Ska-jazz with sultry female vox from Portonova

Please listen to and comment a new song from my band Portonova on Soundcloud.
We’re playing jazz with all kind of influences: ska, hiphop, house.

‘Gonna See My Baby’ is skajazz, based on an AABA-jazz chord scheme.

The song started as a sketch in Ableton Live. Drums were recorded on location using a Pro Tools set.
We’ve recorded the other instruments and vocals using Cubase 6 and did the mix with Cubase too. We’ve used the EQ’s, compressors and reverbs from Cubase and some PSP stuff (Vintage Warmer, Xenon, NobleQ).



Some people say the link is not working. This one should:

or this one:

I got to it with the new link. Interesting! Well done, well mixed. Interesting voice. I like the concept of what you’re doing here.

I loved! Very funny piece! :slight_smile:

I also liked a lot of “Wonderful day”. This one is very cool!


Hello Makumbaria and Early21,

Thanx for your kind comments. Really appreciate. :slight_smile:

Lol, wasn’t really expecting this style xD Quite an eclectic combination, but it combines nicely. First of all, all the instruments sound bright and full. Might be some minor tweaks to make, you should know that of your own self-criticism more than anything but I thought it all sounded crisp and clear.

The melody and chords worked really nicely as did the bridges and the solo section. The vocal style sounded very reminiscent of idk 50’s era or something like that. Can’t really pinpoint but it worked well and was enticing. However, I had trouble discerning the actual words that were being sung. That’s my main criticism. Although her voice does have a lot of character and refined vibrato and portamento technique and that makes it listenable.

Listened to a couple of the other tracks also ‘I Want You Here’ sounded really great. Solid melody (great sense of melody in fact in both the composition and the solo sections,) harmony, combination and performance of instruments and vocal. Almost had me tapping my foot, I enjoyed it a lot. ‘Since I Met You’ was just great all round, really easy listening and relaxing. The DJ elements worked fantastic and actually were enjoyable to hear, that’s aq sentence I’ve never said before and one I couldn’t have ever imagined saying. Also, one of the rare occasions that I’ll ‘follow’ as a fan to enjoy listening to the music. Do you have album(s) released? Thanks for posting and sharing, keep up the cool stuff and I hope you post more. :sunglasses:

Ps. You’re actually from a Dutch city that I will be visiting this Summer or near the end of the year to see a World of Warcraft guy I’ve played with for some years now.

Remove # from the link and; it works. Not quite sure how that bug happens, but I’ve never had that bug when linking SoundCloud.

First thanks for your well written post. Really appreciate. :smiley:

Well, we’re not native speakers, but try to do our best. Is it any better in the other songs? :slight_smile:

Not yet, we’ve started 16 months ago. I have to compose a complete repertoire for my band. First time I do ‘jazz’. :slight_smile: But I’ll keep on posting.

You’re welcome. Let me know. Nijmegen is fantastic during the summer festival in July.

I’ve listened to your music and was really impressed. Are you classical trained?

Kind regards,


Oh, I should have mentioned I listen to songs other people do and they can understand the words where I can’t, so some of it may be on my part :stuck_out_tongue: Her voice has great character, precision and clarity in tone and those things aren’t heard that often, not often enough at least. I’m thoroughly enjoying listening to your music, and that is the biggest compliment I can give and that I’d hope to receive about my own music.

I’ll not hijack your thread so I’ll be as terse as possible in response to your question, which knowing myself is still long. :open_mouth: I could just answer “no” but that is very boring :smiley: I come from a very poor family, no one in my family ever owned any musical instrument and as far as culture goes there wasn’t any musical upbringing of any kind. I simply didn’t listen to music until I was around 12-13. I played video games and read books instead when I wasn’t outside :stuck_out_tongue:

I got my first instrument when I was 15 and a half for xmas, a £30 second hand electric guitar with an amp that barely had any distortion and a Metallica tab book and I was incredibly happy making my annoying 4 note alternating solos (lol.) I sat and looked at the numbers, learning a few things from guitar magazines along the way, and started learning that way. Practicing matching the sound I was making to the sound on the CD. This probably came in handy as a starting point in my skill to aurally analyze orchestrations and the various layers in music. I did receive around 15x 1 hour music theory sessions free from college, but I barely understood how I got the answers right. I passed the grade 5 theory exam by 1 percent, without really understanding the application of the theory in music performance or composition. In that respect it was more like mathematics to me.

