I've decided to write an album

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hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
edited April 21 in Making Music
With the band not being able to play together over lockdown, I decided to think about writing my own music for the first time. I write a lot of my own solos with the band, (we play covers, but I try to put my ideas into solos and the general arrangement of the songs), but fancied something a bit more personal.

I wanted to make proper use of the hardware and software that I've been learning over a few years and for the music to not necessarily purely guitar oriented. So I've finished the first track which is inspired by my 6yr old daughter and things she comes out with. She's a kooky, empathetic little thing so wanted to give an upbeat, Trance style vibe for this.

Let's see how I go, but this thread might be a nice way to catalogue the creation process......

Happy to hear any thoughts, positive, negative or otherwise. I can confirm that Chappers and Yngwie had no input into the process so hopefully the thread can remain somewhat civil...!!

https://soundcloud.com/david-crimble/wise-beyond-her-years

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Comments

  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 471

    Happy to hear any thoughts, positive, negative or otherwise. I can confirm that Chappers and Yngwie had no input into the process so hopefully the thread can remain somewhat civil...!!

    Well, we'll see eh?  *flex* ;) 

    Obviously I'm joking ... that's really nice, lots of that I like.  I won't comment on production side as I'm not listening on good speakers right now but it sounds pretty good on what I have to hand.

    You've got some really nice sounds and textures going on, I like the main melody ... there's definitely a strong enough hook to it so you quickly feel comfortable with the song.  I think my only critique is that there's not enough variation in the backing so it becomes very repetitive.  This, of course, is only concerning if that wasn't your intention, if it's exactly as you planned then awesome.  As you say it's a very personal project so my thoughts there mean less than nought.

    It's a great project to start though, and I'll definitely give a listen to anything else you share.  Good luck with it! 
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    Hey @Bezzer ;

    Thanks for taking the time to listen and give some feedback. You've made some interesting points.

    With this one I kept the chords consistent for a couple of reasons.....

    I wanted to see if I could write a main theme/melody that was strong and with enough variation that it almost didn't need alterations in what happens underneath to carry the tune. It was also a first proper attempt at a Trance-style song so didn't want to get too ambitious with structure to then find that every aspect became diluted - on this one I wanted to really just focus on melody, layers and different 'sounds'.

    I'd played around with composition a bit before, but hadn't ever properly tried to layer instruments, pan them to give them space and see what worked together. So my memory of this song will certainly be shaped by it being a learning curve as well as trying to achieve the right sort of emotion and atmosphere. I'm pretty happy with it and my daughter is chuffed in a 6yr old way that daddy wrote her a song - she likes hearing it and dancing to it so one could say that its hit the mark :-)

    Completely open and honest, the intro Marimba theme was from a pack of samples that I purchased. I had no idea how to begin this sort of project so got that for some inspiration. I heard it and built the song around that since it gave me the sort of summer/dance vibe that I wanted to base the song on.

    Its also given me a chance to see how to use my Yamaha synth as a sound engine - it took quite a lot of reading up and trial/error to set Reaper up to enable me to send MIDI to the synth and receive the sounds back for recording. I'm glad I've got that sorted as there are some wonderful sounds in there and want to get to use them more. I composed the songs on the synth and then fine tuned the MIDI that was generated to make it a bit neater, but had trouble sending it back to the Yamaha from Reaper to then record the .wav files. All fine now.

    Next song has been started and is for my son. Its a completely different animal, as is he, so that provides some variation which I think is important. I want the album to have a cohesive thread in it rather than being a complete mish-mash of styles so most of the songs will probably be of the ambient/relaxed sundown style or up-tempo dance. Not all 100% electronica as I will get some guitar in there for sure, but I'm just being lead by what happens. Given that the band I play in is rock covers, I seem to be really harking back to my early 80s love of synth pop in this at the moment, but it won't be long until some distorted riff makes its way in there!

