May 22, 2015 Admin

Why We Work

Early this week Heather became tasked with putting together a video for University of Chicago. She had to put together a slideshow with some interviews and needed some background music. Originally she was going to use the music from my Breastfeeding USA promotion. I thought to myself,

this is a good chance to get outside my typical workspace and try something different.

She needed something pop and happy sounding. Mommy & Me is pretty sappy sounding, that is its purpose.

So I decided to take on this project and bring out all my MIDI gear. I set up the Casio Privia Keyboard, the AKAI LPD8 and loaded up Reaper. This was a lot of fun to play around with. It’s so much fun to make new sounds and edit the FX. Thankfully there are tons of Reaper plugins.

Simple background music, that was the goal. I started with a super simple melody and harmony and added to it from there. Pop can be really good when there is good counterpoint. In pop there tends to be too much of a reliance on punching chords, deep bass and really no substance at all. In order to combat that, I worked pretty methodically. With each instrument (there are 16 tracks) I selected a very specific quality of sound. The timbres really needed to mix well. That’s just good orchestration sense, using good mixtures of timbres.

I use the piano because it has tendencies to be an instrument attached to the idea of “memories” and this is background music to a photo slideshow.

The melody sounds pretty hopeful. The first presentation of the piano is fast movement arpeggiating a chord. This is the question. After this point the piece becomes more hopeful and excited. I used a great synth to make that sighing/singing instrument. The next key was good sounding percussion. I really wanted to use electronic sounding drums minimally. I found a couple of great drum plug ins and edited the hell out of them until they sounded close to the acoustic sound I wanted. I also did my best to really play out the drums. I didn’t want them to sound ridiculous and impossible. This is a beat that I would totally play in a band, it sounds natural and exciting.

Altogether this was a really fun project to work on. There may still be some balancing issues, but I’m trying to be less of a perfectionist and just happy with what I do. It’s been a really long and stressful week, so it was nice to work on a simple and happy project. So please dance along and happy Friday.

Tagged: , ,