Don’t you hate that: You know the song you’re just hearing but can’t remember the title or who the artist is. Well, you’re not alone – and there’s a big amount of songs that most people recognize, but don’t know the title, let alone the artist’s name. “Popcorn” probably is the perfect example: Everyone knows the bouncy melody, but who can honestly say, who recorded it? Some might know the version by Hot Butter – but that’s not the original…
If you’re discussing music and sound design – especially with a group of synthesizer fans (or should I say “synth nuts”) – you often hear a strong sentiment against the usage of presets. They say to avoid them like the plague. But are presets really all-out evil?
Rises, stings and transitions are a stable in modern film scores – especially with movie trailers, tv promos and reality shows. They make dramatic string crescendos and finales even more dramatic and epic. They underline the superhero flying over your head with a big SWOOOOSH. And although the sounds and plugins used for this usually sound good already, they often don’t deliver that full sound you might want.
But with a few little tricks you can make your rises and transitions fuller and more piercing in the mix.
Not all famous artists write their songs themselves – but there’s a lot that do. And although I’m really interested in the “who wrote what”, there’s of course many where I don’t know that they were written by somebody else. Shame on me, I only discovered after his death, that Prince wrote The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”.
One of my favorite synthpop bands are Pet Shop Boys, and although I knew the obvious songs they wrote for other artists like Liza Minelli (“Losing My Mind”) and Dusty Springfield (“In Private”), there are more songs besides the big hits, that they wrote and not always recorded themselves later.
Step sequencer patterns can be pretty repetitive, and although that’s what you often want when using them, you don’t want them to be boring. So you can use filters and other tricks to liven them up. Or: If you’re into electronic instrumental music, I bet you’ve heard of Klaus Schulze. He’s one of the founding fathers of the so-called Berlin School (as opposed to Kraftwerk‘s Düsseldorf School) in which you can find artists like Tangerine Dream, Manuel Göttsching, Bernd Kistenmacher… And Klaus Schulze is famous for using step sequencer patterns that, although being repetitive in their parts, don’t really repeat over time, as they weave into each other more or less randomly and create new patterns over a song of, say 15 minutes.
Recently I wanted to try this, too. So I started a tribute song for Klaus Schulze. Of course there are other ways to achieve these kind of (more or less) randomly interweaving patterns, but here’s how I did it this time:
I really like cover versions if they add something to the original, if they turn it around a bit, interpret it. Because, let’s be honest, a Rock cover of a Rock song might be nice, but it’s not too special. But a Reggae cover of a Heavy Metal song is something different 🙂