Another journey through randomly selected sounds. Mostly. As I did yesterday, most of the sounds in this track were selected by randomly scrolling through Omnisphere. This time, however, I was a bit more willing to toss sounds if they didn’t grab me.
My first stop was the bouncing synth sound that kicks off the track. It had a nice response to velocity (how hard I strike the key), and I found some fun moments as I would just randomly strike harder. This simple ostinato drove everything and I had a nice loop going.
- Ogdoads Ray Toler 2:59
Drums were added next, but I knew I wanted it to be on the light side. None of these are hard driving, dance invoking beats, they’re just interesting rhythmic movement. I added a bit of randomness to the patterns for a touch of variety. This is the song you nod your head to while you’re sitting at the bar, not the one that makes you chair dance or jump up and head to the floor.
It was a good groove, but a bit boring, especially if I was going for a 2-3 minute track. The “chorus” (that’s what I call it, anyway) with its descending melody line gave the whole thing a personality. Some bell sounds were added on top to provide a bit more high end, and the instrumental was pretty much finished. I almost uploaded it at this point, but felt that something else was needed. It had a groove, it had personality, but it was still a bit boring instead of hypnotic.
One of my sample library purchases this year was Orbis from Spitfire Audio. It features a lot of synth sounds, but the difference is that the source of those sounds isn’t an oscillator of some sort, but recordings of musicians from around the world made by David Fanshawe. I haven’t found anything on the synth side of the library that worked in a project yet (though I know I will), but there are a lot of fairly unprocessed loops. And that was the hook that this track needed.
I’m not positive where the specific recordings you hear were made, but I think they’re African. It was a bit tricky making them fit the timing of the track without doing any kind of surgery on the audio, but some of that looseness is what makes using samples in tracks interesting. I added a bit of vinyl crackle to make it sound more like I’d pulled them off some old record.
One of the odd bits in this is that I had unintentionally created some odd measure groupings. Ordinarily I would have some multiple of 4 as the overall structure (e.g., verses are 8 bars, chorus is 16, etc.) and everything is in groups of eight (hence the name), but the main repetition is 3 sets instead of 4. This made everything a bit off kilter to my inner DJ sense that automatically counts those things out, and if I were trying to tighten up the composition, I’d lose one of those segments.
This is the beginning of week three. Historically, week three is when everyone is exhausted, both physically and mentally, and the weird stuff starts happening. As I’ve mentioned before, the last few years I’ve done this, I’ve been starting in week three mode on day one. This year, however, I almost feel like I’m just hitting my stride. I’m not breaking any serious new ground, and I don’t know how I’ll feel about these tracks in the future, but I don’t feel bad about any of it. I’m sort of in that same productive mood you get every now and then at work when you’re just cranking things out.
In box. Process. Out box. Next.
- Drums and shakers: Stylus RMX
- Synths and bells: Omnisphere
- Vocals: Spitfire Orbis
- Effects: MOTU Masterworks EQ, FabFilter Pro-C 2, Waves Abbey Road Vinyl, Soundtoys PanMan and Effects Rack
- Mastering: Ozone 9