Corridor 31 - Week 5, Cue 3
So for this week's WeeklyBeats2014 cue, I set out to write a short, suspenseful piece using "classic" fear techniques (at least the limited few I've learned about). Things like using the devil's tritone and minor seconds in held strings, weird noises, elements of random surprise to disorient... I put something together, but without a "scene" to hang it on, it sounded pretty random.
I'm a big fan of old time radio dramas like Johnny Dollar (the Bob Bailey episodes), so I tried to build an "aural scene" using some foley effects I have. You can make up the story...Why is he there? What is he trying to do? (At least, that's the idea...)
This project was the biggest I've ever worked on. There were 80+ tracks involved. A couple of random points:
- I've read it for years, and I can now say without hesitation it's true: DAW Keyboard short cuts are the way to go. I know: Big effin' statement of the obvious. The problem for me was always: How do you go about memorizing or creating them? It seemed so...artificial and tedious. Well it turns out that the best way is to just start working a lot in a single DAW. Those things you find yourself doing over and over via mousing? THOSE are the first keyboard commands you create or commit to memory. I swear, it's increased my productivity 300%.
- Above I mentioned spending a lot of time in a single DAW. Another big obvious statement coming: Focusing on learning one or two DAW tools really well, gets you much further than being a DAW dilettante. There are a lot of temptations out there: Drummer in Logic, Max for Live in Ableton Live, tools for spotting to picture in DP8. But the fact of the matter is that if you really get to know one of these tools, you can do pretty much all of these things with just a different workflow. That's not to say they are interchangeable commodities, but perseverance will get you a long way in figuring it out. (Incidentally, looks like my DAW of choice is becoming Cubase 7.5.)
- AudioFinder is your friend. This handy dandy little utility is an amazing swiss army knife of sound tools. For this type of Foley exercise, it allowed me to quickly scan multiple sound efx directories, identify the samples I wanted to use, mark them as such, then in one fell swoop import them into a working folder with a click of the button.
- Create templates. Lots of them. It took me 2.5 hours to set up the template for this project. That's 2.5 hours spent before I laid down a note. I saved this as a template for future use. I'd suggest saving any large configuration you set up (sans audio and midi files) as a template. It's a real time saver.
Anyway, below is the piece. There is original music in there! It's just surrounded by a lot of other stuff. (I think there is a little pumping artifact that is caused by the heartbeat, but my ears are too fatigued listening to this to really judge. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll do another mix.)
Please share impressions. I'm trying to learn.