    I have a list of song titles or themes that I want to try to write, but no real preconceptions at the moment as to what they'll become. That might either mean I'm completely winging it and purists might shake their heads at the lack of preparation, or that I'm giving myself over to my creative side. At the heart of it, I tend to be someone who likes planning and lists are a constant means of me organising my life, so this could be quite a diversion from the norm and interesting to go through.

    Thanks again
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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 2393
    I like it. Reminds me of some latter day Mike Oldfield - which is meant as a compliment as I’m a fan of his.
    And the swells of keyboard all the way through brought to mind some of Moby’s ‘Play’ album.
    All round great job I’d say!
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 9217
    I found the delayed string swell pad fine during the intro but annoying thereafter. Once the drums start, the syn strings could do with arriving bang on each chord change rather than lagging behind. (If necessary, use a separate patch to achieve this.)

    I would like to hear greater variety of instrumentation - if only to differentiate between the "chorus" and "verse" sections. The variation could appear in the chordal sounds or the melody part. For example, a sustained monosynth would sit nicely in the mix. Minimoog, Odyssey, Pro-One, that sort of thing.
    Be seeing you.
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    AlexC said:
    I like it. Reminds me of some latter day Mike Oldfield - which is meant as a compliment as I’m a fan of his.
    And the swells of keyboard all the way through brought to mind some of Moby’s ‘Play’ album.
    All round great job I’d say!
    Hey @AlexCThanks for the feedback. Hadn't really made the Moby link but I get what you're saying. See below for more musings on those swells!!

    I found the delayed string swell pad fine during the intro but annoying thereafter. Once the drums start, the syn strings could do with arriving bang on each chord change rather than lagging behind. (If necessary, use a separate patch to achieve this.)

    I would like to hear greater variety of instrumentation - if only to differentiate between the "chorus" and "verse" sections. The variation could appear in the chordal sounds or the melody part. For example, a sustained monosynth would sit nicely in the mix. Minimoog, Odyssey, Pro-One, that sort of thing.
    @Funkfingers - again, thanks for the feedback. Its interesting isn't it? I wasn't sure about the swells after the drums kick in, but left them in there. An earlier version that I did was a bit more simple than this and had the chords hitting on the beat and I think I prefer it too. Might have to go back and change it just for that section and maybe try out a different chord sound and see how I feel, but its a good observation. I'll probably keep the swells as the song fades away. I knew I wanted to keep the same chord progression across the whole song as mentioned in a previous post, but changing the swells and patch shouldn't detract from what I want the song to be so worth trying out.

    In terms of the main theme and having a different sound, I toyed with that but quite liked the continuity throughout.

    Both these comments just highlight that wonderful thing about music and how a simple thing like chord swells can be either attractive or annoying. Also reinforces the point that you've got to be happy with the music that you record as you'll never write anything that everyone really enjoys. But this feedback is exactly what I was hoping for so thank you.

    The next song that I'm writing for my son has quite a lot of the observations above already incorporated into it, but I'll leave that until I get close to completion before talking it through.
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    edited April 22
    So that's the song updated with new synths after the drums kicks, hopefully now on the beat..!! I've retained the swells at the end to almost bookend the sections and I think this is how it will now stay. Thanks for all the feedback on this, now onto the next :-)

    https://soundcloud.com/david-crimble/wise-beyond-her-years
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 2614
    edited May 6
    Nice work David and lovely for the children to have - that could easily be a track you'd hear over the summer.

    I must say, there could easily be a nice, smooth-lead guitar in there following main theme, even harmonized, but it sounds great as it is.

    Send through some more as and when they're made
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    Well, this one has been through a number of iterations and I think there's still a few changes to be made, but its 90% done. This song was inspired by my son's happy place by the seaside and will be called 'Can we go back?'

