Like a lot of people I got really invested in Andor this year but I did not notice that Nicholas Britell had written a different version of the theme for every song until Deans sent this text.
I immediate listened to all the themes so far (at that point we were only 6 episodes in) and ranked them favorite to least favorite. And then I was like I want to try this.
Like most of my projects, there wasn’t a lot of reason or forethought put into it, just: This feels like what I should do next. (Telling friends I was writing versions of the Andor theme usually resulted in them asking: Is the show really that good? It is! But that’s not the point.) Different phrases popped into my head, like “worker drone” and “below heartbeat” and “half-assed concierto” and I used that to guide the mood of the versions I wrote.
In the end I wrote about 14 and whittled them down to 5 I liked plus an extended version of 1:
And there it is! I had a goal of releasing 3 eps this year and this vow has been successfullymet. I’m not 100% sure I have totally put this idea to bed; I may do more, but who knows, that’s a project for next year.
I’ve embedded the Spotify link up above but it’s on all the usual streaming platforms.
If I can allow myself a moment of self-criticism I don’t like some of how this album sounds and I wish I was better at mixing. If anyone has any tips/tutorials/Audacity macros I’m listening.
I have a new EP on all the usual music streaming sites. It’s 5 songs of what sounds to me like lo-fi adult contemporary.
I guess that’s the whole update, but here are some process notes for anyone who might be interested!!!
➡️ I’m still using GarageBand. I understand that there’s other professional music software packages that are “better” or “do more” but “free” remains a big thing with me. And anyways I still have plenty to learn about it. I watch YouTube videos to learn how to do whatever thing I can’t figure out, and otherwise just poke around and experiment a bunch. I don’t feel like I’m done learning how to get it to do things, and I definitely don’t feel like the reach of my musical ambitions (lmao) exceeds Garageband’s grasp.
➡️ I am obsessive about capturing ideas in the voice memos app on my phone. I keep it on my home screen and any time I am humming a random tune/idea I sing it into the app. (For those of you who have not shared significant space with me IRL, I am continually humming/singing/whistling something and it is VERY annoying to those around me. I have been like this my whole life. I remember my best friend in 1st grade saying to me You sure always got a tune going, don’t you.)
➡️ Through this process I’ve learned that the tunes I have running through my mind translate very poorly to musical themes. I invariably have to scale them back, simplify them, make them less “note-y” in order for them to make sense in the context of this chill understated music I’m trying (failing?) to create
➡️ Combining chords from different songs I learn online (via Domi & Dilla transcriptions on YouTube, for instance) + melodies I wake up humming + found sounds I record into my phone (a weird voicemail; a scene from a movie) = a very satisfying process for making music.
➡️ A few months ago I watched S1 of Painting with John and he threw away one line in the midst of an unrelate anecdote that really stuck with me: “I don’t know where this came from but I always try to go with the first thing – with the paintings, with everything else.” He doesn’t explore or unpack this idea any further but to me it speaks to something in the moody dreaminess of his art – not overthinking things, not letting reason overpower emotion, just letting ideas sit and exist in order to see where they take you. I applied the idea of the first thing to this album to prevent a lot of unnecessary decision making (should this be longer; should this have another section; why are the songs named after fake pharmaceuticals; etc etc). Creative constraints continue to be essential to my ever actually finishing anything.
➡️ (I always think of Chinese Democracy as the ultimate example of trying to create something with absolutely no constraints. No offense.)
➡️ Here’s a picture Anil sent me from when he made his family listen to this album on a car trip: