A piece that morphed and evolved through a few different forms (drone, space rock) before gravitating back toward funk.
I used a drum rack of acoustic drum sounds, another of MPC sounds (like last week), drum rack of 808, hand claps, percussion (wood block, cowbell), and an Impulse instrument of hand drum sounds. I first used a bunch of LFO-modulated LFOs to control sends to a couple channels of Filter Delay, but when I added open hats and rides to the acoustic and MPC kits, it sounded like a mistake, with weird stuff happening, so I removed the LFOs temporarily. I added some Electric for electric piano, putting that through a saturator, and Operator for Funky Organ.
It's been a few weeks since I used vocoder on the drums, so I did that with a channel of 808, feeding it into vocoder and Analog with LFO on the filter sweeps. It sounded better with sawtooth oscillators than with noise sources, which got too swishy.
I did a track of bass with Operator, and it sounded OK, but came out later when I tracked real bass. (And I tracked a lot--way more than I ended up using. Nothing felt "right" until that main bass riff, at which point I figured I was done with bass on this one.) I tracked a bunch of Moderne--direct, direct distorted (Reuss RF-01), direct with wah, and a snippet (the funkier sounding riff of single notes you hear in places) through the little Vox AC4TV, mic'd close and off-axis with an old Audio-Technica dynamic mic. (This sounded great on this amp, much better than the small diaphragm condenser I'd tried a couple weeks back.) I would have done more, but the kids came back inside, so quiet tracking wasn't an option. Bunch of Cabinet plugin on the guitars to give them some air, along with sends to convo reverbs.
It took a while to structure this one after doing a pass-through of recording myself triggering samples in session view. This is my usual process, and some pieces are easier than others. This one didn't fight me, but I kept wondering if there was enough there there, particularly in the guitars. (Also, is the bass loud enough? Too late now.)
Just because I thought I might need an x-factor of some kind, I did some backwards-wired wah pedal with the Moderne; that's the "trumpet" you hear at the break and again toward the end. Sounds like Miles, a bit (though not as much as the famous parking garage door recorded by Mr. King).
Humanizer plugin on all the MIDI instruments. Mathematically, a dotted 1/64 worked out to about 66ms of "pocket," but that ended up sounding just-on-the-edge of sloppy, so I pulled it back to 50ms. Everything got Auto-Pan, and MIDI instruments also got some Auto-Pan for volume fluctuations. I also added LFOs for some sends, like on the vocoded percussion and the electric piano. Most of the percussion got envelope automation to keep things from oversaturating.
Sends: two convo reverbs (Ambient Chamber B and Chicago Hall), one channel of Simple Delay going into Filter Delay, and one straight-up channel of Filter Delay.
(Is the funk becoming formula at this point? Maybe it's time to jolt myself out of this and really stretch. But it was a week of stretching in other ways, so getting a piece out in the comfort zone of funk seems OK. But this week I'll be doing a show of microphone feedback, so...that'll be different.)
Title from the phenomenon of the Metonic Cycle, the 19-year intervals in which the solar year and lunar month sync up. And apparently this has all kinds of implications in calendars and financial cycles.
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