COVID-19 & Us Universe Secret Mixter

How I Did It

9 Cephei
by Quarkstar
Recommends (8)
Fri, Mar 16, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

Tools I Used

Layered hit front end: u-he Hive, ST Dirty Rim
Layered hit back end: u-he Hive, XS Old School Plucks
Drums: NI Reaktor Polyplex, (QS Patch)
Piano: NI Maverick
Piano layer 2: u-he Hive, Big Sky
Pads: RR Platter, Fluxline
Stabs: u-he Hive, KS Teneriffa Break
Bass: NI Reaktor Rounds, Gunk

Distance effects: Tokyo Dawn Labs, Proximity
Console Emulation: Sonimus, Statson
EQ: Tokyo Dawn Records, Slick EQ
Limiter: FabFilter Pro-L
Main Reverb: Acon Digital, CM Verb
Airwindows -
Compressor: ButterComp
Console Emulation: Channel 5
Gain: Purest Gain
MixDesk Emulation: Busscolours

Thanks to Airwindows Patron funded free plugins.


Weeks before the Interstellar Remix event I was looking at the remixers and discovered Zikweb. I wanted to do a remix of his work.
This is another big mix, a majestic flight through space, imagined as a fly past of a sun and its planets and also thinking of the Cygnus (Cepheus) Constellation. Another inspiration is Holst’s The Planets and its Astrological theme.

I chose several samples from Zikweb but settled on eSSEN11 as the foundation and Ambre Piano 2 as the inspiration for the lead.
I converted the two samples into Midi and picked the chords from eSSEN11. Then laid out the chord sequences for verse and chorus.
I had used the sequence driven Bass (Gunk) before and knew its rhythm. I simply laid down a bass line based on the root notes of the chords discovered above.
I added the verse/chorus sections directly using the sample "Violon layer of Essen11" then gated the volume using another track to control the gate. This can be heard clearest at 2:20 although it also runs more quietly throughout the tune. The gating pattern sets the hits for percussion, stabs and much of the underlying melody.
I took the chords and followed the eSSEN11 track for the chord inversions and laid that down as the pad track. The Pads, which add a huge amount to the sound, are a Hybrid String Synth created by Rhythmic Robot using Vinyl Records played on vintage Record Players.
The stabs follow the gate track for beats and the chord sequence for the notes to play.
The first piano verse is taken directly from Zikweb’s Ambre, then I develop that into 3 more verse/chorus sections that build into an inspirational melody.
The drums follow the gate track and build on the beats and melodies.
The tune is bass starved until about 2:20 when the kicks hit and gives a nice big bass drop. Although it sounds huge, the verse at 2:20 doesn’t have a lot going on and this allows me to drop the intensity and explore more subtle melodies. After the melodies I start a big build up towards the end.
Instruments are panned to give separation, width and depth and it is mixed so you should be able to hear every part.

Other Notes

This was a fun mix to do. I noticed Zikweb had a unique approach to chords and melody and used this throughout. Although the final mix doesn't sound like Zikweb, I think I caught the sense of vastness and wonder I was after.