New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

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New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:14 pm

Hi,

I haven't posted a song here for a long time, so thought it was time to rectify that! :)

This is a piece I was working on over Christmas, and have been doing the odd tweak since then, but I think it is now ready to share. Note the MP3 bit rate is down to about 100kbps as you need to keep file size on Reverb Nation below 8MB on the free package.

https://www.reverbnation.com/spectralst ... -silk-road

This was an experiment in trying see how to make a track have an Eastern flavour - the Phygrian scale mode seems to do the trick!

The structure of the song is meant to evoke a journey of sorts along the Silk Road. A tranquil start to the day, stirring from the Caravan Serai, and getting ready to set off. The journey itself, with repetitive motion of the caravan given by the percussion and arpeggio. Then a desert storm halting the motion.... And then back on the journey again when it clears.

The tracks that go into this song include

Hardware Synths
  • Yamaha Montage main pad, and the Asian flute
  • Korg Kronos provide a small fizzy/phased bass detail under the main pad
  • Korg Kronos - the "flutey" square wave lead right after the Asian Flute, using its AL-1 analog synth modelling engine
  • Korg Kronos - the main lead in "Storm section, using its STR-1 engine, which is meant to be for string instrument emulation, but capable of a lot more!
  • Yamaha AN1x for the low bass washes
  • Yamaha EX5r for the background "tinkles", using its unique (only found on the EX5) Formulated Digital Signal Processing Mode and its "Water" Model. FDSP is a note and velocity independent effects processor that applies the effect to each note individually. It has electric guitar and piano pickup models (which you process the samples through) , so the EX5 is capable of very realistic Electric Guitars and Pianos, more so than any Sample and Synthesis synth from the late 90s should sound! And you have to hear note/velocity independent phasing/flanging with it responding to individual note dynamics to believe it!
Software Synths
  • Zero-G EVI for the Clara Sorace Vocals
  • Zero G Eastern Percussion Module for the, well, percussion
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere for the Arpeggio, using a 3rd party library patch. This is an amazing general soft synth. If you could only have one, it would be this one.....
  • U-HE Zebra - the wind, and several other sounds in the storm part. U-HE provide some of the best analog modelling soft synths out there. Zebra and DIVA are astounding
  • GForce MTRON Pro, Mellotron Emulation for the other vocal type sound (more below)
The MTRON Vocal Sound. Steve Hackett is my guitar hero if I could only pick one. On his "Please Don't Touch Album" (first solo one he did after quitting Genesis) there is a track called "Voice of NECAM. From the MTRON page: "Steve Hackett’s The Voice Of Necam, from the 1978 album Please Don’t Touch, further reinforces the Mellotron’s use as the first sampler. NECAM was actually an acronym for Neve Computer Assisted Mixdown and was one of the world’s first automated mixing systems. ‘Necam’s Voices’ were recordings of Steve and others, which were fed into individual channels of a mixing desk, with NECAM used to control the movement of the channel faders. This effectively simulated a technique used by 10cc in their 1975 song I'm Not in Love" So another lovely vocal pad sound that you couldn't get out of 70s instruments - Steve Hackett got the Mellotron builders to provide a special tape library so he could reproduce this live. The tape masters were forgotten about until rediscovered recently, and Steve H gave his blessing for them to be included in GForce/Streetly's latest Mellotron tape archive. I have always loved this sound, so I'm really amazed to have it on my computer and working it into a song!

The Asian Flute/Pad itself was a happy find. The one cool thing about the Montage is its backwards compatibility with Yamaha's big seller Motif Range. They have voice compatibility all the way back to my 2006 Motif Rack ES, and I have loaded patches from my Motif Rack ES into the Montage and I cannot tell the difference when I A/B them. Very impressive, and a first for any synth I have come across. In the last Montage OS update, Yamaha included all of the preset Performances from the last Motif, the XF, in the Montage preset banks (I guess to entice Motif XF users to migrate to the Montage), and when I ran through those one night, I came across that sound was instantly struck by it, and came up with the basic idea in ten minutes, adding the Omnisphere Arpeggio for movement, and there it languished as a basic idea until Christmas.

When I came back to the song, I started adding the EVI vocals and the percussion, it pretty much wrote itself after that, and most of the audio motifs in the tracks are from an evening of improvising and picking out the good bits!

I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for taking the time to listen (if you do!) :)
Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Saul » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:06 am

That was excellent Derek. Wife liked it too :)
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by parametric » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:44 am

A lot of work there Derek - and definitely, the Eastern flavour comes through strong . .

