephant Man. At the ending some background dark ambient sounds can be heard, one would describe it as wind howling across a large empty chamber, that sound was ripped from Planescape Torment, this game has been tremendously inspirational to me for the past few months.
As an outro piece, I grabbed a Les Paul Custom, tuned into a DADGAD open chord, grabbed a violin bow and created this post-rock soundscape, something to let the listener separate himself or herself from the dark club setting and into his or her immediate reality. DADGAD tuning has been previously used with a violin bow by Jimmy Page in Dazed & Confused, but my personal intention was to achieve something more closely related to Jónsi's use of the bowed guitar in Sigur Ros.
The sounds of waves crashing successfully knitted the whole piece together and added a visual element that inspired the cover art, a rendered image made with the reflection of an hourglass on a glossy surface, creating the illusion of an oily substance being diluted into an empty space.
Main software here was Bitwig Studio, I know many would prefer Ableton to Bitwig but I've made the change a few years ago and never looked back, the overall workflow just feels better.
I'm not a big VST fan so I tend to stick to factory devices, however, I do rely on Waves Mercury bundle for Mastering and I'm not sure if I could do without the Paz Analyzer or the C6 multiband compressor. I'm proud to say though that 95% of the synths here were created from scratch. I've got a sample pack library from Robert Babicz, mostly techno, which is all of the hi-hats, snares/claps and kicks, not sure what I'd do without it. :/
My go-to 3D engine has been Blender, I'm currently finishing a 5 minute animation and it's definitely a good hybrid for modelling and animations compared to Rhinoceros or 3DMax, I should give Maya a try at some point.
Well that's all folks, happy listening!