Holiday Funk & Blues Event

How I Did It

Lies (Keytronic, Quarkstar Re...
by Quarkstar
Recommends (23)
Sun, Oct 27, 2013 @ 12:09 AM

Tools I Used

Ableton 9
First section:
- Ableton Drone by Quarkstar (Keytronics midi)
- Ableton Grand Piano
- Ableton FM2 Muffled Bass (Main bass)
- Superior Drummer

Second section:
- Rayblaster Synth (Backing Piano, A ChilloutPiano MF)
- Alchemy Player (Second Piano in second section, Gran Piano)
- Dolphin (Backing Bass)

Samples I Used

Piano Eb by Keytronic
Lies (Acappela) by Trifonic
Accordeon refrain by Keytronic
vintage organ solo Eb by Keytronic (played backwards)


I started by creating two copies of Keytronics Piano samples then transposing them to a perfect fifth above and an octave below to give a richer sound. This gives the Eb major backing which plays all the way through. Notes are played at the start of the bars and this left a gap for the rest of the bar, so I converted the piano to midi. I added a new track and gave the new instrument a slow attack and sustain and called it Drone; Keytronics notes on a different instrument.

The rest I did by instinct and experience rather than the master plan that the description sounds like. I did it first then worked out what I had done and why afterwards.

The third bar introduces the Lies Accapella and Grand Piano. The piano matches the falling tones of the voice and starts the change to a minor key.

Bar 17 the Bass comes in and pulls the song firmly into a C minor key.

Bar 23 Keytronics Accordeon refrain fits perfectly, 14 bars.

Bar 33 a filtered noise riser, 8 bars long with 2 bars of echo and fade. This hints that the tune is going to change.

Bar 39 drums and disguised tempo change from 110 to 120 BPM. It just seemed the right thing to do.
Apart from the first bar the drum loops are straight from the library. (Superior Drummer).

The second part repeats at 120BPM, dropping some tracks, and adding track doubling to the lead and bass to get a fatter sound.

Part way through the second half a background piano is added. It plays a faster, more varied tune that follows the vocals but using inversions of the vocal's chords.

I was intending to write a longer extended version and thats why, just before the end, it signals that it is about to change.

Other Notes

Other things about the song:
- Keeping you wanting things and then delivering i.e. Change to minor key, no bass in the beginning, no drums till the second section, suspended change of tempo.
- Separate frequency bands for each group of instruments, with instruments dropping out and others coming in to fill the gaps.
- Track doubling using different instruments. This thickens the sounds as the track builds.
Limited reverb so the voice and instruments remain sharp.
- Use of Chorus to blur the backing instruments.
- Call, response between the instruments.

I picked up a few free VSTi plugins and the Dolphin bassline is a really nice one. Although it has few controls it knocks out some beautiful bass.

I like David Sylvian and, once I saw the potential, tried for a similar feel to some of his music in the first few bars.