the music of the moment – application-based music
another really unusual piece has appeared on the fairlight pro, this time, an oddly cheerful little ditty called “fun with cardboard” – which I am actually thinking might end up becoming the title track of my proposed/future fairlight pro composition album.
strange though it might seem, the title appeared to me sometime last weekend as a possible album title, but then when I sat down to compose on the ipad, specifically, to work on a new fairlight piece, it just hit me, this piece must be “fun with cardboard”. and then the track appeared with frightening speed, practically writing itself – it was done very quickly, with just a few tweaks to the sequence the following day – clearly, it was meant to be, and – this will sound very unusual – it actually sounds like “fun with cardboard” – if you were, somehow…having fun with cardboard…this is what it would sound like! really.
I still cannot get over the weird and wonderful process that occurs each time I begin composing with fairlight pro, it’s just pure strangeness – I never have any idea what I am writing, I just try melodies and harmony, and if it works; fine, if not, I delete the offending bars and try to find something better.
if it sounds good, then I keep it; if it doesn’t, or it seems boring; I dump it, and I just keep replacing any bad bars with good until all the bars are good – simple!
sometimes, it’s just not selecting the right notes – and, it can be tricky, because most melodies actually stretch across two or more patterns; or, sometimes, the instrument you chose for instrument 3 is just no good; so you have to stop and find something more suitable. once the instruments are right, then you can carry on creating. but this time – the instrument was fine, it required no changes, and I was able to work very quickly indeed.
I found in this case, I could create a really fulfilling sequence using very, very few individual measures, it has more repetition, and fewer “unique” bars – normally, the ending and the measure or measures leading up to it tend to be unique, but otherwise, compositional fragments get re-used a lot during this particular track.
even stranger, writing intentionally in a minor key – e minor, with one brief excursion to a minor – you would think that the piece would take on the normally-perceived characteristic of the minor keys, and sound “sad” – but for whatever reasons, the reverse is actually true, and this piece oozes happiness and joy, it’s decidedly, almost annoyingly, cheerful. which I think is great, usually when I record in e minor, I want a dark mood; a not-cheerful mood – but this time, it backfired, and due to a combination of tempo, instrumentation, and the random process of dave’s haphazard “compositional technique”…it came out sounding really happy. and, with a sudden, snappy, unexpected ending too – which is a real bonus.
of course, that makes me happy too, because I have lots of dark, creepy, strange/soundtrack music already recorded with the fairlight, so there need to be some more melodic, cheery pieces to counteract that. but – not too many – because we love our dark atmospheres, don’t we?
I actually don’t know if I have spoken about the piece before this, written a couple weeks back (it’s been so, so busy!) entitled “guitarilla” – a track that really has got me thinking about the true potential of fairlight pro. the fairlight has a lot of great guitar samples in it, so I use them – and in this case, I developed some riffs that eventually, I turned into a song.
it took some doing, but I now have it sorted out, the whole piece is based on riffs, but some sections have a series of chords that plays out behind some of the riffs– but, the overall effect is of a clear sketch, or prototype, of a fairly heavy guitar piece.
after thinking about this piece for some time, I realise that I could actually design riff-based guitar songs on the ipad, with fairlight pro, rather than on guitar – and then just learn them; or even overdub the fairlight track with real guitars (which is my plan for “guitarilla”). however, I always have the option; once I have a good recording on “real” guitars – of just erasing the Fairlight track – use it like a disposable template.
I’ve never been great at writing on guitar, I do not know why – most of what I write is on keyboard or on piano. I can improvise on guitar all day and night, but, I don’t sit down and work on riffs, or riff-based songs, like I might have when I was 22. having the fairlight now, though, with it’s awesome selection of heavy, heavy guitar sounds, will allow me to compose in riff mode once again.
I doubt that’s what the designers had in mind, but I really think this will become a great tool for doing quick sketches, for working out my riffs and ideas and even chord changes – and then taking that to the daw and fleshing it out with real guitars – possibly then discarding the entire original fairlight template piece in the process. or keeping it – whatever sounds the best.
I’ve only had this tool now for about four months, but as with so many of these synthesizer/recording apps, I really can’t imagine myself being without it, it’s so flexible, it’s so fun to create with, and some truly unusual pieces have appeared out of nowhere using the fairlight pro. some of that is down to the samples, which are mostly really quality, but some of it is down to knowing how to best concoct a good instrument (8 voices) to use for your creation, and some of it is down to the actual bar-by-bar compositional approach – all of that combines, somehow, into creating an atmosphere where the unusual can happen – and it usually does.