Something different with the OP-1: New Indie Alt-Pop Song

Hey there fam,

Just released today: I wanted to share this track with y’all.

It’s my proudest achievement with the OP1 so far.

My growing love for sampling & experimental recording, like slowing down / speeding up of the tape reel, came together at a time when I was feeling about as low as it gets. After skipping church & laying down a beat with a diad based progression on the Teenage Engineering OP-1 (think it was voltage or digital synth), sitting in a park and laying down a stream of consciousness verse, then sifting through public domain sample libraries, it was clear, the only way out of my depression was to… SWIM.

You can listen on youtube too <3

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Yes!! Love this track!
So much of this resonates with me. The depression thing, but also the indie pop on OP-1 thing!
I’m finding a lot of joy in making sounds on the OP-1 that don’t end up sounding like lo fi hiphop or techno or synthwave etc… Haven’t finished anything yet (partly due to aforementioned depression) but I love some of the sounds I’m discovering in this little guy!

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Thats a great sounding song! I like the vocal sound in particular. Lots of cool stuff going on.

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@Lawr @ssam

Thank you folks!

Your encouragement really means a lot to me <3

This is great! Can I ask a bit more about the workflow? Loops on op1, then assembled and vocals added in a DAW? Or more done within the op1 itself? Really refreshing to hear something completely different on the instrument. Shows how versatile it can be. Well done :clap:

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That’s really great! Congrats!

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I’m a fan. Keep them coming :heart:

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(Sorry for the delay in getting to this. I started writing this up 24 hours ago!)

Thankyou! (& @bau & @sonorafilms) Yes of course I love talking workflow :open_hands:

Started with chords. Think it was voltage synth, with simple diads (2 notes at a time). Just found something that felt emotive to me. Next came a basic beat. Then I sang some kind of backing vocal thing “alright now, alright now”, which ended up very low in the mix, but you can hear if you strain after the drop at 1:11 & then again from1:34, I think it’s louder in the right. I made it soft in the end cause the mix was pretty dense. Then I sang what became the two “verses” (I use quotations cause the song structure is unusual, and so I’m not sure those parts are technically verses). One of my fav ways to make vocals lately is just to sing random sounds, and figure out the words later. Often times the words I settle on are almost identical to the “gibberish” I sang off the cuff…

Sorry, I’ll post this and then get back here real soon to detail the next part of the production process, I’m 3 minutes behind in my 1st hour of music production time.

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OK, I’m back - sorry this is taking me a while -

Next I imported the tracks into my DAW (ableton) via the disk function. I did some tom-foolery with a parallel ducker expander from the drum loop to move the sound around the stereo and frequency field rhythmically - I saved that effect rack & it’s come in handy since. I added an ableton wavetable patch which I really loved how it complemented the OP-1 chords - it’s a preset which I’m not sure if I even changed it - I try not to change a preset when I’m using them unless I have something specific I hear, which I seek to change. I think I ended up adding an 808 boom underneath the wavetable bass to really fill out the subs more - then I spent a long time taming the subs which were way too overpowering on some systems.

I love old audio samples so I went digging on archive.org and found an old video about learning to swim, which seemed to sit just right. I can’t remember if I wrote the lyric about swimming first, but I think I did.

I recorded the main vocals with izotope nectar for some tuning, and formant stuff, and I also sang the same part up and down in an octave, but I resampled the beat at that point, turned warp to repitch, and alt+shift dragged the edges of the clip to speed it up, and sang it in the new pitch and speed (I think I sped it up for the higher octave to add urgency, which was then slowed down to get back to the original pitch - the pitch matches as long as you drag back the same amount <3 - I think the lower octave was slowed down, so the lower pitch got a higher & brighter formant when I corrected it)… The oohs for the backing vocals I just sang in and stacked a few takes until it sounded like a group, and then did a little edit to a one or two of them, but no pitch correction, just an aggressive band pass filter.

The toy piano effect was created by a little endeavour to resample an old toy piano I found at my grandma’s house. I sampled each key at three different velocities, and then sliced them all, auto tuned then (pitch was way off) created a multi sampled patch, using the key zones in sampler in ableton. Pretty happy with the end result, it sounds so shitty, but at least no else has it (does that make it more valuable? ahahhaa, perceived value is worth something I guess :man_shrugging:)

There is an electric guitar part in the 3rd and final drop of the song after the toy piano solo part which may be of some interest - I played the part through my blue sky reverb, into my Count To Five, then through split it to stereo and sent one half through my OP-1 to use the phone effect on the master. The Count to five has a freeze effect, and I think I put the verb up to it’s max which sustains forever. I don’t know how much of it you can hear in the final mix, but I tuned the phone effect on the op-1 to what I think was a 5th up. I added the samples of the waves at the end, I’m not sure if I ended up using some that I got myself, or if I ended up using some I downloaded, but I definitely used two ocean samples stacked cause I wanted it to sound overwhelming and just washed way into oblivion.

Another cool thing which I learned how to do was to sample my voice autotuned to a single note, then using simpler with warp on, and legato / glide, I could trigger the phrase and change the pitch like an instrument. That was really fun, and you can hear it in the 2nd drop with the “swim up in these blues” line being repeated ad nauseum with an evolving melody.

Not sure what else there is to say, other than in the first drop, I spent a really long time trying to get it to sit right - in the end, I completely re-edited the drums and it finally started to sound like it was going to work when I added the trap style high hats - pushing them just the right amount out of time was the trick for my ear to be happy.

I’m really stoked that a few of you guys here on the TE forums are enjoying this one <3 I love my OP-1 & I’ve long been striving to work it into my songs effectively.

Thanks for your patience in my reply.

:computer::candle::performing_arts::notes:

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Thanks for the thorough explanation, that’s really useful. Top job!

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My pleasure <3

Hey man, just gave this a listen. That’s a really great track! Thanks for sharing the production notes too.

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Thank you! The local radio station here has played it a couple of times, so that’s pretty cool!

How’s Helsinki? Here in Sydney, they’re slightly easing up the laws so on Friday, we’re having some friends visit legally.

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Cool, congrats!

Helsinki’s been pretty much closed, but now they announced that things will be gradually opened up during the next month. Weird times.