This is a short preview of my new song ‘You and Me’, featuring the fantastic talents of singer songwriter Laura Marie. I’m very excited to be collaborating with her on this new song.
The pieces were written over quite some time, but I must thank my first ever instrumental piece, not included on this album – ‘The Boy Who Could’ – which appeared on my first songwriting album, The Brave Unknown in 2008.
‘The Boy Who Could’ started the 2008 album off actually, and where the rest of the tracks were pop/acoustic songs with vocals, this track was a short piano-led orchestral piece that I was inspired to write following a conversation with someone who suggested that I was naturally gravitating towards writing instrumental music.
With ‘A New Dawn’ – I’ve put all my favourite pieces together in such a way as to guide the listener, to take them from dawn through to midday, from afternoon into evening and right through the night into the next morning. It’s not integral to the enjoyment of the album, but was helpful in deciding which order to place each track.
Making The Album
“Believe” “At Play In The Sky” and “The Lighthouse (Film Mix)” were mastered at Abbey Road Studios, all other tracks mixed and mastered by myself.
Recorded and programmed in Cubase, all tracks used a variety of virtual instruments from some of the best sample developers in the industry, including Audiobro, Vienna Symphonic Library, Soundiron, Cinesamples and Spitfire Audio.
Pieces were built up in layers over time – with usually the idea written on the piano, then adding each of the string sections, woodwinds, brass, percussion and often some synth bass for extra low end goodness. I love the sound of the celeste (what I call a mini piano) and the glockenspiel, particularly mixed in under the piano.
I’m a really big fan of realism, and although all my orchestral sounds are sampled (from real players), it can be quite a challenge to get things to sound as if these people are all playing in the same room at the same time.
I use quite a few different reverbs, EQs, compressors and stereo panning in order to try to emulate the sound of a real orchestra.
I also mix in quite a few synth patches, choirs, pads and other-worldly sounds as I’m writing and arranging.
Mixing the track usually takes place whilst the track is being written and produced, and as I always aim for an emotional reaction whilst writing and programming, I’ll be striving to get to the stage where I can mix down a rough version by the end of the day.
Sometimes tracks are then left for days/weeks or months at a time, and I’ll revisit them, take a fresh look and tweak, edit or completely rebuild the piece from scratch, depending on things I feel need changing.
I have really enjoyed listening to these pieces as a compilation, and I’m surprised by quite how introspective and reflective they are, packed full of emotion, emotions that I remember feeling strongly when I was writing and recording them.
It’s an album about me, still seeking answers through music, but it’s just without the benefit (or hindrance) of lyrics. Apart from 2 pieces that feature the wonderful voice of Barbary Grant, (Redemption/A New Dawn) where she sings lines from traditional folk songs, this is all instrumental.
In the coming days, I will be releasing a new album of my instrumental pieces, ‘A New Dawn.’ The album is a journey for the listener from dawn to dusk and straight the way through the night into another new day.
As we travel through the day and into the night, the mood will darken and at some point, the action and suspense will reach its peak.
When writing these pieces over the years, it’s nearly always been after an event or a dream or a life experience of some kind. Those sad, happy, poignant or ecstatic moments that took me by surprise, those that filled or simply broke my heart.
I so look forward to sharing this very soon with the wider world.
I’m very pleased to announce that ‘Waited Too Long’, my new single is now available at iTunes and Spotify.
Download on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
The copyright to this score belongs to Warner-Barham Music LLC © 2010
I have been working on improving my template the last few days, tweaking the EQ, reverb and excellent Samplicity Bricasti M7/LASS impulse responses as well as trying to get the best from the sample libraries I use.
My goal here is to work on a piece that I admire by playing in the score by hand from the sheet music (arranged for Grade 3 1/2) and trying to get the feel for the arrangement, harmony and writing choices that Desplat made.
It has been quite an ear opener – thanks to physically being able to see the parts instead of guessing them from the CD. I’ve learned a fair amount in just one short day of doing this and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried mocking up one of their favourite pieces from the score and parts.
I thought this could also be helpful to some – perhaps those in the market for a particular library, or wanting to hear how a particular library sounds in a whole piece.
I’m also – and perhaps most importantly – very open to feedback about how you think the piece sounds in terms of placement, mix, EQ and all that jazz.
Thanks for listening!
I was very proud to be involved in BWA Project’s track ‘A New Beginning’ and had a blast playing with the arrangement and reversing my vocals and finding those harmonies amongst the lovely guitars!
It’s a beautiful piece. Check it out on iTunes below!
Nick’s 12-song collection, ‘Waiting For Words’ is now available at iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.
Download on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
Download at Amazon
My single ‘Begin’ is now available on iTunes.
You can download it below.
I have started work on the final mix of a piece called ‘Believe’.
It has been a very exciting and challenging track to mix – particularly as it is the most complex arrangement I’ve done so far.
I am also going for a particular sound, while I was writing the piece I was thinking of John Barry meets the Tron Legacy OST.
In addition to the strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion – I have added some choir, piano, synth fx, synth bass (I always feel that a little synth or electric bass tucked under the contrabass strings helps in midi mockups!) and – for the very first time – I recorded some room tone. To my ears at least, having that barely audible sound of hiss/room noise makes all the difference.
Here is the current mix, I hope you enjoy it. All the best NH