I’ve released a new track called Agua y Arena. The title means “water and sand” in Spanish, and the track is about my liking for the natural landform of beaches. It’s not about any particular beach in a country or city, nor is it about any events that may take place on one. It’s about how I generally feel about the physical composition of beaches – sand, pebbles, gravel and sea water – and about my positive feelings towards this artwork of nature. It’s not about women in bikinis.
Agua y Arena was drafted in Cubase around 2010, and later developed in Ableton Live. My current preferred DAW is Logic Pro, but since this track was already developed extensively in Ableton, I finished it up in Ableton.
I kind of hate Ableton because it’s not easy to edit MIDI on it, but one of its advantages is that you can use the Packs. Packs are similar to traditional sample libraries but they offer more than just samples. In addition to one-shot samples and loops, Ableton Packs also provide MIDI files and sampler instrument settings which makes it easy (and fun) for you to test different stylistic ideas quickly. And the sound quality is great.
The percussion part in this tracks was produced with the Afoxê Percussions instrument that came with the Latin Percussion Pack. Here’s my Afoxê part from Agua y Arena:
Afoxê is a genre of music originating in Brazil, apparently. I’ve used a combination of 5 instruments – Tumba, Agogo, Cabasa, Pandeiro and Surdo. When you load the instrument from the Pack, it also contains Tambourine and it comes with a MIDI performance apparently modeled after typical percussion performances in this musical genre. Here’s how the original MIDI performance sounds like:
Other Individual Tracks in this tune
Let me show you the other instruments I’ve used in this tune, one at a time.
Here’s the Piano Chords track. I used it to play the Dmaj9 chord in the intro:
…as well as to provide chord changes in the chorus section (Em7 – Bm7 – Bm7/A – F#7(b5) – F7(b5):
Here’s the Bass track:
I like how I added vibrato to this part. The red curves going up and down in the image indicate the increase/decrease in the vibrato amount.
Here’s the Kick track. Oops, this isn’t very illuminating when heard on its own:
Here’s the Synth Lead track:
This sound was made with the Analog synthesizer instrument in Ableton. It’s a combination of two sawtooth waveforms, each detuned by 4 cents from the original pitch and away from each other. (As the result, you have a 8-cent detuned sound.) Combining and detuning make a sound thicker, or more colloquially, “phatter”. I passed the sound through a high-pass filter, set the cutoff frequency to 185Hz and boosted the resonance amount at that frequency.
Here’s the Piano Melody track:
This piano was done with an instrument in the Grand Piano Pack. When it comes to piano sounds, I definitely prefer the ones in the Ableton Pack to the ones in Logic Pro.
Here’s the Hihat track:
Here’s the Breakbeat track:
This was played with the Drum Rack instrument containing chopped drumbeat that I took from an old sample CD many years ago. (Yup, I’m old enough to have bought sample CDs.)
The Drum Rack allows you to assemble your own drum kit by adding the components (e.g. kick, snare) of your choice. On top of that, it has Macro Control with which you can simultaneously manipulate the behaviors of all the samples by turning a knob. For example, I assigned the Sample Length parameter of all my samples to a knob and gradually shortened the playable length of samples in some places. That’s why the breakbeat part sounds excessively chopped up sometimes. Please listen again:
Here’s the Synth Chords track:
There’s also the Crash Cymbal track, but let’s not waste time listening to just crash cymbals.
Streaming and Stores
As of this writing, Agua y Arena is in the following sites and stores:
And will be in Google Play soon too. Thanks for visiting!