Mouth of the Coldest Seas

May 15, 2017 10:02 AM

A tribute to the ancient hidden source of all cold seas and those that watch over it. With vocals by my friend who sings in an actual early music choir! It's also got square waves, organs, and sometimes ambiguous chords.

posted by ignignokt (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

This is cool. Love the title, which sounds like somewhere you'd have to find in a D&D adventure.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:39 AM on May 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Nice! If you ever have a chance to share, I'm really interested in learning more about what you used to create the sounds/your recording process. The chorus/vocals near the end (not the very end) were kind of scary actually and would be great for some sort of haunted environment soundtrack, maybe in a video game.

I especially loved the solo voice that closed out the piece (and the contrast it provides with the chiptune aspect) -- wish I could hear more of that particular music too, actually. It felt like it could be a segue into a longer piece featuring the crisp vocal melody.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:45 AM on May 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Really glad you liked it!

Re: Sounds: Done entirely in NanoStudio on my phone, except final assembly, which was done in Audacity on a computer. This is because NanoStudio doesn't allow a project to change tempo, so I had to make three projects, export to wav, then paste them together in Audacity.

In NanoStudio, the tracks are:

1: Drums
2: Spray sound effects (shortened sample of me pouring a cup of water into the bathtub)
3: Vocals (four tracks of me singing, three of my friend, who sings in an early music choir, among other things - mixed higher)
4: Square wave synth (the lead from the intro and middle section)
5 and 6: Two "bass" voices a couple octaves apart, one called "Lekky Bass" to give it some definition and one called "Broken Cones" which give it broadness and distortion
7 and 8: Two organ voices, one named "Mr. Hammond" which sounds somewhat like a Hammond, and one named Triangle, which is a chiptuney triangle wave.
9, 10, and 11: Three weird vaguely "choral" synths: "Organism", "Stargoat", and "Breathing" which are pad-like, but have some weird harmonic delays. These are mixed fairly low.

The real singing was initially just me (four times), but I put out a call on Twitter for people that would want to pitch in and someone replied. It turned out be a coworker of mine, of whose Twitter username I was previously unaware! She is an accomplished mandolin player and singer and does sing in an early music choir, as I mentioned. Her vocals were incredible, despite being something she just tossed off, so I used them as a solo voice at the end in addition to being part of the layers in the last section.

"Early music" is probably what you're looking for. I do not know a ton about it, but here's what I do know:

- Ceremonial church music that preceded baroque music (Bach, et al).
- Ancient and epic-sounding. Personally makes me think of the occult.
- Very different sense of what counts as "dissonant" – thirds uncommon, lots of fourths and fifths.
- Machaut is a great listen.
posted by ignignokt at 5:48 AM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Certainly reminds me of the ocean!

Splashing about the shore, getting caught in a riptide and tossed about in a storm, until I'm finally consumed by a mermaid.
posted by CancerMan at 5:39 PM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow, thanks for the detailed reply, ignignokt! Excellent. The origin of the spray sound effect made me chuckle -- hooray for creativity! Also I got a kick out of your side story about how it turned out that the volunteer/twitter user turned out to be your coworker.

I'm not familiar with either NanoStudio nor Machaut (although it's possible I'd heard of Machaut in one of the music history classes from school way back, and have since forgotten). I'm excited to check them out. Very cool that NanoStudio has a free version for desktop, too.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:06 AM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this can all be done with any sequencer! NanoStudio works for me because I can't really get large chunks of time for music making, so a mobile app lets me mess with a song in 10-30 minute chunks over the course of a month, wherever I'm at.
posted by ignignokt at 6:35 AM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Keyboard mania level 1000. Mental image of multiple keyboard tiers and organ foot pedals - hands and feet in a blur. The last section could be a sci-fi movie theme. Loved it.
posted by AppleSeed at 3:18 PM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Such an adventure! For such 'small' sound sources, the combination emerges as an epic hero's descent into and emergence from the darkest trials. Muscle and sinew and doubt and courage.
posted by BlackPebble at 5:46 AM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love this so much. It feels to me like different levels of an enveloping, pixel-y side-scroller. And the fact that you did almost all of it on your phone is amazing.
posted by umbú at 7:18 AM on June 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Heya, I used a bit of this in this month's podcast!
posted by cortex at 7:15 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, definitely a side-scroller or d&d-adventure game for the Sega Genesis, with the soundtrack being written by Slayer as a chip-tune band. I like it a lot.
posted by not_on_display at 11:37 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yis! Podcastastic!

I am so glad you noticed either the Slayer-style harmonies, not_on_display. That is exactly what I was thinking of. I even considered hard-panning the synths to the left and right!
posted by ignignokt at 5:07 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I kinda wanna hear an 8-bit version of Reign in Blood, like the one Brad Smith did of Dark Side of the Moon. [yt]
posted by not_on_display at 11:20 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Btw I downloaded NanoStudio and I'm still finding my way around it -- I haven't really looked at new (to me) sequencers in a while, so it's been pretty fun so far.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:25 AM on June 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hi ignignokt: thought you might like to know that I credit you and this post for helping me get started on my entry for the latest MeFi Music Challenge -- I created it using NanoStudio. Thanks!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:47 AM on July 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

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