Tunes, Tracks, Beats & Mixes
Description : “TheLeach”, bass player with the German group, How to Loot Brazil, recently posted several acapellas here on Looperman. These are the actual vocals from tracks that the band has released.
The acapella for “Box Room” caught my fancy. You can find the pella here: https://www.looperman.com/acapellas/detail/11036/how-to-loot-brazil-box-room-full-acapella-by-theleach-148bpm-pop-acapella
I did listen to the band’s original version (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7r9zbgn8tU
), which I liked a lot. For some reason, though, I found it really difficult to figure out the chord progressions used in the band’s version. I think that is because it has a very complex electronic arrangement that, for much of the song, is more about providing interesting counterpoint to the vocal melody than laying down a traditional instrumental bed. Not sure if that description makes sense, but if you watch their Youtube video, I think you will understand what I mean.
I started trying to work out the chords using a piano patch, and that seemed to set the tone and style for my remix. I use Logic Pro and it was telling me that I was playing all kinds of crazy chords (11ths, and 13ths, and diminished). Had no idea what I was doing, frankly. Just searching for chord sequences that sounded right. Spent a bit of time chopping up the vocal and time-aligning it. Added a bit of processing. Dropped one whole section of the vocal because I just couldn’t find a way to make it fit with the style and feel of the remix. (It worked fine in the original and also in other remixes that have been done by Looperman members.)
So, this remix is very different from the band’s original version. And, I hope that TheLeach, who wrote the song, won’t be too upset with where I took it. He wrote it on an acoustic guitar, apparently, so it clearly evolved quite a bit to get to their recorded version. Anyway, doing something different is what remixes are all about. Right?
Description : And now for something completely different. This is a very short cinematic piece. It started out as my attempt to make something that sounded like Enya, but I never quite got there. Actually, I never even got close. Enya apparently used many, many layered tracks particularly for her vocals.
Anyway, for this short piece visualize the following scene: This is a kind of Lord of the Rings scene. The battle is over. The king was killed, but his army was victorious. Heartbroken, unable to take joy in their victory, they sail back with his body to the Kingdom. Your perspective is that of a citizen standing on the banks of the water as the King's cortege slowly goes by.
The king lies in state, draped with a red and gold robe, on a wooden platform on a barge rowed by his victorious, but exhausted warriors. The first thing you hear is the approaching sound of the rowing, then the funeral theme comes in, then as the funeral barge passes you, the rowing sound is what you hear, slowly fading away as the barge continues on its way.
Description : So, I've just learned a really humbling lesson. I finally figured out some lyrics for this track today and, again, without a real singer to do the vocals, I recorded them myself. Better to have lousy vocals than to have the melody line played by a B3 patch again.
With the vocals added, the track ended up reminding me of Roxy Music, so I checked out their stuff in my library. I’m a great admirer of their sound. The humbling lesson is how much better their stuff sounds.
That said, this is kind an 80’s sound, but a bit more polished than some of the other 80’s influenced tracks I’ve done. I’m still on the search for vocalists to do the vocals on my tracks properly. This one requires a male vocalist for the verses and the chorus and the female for the pre-chorus.
Description : Unfinished dance track. Lyrics need work I think. Definitely needs a good singer to replace vocals and track needs to be extended.
Description : So, NapoleonicEmperor posted in the forums that he was interested in collaborating with producers who could produce 80's style tracks. I have never attempted that, so decided it was a worthy challenge. I have no idea if this draft track actually does sound like 80's. Definitely does not sound like SAW. I need work up to that level, but I'm trying.
This track uses mostly VST emulations of 80's instruments including Linndrum, Juno 60, Vox Continental, Prophet 5, and Jupiter 8.
This version of the track is incomplete, but I thought I'd see if I could get some feedback at this stage. I have written only one verse, which I've had to just repeat in this version. The track should really have three verses. Much more work required on fine-tuning the mix. Too much reverb on the vocals?