When I was 17 I saw Lord of the Rings and for some reason I heard orchestra music in a new way, in total awe. Although, to this day I still do not enjoy even a little bit listening to the likes of Bach, Mozart or Beethoven. I do, however, enjoy the vivid and remarkable colour of orchestration and harmony from the Romantic period. That has always fascinated me. Early Classical music evokes no response in me, it doesn’t connect with me in any kind of way. So anyway, at the point of seeing, or hearing Lord of the Rings rather (although I do love the movies,) I decided I wanted to try to write my own orchestra music. My very first composition at the age of 17 was done purely in notation software and featured 1st violins, 2nd violins (not even correctly scored the 1st violins overlapped and played lower notes) and a flute. I just kept listening to film music such as; Harry Potter, Conan the Barbarian and my aural skills to identify orchestration got better over time. With each composition (they were only around 1 minute long and similar to the Final Fantasy 7 music which is the other half of my initial inspiration) I added more instruments and as expected just through practice the orchestrations naturally became more refined, coherent and pleasing to listen to. Although until I was aged 23 I think I didn’t know what a DAW or sample libraries were.

A friend prompted me to find some better sounds and I came across East West Quantum Leaps Symphonic Orchestra Gold, which helped me progress as the increased realism in sounds brought my orchestration to new heights. I’ve felt I’ve always had a knack for creating solid melodies (although I think harmony is something that takes more time to develop and almost definitely requires studying theory/chords or learning so many songs that you develop an ear for harmony/voice leading that way.) But orchestration is an art by itself, as the orchestration genius Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov wrote “To orchestrate is to create, and this cannot be taught.”

It’s only really been in the last 2 years that I’ve looked at the Hollywood Strings product manual and a few tutorials and really began catching my productions/midi editing skills up to a similar standard of orchestration and focused on it. I’ve watched violin tutorial Youtube videos showing the various techniques, knowing the names does help with composing, but knowing how a musician performs their instrument in greater detail helps you to get the sample libraries to sound more realistic. I still have some way to go but I’m happy that I feel I progress.

Anyway, just last week I’ve bought my first jazz books. One which I am enjoying is ‘Berklee Jazz Piano’ by Ray Santisi. I feel my weakest area now is my ability to progress harmonically in my music and with any genre of music I know this will help. It covers practical techniques too, one of which says to practice alternating notes of the arpeggios with fingers 1 3 5 2 4 and repeat etc, and mix up the combinations to develop muscle memory. I took the same approach when I practiced guitar so learning a second instrument is definitely easier if you applied good learning techniques in the first. Jazz is also a genre that I’ve never really listened to, occasionally heard the odd excerpt of music that I enjoyed but I’m finally starting to listen to it more, learn it more and enjoy it.

So to sum up I’m almost all self-taught through practicing, although I’ve read a couple of theory book and orchestration books over these years. I’m 26 years old at the moment.

Likewise I’d like to ask you the same question about how you learned music and got into the particular styles of music you write/perform and what kind of books you read, lessons you received and songs you learned/studied. The songs really are great and the sophistication in the chord progressions, voice leading and harmonies in this kind of music fascinates me and it’s out of my reach at the moment but I’m trying to learn it :smiley:

Very impressive you have learned all that skills by self teaching. You’ve got the right sounds, but it is more important that you clearly know how to use them. Our vocalist was impressed as well.

About myself: I started in the eighties as a new wave guitarist (somewhere between Robert Smith and the Edge). I was attracted by their unusual way of guitar playing then. Later I learned about (basic) chord theory and scales. In the nineties our manager encouraged me to write commercial powerpop songs and some people thought my songs were good. Record companies weren’t interested though. :wink:

Then I discovered Portishead, triphop and drum ‘n’ bass. Until 2011 I made that kind of music. It learned me how to produce and use programs like Cubase. But it didn’t do much for my songwriting skills.

In the spring of 2011 our DJ suggested to play jazz, because that was more fitting to my age. :slight_smile: After a few months of studying and trying I’ve made Careless In The Sun, Wonderful Day, Mr Sloane and Take It Slow. I used to dislike jazz when I was young. How very shortsighted I was! This music is so rich.

