not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

2011 music sketch #21

#21: inspired by jcreed, a surf instrumental (1.5 minutes, 2MB, 4 guitar tracks)

I think I really like this one!

Unfortunately, none of my guitars have whammy bars on them, so the chords are missing out on that action.

Notes on composition:

Time from recording of first attempt at first track until mixing of mp3: 50 minutes (I probably spent another 10 or 15 writing at the beginning before recording the first media file).

I recorded the main lead guitar first. I was originally planning on writing a bridge, so I just played the first little bit I'd written for that, then improvised, expecting to replace it, but then I got lazy and decided to use the improv. Unfortunately, the improv had drifted out of sync so it was a mess when I added the other parts.

The riff was just noodled out over a few minutes. It's got a little Rock Lobster in it, maybe. When I was done with it I imagined it would be going over just Em, Am. The first crucial moment in the composition was changing the second half of the riff to break up the constant doubled-eights with some syncopation. The second crucial moment in the composition was, after coming up with a slight variation for the end of the riff for use in the 2nd and 4th times through the riff, I realized that what would make it into actual music (as opposed to normal aimless sketching) was to have the 4th time through not be the same riff at all, but be something contrasting. Stumped for an alternative riff, I just played the root of two chords leading into a trivial V-i cadence--the sort of "obvious" thing I never do these days, although I have been known to do it when writing vocal music--and left it to other tracks to make it more interesting.

Then the second guitar I added, instead of Em to Am for each iteration of the riff, I instead played fifths changing at double that speed: E5 C5 A5 B5 which sounded really good--actually they don't fit if you play them straight (and the chords that did fit if played straight were boring: E5 G5 A5 C5, which actually relates to the bridge though!), but because I only play them on the backbeat, it fits well (really implying something like E5 E5 C5 C5 A5 A5 A5 B5 -- the riff is E B C D A B/C C B). This was when I came up with the (cliche) walkdown in fast quarters of B5 A5 G5 F#5; the original lead had filled the last three eighths with A-G-F#, which doesn't really fit, but oh well.

Then when I recorded the bass I tried a few things but it sounded too busy, so I just had it play the original Em Am (and a little extra). And the guitar doing those backbeat chords is down in the mix so I'm not sure the E5 C5 A5 B5 actually comes through very in the end.

I've fallen behind the 1-per-day pace... but I don't care!
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