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new song: "Violette Lies" and 100 hours

Man, this song took a while.

I know, technically it's not a "song" because there aren't singers, but I like the word "song."

Anyway, the song is called "Violette Lies" and is part of the album Narcotherapy Hypnosis which I've been working on for a while.  My original idea was to add some kind of love interest reference, since after all- this IS a soundtrack.  You can fill in the blanks with the sounds plus your imagination.  Here's it is- maybe play it while you read?

In terms of technical construction and the huge amount of time it ultimately required, some of that was the music itself, but some of that was how my workflow has started to evolve.  I spend so much more time on mixing and mastering than I did before.  Does it make a difference?  I hope so.

Like a lot of my stuff, the intro is pretty long (to set up the sonic world). I started writing with the melody (on Wurlitzer) that starts around 1:22 and things grew from there.  I played everything one way or another (the drums are played on keyboard with multiple tracks).  It took me a while to get the bass sound I was going for; I'm still pretty much feeling my way out with an amp emulation program called "guitar rig 5." The strings were played/created using my usual "LA Scoring Strings."

Why do I use so much strings? Because I LOVE strings.  I have 2 competing (complementary) worlds in my head: jazz/funk and classical.  My music tries to blend them together to make a cool chillout vibe.  Also, strings and '70s synths just sound sweet together.

So how much time did this song take? I'm guessing something like 100 hours.  maybe more.  Probably 30 were mixing/mastering.  Compare that with some of my others:

Old School Spy: Previous record holder with how complex the sounds in it were to layer- took about 60 hrs.

Fire Up the Sidewalk: Took about 30 hrs- because I looped so many of the parts.  Gives it a cool groove though.

Persistence: played the piano track in 2 takes (one for the 3rd hand part), the whole thing took probably 8 hrs with the mastering.  In some ways one my best pieces, but deciding to make the drums a glitchy/electronic thing wound up also saving time.

Sometimes stuff I love takes just a day, sometimes it takes many days.  Probably doesn't mean much in terms of how good the song ultimately is.  The kernel idea usually comes quick, then it's fleshing it out.  I read that it took Robert Plant "15 minutes" to write Stairway to Heaven, which is like 2 minutes per minute of music.  Some people have spent more time yelling "Play Stairway!" at me than it took him to write it.  He didn't have to play all the parts and do the mixing and mastering though.

I hope you enjoy it, and let me know your thoughts.

-D

Comments Section

Well said. Especially "Inorganic machine-music violence." Appreciate your thoughts -D
Dan - I had a mentor / friend in high school who could play anything. If he wanted a particular sound or riff, he seemingly just grabbed it out of the air and laid it down. He could listen to a song once and then do a cover. Beyond the supernatural talent thing, he demonstrated the idea that music was not just going along with what happened but consciously searching for and selecting sound (as in a library) to create and accompany the music that is in our minds. This is essentially the difference (one of them, anyway) between a musician and a composer. And to be really good at either, you have to be a strong mix of both, it would seem. Hours spent on engineering a tune? This is only a metric when it is in competition with other activities that need the clock to gauge value / productivity. The real trick is focus on the music, the persistence of melody and tone across other activities like working at the gas station, sleep or relationships. We have in our mind Mozart, who is portrayed as sacrificing all to achieve the realization of his musical imagination, variously OCD, divinely inspired or simply too immature to care about other people and responsibility. This is just one way this happens. As many know, music is a virus and lives in human hosts, but it is the man who is aware, who is a master of himself to at least some degree, who can understand how the alchemy of disease, inspiration, leading, following, accepting and pursuing, work and rest can be played within themselves to achieve release and yet higher levels of release. There is no formula, no metric, no standard. The only measure is internal. External recognition is important because we are human and need response to understand ourselves and our place, but only God knows if we've done all we could to take what we have to co-create on the Divine level as we have every right to do, despite being mortal. Tchaikovsky is said to have hated Shchelkunchik - the Nutcracker - and we can wonder at this, but it is almost frightening to consider what he may really have had in mind. We are postmodern groove slaves because our musical word is infected with inorganic machine-music violence that the living breathing masters of themselves have transformed back into a living thing, the groove, the funk, the stank. We do this with mojo and the talent and equipment we have. Today, we have all the toys. Lack of mojo or talent doesn't seem to hinder the minions from producing dead machine-music and pretending it has life because they get paid for it. But real creativity is alive and timeless and can work magic with sticks or virtual amp programs. Who cares if it takes the man more or less time to orchestrate life, instruments and inspiration to produce music! We who listen don't care, anyway. We have our groove. The musicians may be half dead, but they will know if it was worth it. kopecks
 

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