    We didn't think he was particularly affected by lockdown last year and he was able to spend all of the summer with his sister and Mum since she had no work on. It turned out to be a great few months from that perspective at least. He was 3yrs old and didn't really show any outward signs of the pandemic playing on his mind, but as time went by small cracks started appearing,

    We went away in the summer and spent one awesome day on the beach. From a parents' perspective, it was a normal day out, but to him it was something beyond special. He utterly adored it, really didn't want to leave the lapping waves and has talked about it ever since. He struggles to understand why we haven't been able to return and has such strong, fond memories, it seemed like an easy topic to stir my emotions,

    I had the opening chord sequence sorted for a while and decided to bookend the tune with the same progression, only adding a guitar at the end for some difference. It also seemed a good way to close out the song from an emotive perspective. I'm really happy with that.

    The middle section turned out to be more challenging. It originally morphed into a more upbeat tune, but the two sentiments just didn't gel and I couldn't do anything to rectify it, so the only option was to split it out and create two different songs from the parts. That old middle section will be transformed into something else further down the road.

    I wanted to have more than one chord progression in this section and coming up with two that worked together took a little time. As the song grew, I realised that it had become somewhat of an epic. Over 8 minutes!! I've considered if this is too self indulgent, whether it meanders too much and loses its way or if it actually does the topic and my parental response to it justice. I've landed on the latter, but want to add some more touches to emphasise the dynamics. I've tried to get the emotions of being a supportive and protective parent, a confused and upset child, sadness and hope into here. I purposefully gave the song a slightly ambiguous title since I think it can apply to many situations and for those that don't know my background to the song, it might stir something else completely which is some of the ambition in creating music I think.

    Anyway, as ever, happy to hear any feedback since it all helps me. This song will go at the end of the album I think as it closes out in a way that nicely ends the whole listening experience.

    https://soundcloud.com/david-crimble/can-we-go-back-early-ideas-with-modified-chords-and-guitar-line
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  • robwrightrobwright Frets: 719
    Love both of them! Have you thought about writing for Sync? I'm doing a songwriting course with The Songwriting Academy and a lot of my fellow students are submitting stuff for sync and having some success! I know its a personal project and you might not be thinking about commercial outlets but I think you could if you wanted to!



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  • GassageGassage Frets: 26527
    David- great to see you posting x

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • GassageGassage Frets: 26527
    @hubobulous I adore the first track- the second is a little more complex- but reminscent of Faithless and then almost Hans Zimmery in some ways.

    Absolutely exceptional work (esp the first one).

    If you wanted any constructive feedback- a bit of compression and delay on the guitar wouldn't go amiss- it's a tad spiky in levels and a comp would smooth that- on the live playing or post. Also- timing on the lead lines (playing just behind beat) could be tweaked, but overall it's incredible work.

    Really hope you're well.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 9682
    really nice work. Love the percussion on the first one and found it works great as a summer chill track. Reminded me a bit of Royksopp. 
    I found the second track a little long but some of the note choices and intervals were fantastic. 

    I wouldn't change them. Always write for you.

    Keep it up fella. 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    Gassage said:
    @hubobulous I adore the first track- the second is a little more complex- but reminscent of Faithless and then almost Hans Zimmery in some ways.

    Absolutely exceptional work (esp the first one).

    If you wanted any constructive feedback- a bit of compression and delay on the guitar wouldn't go amiss- it's a tad spiky in levels and a comp would smooth that- on the live playing or post. Also- timing on the lead lines (playing just behind beat) could be tweaked, but overall it's incredible work.

    Really hope you're well.
    Hey, thanks for listening and its good to hear from you. I decided to redo the whole middle part with a different guitar to provide a slightly different tone, so took the opportunity to align it more to the beat. Its now recorded with my Xotic SSS and the outro guitar is a Suhr Modern HSH combining middle and neck. I also added compression so its a little more even! Thanks for the suggestions.

    really nice work. Love the percussion on the first one and found it works great as a summer chill track. Reminded me a bit of Royksopp. 
    I found the second track a little long but some of the note choices and intervals were fantastic. 

