Composing continues – Demons & Ghouls

Huh, the adventure with this new piece continues. Here’s a view from the Cubase after some quality time with the song. Green tracks are guitars. As you can see plentyyyy of edits. Especially with the B part. It was composed in little bits and pieces. I come up with an idea. Record it. Listen to it. Another idea I head in my head. I record it. Uuups I need to change that note there. Record the note. Aaah another idea in my head. Let’s record it.

When composing I try to make sure that I don’t over do anything too much. Everything needs to be erasable. Things are put down quickly. I try to  make sure I don’t kill the flow once I find it.

Demons & Ghouls (massivenotpassive3)

Listen to the B part now (around 1:49) Very happy how it came out. Note that when I started working out the melody I ended up re-working on the harmony as well. Midi bass at this point can be very handy for quick tweaks.

Also the choir intro changed quite a lot.  Just a little thing, I raised all G notes to G# to match it with the harmonic minor tone used with mainriff. But huh, it became much more dramatic!

Also had plenty of fun with the middle parts.  I decided to go for a classic calm down. Then go for some modulating (One and half notes higher always does it for me:) and variating on the riffs and themes. Check 3:39 how I returned to the A part theme. Only this time it’s totally twisted as I altered some of the notes. Sounds like something is totally wrong: GOOD!

Outro B part is slightly underconstruction. It will be fixed next. I’m only hearing how it should go inside my head at this point. I can’t wait for the final drums and bass to be recorded first. I’ll just will record the final guitar tracks next.

Oh came up with the title for this piece: Demons & Ghouls. Hope you dig this little monster piece!


Go!

New track being composed

I started out the session with the Hunting theme in mind. I drew an image of Mr. Fastfinger with a sabertooth lion a while ago and was thinking of creating a soundtracks for that. A checked out some drum files we had recorded with Thomas Törnroos. (check the previous blog). And after some experimenting ended up coming up with a cool riff.  The riff was in 7/4, so I had to edit the 4/4 drum beat to match it.

Also ended up browsing for some orhestral insturuments from VST libraries.

Here’s a clip of my inital riff. Sorry for the temporary title, it just came out of my head when I first saved the session:)

MassivenotPassive 1 initial

Here’s clip as where I was left at the end of the day. A new intro added here. Falling, falling…
Ended up simplyfying this riff. Only two chords. The choir is more simple and sound more haunting (and perhaps a little Nightwish-ish).  Also added that xxx notes there. Kind of Megadeth inspired idea I think :)

Here I also got A part happening. Kind of variates from the Main riff. Simple and nice melody. I think the melody was written with the choir tone. Sometimes it’s easier for me to compose stuff with anything else than guitar. In fact whenever I get stuff with one insturment I quickly change to another. If I can’t come up with anything with brass sounds I may go to some chromatic percussion sounds to see what the wrings out of me. Anyways here’s A part coming out nice. TheB part is still mystery only bass and drums here for now.

MassivenotPassive 2 version

Hope you dig the raw version of this. Rember it’s still a demo. This is how it sounds right out of the Cubase.
Have a feeling this isn’t so much about hunting anymore, it was more like haunting instead! Let’s see where this goes next…


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Round 2/2: Composing again!

I call this round two, because I have already finished first half of the next album. Now starting with empty table (well kind of) composing and starting from scratch again.

Composing music still feels kind of mystical to me. Sometimes good stuff happens and sometimes crap comes out. Before I get to work there’s no garanetee what will come out. The only way to make great material is just compose and compose. Compose whatever comes out. Other wise no good stuff can come out. I’m sure that eventually I will come up with enough of excellent material that I will accept for the album!

I have now started composing new material to get the album complited. I have already 6 or 7 tracks ready recorded (for some tracks it’s still open if they will be included on the album) but definelty need more!

The situation is good. Over half the album ready and now I can start see the whole picture. I’m more aware of what direction the rest of the tracks should go. I want to make sure the album will work in whole picture. Right now I feel that I want more “epic” tracks there. I have already few tracks that are truly epic but want more!


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Record drums first – compose the music later

Recently we decided to try out something interesting with our drummer Thomas Törnroos. We arranged a little session to record some scetchy drum tracks. The main point was just to get some beats and grooves. Something I could later use when composing new tracks.

So the point was not to record final drum tracks, but just to record demos and material for me to loop and edit etc. We will definetly record the actual final drums tracks when we got the compositions and arrangements together.
So I just packed my laptop, audio interface. I have only four inputs with my audio interface, so I took four mics with me. To keep things cheap, easy and fast we did the session at Thomas’ home practice room. Mics for kick, snare, hihat and overheads. Good enough for my purposes!

Didn’t do much preparations for the session. Had some ideas of what type of grooves we could try and brought some music for inspiration. Sometimes it’s best to go by the instict and flow.
Remember a moment when I asked Thomas to play some Punk drumming. After he started playing I got the idea of that tight groove on Iron Maiden’s Aces High. So asked him to combine the punk drumming with Nicko McBrain-ish stuff!

Everything was ofcourse played to a click. Everything must be editable and loopable. After few hours we had recorded down ideas for 7 potential tracks. At this point I can tell that already one of these actually have turned into a new killer piece. More about it later…

After the session I did a quick stereo mix of all the material. Just wanted to make sure that when I’m composing the drum material will be as effortless as possible to edit.

Here’s some tastes of the material we got down. These are quickly edited this from the stereo mixes I intend to use for composing. Hope you enjoy this killer stuff from Thomas!

