Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goodnight by Nyquist Serum

80's Teen Monster Movie Soundtrack?
I had written the chorus to the following song based on a fat synth sound that I was hammering chords on (chorus comes in at about :43). The guitar melody on top of the chorus was added as an overdub later, perhaps as a vocal melody idea. I didn't spend much time developing the verses, although I did like the sort of 80's teen monster movie soundtrack quality to them. Especially the second verse when that synth line comes in. Remember Vamp, starring Grace Jones? Can you hear that in there?

Chord Progression
A few months later I woke up in the middle of the night and could not go back to sleep so I ended up playing piano for a while. Eventually I started playing the following chord progression, which I really liked. It had a circular quality that takes you on a little ride and then brings you back home. I was thinking that this chord progression would be its own song, but the next day when I played it on fuzzed out guitar I began to think it should be the verse to the above song. It's strange that I had already named the song "Goodnight," and months later revisited it during a bout with insomnia.

So now that I had a verse chord progression that I was happy with, I was able to come up with a melody pretty quickly. The melody plays on the offbeats to the chords; I wanted it to move the song along and be rhythmic.

Lyrics + Gasping For Air
At this point I started writing lyrics. I tossed around a few themes and decided to make the song be about a stalker. But I wanted to keep it vague enough for different interpretations. Also at this point I ditched the guitar chords and replaced them with single lines as more of a riff. The sound of the guitar is from a fuzz pedal I built called the Red Bastard. The 9v battery was dying, which gives the guitar that sort of gasping for air kind of sound.

Gluing it with Static
With the verse guitar chords replaced with riffs I had to come up with a bass line that filled in the gaps, both rhythmic and chord-wise. In the verses the bass is funky and sporadic, but in the chorus it's driving 8th notes.
A recurring theme in my efforts to create music is that just when I'm really getting into something I have equipment failure. There was no exception here; while I was recording the vocals my audio interface died. It had 8 channels, and by the end there was only one channel that still worked, and it added noise! You can hear some static/buzzing sounds- those were added to the recorded audio by the interface. When I pasted different parts around right before and after the choruses the static/buzzing almost sounded deliberate, and now I've grown fond of it. Maybe when I produce this song for real I'll try to recreate that...

So, which do you like better, the original demo or the later one? Do you like where the song is going? It still needs work, like the bridge for instance, but it's come a long way. Thanks for checking it out so far.


  1. cool...i like the latest version of the sound versus the earliest. but nice to get insight into the progress of a song!!

  2. Nice Alan!

    I like it a lot. The version with lyrics is definitely the way to go. Although, I do miss one thing from the original which was the way the snare led the open high hat by just a touch on the downbeat. That gave a great feel to the track in general, it might even still be in there but I just don't hear it as much.

    Anyway, much fun.

  3. Alan, like this one, still reminds me of an 80's elliot still need to be listening to him!