    I wouldn't change them. Always write for you.

    Keep it up fella. 
    Thanks for taking the time to listen and write back. The first one has a fun vibe to it and I'm really happy with how that one has turned out, Its an interesting experience, sharing this as I go along. I absolutely agree with your sentiment of writing for myself, and its nice to have some positive feedback as well as some constructive criticism. It all helps either bring about change or cement previously held feelings.

    robwright said:
    Love both of them! Have you thought about writing for Sync? I'm doing a songwriting course with The Songwriting Academy and a lot of my fellow students are submitting stuff for sync and having some success! I know its a personal project and you might not be thinking about commercial outlets but I think you could if you wanted to!

    Thanks Rob. I've not heard of Sync but will have a look and see what that's all about. I'd like to get this up on the normal streaming channels at some point, with it being more about just putting it out there rather than making any money. But the option of a small bit of cash, even if just to pay for some of the kit/samples would be a nice way of funding this moving forwards.

    Anyway, here's the final version. I've added some quiet flute to work with the middle guitar line, but kept it mostly quiet so as not to distract from the overall sound which I was happy with.

    https://soundcloud.com/david-crimble/can-we-go-back

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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    For me to be cataloguing this musical adventure on a guitar forum, its a bit ridiculous that I haven't really got round to the more guitar based tracks yet, but this one popped out as I was noodling around so I turned my attentions to getting it completed first.

    My daughter is a proper little empath. We were in the park at the weekend and someone was having a 1st birthday get together. Their helium '1' balloon came loose and avoided the bravest efforts from the group to re-capture it, floating away into the sky. Cue Erin bursting into tears at how sad the people would be and that they'd never get to take the balloon home. She feels things very strongly.

    .....but this song was bought about by something that both me and Erin's mum are particularly warmed by. When she started school, there was a boy in her class who tended to muck around, not pay attention and generally struggle with the whole environment. He didn't react to situations where he was in trouble very well and was quite disruptive. One day she sat next to him at lunchtime and events led to him punching her in the stomach and winding her. She'd told us about him before and when this story was relayed to us at home, obviously there was a mix of emotions flying around. But we were pretty calm about it and talked it through, seeing if Erin could work out why it might have occurred.

    So she went back into school and rather than just stay away, she spent time with him and they became friends. Now, at this stage, she'd far exceeded what most adults would be capable of in my experience, but she also looked out for him. Even at 6yrs old, there are some kids who have a slight mean streak and some of those can be the high-flyers too. A group took to mild bouts of, what in later life, would be classified as bullying. But Erin stood up to them and made sure the teacher was aware. On the face of it, these were simple things, but enough to make the boy cry.

    Fast forward a year and the boy has been diagnosed as being on the spectrum, (apologies if this is the incorrect and potentially offensive term - happy to change it if I've screwed up), and a couple of weeks ago he changed schools. A local one is better suited and equipped to help him and its taken a while for his parents to get the complete diagnosis confirmed. But the children and the parents promised that they wouldn't lose touch, so Erin and a couple of her friends who also played with this boy, met back up with him. It was a lovely time with kids just being kids and there was a palpable bond still between them.

    Erin was recognised by the school for her friendship to this boy and received a certificate acknowledging how she supported him and was his friend - obviously the reasons behind the award weren't announced widely. She got another one for a more academic achievement at another time, (as most of the kids do), but its that friendship certificate that we're most proud of. Other kids wouldn't give him the time of day and avoided him, seeing him at face value as a trouble maker. But Erin was able to see past his behaviour and as her dad, that's just cool.

