The drums are a real drum playing sample, cut up and reworked to create more variance.
I went for something that had the subtleties of real playing, avoiding anything that sounded too sequenced.
Starting from there really helped set a more organic feel that influenced how the track developed.
For the other parts, I tried to keep it like I was sprinkling notes over the top, not sticking to the rhythm too much, using syncopation and the ‘off-beat’ as well as simply ‘off the beat’, but then having shorter bursts on the rhythm to keep it slightly anchored.
‘Sprinkling’ really is the word that I keep coming back to on this one.
Because the notes are more sparsely used, it can actually help by keeping things very loose and organic. From there, it’s mostly about keeping it organic, and avoiding repeating exact phrases.
This will generally work better with slightly faster tempos, especially on the drums — 130+ (the track is 133 bpm, but the looseness would work right up to 170 territory) — otherwise the structure could feel too ragged, rather than loose as a creative/stylistic decision.
For arpeggiated chords, free mode is the way to go, to create a more human feel. Drums too, just to shift things off the beat just a touch. Again, humanising.
(I could have gone much further with humanising, but I think I’m happy with where it is. And, tbh, I’ve reached a point in development where fiddling with it more risks me doing more harm than good. I’m trying to learn to stop earlier than I normally would, trusting myself more and letting it be perfectly imperfect.)
I’ve been increasingly playing with rich, lavish, but semi-discordant sax chords in tracks from the past few months, potentially baking into the Black Node sound. Used in certain ways, (even) the Auxy sax samples can sound pretty good (imo). It worked well over the top here, mostly again because the general vibe is quite sparse, leaving lots of space for more in-your-face touches like that.
I’ve enjoyed making this one, especially because it feels closer to something a small, tight jazz/electronic band would write/play — which is ultimately what I’m aiming for.
(Forming the band in my head — drums, bass, keys/synth, sax.
I’ll be putting final tweaks to it today, then possibly pushing it out today/tomorrow.
It hasn’t changed hugely, just finished it out.
(Although I might bump it to Ableton and swap out the Vintage Keys for a more nuanced VST.)
Just need to fight the temptation to add, add, add.