Frozen from my Temporal Arc album - track by track breakdown

Frozen by John Koch-Northrup

A friend asked me to break down my track "Frozen" and send him the original raw tracks.   I dug these out from my archive cdr's back from 2000 - and sent them - and here's my off the cuff comments on each track.  I thought the community might get a kick out of these - so sharing here! 


Frozen is on my album "Temporal Arc" which is literally days/weeks away from rerelease.  :-)



You asked about the meaning of the song.  In this case the song came first and after working with it and living with it "Frozen" seemed to fit the music.  Frozen in the cold sense... not the emotional sense.  A lot of my songs have some element to them that's kind of unique to that one song - this one has two - the absolutely mutilated guitar part - and the way the 'lead' line (for lack of a better term) was recorded.


I've given you the entire song in it's basic track elements - what you're not getting is how they actually appear in the final song.  I was working in Sonic Foundry Vegas 1.0 (maybe 2.0) - at the time - and I tend to work with audio recordings not loops - although there are a couple of elements that are more like loops.   In Vegas I've applied volume changes, EQ, panning, reverb - other effects - all controlled by envelopes...


Ok - I'll bore you with a track by track breakdown... ;-)


DRUMS - "drums rebirth take 4.wav"


Typical way for me recording a drum track is to create a few patterns in a drum machine (the old "rebirth" app in this case) - and then record the drums "live" to stereo routed through  my mixer, hardware effects, and feedback loops.  I'm changing the drum patterns, the volumes of drum parts, how much feedback or delay or reverb ...  I often have a feedback loop to the delay and a feedback loop to the reverb so I can control very tightly just how much delay and reverb individually or together or a controlled feedback way...   I play effects almost like instruments...    Because this says "take 4" in it - I'm going to assume I didn't quite like the first 3 takes - and I bet I did a 5 and 6 take after and decided 4 had the best feel - the best blend of planned changes and improv - happy accidents and solid changes.


BACKGROUND - "first jam guitar gappersnipper down octave trimmed.wav"


Lol - there's a funny track name.   First off - the guitar is from a live jam of my playing bass, a friend on drums, and a  friend from Champaign playing guitar.   I took a sample of his guitar playing from our multitracked jams.  He's a master of the echoplex - basically "loop" style playing like Robert Fripp / Frippertronics.   I took the sample which I think was maybe a minute - and stretched it out to around 17 minutes - lowering it down - using the gapper snipper which cuts at intervals and separates the sound - kind like staccato ...  that "pulsing" feeling in the background through the track?  That's this ...  there's almost nothing left of Tim's guitar at all.   It's been so mutilated with the effects in the title as well as some distortion and fuzz and reverb and whatever else.  I think the 'decimator' was used as well.. ;-)    Because his original had some nice changes - you feel a flow to this throughout the piece even though I've stretched it beyond all recognition.  


LEAD LINE - "track 5 recording 1.wav"


Ok - this is literally one single note held down for the entire flippin' track.  All of the pitch changes you're hearing are not 'pitch' but harmonics - which ones are emphasised by the filter in my synth.   I routed the filter to my joystick on my synth (a Korg DSS-1 from 1987ish) and I am riding that joystick the entire track.   I've never done this prior or sense - this is truly unique to this track.  I think it ended up working really well - I don't know what inspired me to do it - but I programmed that patch from scratch and did it.  Notice this is the first (and probably only) take.


MINOR APPEARANCE 1 - "guitar mellow loop gappersnipper.wav"


Another edit of the guitar line - that pops in now and then.  The raw track is just that - raw.  In the song - there's a fade in and fade out - there's panning in the stereo fiel - I might be adding reverb or EQ.  


MINOR APPEARANCE 2 - "guitar warring the sun god.wav"


Ha!  I have some really oddly named samples / tracks...  same as above...

That's it - that's the whole song.



Views: 20

Tags: music

Comment by el culto on April 19, 2011 at 2:29pm
Very nice track with a great groove! But IMO too long - it looses power just by the lenght. If it would be my music i would compress it (from the point of lenght) to the "essence".
Comment by John K-N on April 19, 2011 at 2:35pm

Great comment - and oddly enough - after my 7 year hiatus... my last two tracks have been around 3 minutes and 4 minutes each...   Sometimes I really like to stretch out - and sometimes I like to say what I want to say and get out quickly...



John Koch-Northrup - A Dream of Awakening - from sleepMODE by Relaxed Machinery
11 Sleeping by John Koch-Northrup by feedbackloop
Comment by Tomorrow's Man on April 20, 2011 at 11:45am

Fantastic!  This is the kind of thing I'm always utterly curious about; not only to see if "I'm doing thing right" but also to learn clever tricks that feel right at home on the fringe of left field.  

I sense another great "tag" thread could come of this....

Comment by John K-N on April 20, 2011 at 1:43pm

Thanks for listening and commenting - *greatly* appreciated!


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