    Perhaps this is a little gushing, which isn't the sort of person I am, but to know that she's got that insight makes me smile and it has given me a nice base for a short song - 'Empathy'. The album is going to need something to sonically tie it all together as its quite diverse at the moment, but I'm just happy to be making tunes and finding that something is getting produced!!

    https://soundcloud.com/david-crimble/empathy
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    edited October 6
    I had a bit of a break from the writing as we had our first gig in 18 months to rehearse for and the summer sort of slipped by. But I knew that the next track I needed to do was the one that really started it all for me in terms of wanting to write my own music.

    When Erin was young, like some kids, she was shy around adults and found it hard to talk to them. So I decided to make up some silly waving gestures to help her break the ice. Our favourite was the Reindeer Wave - one hand spread out either side of the head like antlers, waggling like mad. We used it most days when saying goodbye to each other at nursery and it worked with other grown ups. The change in her confidence over time was awesome to see.

    About 3 years ago I came up with a simple guitar piece that I wanted to turn into a song that traced this journey, but its only now that I've had the time to do it justice. I used to play it to her, almost as a lullaby and it did the trick in terms of sending her to sleep or just calming her down. In all honesty, the guitar idea came from when I was learning Scar Tissue by RHCP. I really liked the simple way he created a melody and it morphed into the part I created.

    I have tried to capture the emotions of Helen and I when starting out with Erin's shyness all the way through to the happy little lady that we have today.

    Its a bit of an epic, but if you have 11 minutes and some comfy headphones, hopefully you'll get where I was coming from with this. Its a special one for me.





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  • dindudedindude Frets: 7693
    I had a bit of a break from the writing as we had our first gig in 18 months to rehearse for and the summer sort of slipped by. But I knew that the next track I needed to do was the one that really started it all for me in terms of wanting to write my own music.

    When Erin was young, like some kids, she was shy around adults and found it hard to talk to them. So I decided to make up some silly waving gestures to help her break the ice. Our favourite was the Reindeer Wave - one hand spread out either side of the head like antlers, waggling like mad. We used it most days when saying goodbye to each other at nursery and it worked with other grown ups. The change in her confidence over time was awesome to see.

    About 3 years ago I came up with a simple guitar piece that I wanted to turn into a song that traced this journey, but its only now that I've had the time to do it justice. I used to play it to her, almost as a lullaby and it did the trick in terms of sending her to sleep or just calming her down. In all honesty, the guitar idea came from when I was learning Scar Tissue by RHCP. I really liked the simple way he created a melody and it morphed into the part I created.

    I have tried to capture the emotions of Helen and I when starting out with Erin's shyness all the way through to the happy little lady that we have today.

    Its a bit of an epic, but if you have 11 minutes and some comfy headphones, hopefully you'll get where I was coming from with this. Its a special one for me.





    That is ace, really epic, lovely bit of composition.
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2333
    dindude said:
    That is ace, really epic, lovely bit of composition.
    Hey thanks.

    This music writing thing is a bit of a journey in itself and I'm really enjoying it, although still feels very new to me. My approach seems to still be quite slow in terms of workflow. That might change over time.

    When I started I felt that if I got an idea, then it had to be the main element of the song, but I'm beginning to change in that something that's really strong might only make up a small portion of the whole tune. It feels weird in a way, 'giving away' something that evokes an emotion into a little snippet, but I'm getting away from the mindset of only having one idea per song into more of a compositional approach.

    I guess no two songs are the same and I might find that future stuff just concentrates around a single idea and just builds on it, like I did with 'Wise'.

    I still haven't managed to get any rock stuff sorted and I've also got another tune finished that I'll post up here that's in the dance vibe. I'm quite nervous about the more rocky stuff if I'm honest. With synths etc you can record the idea and then mess around with MIDI to iron out the mistakes. No such option for recording guitar so I sense that once I have an idea, there are going to be many takes involved to record what I really want the final track to be.

    The guitar on Reindeer Waves wasn't complex, but took some time to get aligned to the drums and mistake-free. I have no idea how that's going to play out with some solos that are more technically complex!!

    As ever, thanks for taking the time to listen :-)
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