RPM Challenge 2019: The First Weekend

rpmchallenge Feb 4, 2019

Well, sorry. I meant to do a daily blog but some things got in the way. I had to take an unplanned trip out of town on Sunday, so really I've only had two days of RPM work so far. I'm happy with the results, though!

Friday, February 1st

The RPM Challenge starting on a Friday is cool for us weekend warriors. In the past, I've made the mistake of starting with an epic idea. I'm not sure if the first RPM song I've started has ever made it onto the final album. So, this year, I've changed course and started with something straightforward.

I found a song I had recorded a demo of in 2005 called The Last Day of Summer. The demo was just me and an acoustic. Three chords, three verses and no chorus for a snappy two-minute ballad. Easy, right? Oh, how I forget the easy songs are the hardest.

I started with Logic Pro piano layered with a Korg Volca Keys and Korg Volca Sample drums, with a simple synth bass line. The cheery music will juxtapose with the sadder lyrics. I recorded the Volca Keys live as I messed with the cutoff, decay and sustain, which gives the song an off-kilter feel. I can't say it all worked together, though. The song is all major chords and feels too bouncy. I'll need to record some scratch vocals to make sure it works at all. Not sure this one will make the cut; the streak may continue.

Anyway, if you want to hear it, here is the SoundCloud embed:

Saturday, February 2nd

I love making music in the morning. There's something about sipping coffee with one hand while playing a bass line on the keyboard with the other hand that is life-affirming.

Friday's project was too clean and happy, so I wanted to try something with some grit and energy. With the aptly titled Day Two I started with the bass, using the Retro synth in Logic. I love the Retro Synth. The bass sound is clipped short almost mimicking a tuned bass drum him (like an 808 but not quite). It hits on eighth notes while the real bass drum plays something a little more off-beat. I'm living the bass and the drums on this. The synth sounds are Alchemy from Logic and the Volca Keys again. More arpeggiator but I automated the timing to step down the tempo gradually. I haven't written lyrics or a melody to this yet, but I like the beginning of it.

Here's the SoundCloud embed:

Other Stuff

I started a couple of other projects—more like sketches—that may or may not turn into anything. I posted the following Korg Volca Keys jam on Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Rpm Challenge day 2. Getting analog!

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Excited for the rest of the week now! Hope to post more soon.