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The Reawakening is not a rock song-
It’s more like a theme song for a TV drama, a late night dreamscape.
Can you see the opening credits in your head as you hear the music play?
The Reawakening was written in the early fall of 2020 over a course a few mornings. It was written as a piano jam/sketch. When the last note was played, I had not returned to it or listened to it until late January 2021. Coming back to the recording many months later, gave me a new perspective, a sense of separation from my composer /player side and an opportunity to determine where to take it if there was anything usable in what I had recorded. I wear many hats in the production of my music that sometimes, (this process) seems to work for me when time allows. I play the writer, player, recording engineer, orchestrator, arranger, producer, mixing engineer, and on some occasions…the mastering engineer. This hibernation and reflection period offers a fresh perspective and shifts my focus toward arrangement and fleshing out the orchestration for the song. Really for the most part, I didn’t know how far I would eventually take it or…if I was going to just leave it and visit it again at a later date.
My writing process typically begins with spontaneous playing and simultaneous recording. At some point, I may (or may not) go back and listen for segments that can formulate or become the backbone of a piece of music. I usually don’t have any expectations that any of these recordings will become something, but I’m exploring for the spark. It’s at this stage, where the sketch of the composition becomes organized. These sketches ultimately become the song and the guide for the arrangement and orchestration as well.
Inspiration soon found a foothold for The Reawakening as it took form and drew from TV drama theme songs and late night radio. I sensed a night time, dream like vibe living somewhere inside the initial piano sketch. In hindsight, a reawakening to writing for me. 2020 spawned more experimentation and creativity for many artists and composers in their writing process, but I on the other hand, was in a weird place that halted much of my daily writing activities. I struggled to create, but one thing I’m certain of is that I hadn’t experienced that feeling in a very long time. Writing and playing has been a therapeutic activity I’ve done for myself for many years, but in 2020 I struggled to find my way into it. There is something to be said for getting lost in the moment and the experience of flow in a jamming or writing session. It is an amazing escape when you can do it. While much of what I create is never heard by anyone, I will occasionally decide to take a piece further and turn it into a full production. The ReAwakening was that piece of music for me in 2020.
Amongst the many textures heard in the recording, there are a some non traditional things included. The song starts with sound design I created from a straw going through the lid of a milkshake- yes a milkshake. On the last day that our local ice cream shop was open for the 2020 season, my wife and I went and had a milkshake before they closed. Sliding the straw through the lid gave that familiar sound we’ve all heard. I pulled out my iPhone and recorded it on the spot. In the middle of the song, it can be heard again in a slightly different form- a “bold” alarm sound. This "alarm" sound was topped off with distortion for some upper harmonic “hair” and a tailing reverb for depth. The ending of the song is layered with sound design I created for the collaborative Winter Voices release by Piano Book UK which dropped on Christmas Day 2020. My creative portion basically consists of an electric guitar and a battery powered magnet blended with the sounds of my voice recorded in the outdoors through a culvert that ran under a walking trail. The saturated sound I created was pitched and spread across the keyboard keys for playability.
There are many elements that make up the sounds in this song, but overall it is a hybrid of electronic, orchestral, symphonic and rock elements...a mix of many aural textures.
Some of my most favorites instruments and effects were used in the playing, recording, and mixing of The Reawakening.
Here is a partial list:
Piano: Spitfire Felt Piano
Synths: Omnisphere, Serum, Heavyocity Gravity, 8Dio Shepard tones
Strings: Spitfire’s Abbey Road One, 8Dio 8W Black, Performance Fluid Shorts II, Westwood Viola
Bass: Ibanez 5 string Bass into Neural DSP’s DarkGlass Vintage Ultra Pedal, w/ the Puig Child 660 compressor, ModWheel Lowdown, Spitfire Alex Epton Entropy and Albion III
Percussion: A variety of 8Dio’s Hybrid Tools, Damage 2, EW Symphonic Orchestra, Superior Drummer, Slate SSD5
Guitar: Gretsch Hollow Body Guitar into the Neural DSP Nolly w/JST Sky reverb
Horns: Spitfire Abbey Road One
FX Processors: McDSP EC300 Delay and Futz box, Waves H-Delay, PA SDA STD-1 Delay, SoundToys Crystallizer and EchoBoy
Reverb: Fabfilter ProR, Eventide Blackhole, Slate Verb Suite
Dynamic and EQ Processors and Misc: Fabfilter Q3, PA Acme Opticom XLA-3 compressor, PA Unfiltered Audio Bass Mint, PA Lindell 80 Channel Strip,
The Reawakening debuted on June 25, 2021
Performed, Recorded and Mixed by Ken Pedraza
Mastering by Sage Audio, Nashville TN
Dragonfly custom artwork by §oma Copyright 2020
Music Video produced by Ken Pedraza