BEHIND THE SCENES
"...It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way...."
Alan Watts - Philosopher (1915 - 1973)
Click the titles below for direct links to each track on SoundCloud
This is one of those compositions I started a while back, got so far and then got stuck, so I put it on ice for a while and came back to it about a month later to finish it.
I love all the synth sounds in this track! So the idea behind it was to have it start as a smooth classical piano piece but then evolve into more of an electronic dance track with a beat.
The wonderful NI Reactor Formant sampler is behind the deep 'robotic voice'. The choir is the great free choir VST from Spitfire that adds a lovely ambience to the piece.
The surprise however is that the track doesn't stay in the dance genre, just as fast as it got there it transforms back into the smooth more classical sounding piano piece from where it started.
This track was composed while abroad, completed from beginning to end during a flight to Dallas in September 2019
The track starts with a rather odd sounding sound of electrical noise. Yev (See Money Money to find out who Yev is) and he noticed the noise coming from the speakers hooked up to part of the vintage synth museum’s section of really old synths. So we recorded the line noise thinking it might be interesting to use it at some point.
So I started with what is effectively 60hertz mains hum and fuzz randomly recorded two weeks prior.
Dawn is an ambient track that has some very low bass, you may not hear all of it without some good speakers or headphones but it’s there like the constant (but not as unpleasant!) noise of the jet engines on the plane I was on at the time.
While we flew to Dallas I got to see the sunrise from but this time from 37,000ft. The piano riff in the track is meant to represent the sunlight finally breaking through the clouds as dawn breaks.
The clicks fading in an out during the track represent all the things that slowly come to life and wake up to enjoy and take advantage of another day of sunlight! What fun being a musician!.
This was the second track of my Californian holiday (August 2019) and one that took a great deal of time (compared to how fast the start to end process normally is for me). This was partly due to the fact that I’d never exclusively mixed using only my studio headphones before so mixing and levelling the bass without speakers for the first time very hard.
While I released the track anyway, it's one I plan to re-visit once my Adam Audio S3V's arrive....I can't wait!!!
Anyway the melody in the track was from a chord progression I’d been playing around with the week before holiday and I knew it was going to be the basis for something. I never really know what such seeds will evolve into, but that’s all part of the fun of music composition!
I’d already started a pure 'in-the-box' track which later became the main body of the Money Money when I visited the synth museum in Emeryville California. I was excited to try out that chord progression on the Roland Jupiter 8 (the vintage synth of my dreams!) as it’s well known for its rich and deep phat tones!
Without the benefit of having my computer open to check the timing etc, I asked my friend Yev to join me and we played the progressions with a ARP'y bass while I played the harmony on a Prophet 8 pad sound.
So the opening intro to money money is me playing the chord progression on the Jupiter 8, this then fades into me playing a spacey sound on a Sequential Circuits Prophet 8S (another legendary vintage synth that made history and has been used by almost every musician since 1980) while Yev is playing the bass on a Roland Jupiter 6.
Keeping us both in time (although you can’t hear it in the track itself as I put in a different drum beat later) is the most famous drum machine of all time, the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer (used in pretty much every pop and dance music song since 1980). The museum guy told us that people come to just play on the 808 all day and it’s easily the most popular instrument he has there despite it not being a synth!
I recorded a whole series of sections in the hope something would work when putting things together later. I had no idea if any of it would be useable or if even if I’d know how to integrate a separately recorded (non-time synchronised recording) element as I’d never tried that before in my DAW.
Upon returning to my AirBnB I set out to try and glue everything together. It turned out that the parts I’d recorded at the VSM, after a little fiddling made an excellent intro and outro to what had evolved into an EDM track!
I spent hours mixing it and just couldn’t get the build up to work, when I had an idea.
My girlfriend was in Poland visiting her family and she’d recorded via WhatsApp her little niece saying “money money it’s not funny”. The recording sounded so cute I listened to it many times over when she’d sent it to me a few days earlier.
When I later asked why she’d said that phrase she said it was part of the lyrics from the Abba song “money money money” which I immediately recognised too.
Three days later I realised the build up to “the drop” needed that exact recording and so the unnamed track became "Money Money it’s not Funny" and I used the recording during the drop and again at the end of the outro.
The first track I created while I was in San José on my own for a week during August 2019. It was the first time I’d had a chance to use the little battery powered synth - The Volka FM - I’d acquired specifically to take on “music making trips”, I'm clearly planning to do more! It’s about the size of a 500g block of cheese but not as heavy, pretty sure cheese tastes better! ;-)
You should be able to hear it’s very digital FM sound, Yamaha brought the first FM digital synth to market in 1983. the DX7 and it basically changed the course of pop music history, this fairly difficult to program plastic synth lead the digital revolution that eventually bankrupted many of the analogue synth companies of the day.
Time slip starts with a click, something that defined the electronic music genre from the early days of disco in the late 70’s. The click was always electronically generated and quantised typically (on beat) whereas a human beat is often slightly early or slightly late on the beat. Many say that’s what gives analogue and human generated music more character.
Personally I think both domains (analogue and digital) have their own unique character's, each equally interesting and valid.
So time slip while it starts with a click the layered instruments are not quantised to the underlying beat, so their timing differences causes them to ‘slip’ against each other.
You should hear some parts sound in-time with each other and others not. As the in-time parts happen coincidentally (not programmatically defined by me) throughout the track, the slipping in and out of time causes its own “beat”.