I can't believe that I've actually posted another track with my vocals. NapoleonicEmperor probably could do a better job on them, but I must admit I did have fun trying out different vocal styles. Anyway, please give me some suggestions/advice.
Description : At the risk of totally embarrassing myself, I am uploading this track. It was my attempt to produce a UK-style R&B track. I usually lay in the vocal melody line as a placeholder, using a Rhodes or B-3 patch. But, this track is primarily piano so Rhodes didn't work very well and the B-3 just didn't sound right. But, mostly, I couldn't get the expressiveness I wanted using the instruments. So, I decided to lay down a scratch vocal.
Now, I do understand entirely that I am a terrible singer. But, I needed to get the melody recorded somehow and I just could not find another way that worked properly. So, perhaps someday, a vocalist who can handle this track will present himself and I will gratefully remove this version.
I have no lyrics, so I'm singing nonsense syllables, which I understand is a fairly common method that even accomplished songwriters use when they are working things out.
And, if this is too offensive to Looperman members' ears, I will delete it. I'm not trying to inflict pain on anybody. Just trying to find a vocalist to work with.
Description : R&B track inspired by Brody Brown's work on Bruno Mars' new album. Brown would be entirely unimpressed by this track, of course. He's a really fine musician. I've left the electric piano lines that are meant for vocal parts in the track. If ever I found a lyricist and and singer that could do something with this track, I'd produce a backing track version without those parts. Lots of room for a good singer to build on the melody ideas and make it their own.
Description : Pretty basic dance track. Was experimenting with the Falcon synth plugin, hence the name. Instrumentation for the melody lines might be a bit unusual, more orchestral. Vocoder is from the Icarus synth plugin, a great new instrument.
Description : This track is the first two sections of what will (hopefully) be a three-part piece — essentially a suite. I am posting parts 1 and 2 because I think they are ready for feedback from Looperman members. Part 3 isn’t done yet because it requires Human League style vocals from a singer with a distinct British accent. I have the melody and lyrics worked out. I sent a private message a while ago to a Looperman member who I think has the right voice for the job. But, haven’t had a response. Until I find a vocalist for it, I can’t finish the piece. In any case, the total file size of the complete piece would be greater than the Looperman limit, so it will have to be split into parts anyway.
Parts 1 and 2, in fact the whole thing, were inspired by acapellas posted here on Looperman by Jacques Demers:
If you haven’t checked out Jacques’ tracks yet, you really should. He doesn’t set them up as “featured” so it might be easy to miss them.
The harmony in Jacques’ acapellas sounded very “Beatle-ish” to me, and that made me want to try my hand at doing a George Martin style treatment. I remembered that ScottsCovers here on Looperman had mentioned an instrument called a Mellotron, which was used by the Beatles, the Moody Blues, Genesis, along with other groups of that era, so I decided to use a VST mellotron as the primary instrument for Parts 1 and 2.
The acapella in Part 2 was in a different key than the one used for Part 1, so I needed to find a chord progression in Part 1 that would modulate the key. Jacques gave me some advice on that, which you can see in the comments on his first acapella.
Part 1 has harp, mellotron flutes, clarinet, french horns, and my attempt at a Penny Lane type trumpet solo (but much simpler). Part 2 has a string ensemble, solo oboe and trumpet in unison, and some Daniel Langois type processed guitars. Both parts were recorded at 60 bpm, largely because that’s where the acapellas seemed to sync best. However, I played the instrument tracks freestyle (rubato), so the tempo actually varies somewhat. Definitely not quantized!
There is a storyline behind this track. Part 1 is the blooming stage of a relationship. Part 2 is about the relationship in decline. Part 3, with vocals, will be about ending it.
I’ve included the transition to Part 3 (which will be a more traditional synth pop section) and just a bit of the first verse backing instrumental so you can get an idea of how things are headed in the final part.