Hella Gems | Original Music Blog

Normally I’m not a fan of digging through the archives, but here’s something that I did long ago that fits in with the Hella Gems aesthetic that I would like to release. Back when I assembled my first home recording rig back in 2003, I wanted to try recording some stuff, but I didn’t have anyone else to record and I was hesitant to record my own music as I’m only now starting to get over my reservations on recording music. One day, apparently around that April (the timestamp on the original file is April 30, 2003), I recorded a single track out of pure frustration of nothing else to work on. It was an early experiment to test out some odd (one might say progressive) ideas I had about heavy metal production at the time, and I’ve felt that despite my being somewhat unknowledgable about the whole process, it has held up much better that I had initially suspected.

A quick breakdown of the component sounds and the ideas therin:
– The drum tracks were built with Buzz tracker before I picked up any instruments. they were totally a guess, and it explains the song’s structure. 3 parts, looped four times. The cymbals are noise with an ASDR envelope. The bass drum is….generated somehow. Forgot what the snare was (probably some sample). The details were lost years ago. This was exported from buzz as a wav and imported into Cubase (which I actually paid for, but no longer use.  Such is life.)
– All the other tracks essentially get progressively sloppier as they go along. This has the odd effect of making the song sound like it’s destabilizing, if not exactly falling apart. The robo-tracker drums hold it together, but the rest of the parts seem angry and erratic. I kind of like how that worked.
– There are two bass tracks, recorded separately. One is running through the bass octave pedal I have and provides the synth-ish lows that I adore so much. The second bass track was more a guitar double recorded through a Behringer POD knock off on the Boutique Overdrive setting, which sounded terrible by itself but interestingly filled out a crucial space in the track between the guitars and the sub bass. I cannot recall if I double tracked the grindy bass, but I don’t think so.
– There are two guitar tracks, panned hard left and right, played with a hollowbody 60’s guitar totally unsuitable to the task into the V-AMP on the dual rectifier setting. That guitar feeds back with any sort of distortion on it, so this sound is one of those “Can’t occur with real gear” things, but works alright. I think it’s the layers that save this one.
– The lead guitar is basically a combination of several of the most dissonant things I could figure out how to play on a guitar. There’s not much real skill involved, but there was a plan, and I don’t know if I could recreate it if I tried. For some reason, I love it.
– Finally, there was an FM synth. I picked up this Yamaha FB-01 years ago, and I went through patches until I found several that were either good, weird, or reminded me of stuff in Sega Genesis games. (that’s way, way to big an influence on me, I think) Anyhow, I found a few “distorted guitar” patches that reminded me of the distorted guitars in certain genesis games. The thought was to layer this on top of actual heavy guitars and basses for a meta heavy sound. with some careful EQ (man it wanted to stick out like a sore thumb) it kinda worked. It provides a strange overtone to the whole mix. It also fills out the beginning (along with the sub bass) and the ending (by itself). It’s something I’d love to revisit (I still have the FB-01 within arm’s reach) but it’s such a pain to do.

The track was hastily assembled in a day, and ever since I’ve wondered what I would have done to follow it up. With a few exceptions, I’m still wondering – I’ve never followed up or refined the ideas presented here (the laptop battles were much closer to traditional metal ideas shoehorned into Ableton Live) , and I’m not quite sure I could really rekindle the fire that this came from. But I think it says something about who I was back then, and the fervor to create something new. Enjoy.


One Response to “From the Archives: Metal Demo ’03”

  1. billjings

    Paulie I’m not a metal guy so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about but this is totally sick.

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