"Sweet L.A." and "Little Sister"

"Sweet L.A." and "Little Sister"

Little Sisters, saxophones, sticky tape, and hope.

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Let me know in the comments which songs you'd like to hear about next month and ask me any questions you like. Was there too much technical stuff in this month's article? Let me know if some of it seemed a little obtuse or boring.

Wasteland Soul.
No.
It wasn't.

Succinct and punchy for you :P

I also want to say thanks to you guys for loving the songs that I also love and for constantly encouraging me to make more adventurous and interesting music.

And that's why we buy your songs! Mainly so you don't die of starvation or trivial things like that. But mostly it's because dead people don't write music as good!

Almost makes me want to go back and play L.A. Noire again. If only the controls, puzzles, and well, basically everything except the concept wasn't so horrible. Hell, even the songs playing on the radios were not as enjoyable as Sweet L.A., and most of the time I just turned the damned things off.

Hmm, what song to request... how about... Mind of the Bat, or Redemption Blues?

I'd love to listen to how The New Black Gold came to be.

I love these explanations, hope you keep them going.

I love reading these articles, it almost makes me wish I had some musical talent. Or any talent at all.

As for the next articles song's....what about Redemption Blues? Thats my favourite of your songs, but thats not saying much as they're all great!

Now knowing all that, I feel I must go back an listen to those again just so I can pick up what you're talking about. I was wondering how many layers your songs have, and now I know, and that's pretty commendable considering you do this all to yourself.

I actually liked the technical aspects of this article, or maybe I'm just boring, and it helps me understand your song structure and atmosphere a little bit better.

Hmm.... how about 'Duke You Used to be Cool', 'Trip to Vegas' or 'The New Black Gold'?

I am loving these articles! Most of my creative endeavours revolve around creative writing, but I also love music and lately I've tried to analyse music with the same rigor that I can analyse a movie or a book. My feeble amateur skills have gotten me some of the way with music in general but hearing you analyse your songs like this is amazing! That thing about the water effects in "little sister" had me blown away, as I was looking for ways to describe exactly that when I heard and tried to analyse the song but couldn't.

Oh! And I would very much like to hear more about "Redemption blues" (IMO your best song) or "The new black gold"

New Black Gold please.

It's my favorite song, and I would love to know how it came to be what it is.

Little Sister was one of those songs that had to grow on me. I didn't much like it the first time i listened to it, but after a while i started noticing those subtle things and came to love it.

As for your writing i'll only say that you're one of the few writers whose 4 page articles i actually bother reading :P

Oh, and "Trip to Vegas" slightly different tune on that one as well, and "New Black Gold" simply because i haven't been able to get it out of my head ever since it was released!

I love reading these more specifically about how the lyrics came together. Next I would love to see New Black Gold and Redemption Blues.

I love reading these. Before when I used to listen to music it rarely occurred to me just how many different layers of sound there are in there, and props to you for being able to make it sound top notch with such limited equipment and software. Just goes to show that you can have all the top of the line tech you want, but it counts for nothing if there's no talent or creativity underneath it all.

Can you also do one of these for 'The New Black Gold', 'Redemption Blues', and 'Wasteland Soul' soon (not necessarily all at once though). :)

I've been waiting for this second Encore. I was not disappointed.

On "Sweet L.A.", that saxaphone was sexy as hell, good buddy. And that piano went well to boot. If you do decide to do another song like this, bring those musicians with you. You guys make a great team.

"Little Sister": I took your advise to listen to the song while reading this. Great idea, Gavin. Right when I read about a certain feature, it kicked in audiablly (or however you spell that). Also, 25-30 of you?! dear God, man, I thought it was only 3-4 more!

Hey, we support your multiple genres. It's great that an artist can have that kind of freedom. Hell, I loved Big Ten on YouTube. Sounds like a Mexican Standoff of epic proportions (which I guess was your goal)! And it works beautifully! Look at the amount of fans you got, man! We support you,Gavin.

As for the songs for next edition, I suggest either Redemption Blues, The New Black Gold, and/or Santiago's Lament. Those are some of my favorite from you.

I always love it when you try different genres and having the extra benefit of two additional musicians in Sweet L.A. was awesome. As for your blues voice, trust me, I've heard worse. As a huge Jazz fan (guilty of being the son of a Jazz musician) I would definitely love to hear more in the future but I know it's really dependent on the title.

You've managed to impress with what I now know are pretty slim recording resources. The fact your stuff always delivers really speaks to your talent Gavin and I hope you can get some more sophisticated equipment soon.

Please keep writing these encores, they've so far been a good read every time :)

Invaluable information for those wishing to study production and engineering, I must say. Sidechain compression is a difficult one to explain.

I always love it when musicians go into depth explaining the elements of a song. Some people say it can take apart the magic of a song, but I find it helps me pick out things I've never heard before. Sure enough, I'm listening to Sweet LA and Little Sister and finding all sorts of hidden gems. Keep it up, squire.

As for questions, I'd like to ask, do you have a limit on how heavy or discordant you can go or are you just trusted to keep it reasonably listenable?

Let me know in the comments which songs you'd like to hear about next month and ask me any questions you like. Was there too much technical stuff in this month's article? Let me know if some of it seemed a little obtuse or boring.

Hmm... I'd like to hear a bit about Trip to Vegas and/or Redemption Blues, if possible.

In regards to questions:
- How long does it take, on average, for you to get a song just the way you like it? (After having recorded the vocals, guitar, arranged the drums, etc.)
- Do you have a favourite game at present, and if so, have you written a song about it?
- What do you usually use as the basis for the songs you write? I get the impression that most of them focus on a specific character in a game rather than the game itself... and I like that.

