Made In Japan Retrospective-Track 8 “Osaka Nights”

Osaka nights is one of the two tracks on this album that I look back on its creation with little joy. I had recorded the chord sequence you hear at 2:47 on the OP-1 in Kyoto at night however it was too slow for the type of music I was aiming to create when I got home. So influenced by acts like four-tet and Bonobo I sampled the chords and played them in a more structured pattern with the idea of making a traditional dance based house track from them.

However this resulted in me using this base to make a handful of really bad house tracks that never sounded right. I spent hours trying to polish failing projects only to scrap them all back to the original sample and start again. Multiple times I gave up on that original sample and moved on to other tracks on the album but there was something about it that always nagged me to come back to it.

In the end the thing that saved “Osaka Nights” was me letting go of a rule I had stuck to during the making of most of the album and that was that “All of the music had to come from the recordings made whilst in japan”. As I made more tracks and had more ideas there was less and less from the original recordings to work with. So at a certain point I changed the rule from “All of the music had to come from the Recordings made whilst in Japan” to “All of the tracks had to be based around a recording made in Japan”. This freed me up to add more instrumentation.

I was working on the first round of the mixes for the album at this point and when the more technical and analytical approach of mixing down tracks started to get tedious I would take a break and jam along to the original recorded Op-1 synth part. After doing this for several weeks and recording the improvisations I had a collection of ideas I could then take back to the track for further development.

I had decided to make an A-B structure due to some field recordings I had made at night in Osaka. One was In the evening at around 8pm with heaving crowds of people walking through the city center. The other was early morning with just a handful of traffic on the roads. I thought mixing between the choruses with the busy crowds and the verses of the track with the quieter atmospheric streets could work and so I built the track around this idea.

The Last Third of the track (starting at 2:45)turns into a live performance. I was aiming for a more jazz based feel that I apply again on the track “Nostalgia”. I played most of the pieces an instrument at a time with the exception being the bass part which was created using a sample library and the Novation Circuit as a step sequencer to drive it. The track finished with hand claps that are a mix of electronic and real recorded claps in my studio. I recorded different rhythms looped them and then layered a selection of them to create this particularly odd rhythm inspired by the track “Clapping music” by “Seve Reich”.

Osaka Nights was one of the harder tracks to make, It’s a collage of different tracks that work together which were all fairly hard to make. However the techniques I learned during this process helped me with the track “Nostalgia” where I continued some of the ideas further.

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