today’s lunchtime project is a brand new fairlight pro piece, entitled “president evil”. it’s built somewhat symmetrically, similar to the way I might build a loop – starting out with a somewhat creepy pattern with very few instruments, and gradually adding more and more instruments, so that it gets quite dense by the centre of the piece.
the experience of the past several weeks really paid off: I sat down, built a custom instrument, and began composing. once I had the basic “loop” idea, I just added more instruments each time, until the piece sounds very full indeed – and then I just reverse the sequence, backing it back down in reverse order…which would be the equivalent of “undoing” a loop stage by stage in reverse order of creation.
today’s custom instrument looks like this:
so the very most basic pattern is startling in it’s simplicity: it’s a finger cymbal melody, underpinned by two long whole note ambient backing sounds: a whole note of “whispian1” and a whole note of “waterphone11”.
that became pattern one, and then all the other patterns include those instruments and patterns from then on.
pattern two then, is identical to pattern one, except for an added drum roll at the beginning of the third measure.
pattern 3 adds a bell tree to the drum roll
pattern 4 adds a bass flute note, and one eating bowl note in bar 4, to the drum roll and bell tree
pattern 5 adds a long whole note synthbass note to all that is in pattern 4, plus adds a second eating bowl note in bar 1
pattern 6 is identical to pattern 5 except the synth bass volume is increased by 2, and the bell tree volume is increased by 2, to increase the sense of the dramatic
pattern 7 contains all the elements in pattern 6, except that the flute changes to a six note melody, underpinned by a double time eating bowl, and the synthbass has been turned up by one again
pattern 9 is a variant of pattern 7, with the last two of the six note melody notes removed for both flute and eating bowl – and in the sequence, instead of pattern 7 playing four times, it alternates between pattern 7 and pattern 9 twice – creating a 6 note/4 note melodic pattern (or rather, a six note melody with a rest every other bar)
pattern 8 is the “final” build up, it’s identical to pattern 7, except now, the flute and eating bowl melody has been altered to a four-note pattern.
so basically, I worked my way up from pattern one to pattern eight (with a little detour at pattern 7 – where pattern 9 is added in to provide a “rest”)…
after pattern 8, I added in a section of the super quiet pattern one to provide a calm centre…and then, it just winds back down again, from loudest/busiest to quietest simplest, and just to be a bit asymmetrical, there 17 sets of pattern 1 at the end of the track while there are only 4 at the beginning 🙂
the seventeen repetitions at the end really add a sense of the piece being a “loop”, and just when you are lulled into thinking it will repeat for ever, it just stops – when you least expect it to stop. 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed working this piece out, and it came together really quickly – from initial idea to completed piece of music in probably 30 minutes – if that.
the fairlight pro is indeed, a remarkable sequencing tool and the unusual sample library provided has a wealth of very unusual sound choices that can really be effective in creating atmosphere, and lots of it, if you choose your instruments wisely…
I was very fortunate today, with “president evil” – it just worked – and, the snare drum roll is my informal nod to and acknowledgement to xtc’s “president kill” to which this song has no relationship whatsoever, except the shared title word “kill” and an ominous snare roll…
keep on sequencing!
…here comes president evil again 🙂