The songs more or less write themselves. The chord schemes are so rich that I automatically hear melodies when playing them. And of course I have the privilege to work with some great musicians and an amazing vocalist. 75% of the sax you hear is improvisation (he never plays it the same twice), the other 25% of the sax are my arrangements.

It helps me a lot studying the Realbook of jazz standards. See how the great composers dit it and what kind of chord progressions they use. It’s not as ‘simple’ as a blues scheme, and there’s much more variation, but I can see some schemes returning.

Practice, practice, practice! I still have a lot to learn with orchestration and stringing more complex chords/voice leading together which is why I’ve bought the jazz books and started learning with piano to improve my understanding of harmony overall which will of course help with every genre of composition.

Very interesting to hear how your musical journey has progressed. Would be interesting to hear the powerpop haha :smiley:

Yeah, jazz definitely takes some time to acquire a taste for it. I’ve liked the smooth voice leading and overall sound in your songs. But the Mile’s Davis and fiddly solos, or any kind of what I call “noisy” jazz still doesn’t appeal to me. From 15-17 when I was in a very closed minded “metal” frame of mind I actually thought orchestra music was boring and crappy :smiley: Although anything that didn’t have virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen style solos and proficiency I deemed as boring and not worth listening to back then :stuck_out_tongue: How ironic that orchestra is the thing I’d end up spending so much of my time and life doing.

Yeah, the smooth and catchy chord progressions and voice leading draws me in with your songs. I should have also mentioned that I could hear the lyrics a lot clearer in another song, was mainly this ska one that I had trouble with. Each and every one of the musicians that you work/perform with, including yourself, are all very talented. As a group you really do have my admiration.

I can’t stand blues, country, rap, dubstep, screamo (emo but the screaming vocal kind,) and the extreme death metal stuff. I like, at very minimum, a small selection of pretty much any other genre including orchestra, jazz, trance, DnB and metal. Although my main love is orchestra music, specifically modern stuff with Disney being my favourite. Alan Menken <3 Possibly my favourite composer. John Williams, Nobuo Uematsu and Thomas Bergersen are also extremely close.

Who are some of your favourite jazz composers/artists? I’d like to build a larger listening repertoire of similar stuff to your own that is easy to relax too. I don’t often listen to orchestra music these days though or at the least I try to listen to the opposite style to which I am currently writing.

:blush: a black page in my history book…

:sunglasses: Thank you! :slight_smile:

I’ll check them out. Probably, I know a lot of their work, but I only know Zimmermann and Howard Shore by name (I’m a big LOTR fan too).

To get a feeling for our ‘modern jazz’ approach I listened to Dutch artists like Caro Emerald and Gare du Nord, the Swedisch samplists from Koop and German band Jazzanova (Together with ‘old love’ Portishead responsible for our name Portonova).
And of course my first inspiration to combine jazz and dance: St. Germain.

Nowadays I listen to originals like Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Julie London (with the great Barney Kessel on guitar). I still avoid the scat stuff from Ella and Sarah, but that still leaves a lot of great songs.

Truly some of the most fun and interesting compositions I have heard in a while. The vocalist has so much unique character, you might have said this already but are the compositions collaborations? Love the mixs the placement of the instruments is great, old school; stereo mixes :slight_smile: Listened to all tunes and Guitar, sax, Keys, drums are great! congratulations really wonderful… Cabaret music

Thanx, I’m really flattered.

I wrote most of it (chordschemes, arrangements) and I always do the vocals together with the vocalist.
Most of the time I’ve got an idea of a hook or melodie, but we work it out together, since she’s got a far better voice and adds new ideas.
The song ‘Since I Met You’ I wrote together with the DJ. He has developped a new revolutionary scratch device to scratch melodies. The synthsolo is actually one realtime scratched and pitched synthtone.

I’ve tried to simulate a real band line up like they did on old jazz records. Old Skool indeed. You’re the first one to notice (or at least write it down)

As in the movie with Liza Minelli? :slight_smile:

Not my kinda thing but certainly appreciate how good this is…respect !!Kevin

Thanx Shadowfax :slight_smile: