Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sublime (2010)

I was asking for a happy muse, and the universe did give. :) This song can only really be summed up in three words: "If only...but..."

"...sublime...is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation."

Someone in my life reminded me of what it's like to feel truly happy, loving and free at a point in time where I was about to give up on love and...well, generally everything. And that's what this song is about. He introduced me to some beautiful people who also inspired and encouraged me to write happier lyrics with happier music, and that is what I am going to try and do in the future. Seems like I only write when I'm hurting inside, and that makes for some very depressing songs. Considering I am generally a positive person, it just don't gel with what I usually like to put out there. But something opened up inside of me then, and it's a happy, happy thing.

So I carried that vibe back with me and made this: a tribute of sorts to him and the creative minds he introduced me to. I think you know who you are, and I thank you. You have always inspired me with your sounds, your soul, and your vibe, and that's what I love about you.

If only...but... Oh well, huh? :)

Life leads us to certain people and places and takes us away from them as well, but we always carry the connections we've made within ourselves.

Horribly intricate process to follow...

You've opened my eyes just a little bit more,
I finally see what I've been looking for
The truth, so distant but oh so free,
I'm thinking backwards to you and me
My eyes are all dry now because of your mind,
The truth, so distant but oh so sublime,
I'm changing, I'm moving, I'm calling,
I'm here but I can't stop from falling...

Let me reach in your mind now,
I gotta remember you somehow,
And then we'll take the time now,
Before we have to say goodbye now...

Going through these images in my head
And over and over everything that was said,
Oh, I forgot how it feels
To be with someone so sublimely real
It was everything I was wanting for,
You know I couldn't have asked for anything more
Now I'm changing I'm moving I'm calling,
I'm still here but I can't stop from falling...

Let me reach in your mind now,
I gotta remember you somehow,
And then we'll take the time now,
Before we have to say goodbye now...

Why, oh why
Does time have to pass
So quickly by?
Why, oh why
Does time have to pass
And leave us behind?


This started out as just an instrumental track (with a very basic idea of making a clubby kinda trance track of sorts), experimenting with different chords, but then words came to me once I composed that plucky little piano riff. As usual, synths, bass and such were composed in Ableton and brought into FL Studio to add the beats and laid out. Wrote it out and laid it down within a few hours using my cheapass mic for the vocals, then left it for a while. It sounded weird to me.

Came back a few days later and did an overhaul on the chords (they were off by a semi-note), added more drums, those lovely little fills and sweeps, and the synth that comes in later. Wanted to add even more to it, but someone once said less is sometimes better (although I've still got that urge for some extra pads). Rendered each track separately in FL, then brought them into Acid and added extra compression to take away that 'Fruity flavour'. One of the synths had a nasty little transient sound to it that I hated and tried getting rid of. Once I did, I found that I actually preferred it, so I kept it there, basically wasting about an hour of my life. Oh well. :)

Then I started recording the vocals on a real mic. Oh...my. It was a total of 23 takes, with only 6 of them actually used. The vocals are sometimes double-tracked, sometimes tripled, with slightly different FX settings (doubler, reverb, delay, and compression) on each track. The worst for me was the last part...I just never felt comfortable with it since I can never really hit those high notes without wailing (and I can't wail in my apartment, just so you know)! But I did a couple takes I liked, and threw it all together.

The vocals still sounded muddy when I decided to sacrifice a CD just so I could hear it in my car. It needed to balance out with the rest of the music. So I added a transient processor to 2 of the vocal tracks, fiddled with the settings, and then came to the sad realization that my poor little 7 year old PC couldn't quite keep up...the song started gurgling and skipping whenever I tried playing it. Since I was fairly happy with the end result and just needed to hear the nuances, I rendered the parts of the song I wanted to hear, listen to them, go back and tweak, render again, rinse and repeat. I don't know even want to know how many times I did this...I'm just hoping the end result sounds as good to your ears and it does to my now worn-out ones. :)