midnight metropolis

MIDNIGHT METROPOLIS – Tom Sanderson | download mp3

I was working on another musical project this month and as I was trying to select appropriate sounds stumbled across a auto-harmonized synth patch that gave me the germination for this recording. I played a simple riff with this patch and then added a 16 bar hip hop rhythm. Then I added a narrow pass bass synth and backwards electric piano patch, all of which were copied and pasted to some extent. One of the largest problems with loop-based recording is keeping things interesting or fresh throughout the whole recording. I extended the drum loop and bass loop further by copy-paste and then added a chord variation on a vintage string patch (emulating analog string synthesizers from the late 70s). After I developed this section, I extended the drum loop further (and later partially dropped it out) and add libbed a key change on the bass synth. I layered with mostly LFO type synth patches and another auto-harmonizing patch. Then the last section is mostly the same as the first with some added elements and some drop outs.

In the mix, I experimented with beat delay which worked great for the drum loop in spots. Since there are only 8th notes being played the beat delay gives it a 16th note feel. To achieve this I cloned the drum loop and had pure beat delay effect as a second track, but only in certain spots. There was also a second percussion track for a few bars of the last section. My thanks to my cousin Alan for his suggestions during the mix process.

I have seen many travel videos on youtube lately where I like the music clips just as much or more than the “content” and many of them have a similar musical themes to this piece (however many of these are short and looped ad-nauseum in the videos, maybe due to the lack of royalty free soundtracks available in video editing software). In college, my friend Scott Church introduced me to the electronic group Meat Beat Manifesto which also shared as some impetus to this track. There was also a period of a few months where Lori was trying to use relaxing music to achieve deeper sleep, in particular there was an electronic music for sleep playlist by a popular streaming service that she would play. I listened to all of the music while Lori was asleep several nights and ended up really liking some of the minimalist electronic pieces. Also, I think the track takes some inspiration from the French group Air and the late hip-hop producer J Dilla.

I like this track because it does not demand attention. It is easily a backdrop to whatever you happen to be doing. I hope you enjoy!


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