Okay, see, I told myself I wasn’t going to do this, I wasn’t going to play with Logic Express, I was just going to slog through the lessons in the book.
But I played.
Years and years ago, like ten or fifteen, I amused myself writing a couple of little new age-y pieces in a halfhearted attempt to come up with enough for an album. My model was Ray Lynch’s Celestial Breakfast, a perky little chart-topper from 1986. I thought, hey, I have a gift for cute melodies that stick in your head, and I can certainly noodle around with heavily-reverbed synthesizer sounds in a lazy, tonal idiom, so why not give it a shot?
My first effort is still one of my favorite pieces. It’s called “Stars on Snow,” and I decided that would be the title of the CD as well. (I even had an album cover designed at one point.)
Anyway, this was back on my little black Mac notebook, a PowerBook 190 I think it was, running OS 7.x. My sequencer of choice was EZâ€¢Vision by Opcode, a wonderful and simple little program that I really miss some days.
Anyway, EZâ€¢Vision stopped functioning when we hit Mac OS 8; Opcode went out of business, and that was a dead end. I had the good sense to export many of my pieces as MIDI files, so I could import them into my newer programs, like Finale or Intuem (which I bought because of its resemblance to EZâ€¢Vision, at least in its earlier incarnations).
Last night, I imported the MIDI file of “Stars on Snow” into Logic Express and used my newfound prowess to assign some new age instruments to it, and then I was addicted. I changed the bass instrument four times. I explored different bell sounds for the upper voice. Where was that string pad I knew had to be lurking on at least one of the synths?
And then there was the tweaking: all those little “Channel Strip Settings” can actually smooth out a sound, add a reverb, drop it an octave. And before that, even, in the synth itself, you can spend hours making each and every instrument change. It was fun.
So add another project to the summer, along with Day in the Moonlight (which I promise I will continue to work on, Mike, you selfish bastard): the return of the Stars on Snow album.
It’s not finished yet, because I have a lot of tweaking of the original MIDI data to do, but I present to you the first track of Stars on Snow: “Stars on Snow.”