WIP: Black Node - A Shallow Light (Jazz, Electronic, Fusion)

WIP: Black Node - A Shallow Light (working title) (Jazz, Electronic, Fusion)

https://soundcloud.com/thoughtfulnoise/draft-black-node-shallow-light/s-EYmgxizWiBC?si=ca26de92428545a5aa1d82488bfc4302

Developed Auxy draft. No transitions between sections yet (so forgive/ignore the sudden changes), limited ear candy, not properly mixed yet.

Ideas/plans include:

  1. Developing the mid-section by switching up the vibe — maybe including an additional new hook in that section.
  2. Replacing constructed drums with real drums (to add nuance and variation)
  3. Layer in some more light keys touches and detailing for texture and freshness.
  4. Mansur Brown-style guitar after the mid-section, or starting in the mid-section, then kicking into another gear after the mid-section. (i.e. this won’t be a pure-Auxy track by the end)
  5. Try to get it under 5:30, if possible. (6:00, at a push)

Thoughts, feedback, etc… welcome. :+1:

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You sold me at mansur brown style guitar, any chance i could have a go with it? :flushed::point_right::point_left:

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You wanna play with the project file?
Happy to, but I’d like to get it ‘finished’ first.

Or are you offering up some Mansur Brown guitaring. :slight_smile:

 

I snortled loudly.:laughing:

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It would be an honor to be the mansur brown guitar :flushed::flushed::flushed:

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WIP now at V11… :laughing:

I’ve put a Mansur Brown -ish faux guitar over the mid-section.
@cursed Would be keen to get your thoughts on that.

https://soundcloud.com/thoughtfulnoise/draft-black-node-shallow-light/s-EYmgxizWiBC?si=f03b878d98004178a039d0a2648aabdb

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Definitely spot on with the playing style

Personally think the guitars could play together with the piano rather than backing it, or maybe against the drums. (At least thats how ive noticed Yussef Dayes and Mansur Brown perform) so yeah if you want the full experience it goes against the drums.

All in all, a treat to listen to, just :relieved::ok_hand:

Need more, send more

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(Listening to v13)
I’m so into the sound design of your electric pianos. Guitar is also a nice touch. One thing I note is that the horns that you have playing the motif (for example from 2:30 to 3:00 ish) have a grand/ somewhat layered sound. To me the song has a laid back loungey vibe, so I would choose a more stripped-back horn sound, maybe limiting it to one instrument, or passing the motif back and forth between a trumpet and a sax. But then I would be too tempted to go into solos and end up with a song well past 6 min. Or you could start the motif with a trumpet and when you return to it in the outro you can make the sax play it (even though that would imply that one musician is standing around idly while the other musician is playing).

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Thanks, @MrSerpent.

Thanks for the deeper feedback. Some really good points in there that I’ll def keep in mind as I push this closer to ‘done’.

I’ll likely end the guitar part sooner (and alter parts of that ‘solo’ melody). I’ll likely swap out the sound too. It’s a decent placeholder that captures the spirit I’m aiming for reasonably well, but it might be one I bounce midi out to Ableton to find a closer match from a more capable library and fx selection.

 

E-piano

Electric pianos have become the heart of so much of my output. Rhodes + electronic/synth (especially Moog) is a classic combo that I’ve always been strongly drawn to. Jazz/y and fusion-based genres are a natural home for that, and Black Node is my vehicle for playing with that aesthetic.

I try to push n pull the Vintage Keys options around, faking heavy tremolo (which should really be an effect available on all instruments), but I find myself reverting to Lobby as my go-to, which is possibly the simplest sound in the Vintage Keys pack. It has a warm, mellow, dusty low-light tone that I’m drawn to.
The others don’t appeal to me as much, or don’t really sit in the vibes I’m trying to create.

Layer on some distortion, and you’ve got some nice crunchy, but still mellow chords. (Only a touch, otherwise the distortion overwhelms the musical tones — though you can squeeze in more dist if you split the chords — and the uses of dist — across multiple instances of Lobby, as it’s the interplay of one instance of dist on a chord within a single instrument where things start to fall apart tonally and become durgy.

Alternatively, open up the filter, whack a tonne of distortion and verb on it, and it makes for a compelling, piercing or sweeping lead too.

While this one is pure Auxy, I increasingly find myself writing epiano parts using Lobby in Auxy, then bouncing out the midi to Ableton, swapping in an epiano with more character, and then bouncing that out as a sample back into Auxy.

 

Guitar

This is Mental (Disturbing Leads) with stacks of Bitcrush dist. It makes for a reasonably convincing scooped out dirty, slightly screaming effect (à la Mansur Brown).

As mentioned above, with so much dist, it’s important to avoid sustained chords, or use them sparingly. There’s a simple two-note harmony at 3:43, briefly held, but simple enough to still maintain tonality.

Intermittently using very short overlaps between lead solo notes can give nice distorted spike transients as the distortion very briefly squeals, but which adds to the slightly harder-edged guitar playing vibe.

 

Horns

Yep, I do have a thing for rich, extended, sometimes a little dissonant chords. Trumpet+sax can create a rich sound that cuts through. I tried to keep things a little ‘call and response’ in this one, as trumpet+sax are more central to the piece than I normally have them.

(Perhaps I need to thin out the other parts to let the trumpets/sax breathe better.)

Problem with letting each stand alone in Auxy is that, imo, the Auxy samples aren’t individually strong, but can become quite compelling/passable when layered, so I find myself gravitating towards layering them.)

Plus, in my head, it’s a Jaga Jazzist or Snarky Puppy -type horn/wind section. :wink:

 

I definitely want and need to get better at thinning things out, (or not over-layering to begin with), letting an instrument or melody take the spotlight. I’m still something of an ‘over-producer’. I should find a few good in-genre reference tracks to analyse how to compose and orchestrate to make space and let things breathe more.

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