Thomas drums sampler

We’ll see later how some of this stuff will inspire new Mr. Fastfinger music. Oh and don’t ask me what the point of that plastic bag wrapped around the tom!


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A lot of focus and energy

A lot of focus and energy went into practicing and preparing to do a Hughes & Kettner TriAmp demo at FME Metal Expo in Helsinki. I was invited there by F-musiikki, the Finnish distributor. For this demo I actually animated a full Mr. Fastfinger character animation for a new song called Thunderpantz. That was a lot of work. But I thought it’s worth it because it  is something I can definetly re-use for something fun in the future. I think I want to do a music/promo video utilising the material. Have some cool ideas of attempting to mix cartoon and real video band members together.
It also took some work to actually master all the material I wanted to do live. Thunderpantz I’ve done two times earlier live. But this time I focused a little bit more to make it happen more smoother. And the Unravel, one of my favourite new tracks was quite hard one to master actually. You will understand when you hear it. It’s always another thing to record stuff and then actually learn to play the whole thing in one go. But feels good that I can actually play this shit now :) Yes I can!

Lately the album has progressed a little bit slower. But now there will be change to focus more on it. Have loads raw ideas and now I will start composing the rest of the album.


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Update and an idea

Just got back from Germany yesterday. I go to Moder Music School to give workshops for Professional guitar class, I visit there two times a year. Was very good to spend one weekend teaching students again. I hope they got lot out of it. A lot of material and ideas were squeeezed into two days. I think I learned a lot as well!

Today I try to finish recording this song I was just writing you abou. The one I re-composed and arranged (“Hope Hope”). Rhythm guitars are there, lead guitars need to be finished. I try to do it today. Because I booked Lasse to do some Bass overdubs on this Thursday. Before that I also need to make of list of all the things we need to do with Lasse. There’s one complite song without the bass. Also little parts in many songs where I composed new guitar lines, and now the bass part need to be changed as well.
Also a keyboard overdubbing session needs to be be booked soon. It would be better to finish all current songs complitely before moving to compose new material.

On saturnday evening after the long and hard workshop day I went to hang out in the local bar.  Together with the students. Also my friend Alan Jay Reed was there. He came up with an interesting idea to be use on a composition.

brasserie_alan idea

The idea may sound finny but I really love it and am inspired of it. Big contrasts and changes!
First very slow band (perhaps a slowed down recording of the band?) backing a fast, fast guitar playing. Then everything goes oopsite. Vice versa. Fast( speeded up?) band and slow guitar. etc.
Thanks Alan! Let’s see if this turns into a composition to the next album… :)

Okay, now to work. Enjoy the day!

Mika


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Recomposing

Wow, the song I’m currently working on is turning into a major epic tune!!! Working title is silly “Hope Hope”, as it has a very positive kind of uplifting energy flow to it. The music sounds kind of like “Creatures of the Midnight” meet “Epic” but very different. There’s still plenty of work with the song, some question marks. But the direction is definetly right.

This track was originally composed last spring when I started composing new material. We worked on the raw ideas of the song together with the band. We even played it live at the Kitarasankari – concert, even though there were still many open guitar parts that I wasn’t totally satisfied with.

Drums, bass and keyboards were recorded in august exactly like the live arrangement. Since last week I’ve started working again on this song. I immidiately knew the direction of the songs was not quite the right. Sensed so much more potential with the harmonic quality of the main riff.

So I totally broke the song into pieces and started twisting and turning everything. Now things are sounding pretty different. Most of the old elements are there, but in a different light. The mellow mood has changed quite a lot. It sounds more like a little positively aggressive marching army in the world of Mr. Fastfinger. Music should always have some surprising elements in it, well this one has those.

Ofcourse because of turning the song upside down, we need to record new keyboad parts, bass parts and possibly some drum overdubs to finish this little piece. But that’s a small price to make this song really blossom!

Can’t wait to let you hear this. You’ll also need to hear the change from the original to the new arrangement. I’ll be back…


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Going hunting!

ROAAAR! We’re soon finishing the recordings of guitar tracks to the first bunch of songs. This means approx half an album worth of material. Well there are some bass and keyboard and percussion parts still to overdub. But I can ensure you, This stuff is hot and vivid! Can’t wait to get it out!

That means it will be time for composing more music. I just did this little piece of concept art. Who knows perhaps this raw image will turn into part of album art.  But anyways I think I will try to compose something that is inpired of  this image.

If you come up with themes and story ideas to inpire our compositional work. Please write us a message under the comments!


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Recording a super fast solo

Hello from our humble guitar studio. We are currently working on guitar tracks for the next Mr. Fastfinger album. Here’s Mika recording a solo for a song called “Action Beat”. This is the actual take to keep. You’re first hearing it as it sounds raw through the camera microphone and then together with the current demo mix of the song (here solo is also double tracked). String skipping (sometimes combined with tapping) seems to be the hottest technique around here :)

Unfortunately producing an action packed kick ass guitar album isn’t as fast as some of these solos are. We hope to get the album ready and released during the second half of 2011. In the mean time watch out for more material as we progress.


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The spring of new compositions

At some point of spring 2010 I started slowly composing new ideas for the next Mr. Fastfinger album. I didn’t have a crystal idea or theme for the album. But it was definelty clear that there is a need to create an action packed album filled with kick ass music. With positive energy wibe to it!


Go!

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