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«How I made the track Invisible Island»

by Greg Lemmenmeier, posted on 21. July 2023 at 02:36, 286 Views

I believe that music should make you feel *good* about yourself by generating good vibrations. Yesterday, I was in the mood for creating an uplifting track with a simple structure and just six instruments: drums, bass, piano, guitar, sax and flute. As I've written before, composing music is a series of decisions, and I'll tell you about them in this blogpost. But first, here is the finished track from my one-man-band project:

("Invisible Island" by Greg Lemm, a funky Jazzpop track with lots of sax and joy)

(my session screenshot shows which samplers I've chosen for this track — click to enlarge)


In the heart of the musical cosmos, where funkiness reigns supreme, a hidden gem was born — a track that would set the ears on fire with its infectious groove. Today, I invite you to embark on a journey through the rhythmic paradise that is "Invisible Island." So, tighten your seatbelts and get ready to groove, as I reveal the special process behind the creation of this funkadelic piece.

Laying down the Foundation: Drums and Bass

Like the architects of groove, the rhythm section came first — the drums and bass. I wanted a rhythmic landscape that would make even the most rigid hips sway like palm trees in the tropical breeze. The drums danced with intricate patterns, blending syncopated accents and a sprinkle of hi-hat shimmer. Meanwhile, the bass guitar laid down a solid foundation, its thumping presence resonating deep within my soul.

I started with making a simple drum groove at tempo 102 bpm which seemed to be the best tempo:

(Addictive Drums 2 with drum track which I "painted" with my mouse)

I selected the ADpak "Modern Jazz Sticks", mainly for its punchy snare drum, and the hi-hat had to be the Paiste Heavy from the "Funk" kit:

But wait... this doesn't really groove. Therefore, my first decision was to apply 60% Swing for a more "organic" groove:

Can you hear the difference? It's almost a shuffle now.

Next, the bass. I chose the Modo Bass with the preset "60s Fender Precision Bass" — the default setting — and programmed a simple but rather funky bass line:

(MODO Bass with simple bass line)

Together, it sounded like this:

Tickling the Ivories: Piano Vibes

To add a touch of elegance to this funky playground, the piano joined the party. It was like a suave pianist serenading you at a dimly lit jazz club. With every chord, the piano brought sophistication to the mix, weaving its way between the drums and bass like a skilled tightrope walker.

(Pianoteq grand piano with the preset "Ant. Petrov")

The basic chords were Ebm7 and Eb6. The rhythmic 16th accents of the piano might not make sense at first. They sound like something a rhythm guitar would play. But in the context of the whole band, they will make sense later on.

Enter the Wah-Wah Guitar: A Funky Messenger

What's Funk without a wah-wah guitar? It's like a tropical island without its sun-kissed beaches. The wah-wah guitar served as the funky messenger, sending its distinctive voice through the track. With a flick of the virtual pedal, it spoke in wahs and wows, adding layers of funky goodness that make your ears wiggle with delight.

(Pettinhouse Funky Guitar — with wah-wah effect via modwheel and 35% Swing)

Sensual Saxophone: Where Seduction Meets Funk

Ah, the saxophone — the ultimate embodiment of sensuality in music. It slithered into "Invisible Island" like a mysterious seductress, its sultry notes flirting with the rhythm, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. When the saxophone took center stage, it was as if time slowed down, and the entire world grooved to its irresistible charm.

(Rekevics Tenor Sax — with many programmed articulations)

Flute's Enchanting Spell: Funky Fairy Dust

In this musical paradise, the flute was the sprinkle of funky fairy dust that transformed the track into something magical. Its airy melodies danced with the saxophone's charm, creating a dreamy atmosphere that was nothing short of enchanting. The flute weaved in and out of the groove, leaving a trail of joy and wonder in its path.

(Fluffy Audio Simple Flute — with expressions via modwheel)

Groove Convergence: Where Magic Happens

As the track took shape, the different elements melded together like a celestial alignment of funkiness. The drums laid the steady heartbeat, the bass held everything in place, the piano added sophistication, the wah-wah guitar brought the Funk, and the saxophone and flute sprinkled their enchanting allure. Together, they created a universe where the irresistible groove reigned supreme. To top things off, I populated the master bus with the mixing tools "Spectralive", "Soothe2", a simple limiter and a touch of overall reverb. On the individual tracks, there are no effects at all — and I really dislike compressors.

(Mixing/mastering with only four plugins)

The Funky Finale: Embracing "Invisible Island"

And there you have it—the story of "Invisible Island," where drums, bass, piano, wah-wah guitar, saxophone, and flute converged to form a timeless Jazzpop piece. This track invites you to a sonic paradise where worries melt away, and your body moves in sync with the irresistible groove. So, the next time you find yourself yearning for a musical getaway, close your eyes, press play on "Invisible Island," and let the magic of Funk transport you to that hidden paradise where saxophones whisper, flutes enchant, and wah-wah guitars talk in funky tongues. Embrace the groove, my friends, and let "Invisible Island" be your sanctuary. The paradise is yours to explore; all you need to do is let the music take you there!

(— the finished track)

• Posted on 21. July 2023 at 02:36     ▶ 286 Views     ≡ Category: Life and Hobbies

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