March 5, 2022 § Leave a comment

“Santa Eulalia – Gazing at Taurus” is the only song from The Tunnel and the Clearing for which I hadn’t done a video so far, so here goes…

It’s a song that’s particularly dear to my heart because of its lyrical content, and because I really struggled to actually make it work, so when it did, it was such a relief. For weeks (months possibly?) I had almost everything: the rumba rhythm on the Elka Drummer One, the chord progression, the lyrics, the basic sound (Hammond emulation with slow rotary on, percussion on and a bit of reverb from the Reface YC, into my MF-104M Analog Delay), and I knew what mood I was after (a kind of “groovy sadness”, I guess?), and yet I just couldn’t get it to sound right through the first 2 versions that I made of the song.

Then one day out of desperation I thought “OK, I’m just going to play the chord progression as flat as possible, just one chord after another”… and it worked. It was more church-like than I intended though, and with such a simple drum machine + organ combination, you either go the Suicide way (= ie minimal to the bone right until the end) or you go for evolution and changes of intensity through the way you play and subtle sound treatment changes. I’m not a real organ or keyboard player, but I came up with a couple of “strategies”.

I used my favorite MF-104M trick twice: switching the short/long switch in rhythm. The long setting gives you a darker tone, so that when you switch rapidly you don’t just get a barely perceptible (because it’s so fast) time delay change, you also get a kind of flickering, semi-liquid tonal change.I

alternate “flat” playing with staccato playing and a kind of “staggered/stuttering” style during the chorus.I sometimes drop right-hand chords altogether to just play a slurred bassline.

And for the ending, increased feedback so that the texture is way more noisy than the rest of the song.

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