Photo by Tom Campbell — Dahlonega, Georgia, Jan. 31, 2016
“Lake of Clouds” started as an attempt to emulate Ulrich Schnauss’s cinematic-sounding ambient electronic music, specifically “Monday Paracetamol.” But it ended up morphing into something different, which is OK since I didn’t want to be a copycat.
The track has three sections or “scenes,” linked by overlapping synth pad chord patterns and variations on recurring riffs and rhythms.
Harmonically, the piece is based mainly on shifting patterns of major and minor chords such as a 6sus2, a major 7th with 11th and 13th added, and a major 7 with sharp 11 added to give it an edge. The middle section is sort of a round based primarily on an evolving series of minor 7 and major 6 chords, never quite resolving to the tonic. The melodies were improvised (and edited) to be consonant with the underlying chords.
Notes were input with MIDI keyboards and, in some cases, the cursor in Piano Roll view or, for some of the drum beats, the Step Sequencer. A couple of parts originated with Logic’s arpeggiator or drum beat making engines and were then transposed and heavily edited.
Tools used to create the piece include Logic Pro X + associated software instruments (Alchemy, Drum Machine Designer) and several Native Instruments plugins: Reaktor, Hybrid Keys, Session Guitarist, DrumLab, Massive, Prism, Ethereal Earth, TRK-01, and Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass, plus Raum reverb and other effects.
Note: Mentions of specific software or other products do not imply endorsement. I receive no compensation for any such mentions. These are just the tools I use.