Now, it's time to get to the point with this blog. A couple of months ago, I had these chords and melody going around. So, I regularly took some hints and notes on my dictaphone, which actually is my cellphone, since we entered the new millenium. It's a thing I do a lot, when stuff cross my mind at the wrong time and the wrong place, like in a bus, or in the bathroom.
So, I finally built something from it, a bit vintage-pop hommage, it's called CLOSE TO MY HEART, and you can hear the latest version right there !
I'm usually not a fan of heavily "pad based" songs, though it's the obvious way to mark your chords ( ! ), I try to avoid it as much as possible, to keep a wide audio field. So, when I do it, I always try to mark it with some discretion, like using this smooth "PWM pad" here, from the Native instruments Pro-53 ! The Sequential Prophet 5 was (and still "virtually" is...) a brilliant versatile synth, but it needed very sharp settings, and suffered from a lack of this new "MIDI interface" thing, at the time. Not an issue today, neither is the initial five notes for maximum polyphony. It also plays the chorus glide riff, and the prout du coincoin, comme on l'aura remarqué.
Of course, you'll find a lot of Emulator X treatments here, some electronic and metal percussions, processed drones, etc... But, the E-mu also performs the bass synth all along, which came as a surprise, even for me ( ! ). I tried a lot of dedicated VSTi, for that matter. Minimoog V, Novation, etc... always have been disappointed at some point. I finally came up with a couple of processed moog samples. And, so I did for all my other songs...
Some of my favourite drums samples were already there, in my early 90's de- mos, since I always had in mind to build my own "acoustic rock" drum kit, ra- ther than use electronic flavours. An obvious tribute to my love for Phil Collins, Robert Palmer, Oingo Boingo, and such. Plus, I never could afford a real drum- mer, with expensive recording sessions, and this much extra beers, etc...
So, I'm using pretty much the same custom samples kit for ages. Some kick and toms from Bob Clearmountain ( this guy, if only I could get him to mix my whole mess ! ), my infamous heavily processed snare from Peter Gabriel's song "Intruder" (a fascinating story, indeed ! ), various hi-hats and cymbals from sample CDs... I sorted somehow a coherent drum kit from all of it, with less than, wait for it... 15 MB of data storage !
So, hear this ! You certainly don't need the fat expensive, multi-layers, mega- giga drum libraries they try to sell you. You just have to choose carefully a bunch of effective samples you like, and take good care of your MIDI program- ming and EQ ! After that, oh my god... it takes around six months to achieve the drum kit processing and mixing. Piece of cake !
By the way, as I was going further on the mixing process, it occured to me, my faithful Emulator X had a little flaw after all. That was, a dramatic lack of se- parate outputs. I don't know what's got into the head of E-MU engineers, but... one stereo output, really ? So, I decided to get my drums and percs samples, and have them played through the Native Instruments Battery 2 ! It's like, buil- ding your own drum machine ! Of course, the Native Instruments gears only play samples, as E-MU records and process them. But I find the same sound quality and punch in both equipments, so this swap wasn't quite painful, after all.
the lyrics went through several dead ends, as I was looking for a simple and lighter feel, almost "new-wave naive" ( lol ! ), as suggested by the music. Then, I meticulously complicated myself. The topic was pretty simple, though, it was about the essence of these famous changes of heart occuring in a couple... from the one left alone perspective, that is. Memories may be over now, but they were once very real.Years earlier, the mood would have been probably much darker (in fact, it still is, in some other songs...), but with age comes a certain wisdom and... okay, who I'm kidding, here...