Here's one that changed quite a bit during its development. I'd started without any ideas, just some rhythm patterns going against each other (Rhythm Ace sample hits vs. real drum hits, hand claps, hand percussion hits), and a few standbys of grand piano samples and Electric piano. But..it didn't really lead much anywhere, and the Rhythm Ace was kind of getting lost, so I thought of replacing it with maybe a set of 808 samples and revisit the structure after I'd tracked guitar.
The interesting parts came from the return channels, one of which was stacked with Simple Delay, Dynamic Tube (Hot-Driven Tape), two Filter Delays, for a dub delay/space echo kind of effect, and another return channel of just Filter Delay. The first of these gave an interesting rhythmic signature to anything going into it.
Friday night I tracked guitar (Moderne) and bass, and thought it might be interesting to track by not listening to the other parts, but instead just listening to the filter delays, since they were sync'd to the overall tempo. That gave the bass and guitar a looser feeling, though I had to tweak where the downbeat was so that they'd line up. (I got pretty close most of the time, but since I wasn't listening to other parts, the bass wasn't as consistent in level, and I needed to compress it a bit.)
Then Saturday I learned that Tony Conrad had passed away, so in a kind of tribute thought I'd track Moog guitar through the Reuss RF-01 to simulate the effect he was getting with his violin. Some of these went through Vox Wah to roll off high end, some to accentuate it, and some skipped the wah altogether. In tracking these, I tended to adjust the push/pull point so that the string stuck close to the inflection point between the root note and the harmonic, for a rougher, bowed-like sound (but there are still very high harmonics in there). The drones were all different lengths, so they'd overlap differently. I arranged these in three channels, and copied one channel to drop three or four octaves down for a bit of bass energy.
That done...the rest of the track didn't work so well with the drones--they sounded good on their own, but probably wouldn't engage most audiences for much more than this (long by pop/dance standards) intro, so I thought I'd graft the drone approach to the more dance-related piece I'd been working on. I moved the clips I had past the end of the piece on the arrangement timeline and wrote some new drum parts, starting with a few that grew in density as a bridge from the drone and toward the dance section. I changed the Rhythm Ace samples to 808, and then replaced the hats and snares with samples of a real kit, and warmed it up by putting it through the Dynamic Tube plugin.
The grand and electric piano bits didn't work anymore, so I wrote a few new Electric parts and left the grand piano out. Some of the melodic guitar I'd tracked didn't work either, so I took them out and left in the simpler ostinatos.
There were so many overtones from the Moog through the Reuss fuzz that mixing this was a challenge. A lot of things got Auto-Filter to cut lows or too-painful highs. I also pulled their levels way back during the more busy sections. Everything got Auto-pan, and the MIDI parts got M4L Humanizer. (At first I used a limit of 40ms, but that ended up sounding too sloppy, and I went for 20ms.)
I used two other return channels of convolution reverbs--Taj Mahal and Small Wood Chamber impulses, for a couple different characters.
The title comes from Tony Conrad's description of the Dream Syndicate's music as a "plastic continuum"--this isn't a continuum, so much, but my process was rather plastic. Resonate in Perpetuity, TC.
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