Made In Japan Retrospective-Track 10 “Nostalgia”

Nostalgia marks a different technique applied to the album as all the music surrounding the field recording was made on my return from japan.

On our second day In Tokyo with jet-lag still fully on us we decided to try and get to tsukiji fish market to see the auction In the morning. As this was to early for public transport we decided to get up in the middle of the night and walk for a couple of hours to Tsukiji Fish Market and experience the city at night.

The Colour Temperature of street lighting in Japan at night is colder (bluer) then that in the UK and from my eyes gives the city a smoother almost mystical feeling as shadows and light play of each other in softer ways. It also allows the lighting on structures that don’t follow the same colour temperature to really pop out of the environment and make the place seem hyper real as if your on a film set. Whilst we walked through the city streets I decided to take out my field recorder and capture the environment as we went.

This resulted in a hour long recording that was interesting in many ways. In the early morning Tokyo was unbelievably quiet. We may have only seen a couple of people and dozen moving cars over the entire 2 hour walk. We talked and walked ignoring the recording so large chunks of it (although great memories for me) wouldn’t work that well when mixed with music. However there was a really good 15 minute section where we had stopped talking and walked past an area with a few bars and several cars driving by which I thought would work perfectly.

I decided to record a piece as an accompaniment around this field recording trying to represent the feeling of travel. Not only through Tokyo that night but also through my own life. I decided early on that I would build it into sections of music as if you walked past a bar playing music on the street. However these pieces of music would reference different parts of my love of music. Early In the piece I would reference the music of Video games (especially the final fantasy series) with Nobuo Uematsu being a huge influence on me as a child. Then it would overtime merge towards the music I was into at the time (Jazz and electronic).

Once I picked a section of the field recording I would leave it running underneath the arrangement and not make any edits to try and fit particular features into the track. Instead I would adjust the instrumentals around the key moments of the field recording. Changing the Instrumentation with each time a car passes on the street.

The opening Synth sound came from Massive by NI. I had chosen to Use this because of Missive’s use on the soundtrack for FEZ by disasterpiece. Although it sounds like a rather simple waveform going through a delay Massive is actually creating the delay effect internally using sequenced ADSR, and LFO on the Amp. For all the other instrumentation for the beginning of the track I wanted to keep it as simple and representative of older video games using simple wave forms and white noise to create the percussion and instrumentation.

At this point a car passes by on the recording and we shift to a more Jazz based section which I improvised over several attempts starting with the keys to get a basic structure and then going back to them to tighten them up after I had recorded the rest of the instrumentation. I wanted the instrumentation to feel “off the grid” like it was drifting about to match my feelings during the recording of the walk through Tokyo.

At this point I faded out the music at the 3 minute mark and we are left with the busiest part of the field recording with multiple cars crossing the stereo microphones. I wanted to leave the listener In soaking up the environment of Tokyo at night for a while. This section started a lot longer but over time shifted down to just under a minute as I wanted people to start hearing music as soon as they felt comfortable with the field recording and it just felt right to me to start the music again at this time.

The third and final piece of music mixes up elements from both the Video Game and Jazz inspired sections. I also wanted to hint at my love for electronic music especially one of my favorite groups Boards Of Canada and by adding more reverb to the synth line and playing chords instead of arpeggios I felt like I achieved this effect.

Finally I wanted the track to not stop, but drift away into the distance. Like you were walking out of the city and the nostalgic vision of the past and into the countryside and the future. I fed the whole track into the reverb that I had placed on the Synth part and made it larger over time whilst removing the original signal so only the sound of the reverb remained fading into the distance.

For me Nostalgia achieves the goals aimed for when I started to listen to the original field recording better than any other track on the album. Following the field recording made me approach the track linearly which focused my attention on each part as it came allowing the track to morph and evolve organically. If I’d come up with the three separate sections in a random order and then tried to add a field recording at a later date it would have lacked the synergy between the two. For that reason its one of the tracks I return to the most when I now listen back to the album.

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