Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Making Of Steampunk Sunset, the Painting and Music.

This is the cover art for an instrumental track you can hear for free at our Soundcloud page called  Steampunk Sunset.   It is synth, guitar and drums. But it all started from a water colour painting.

The illustration work we do is mostly technical and very precise.  Lines and colours are very clear, with graduations being very linear, especially with the vector based illustrations.

Our recent joy in water colour is the ability for it to have random effects when you use lots of water on the heavy textured paper, and that is the main ingredient in the water and sky of the sunset painting. With a lot of water on the paper, when the pigment is applied, it kind of moves where it wants to.  This contrasts with the stark black silhouettes of the bizarre steam powered flying machine, land and trees, done in Faber Castell PITT artist pens, which are waterproof ink.

This is a not quite finished view of this A4 painting, done on CANSON 300gsm Medium Cold Press water colour paper with a small Winsor & Newton Sketchers Pocket Box Cotman Water Colour Set. I have replaced the China White with Ivory Black colour, as it is far more useful to me.

So from this painting we thought of what sound and feelings we wanted in the music, and that was to be a steam engine type sound, combined with a Bladerunner esq huge reverb and sparse synth pad.  That was the starting point, but we knew we would put loud guitar in their too.

Our V2600 VST is a semi modular synth with an old style step sequencer, and it already had a sample patch based around a noise source. Just what we were after. So this is the engine sounds that fades in and out for the duration of the track, with the help of a volume envelope in our DAW.

And here is the whole thing in Reaper our DAW. There  are tracks for Drums, Bass synth, Synth lead, Synth pad, Rhythm guitar, Lead guitar and Steam SFX.  All very simple.  

There are also long and short ping pong delays and the HUGE VintageVerb Bladerunner reverb. Just love it and don't have much opportunity to use it, as it is just too big for a usual track.

Everything was first takes in recording, then with some minor editing, put  together, mixed, then mastered. 

It starts with the Synth Pad and Huge Reverb and while not being directly in any way Bladerunner, has that feeling to me as the flying machine comes into the scene from the right.  It is supposed to sound a bit disjointed with the beautiful sunset polluted with this noisy, flapping flying machine, but then when the drums finally come in, it gels together, depicted for the actual moment in the painting.

So this track came out of an experimental water colour painting, and we hadn't done that before.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology.

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