The Ark Ship

New track that features a real upright bass supplied by Jon. Part of the “Soundtrack for the End of Civilization” series. Guitars are by me. The rest is midi. Hope to corner Spencer into doing a drum track. Would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Haha, that 11/8 time. love it! I think it sounds great, the guitars and bass are killer! What did you use for the drums?

Thanks, FllaviX, for giving it a listen. I used Native Instruments Studio Drummer for the drums. I still think it’s interesting that you posted an 11/8 piece just while I was finishing off mine! These are probably the only two 11/8 numbers in the forum’s history.

Hi Leon,

listened a couple of times over the weekend and again just now.

I really like this piece.

I have a few suggestions/observations FWTW.

For me, the vibe could be silent 00:34 as it seems to fight the guitar for a few bars,
and it features to 00:42 anyway. Same would apply to the section 2:52 onwards.
Just my opinion.

I liked the duality of the vibe and guitar in the other parts.

The goanna seems a bit too MIDI for me. Nice part tho.

Finally, and I’m not 100% sure why, but the guitar break from 2:16
sounds somehow choked to me, as if it needed to get out of the amp clearer
and out of the mix more strongly too.

Thanks, Jet, helpful feedback as always. For the piano, do you mean the playing sounds too stiff, or do you mean the piano part itself is too stiff? I’m wondering if I dare try to record a real piano. I’m not much of a player but the part is rather simple. And now that I know that Cubase has group editing, which I used with two mics on the bass, it might just work. Cubase is truly amazing.

Wahey! Happy New Year Leon, doesn’t time fly when it’s in 11/8!

That’s great. I love the quality of your recording and I really like how you use Studio Drummer, that’s a lovely chunky drum sound and nice patterns.

Your guitar(s) sound is great as well. Is it a bit more pushed towards overdrive and perhaps a bit more treble? Maybe not full-on bridge pickup, but centre position? What guitar are you using on this?

Very enjoyable start to the new year.


Thanks, Steve, Happy New Year to you too! I did have fun playing with the beats in 5+6 time. Creating the drum patterns is often the most satisfying part.

The guitar is the ES335 this time, always on neck pickup, but the tone knob is set to 10. I did push the overdrive a little, especially in the solo section. I’m going to try that bridge pickup one of these days. At first I was going to use the LP, but it has a slightly edgier sound that I didn’t like as much on this tune, and I didn’t need the vibrato bar for this one.

Glad you liked it.

Yes, what I meant was that the piano sounds like a synth piano (i.e. “not real”).
And a bit rigid. Real-time playing with a better source might just be the ticket.

How do you write the drums, by mouse/keyboard or do you play them on an e-kit?

FllaviX, I usually play the kick and snare first using my keyboard. Then I’ll go back and overlay cymbals and hi-hat. Then later, I’ll refine it using the midi drum editor.

Hi Leon ,lovely track and beautiful playing on the guitar ,i think the solo sounds great ,it sounds like you.The music suits the title, very si fi ,very good clear recording .
regarding the feel of the keyboard, but i must add first that the way it is at the moment dosnt bother me , i dont know what you think of this idea, but, another way you could do the keyboard parts would be with a midi guitar ,on my song synchronize i used my midi guitar, i did the right hand with one take and the left hand with another take and just merged the midi parts to try create an authentic sounding keyboard ,what i played was not that difficult but the idea has potential to go as far as you want. do you have a midi guitar pickup or guitar synth.?

Thanks, Polgara! Interesting idea, but I don’t have a midi guitar, and actually I can play piano somewhat, so it’s not too hard to play my parts in and clean them up in the midi editor. I think I have a good piano sample (I’m using the NI New York Concert Grand), but maybe I’m editing too much. Maybe it’s just that the part is quite choppy on purpose with the odd rhythm I went for. The part is simple enough that I think I could credibly play it live into a pair of mics, but I’m afraid when I was finally satisfied with my take, it would sound a lot like what I already have, only recorded with poor mics in a bad room, and with a smaller piano! I’m thinking I’ll play with the settings on the sampled piano, go with medium mic settings instead of near, soften it up a little with the sustain pedal, etc.

Well, given I am the only peep to comment on the goanna,
I’d say you can happily forget it. :laughing:

Well, Jet, I don’t think you were wrong at all, it was something I had thought about myself. In the meantime, I did update the piece with a piano part that was “softened”, if that’s a good word for it. Basically, I lengthened some very short notes (although that’s how I played them in), evened out the velocity, relaxed the quantizing, and did a better job of using the sustain pedal. Oh, and I set the piano a little further back (mic positioning options in NI). I think within the mix nobody will really hear big differences, but when I listen to the piano track by itself, it’s less harsh, and may I say, more natural sounding. But no denying that the part is quirky given the rhythm.

I also made the guitar solo a little louder. My credo of “the guitar can never be too loud” is tempered by your earlier advice, but I may have been overly conservative here. So thanks.

Hope you can hear the small differences, and appreciate any further advice.

Oh, schweet. :wink:

That’s cracked it. Clearer lead break, nicer ivories.
:Elephant stamp:

Thanks again for the help!


sorry for taking so long to hear this track. Been camping and very much away from anything for a couple of weeks.

Very cool indeed! Excellent 11/8 riff but more impressive for me is the way your leads flowed so beautifully over the top. The juxtaposition of the elements are exquisite. I can see how Jet’s advice has had an impact.

Great track


Hi Jonathan, thanks for listening and commenting!

The piece is outstanding! There is so much to that piece.
I liked the various guitar tones, and how the guitar interlocked with the keyboards.
Great improvising in the solo. And great tone. I liked the overdrive you were using. It sustains, but seems to let the guitar’s tone come through, and it’s dynamic.

Thanks, rocker, glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate your comments. The guitar tone comes from Guitar Rig (amp simulator). I have a couple of good amps and record with them when playing with the band, but prefer the tone and control I get using Guitar Rig for recording my own demos. So the overdrive is the simulated amp being overdriven without pedals.