November 29, 2017
Last Saturday I stumbled across a somewhat viral video on YouTube by DreamCastle_629. He got into a car accident and then recorded himself singing a ditty along with the car horn that was stuck repeatedly honking. This song sparked my imagination and I couldn't stop thinking about using it to create my own version as an embellished track.
Here you can hear the original ditty by DreamCastle_629 in this video:
I wasn't quite sure what exactly I wanted to do with this song, but using my natural process for making a track I pulled in the vocals and examined it. I found out that the tempo was 74 BPM. This is based on the tempo of the car horn. The song is in the key of E minor and has 4 sections to the ditty. Each section of the ditty consists of 4 measures and DreamCastle_629 gradually adds on embellishments to the main progression and even adds in a little bit of a beatbox.
I wanted to keep the original 74 BPM tempo for my song as I felt this was faithful to the car's horn (the hero of the song?). I started by creating a beat that was inspired by the rhythm established by the beatbox in the fourth section of the ditty.
Intro: Beat and Bass
The intro is 8 measures of a beat along with a bass that establishes the key and the groove. For the drums, I programmed using my typical approach: kick, snare, hats, percussion elements and other rhythmic sounds. For the kick I used a the sample Deucebox Kick 13 and another subbass sample "EkaliSig808One" that marks each section. For the snare I used TitanSnare6 (I think from Crobbin's sample pack). For the hihat I used two samples from CNTRL (h&k hihat 04 and 07). I also added a snap and a swishing sample to accent each measure. I also added two cymbal crash samples to mark each section and one of them is in reverse as a lead in. I also included a soft vinyl popping sound in the background of the beat to add some texture. I also sampled the car horn from the original ditty audio so I could repeat it in the intro part of the track.
For the bass, I used two synths and a multisample instrument. The synths are U-he's Beatzille and TAL's Noizemaker. The Beatzille plays a quieter supplemental bass part in a few sections of the song, and the Noizemaker provides the smooth low bass you can hear in the track. I also added acoustic bass samples (Sneaky's Acoustic Bass) playing some of the groove parts of the bass to add some embellishment and groove that corresponds to the bass motif that DreamCastle_629 sang in his ditty.
Section Two: Establishing Melody
The second part of the track is 8 measures of an establishing melody with accompaniment. The ditty has an ominous mysterious sound and so I created an appropriate arpeggio repeating the notes of a E minor 7 chord, where the bass note plays the half-steps downward motive in each measure, characteristic of the ditty. I used Bitwig's Polysynth with the patch "Pluck Bell Square" for the arpeggio. I also added a Noizemaker synth (organ) playing the chord on the downbeat. I also added a Light pad for accompaniment and another Beatzille patch to add some harmonic content. I created a melody to introduce the overall track that is prominent in this section with the U-he ACE synth. The melody is layered with a vibraphone sample pairing it.
After this melodic intro, I introduce the vocals, and DreamCastle_629 sings. He sings the first two sections. In the first section, the bass part I added foreshadows the part that he sings in the section section. Towards the latter half of the section, the parts diverge so it creates a harmony. Then the rhythm section drops out when DreamCastle_629 sings the third section (the cadenza?). He sings a duet here with himself because I layered the first section of the vocals with this third section and so it creates a great harmony. It was lucky that the original recording had a built in metronome—the car horn—to keep everything in synch. Yay!
The rhythm section comes back in and DreamCastle_629 sings the cadenza part again. I added a flute playing the half-notes downward theme for extra interest. In the final section, you hear the cadenza a third time, this time without the duet. I added a vibraphone harmonizing with it and then the track ends almost abruptly as the vocals cut out in a final 4 beats.
I also used reverb, delay, compression, sidechain dynamics, EQ, limiter and some other minor effects in the track using stock plugins from Bitwig Studio. I want to thank DreamCastle_629 for making the ditty and singing to his car horn and uploading it to YouTube. I didn't time myself, but I estimate I created this track in 4-6 hours and I sure had fun. I hope you enjoy it!
Listen to the final track on SoundCloud: