Rhodes Piano (Reason)
Acoustic Bass (Reason)
Drum Loops (Reason)
DG Stomp Guitar Preamp
Digitech Whammy Pedal
Morley Wah Pedal
Pro Tools LE
After my first experiment with ambient dance music ("Acidity"), I had an opportunity to develop a project in a similiar vein. I had taken a certification course in Producing with Pro Tools, and at the end of the class, we were required to record an original song and try to simulate the full production process (preproduction, production, and post production). Over the course of two days, I wrote, performed, and produced this piece entitled "Smile"...it took 13 hours in all, from inception to completion.
Smile began as another one measure rhodes/bass loop created in the Reason program. I extended the original loop by simultaneously composing the tune and arranging it in Reason. I added two drum loops and programmed the entire arrangement, and then I exported each track as an individual .wav file. I then imported the individual tracks into Pro Tools, where I proceeded to add cajone, shaker, and guitar.
Although similiar in style, "Smile" differs from "Acidity" in a number of ways. Firstly, I payed great attention to the melody and it's relationship to the chords. I wanted something catch and singable. For this reason, I decided to compose the melody away from my instrument, opting instead for humming and singing simple melodies until one resonated with me. The bridge melody and chord progression came to me all at once....it usually the stuff that comes easiest in the process which seems to be my strongest material...it's purely organic in nature. The "verse" section progression is Cmin7 / Abmaj7 / G7, and the bridge is Fmin7 (though the melody plays the 6th and 9th) / Cmin7 / Fmin7 / Cmin7 / Bbmaj / Fmin7 / Cmin7 / Fmin7 / Gaug7 / Ab7 G7. It's very simple actually...just a long sequence, and the strong melody makes the progression sound much more sophisticated and jazzy than it really is. The key focus for me was to create a tune with a strong melody, interesting arrangement (hence the developed intro and such), cool sounds, and good production. It was alot of cramming, but I handed it in as my final project and received a favorable response.
The melody again is played thru the digitech whammy pedal, as is the lead parts and some of the ambient, layered textures. It will probably be easier for you to identify the guitar parts in "Smile" as opposed to "Acidity", because they are a little more "guitaristic"....especially the wah parts. The soloing is all based around the C minor pentatonic and blues scales, although there is some additional chromaticism and I do also superimpose the G harmonic dominant and Ab melodic minor scales occasionally (check out the licks during the fade).
I had a blast writing, performing, and producing "Smile". I hope you dig it.