Most of the time when I’m ideating in front of my MIDI keyboard, I’m intending to create something radio-friendly, possibly danceable, usually sing-along-able.
In cases like tonight when it’s late and I have dimmed the lights, I get inspired by an idea of what I like to call “soft beauty”.
It’s anything delicate, gentle, soothing to the senses or emotions.
The sound textures that come out of this are usually ethereal pads, heavily reverb’d lead sound, rhythmically delayed filtered percussive element, all at a tempo of 60 BPM or less. It’s a slow chord progression. It’s layered with a spacious syncopated melody that doesn’t contain a lot of notes but is more of a playful tease of a melody reflecting a delicate accent like stars dotting the night sky.
The patch I use for chords are usually soft with a light, sparkling, textured timbre. The chords themselves are hopeful and understanding. All together they’re a cushion of air and warmth creating the soft, warm bed the melody lays on.
The results can get really pretty really quick…
…they are often pretty to the point I stop making new lines of musical elements and start listening to it over and over.
I start to fall asleep to it.
Yes, I start to fall asleep to my own music before it’s finished.
Environmentally and the time I start to feel in this mood surely creates the perfect storm conducive to falling asleep.
It might not get finished at that moment but it’s reassuring to know I’m on to something if it’s lulling me to sleep already.
It’s definitely not the same experience when I make an energetic EDM track or any danceable track. That can keep me awake and have me buzzing to the break of dawn.
The interesting thing about making slow tempo music is that it becomes a sort of meditation for me. In every song-making experience, I have to be mindful of what it makes me feel… but it becomes something I’m even more mindful about at slow tempo to keep the track progressing with interesting, but not overwhelming textures.
I’m never quite sure if I want to add vocals to these tracks and make them a ballad or not. Writing poetic lyrics to these is a fun experience on its own. That comes with a bit more feeling experiences and remembering faces as my muses. Not as meditative. More imaginative inside my own head. Not analyzing the feel as if I were outside of myself.
The power to control gentleness is something I appreciate a lot… especially in my own self. It’s easy to unleash the angst and frustrating energies when people and situations are feeling fucked up.
When you can control your touch to be gentle, soft, and soothing… especially towards another person… a lot of understanding can be found. In the best cases, a lot of healing can be found. This is not strictly about physical touching. Whatever you do, if you can bring a soft touch, intimate situations can be less intimidating… like the short game and putting in golf =P
Anyways… be soft and be soothing if you can, when you can. It’s a breath of fresh air among all the loud opinions and barriers of coldness creating too much space to feel relatable and/or connected.