The making of Starvation

Since now extended versions of tracks are on Youtube, there’s a good point to discuss how “Starvation” was made.

I had a simple idea in mind – a straightforward trance tune with african theme. This involves, obvioulsy, polyrthytmic djembe drums, but also harmonies. Some grooves were played by hand using different instruments, such as Ableton stock rack and Big Bang Cinematic Percussion, other loops were found on the Internet. As to harmonies, I googled some “african music”, understood correctly or not, and tried various chord progressions until it worked.

The main lead is obviously taken from “Theme from Defcon” remix by Sulaco, one of my favourites. I stated by recreating this lead exactly, including phaser and stutter-rolls, then just swapped chords. You might think it’s not very creative, but the track is from 2010 and since then thousands of copy-paste tracks were created anyway, released on daily basis. So it’s not like I’m falling behind in terms of creativity here. It’s not like the motiff from this track is an ingenious breakthrough, either – simple arpeggiator over pentatonic chords with shifitng bass. I learned from it that simpler ideas often work better.

Another, but less obvious reference was Dan Stone – Made in Bahrain. It has some interesting progression, bassline and catchy voices. In fact founding suitable (free!) voice samples took me a long time. Eventually there’s only a couple, but they do their job. Either way, it’s a greta track, so have a listen:

Of course the whole idea in first place was inspired by one of the greatest hits in the history of trance music – Played-A-Live. Everybody knows it and it’s always been a huge dancefloor killer, but why barely anybody in 17 years tried to reuse this idea? Dunno.

The bassline of this track in particular is nowhere near compatible with current trance standards, but the kalimba on 4 is a nice touch and in fact ingenious idea for many reasons. So I just picked it and it worked like charm.

The acid… well, I can handle all those with Devastor 2 by D16 group. Surely this thing will be in full swing again soon. The bassline is my signature groove and the base sound is the same as in Introscope.

The pads, as well as some FX, came from my recent purchase of Izotope Iris 2. In fact the demo of this plugin had a fantastic presets, called – guess – African Sunrise, and was the main selling point of this synth for me. That’s also the truth in case of Cinematic Drums and the idea of finger drumming in first place. Yes, I did it all just to realize this one idea I had in mind for years.

Overall, it turned out to be pretty nice track and very original in the end. It’s not difficult to come up with creative result even with copy-pasting stuff from other tune, so why the hell do all modern productions sound the same as the others?

And finally, the title. While you were reading this article, a number of children n Africa dies from starvation. And no, neither me or you are going to do anything about it. Have a nice day!

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