Now I Can Breathe

~ Techno with vocal ~ 2017-08-21

What happens when you combine elements of Old MacDonald and Amazing Grace with a techno sound and use it to write a love song?

Notes / Back story

Recently downloaded an awesome little free game on my phone called PinOut. It's like pinball, but instead of just playing on the same screen over and over, your goal is to continually push the ball forward, and the screen rolls into new areas, like the longest pinball machine in the world. If you want to check it out, it's made by Mediocre and here's a link to the site:

But the point is, everything including the soundtrack is done in a very retro style. The music is some very synthy 80's stuff, only cooler. A lot of the songs even have vocals! So, I thought I'd try to make something retro like that.

I was experimenting with some new plugins and techniques, and it turned into this song. At first it was just an instrumental with a nice melody line. Then I started making the melody instrument swoopy (have lots of portamento... sliding from note to note) and I really liked the organic feel of it.

Sooo... I rendered this instrumental version and sent it out to a few people for some feedback, and they liked it. But meanwhile, I had gotten a few ideas of some lyrics that could work, so I went back and wrote them to fit the melody I already had. Kinda backwards for me, but you know, it's good to shake things up. And as a result, you'll notice that not all the lyrics are divided neatly into rhyming stanzas of uniform length. Also there are far fewer lyrics than pretty much any of my other songs.

A couple of interesting things...

- Usually in most of the stuff I've heard, techno is all about adrenaline: Hard-pumping beats you can dance to, and usually somewhat short on words or meaning. Well, mine is not just another piece of endless, repetetive, soulless EDM. At least I hope not.

- It changes moods as the song goes on and tells a story.

- I have written hours of instrumental electronic music, but haven't put it out in public view anywhere. Why? I dunno. Most of it was written for video game soundtracks, so maybe I just haven't felt like it fit in with the 'theme' of this site, whatever that is.

- I did some different processing on my voice, such as vocoding (vocal encoding) where you use your vocal track to modify (modulate) another sound. Of course that's not new to techno... Peter Frampton popularized it years ago, before the digital age. In addition to the vocoding, I also have the melody still being played by that original swoopy sound I came up with, both in the same octave as my voice, and also an octave higher. I change the balance at various places in the song, but it's there pretty much the whole time. I pretty much never double the vocal line with instruments, but it seems to work here. I also added some heavy delay to the vocal in places. I rarely do that either.

- My vocal style and processing were rather heavily influenced by the techno band Information Society from the early 90's. They're mostly only known for one song, "Pure Energy" which has the chorus of "I wanna know what you are feeling" and featured samples from the original Star Trek TV series, such as Spock saying "Pure energy".


Oh, so lonely
No one
There to need me

I was just an outcast
Living on my own,
With an emptiness inside me
Being all alone

Here alone, there alone, everywhere a-lone, lone
Here alone, there alone, everywhere a-lone, lone
Go, gotta move, go, go, gotta move,
There is nothing here for you!

So, where were you?
I tried so hard to find someone
Someone to call my own.

(But I just couldn't do it.)

Amazing day, how sweet it was
The day that you found me.
And I am happy now because
I finally am free.

I'm free.

And I believe
With you I can learn to fly
Now I can see, I can see
You won't hold me down,
You won't hold me down,
Won't hold me down.

Now I can breathe.
Now I believe.
Now I can be.

Visitor Comments

dklvs from United States ~ 2017-11-02 20:05:49 ~ Very cool! I am not necessarily a fan of techno but I liked this. I was not expecting those type of lyrics for this sound but it works. It was fun and meaningful and interesting all at the same time. =)

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