I wouldn't mind reading about Mind of the Bat and The New Black Gold. Loved the article by the way.

Gav,I love your Encore articles. They provide beautiful insight to your proccess. Just thought I'd put it out there.

Picks for next month:
-The New Black Gold (Every great commodity's been sold~)
-The Ballad of Clay Carmine (Boy,get yer head down!~)
-Mining All Day Long (Hey,hey,hey-a! I've been mining all day long!~)
-Mind of the Bat (Riddle me this,now,and riddle me that~)
-Wheatley's Song (I am not a moron,you fostered balloon!~)
-Necromorph Soup (It's a real easy recipie;just giblets,guts,and goop~)

Those songs I simply love,and I've always wanted to know what your thoughts were on them. Also,how the HELL did you make Dead Space sound so HAPPY!?

Little Sister is one of my favourites, and I'm probably going to download 'The New Black Gold' soon. Such talent, Gavin! Thank you for sharing.

I have to say, I love your stuff. I've been hooked since "Age of the Dragon" way back whenever that was. There are very few artists out there where I can listen to their entire catalogue and not get bored with it.

As far as songs I'd like to hear about? "Fire In Your Hole" because it's one of my all time favourite driving songs - if I hear it come on in the car, it makes me wanna put my foot down. Also, what about "Age of the Dragon?" It was your first song that was posted as your regular series here, so what went into your debut? Did you find it more stressful?

Also, in general, are you a fan of cars? I often tend to think of songs in terms of what sort of driving soundtrack they'd belong on. For instance, "Fire In Your Hole" always makes me feel like speeding, while I'd listen to something like "Wasteland Soul" during a long, relaxing cruise down the highway.

Finally, have you considered doing a song based on the Jak and Daxter series? I haven't the foggiest idea how it would sound, but I'd love to hear your take on it.

Other than that, keep doing what you're doing. You've got a fantastic sound and listening to your stuff is always a treat. One thing though: could you release a digital version of your album? I don't even remember when I last bought a physical CD, but on both iTunes and Zune the songs are all split up. A digital compilation would be greatly appreciated!

Allow me a horrendous pun
"Like a Baus"
Thank you.

All of your songs are excellent and these Encore articles are great to see how you do it. Even if I don't originally like a song it grows on me till I've memorized and and am waltzing around the kitchen singing them! Make more!

I have a shorter attentionspan anyway so don't worry,it's not you ;)

It's good to know that the stuff that I have differs not so much from yours. I also have a fender squire and an old amplier (minus the strings and hope part.) But I hardly ever play. Didn't quite have the talent or the time to keep at it.

So maybe for next month, how exactly did you teach yourself to play? I know you mentioned somewhere you did it by ear only. How do you do that? And how do you know what an A, B, D, E or G (not even sure if those are the actual notes) is?

Whenever I read notescript I get confused on where to place the fingers. As in there are a lot of frets to push and only 4 or 5 lines notes can be placed on. Tabs is more clear, but it doesn't make me feel like I'm reading note scripture :P

Irridium:
One thing though: could you release a digital version of your album? I don't even remember when I last bought a physical CD, but on both iTunes and Zune the songs are all split up. A digital compilation would be greatly appreciated!

I'll be doing bundle 'album' offers at the end of the year :)

Seems like everyone's been saying it, but "Redemption Blues" and "The New Black Gold" would be my picks for analysis next please! My two favourites by far!

Loving the music and the new column, keep it up!

I like the way you write these Gavin. Love how you explained compression and filtersweeping with saying "Like in dance music". Really shows you know what you are doing.

As for what I'd like to see next, I'd like to see an in-depth on New Black Gold. You really captured something in that tune.

Loving the gear list by the way. Shows you don't need to best of the best to make killer tunes.

Keep up this good work both in the music and in Encore!

And that's it ! True artist doesn't need fancy stuff to create.
Don't stop man. :)

Encore for New Black Gold!

"Sounds like Nine Inch Nails." There's nothing bad with that.
The biggest shock for me here was the 90s children Yamaha keyboard. I never would have guessed, but that's kind of awesome. You make great music using minimal gear.

I'm not big on Jazz, so in my eyesSweet L.A. isn't the best thing you've ever done, but even I will admit that the Saxophone is pretty damn saxxy, the piano track (the only instrument I can play, though badly) works brilliantly and your voice, mercy me, is there honestly not a single bit of tuning in there? It's so damn smooth.

Now Little Sister is one of my favorites. I just love the buildup, layer after layer of tracks taking into the song, growing louder and bolder and faster until you resolve it all. That palpable tension in the chorus, it may just be the strongest and most expressive bit I've heard from you. And I dreaaaaaaaam of the seeaaaaaa I'll have you know that I sing that bit almost daily now.

And yeah, I don't think I need to add my voice to the ring, but I'd like to see New Black Gold next. I like the pace, and your emotional vocal track.

Damn, I really lack the vocabulary to talk about music.

DeadpanLunatic:
and your voice, mercy me, is there honestly not a single bit of tuning in there? It's so damn smooth.

Not one bit - There is no processed tuning on any of my songs, if I screw up a line I will do more takes until I get it right!

This reminded me of how damn good Little Sister sounds... you should have put links in the article, so everyone could go and listen to those songs even faster!
But yeah, Little Sister is definitely one of my favorites, sounds just so ... can't really describe it. But I'm loving it nonetheless!
For the next one, I'd like to see The New Black Gold.

Also, I'm really amazed that you get your things done so well with so little equipment. I thought you had a big studio-ish place where you can do all kinds of musical wonders. But you can make great music with what you have right now? That's downright amazing.

 

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