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Portfolio I Final TrackRobert Casavant
00:00 / 01:26

This instrumental was creatively influenced by a feeling of levity within calm spaciousness. The synthetic sounds are meant to provide an atmospheric environment, while the reverbed guitar provides a grounding, more familiar sensation. The intention behind this piece was to create a euphoric vibe that manifests positive emotions of comfort, peace and acceptance. I envision this composition being used for a Hip-Hop and R&B blended song, accompanied by a sung chorus with more rhythmically-focused verses. The instrumental is pretty full already, however, so I could also very easily see it standing alone as background music for live events, commercials, YouTube videos or other presentations looking for euphoric energy.


    This composition follows common time throughout. While I usually place my drums in cut time, I kept them consistent with a 4/4 backbeat to meet assignment requirements. Limited to two 16 bar sections, I opted to utilize the first 16 bars as an introduction & chorus, with the second 16 acting as a verse arrangement. To accomplish this I placed less bass and kick in the first 16, emphasizing harmony and percussion. The second 16 picks up with more emphasis on rhythm, with a focus on the kicks and bass. I wanted to stick with the synthetic sound I was influenced by, so I used two synthetic sub-basses and created a drum machine from a variety of one-shots.


    This piece is in the key of B minor. The chords used within the project are Bm7, Asus4, F#m, G, A, D, and Em7, with slightly varying chord progressions between the first and second 16 bar sections. I used a very simple rising melody that sat very well within the harmony. To achieve my desired sound I wanted to use a wide-range blending of soft, warm synthetic sounds that included familiar, comforting elements. Examples of this include an electric piano blended with water sounds, a mellotron blending violas and a flute with a choir, a Sculpture-designed synth with arpeggiated bleeps, and synthetic strings designed in Logic’s Ensemble Synth. I layered all of these sounds together and even used many sounds for both harmonic and melodic parts. I also used automation on several tracks to create movement and variety throughout the composition. 


    For my mic-recorded track I decided to utilize a lighter flick as a percussive element. I thought it would work well as a rhythmic, atmospheric sound, and a substitute for a second shaker. Additionally, I think it provides another subtly recognizable sound to sit within the synthetic composition and further that comforting-spaciousness feeling I was hoping to portray. I created multiple synthetic sounds for this project, utilizing Logic’s Vintage Mellotron (#14, #22), Sculpture (#16), Ensemble Synth (#18, #24) and Retro Synth (#19, #26). My goal in designing those sounds was to create a feeling of electronic familiarity and comfort. The Mellotron and Ensemble Synth contain variations of traditional musical elements such as flutes, choirs, violas and other strings. Meanwhile, Sculpture and the Retro Synth provide soft, warm synthetic layering. For sampled tracks, I sampled my recorded lighter flick, track 36, as well as an electric guitar apple loop, track 34. I sampled the lighter flick to more easily allow for rhythmic placements, and I sampled the guitar to alter its progression.


    In mixing this composition I applied a lot of compression, equalization, reverb and delay. Additionally, I added tremolo, saturation, a noise gate, flanger and stereo spread to several tracks. Equalization was applied on every track to remove unwanted and overlapping frequencies. Compression was placed on tracks 2, 3, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, and 40, to reduce dynamics and allow sounds to sit better within the mix. Reverb was applied via routing from tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40 and 41, creating more cohesiveness between tracks and atmospheric spaciousness within the mix. I also applied delay by routing from tracks 8 and 36, stereo spread from tracks 16, 17, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33, and added tremolo to tracks 3, 6, 8, 14, 22, 29, 31, 36 and 40, all of which were meant to increase the atmospheric and spacious feeling of the composition by creating a wider, moving image. I also added a noise gate to my recorded lighter flick, track 40, to remove a very high noise floor. Lastly, I added saturation to tracks 12 and 13 to help with warmth and low-frequency emphasis, and routed a flanger from tracks 22, 23, 34 and 35 to create slight modulation as well as increased sound depth. The final processing effect I used was Izotope’s Ozone 7 on the stereo output, track 45. I used this plugin to place a maximizer on the final mix, bringing it to master volume level.

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