Apr 7 • 6M

Album creation podcast, episode 7

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Appears in this episode

Tom Wanat
Follow along as I work toward my goal of creating and publishing the first Smiling Savage album in 2022. I'm learning Logic Pro and working with musicians to incorporate their feedback.
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There are some parts about this song that I like, but it’s got problems and I had to step away from this sixth song for a while to avoid getting frustrated with it.

As the days went by my first thoughts were that I wouldn’t share this song as part of the album-creation process podcast — that I’d take it apart and put it back together into something different rather than show it as it is. Even today as I put together this episode I think there are parts that are starting to work, and parts that just need to be pulled out. That’s ok. This whole idea of podcasting about putting together a first album should cover the entire process, including mistakes and missteps.

To talk through this version of the song, I set out wanting to use voices and orchestral instruments to create atmosphere, put together with something more techno style to provide energy and drive. Trying it as an alternating verse chorus approach isn’t working that great in this draft. As you hear in the first transition from techno to atmosphere I started out looking at the juxtaposition as something to accentuate, and that’s not working for me.

By the third transition I think it goes better in part because there’s more a lot more going on by then — both with other layers of atmosphere, but also the beat doesn’t go away for long. There are parts here that will be fun to work with some more.

Constructing a song like this I’m reminded of working on a recent longer piece I wrote about the best computers for writing. As a piece there were enough different parts that the editing of it took a while, and ultimately changed the piece dramatically. Sometimes even great parts don’t make it to the final version, because they don’t help the piece be the best it can be.

I talked before about whether to keep writing songs or looping back to polish the song drafts I’ve already shared, and I’ve continued to err on the side of creating new work so that I don’t get bogged down. I think that’s been good given my inexperience with song writing and the software. There are still things that I’d like to achieve but don't know how. For example, recently I’ve had ideas for wanting to do quick bursts of guitar or drums as transitional elements.

A recent song I think that’s doing this well is Locus Laced by Sleigh Bells. I’m loving their use of the metal riff and slide, like you hear in the beginning of the song.

I’ve had trouble getting the results I want using samples, and like most things it will just take more practice. I think practicing those skills will be less frustrating in a green field of a new piece, rather than trying to nail an edit to an earlier draft.