Lately, I have uploaded a new song “Rage and Redemption” on Youtube as Dark Model‘s release. It is also available to download from Bandcamp and Tatsuya Oe Official Music Download Shop. As the title states, the song is very aggressive and has a strong contrast featuring choir (choral) sound in whole. Dark Model, though the works have a texture in common with trailer music or film music, I think in those genres we hardly find a piece like this song underlined electronic beats. I hope this will sound new to you.
“Original Mix” & “No Choir Mix” MP3 & WAV (16bit/44k, 24bit/48k): http://www.tatsuyaoe.com/shop/product/dark-model-rage-and-redemption-first-version/
Arranging a Multi-layered Choir with Electronic sounds
What I tried this time was to add a dynamic effect to the electronic sound featuring an epic choir like the way I had done in my piece “Ran (Resistance)” (the video on the bottom) included in the first album. When it comes to songs with a choir, I prefer solemn and classical tones to healing ones heard in new age music. I even expect to find something insane in those choir songs. That’s why I balanced such tones with my style and thought over how to get my piece unusual and interesting.
It took me about one and a half months to wrap up the final mix. There would be a couple of hundreds of audio tracks and MIDI tracks I used, and the choir was the part that I put in more time. For making choir sounds, a great variety of software and sound sources can be found on the internet. But to me, it is unlikely to get right texture if I simply hit the notes with one of those ready-made products. During the process of this song, I got in touch with a music software company in Bulgaria, and we talked a lot about how to pull out the characteristic of their product. Because the owner of the company is a baritone singer as well as a composer, the discussion with him was very productive for me.
I think it is important to make sure that each note of the song is placed effectively in terms of its harmony and ensemble before you pay attention to how it sonically sounds. That applies to not only choir recording but also any recording. If not, the song would be unlikely to have its strength no matter how many layers you add to it. On the other hand, if I built in many complicated choral moves like authentic “contrapuntally-written” baroque music, the song as electronic music pretty much would lose its “pulse.” I tried to come up with a direction, while being vigilant about balancing the choir moves with the bass lines, to depict both a driving feeling and a solemn or even tragic feeling in a vivid way.
Choosing Legit Software Synthesizers
Another thing that I’ve focused on in this song was its sound selection and creation with synthesizers including the bass sound. This new song basically has an Industrial music /Electronic Body Music texture. In case I want to make that type of hard bass sound, getting old models actually used by artists of 80s and 90s can be one way. As a matter of fact, however, that hardware doesn’t live up to my expectations anymore as it lacks punchiness demanded in the modern era (unless I can afford the time to process it meticulously). I used to grab and try vintage synthesizers (both analog and digital), but these days I use software synthesizers a lot for better results. I think Rob Papen and U-he are excellent among the software makers. Speaking of recent hardware synthesizers, I definitely like Virus series made by Access Music. It is still hard to expect software synthesizers to sound the same quality as the Virus phenomenally does. Despite that, as the two brands do offer very legit sounds made by the real synthesizer enthusiasts (as you can see below), I have full confidence in using them for my music production. I would recommend Rob Papen’s Predator and U-he’s Hive, the latter of which has just been released. If you have synthesizer configuration at your fingertips, U-he’s Zebra will be for you.
The Beat: Contrast AND Consistency
As for the beat making, I have put electronic kicks and electric snares in the song, plus orchestra percussion as a dramatic accent. You might know that percussive elements such as marching drums and timpani have been fixtures of Dark Model’s ensemble. I made a contrast of the groove between the first part with the tribal beats and the second part with the Dubstep-esque beat while I programmed both parts by using the same drum kit to keep the sonic consistency. When letting Dubstep rhythm sound lively and tight, I think it’s important to work out hi-hat rhythm patterns, especially by making the most of its 16th notes. (If you’re familiar with minimal techno music, you understand small changes of hi-hat patterns can make a big difference.)
See the Forest for the Trees, but Stay Bold
Having said that, in cases where music has many elements not only beats but also melody, harmony, and everything, then composers obsessed with details could fail to get a whole picture of the song. (That is why on my blog I make it a rule not to go into the details just about technical stuff and devices). To overcome the dilemma, I think it’s good to change ways of making process and reviewing work, such as shifting views on a daily basis, or listening to the song in other places. Especially when you work on the details, remember the stark truth that your music doesn’t always sound to your audience like the way it does to you. So let’s get on with the creation, thinking of what you really want THEM to pay attention to.
After all, even though you want to stick with your principles as a creator, maybe you should keep a ‘Who cares!’ attitude in mind so as not to be full of yourself. (In fact, few cares about your principles.) At the same time, be careful not to get caught up in a popular myth (or even an illusion) so-called “objectivity.” It often bothers you to perform fully like a trap, so don’t let it hold you back. Nobody has created a masterpiece by trying to be objective. Stay bold. Whatever people say about your work, it is crystal clear that you are the only one who has the responsibility of getting along with your creation to the end.
Note: this article is a translated and revised version of the Japanese blog on this website.