Here’s a rough mix of a new tune, “Distant Armies,” that may call for a little explanation. Our usual musical scale has 12 equal-tempered notes per octave. “Distant Armies” uses 13. As a result, all of the intervals are squashed together, some more than others. The result is perhaps a tiny bit disturbing, hence the title. Trying to use triads with this tuning would make very little sense, so I had to invent some entirely new chord voicings.
A friend complained that my endings are sometimes too abrupt, so I did a sort of fadeout. It’s not a real fadeout, exactly; it’s what classical musicians call morendo — dying away.
The grooves on trap kit, triangle, and djembe are courtesy of Spectrasonics Stylus RMX. Practically everything else is u-he Zebra 2.5. The recording platform was Image-Line FL Studio 10.
Enjoy, or run screaming from the room. The choice is yours.
I love it, and don’t find the semi-dissonance disturbing. In fact, it’s sort of a mood enhancer, stretching the tension-relaxation that often comes through leading-tones and cadences. Putting it over a cool beat smooths things, too.
Do you play anything on a keyboard connected to FL, or do you do it all on the computer?
I especially liked from around 2:35 on.
It’s a complex process. Most of the notes (except for the percussion loops, which are drag-and-drop from the percussion plug-in) are played on the keyboard to start with, one track and one phrase at a time. But everything is very extensively edited after the fact. For one thing, my keyboard skills aren’t that great.
More important, by editing I can block-copy phrases or whole sections and then fiddle with them further to make each phrase unique. I add parameter changes in the form of graphically edited envelopes. And of course it’s sometimes useful to edit the sounds themselves; factory preset sounds are sometimes perfect for the track, and sometimes very imperfect.