CC {3} // The Forbidden Forest

10 minutes has been reached! Unfortunately I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like, but things have been progressively fantastically to the point when I now have a first overall draft of my CC. In this post I hope to comment on a lot of the feedback I’ve been receiving since my CC {2} post, along with what I have done to address the various points raised. And I also will briefly touch on my ideas for the naming of the track (which has up to this point has been cc3_test_v1!).

One comment was made about the pistachio rain during the piece. Whilst people enjoyed the timbre of the rain, it remained fairly static in the piece (aside from some light panning and the occasional drop in volume). To match the second, dark section of the piece I decided to simultaneously lower the dry signal of the rain whilst increasing the wet signal (to produce an overly-saturated effect). This helped not only alter the environment for the darker section (as if the subject had a changing perspective or the scene itself was being manipulated) but also provide some contrast and development for the rain.

There were also comments made about the overall frequency range of the piece. Whilst I had plenty of content in the mid-high range, I was lacking anything significant bass wise. Being in a 5.1 studio I knew I needed to utilise the sub more, and sure enough I began introducing some lower-pitched elements. Firstly I used a Double Bass during two instances, the second section and the penultimate section. This helped add a real sense of weight to the piece, and positive comments were made at the surprisingly deep and powerful sound that was produced. I also made sure the bass sections of the choir were being sent through the LFE, not as obviously as the Bass but enough to help add more weight in certain movements.

As a general note, I was advised to introduce elements briefly in preceding sections of the song, before fleshing them out fully in later sections. For example, at a recent stage I added a pounding, cinematic drum phrase to the climactic, final section (which was well received). But after showing this, I was advised to bring a shortened, almost teaser-like phrase in the climax of the dark section (a number of minutes earlier). By doing this, I was able to add familiarity to the drums whilst still giving the final section some impact. The same was said for the choir, so before the choir-only section I used parts of the overall choir in the dark section.

A new section between the end of the dark section and the choir section was added too, to help with the overall feel and flow of the piece. I made a particularly fun discovery whilst looking for an instrument to use. Kontakt’s Balinese Gamelan was a VST I hadn’t used before, but the Kettle Gongs instrument fitted perfectly with the mood and sound I was aiming for. This helped bridge into a string section and then, the choir section. The foreign, mysterious mood worked with the story of the overall piece, and if anything I am considering using it in other sections.

Finally, I tidied up and developed transitions between all the sections. For some transitions, I used another Kontakt VST, The Giant. As well as playing the cinematic piano instrument in a more traditional manner, I also created some interesting textures by setting the convolution reverb to ‘Reversed’, and then playing the instrument with just the wet signal and no dry signal. This allowed me to have the pad-like, dreamy sound I wanted whilst having the flexibility to play in patterns live like a normal instrument.

These things and more have helped me not to rest of my laurels and the good start of the term. But one thing which I am yet to be fully satisfied on is the naming of the piece. One train of thought which I have followed is the idea of Indiana Jones. A comment was made during one tutorial that the piece had an Indiana Jones-feel to it, and this was pleasing to hear (especially considering aim for their to be an adventure story to the piece which I touched on in CC {2}).

Han Solo himself

In regards to naming the piece, I had some thoughts about calling the piece something like Indiana Jones and the Forbidden Forest (a reference to the forest like environment I had, and the dark, forbidden, elements also). On further thought I may create a fictional explorer (with a suitably notable, English explorer name) so as not to borrow too heavily from Indy himself. A name like Alfred Longbottom, or Sid Arrington, or Geoffrey Flint. Yeah, I maybe need to work on those names a bit, suggestions welcome….

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