Vocal nicely away from the root of the chord(s) seem to showcase the melody strongly . . .

Like the Tablas? playing away relaxed in the background too.

VERY Atmospheric - and a restful "listen" ((i))

(Wasn't Steve's first solo album "Voyage of the Acolyte"?)

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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:21 am

Thanks, for the feedback, guys. I am quite proud of this one, and I think the strongest thing I have done for a long time, after being in a bit of a creative "desert" of my own for a while. I currently have a backlog of ideas, but currently heads down into learning a new Welsh Floyd set, so that is currently taking all of my musical time.

Chris, I'd have to check the patch I used in the Easter Percussion Module, but there wouldn't have been tabla's in the instrument set, as EPM does not have them. The instruments in EPM are
  • Two variations of 22” Bandirs,
  • Six variations of 18“ Bandirs,
  • Four variations of 16” Bandirs,
  • Four variations of 14” Bandirs,
  • Six variations of Riqs,
  • Four variations of Doholas,
  • Four variations of Darabukas,
  • One Djembe,
  • Five different Claps,
  • Seven variations of Sagat,
So it would have been some permutation of the above forming the percussion. EPM focuses on Middle Eastern, Egyptian, North African, and Turkish Styles.

You are correct in that Steve's first album was "Voyage of the Acolyte" (some say one of the best Genesis albums that Genesis never did as Steve's influence naturally(!) was stronger), but he did this album whilst still in Genesis in 1975 and he left in 1977 with "Wind and Wuthering" being his last (and thus the last classic Genesis album). I referred to "Please Don't Touch" above as the first solo album, released in 1978, he did after leaving Genesis - and one of my favourites. His first four were undoubtedly the best, with "Spectral Mornings" being IMO his high water mark. His new album "At the Edge of Light" is very good as well.

BTW, if people are impressed with the vocals provided by Ethera EVI, it is currently on special offer at £48.
Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Saul » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:35 am

I thought I recognised those vocals. EVI is a superb piece of software and definitely get's a very big thumbs up from me :)

This track is definitely on a whole new level. I like the richness and depth, the way it ebbs and flows and the production values you have instilled into it. My wife loved it and she is very hard to impress so you are on to a winner here Derek :) :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:37 pm

Thanks, Saul

Yes, EVI is amazing and imspired me on this particular journey as did the percussion module, which really lifted the track and helped give it that Eastern flavour along with the scale mode used, and of course the Montage Performance that triggered the whole idea.
Regards
Derek Cook

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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Rara » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:32 pm

Very nicely done :-D. This takes me back to a time when a radio station in adelaide used played this style of music.
I've haven't heard anything like this in a long time.

Rara 0-)
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:49 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Are you still living in Adelaide? It’s a lovely place.
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by EXer » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:27 am

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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Rara » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:40 pm

Derek wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:49 pm
Thanks for the feedback. Are you still living in Adelaide? It’s a lovely place.
Still there, or here rather. Lovely place except in summer, when it's half a mile from the sun. :happy-sunny:

Rara 0-)
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:06 pm

Isn’t Darwin closer to the sun? They moan when it gets below 30 ;)
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:48 pm

I used to stop over in Adelaide on the way to/from Woomera. I remember stumbling across a very good music store during one stop over. Allowed my to try out a V-Synth even though I said there was no way I would be buying it, and they gave some good guitar advice as well.
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Rara » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:30 am

You think Darwin would be closer, for some reason its not. we get the heat they get the rain.
Woomera got to nearly 48 last month.

I cant think of the music store you talk about there where a a few, within a short walk of each other.
my local haunt was Allens music, a bit off the shopping mall. keyboards and guitars down stairs in
the "basement" Pianos and home keyboards up on first floor. They knew their
stuff and what they were selling. An easy way to lose a day.

Rara 0-)
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Derek » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:34 am

Allen’s it was. The “department store” feel matches my memory of it.

I’m glad I never had to to Woomera this time of year, managed to keep it between autumn to spring period.
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Re: New Song - Mist on the Silk Road

Unread post by Rara » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:16 pm

I came back to this for another listen after replacing the hi-fi amp and speakers (coincidently yamaha 0-) )
listening to this without headphones is amazing (Y) very aural and spacious. There's a nice
gentle rumble from the sub woofer to give it some added depth.
A few seconds shy of 10 minutes, certainly doesn't seem that long listening to this.

(Y)

Rara 0-)
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