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Musicity: Hear the city put on a show!

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“Musicity” is track no.2 on the newly released album “So That’s How It Ended…”.

 

What is “Musicity”?

Musicity – also stylised as “MSCTY” – is an ongoing art project that explores the relationship between sound and space, and more specifically between music and urban architecture. The project is the brainchild of British DJ Nick Luscombe, who over the years has curated events in major cities around the world, particularly in the UK and across Asia (see https://www.mscty.space/).

Back in 2018, Nick invited me and vocalist Fay Cannings to produce a piece for a Musicity event in London, and we delivered “Inside Out”, also on the album, which I will cover in a separate blog post. 

The word “Musicity” inspired the musical hook that became this song…

 

Composition

This song sort of imposed itself to me. The hook became so persistent in my head that I knew I had to write and record it into a proper song. I pitched the idea of a Musicity theme song or jingle to Nick. At the time, Nick didn’t really have any use for it, but gave me his blessing to make the track and later include it in the album.

The track has a very unusual structure, which I am quite proud of! Most of my songs follow the traditional verse-chorus structure because it just works great for pop. But once in a while, it’s very liberating to break the rules, and very satisfying when it works, which is quite rare. Here, I think it does.

The song starts with the main “theme”, which is sort of a chorus but not really. It’s a musical hook followed by a sort of “middle-eight” or bridge.

The lyrics are a description of what Musicity is: it's “the city putting on a show”, it’s “a new kind of radio”! London, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai are indeed some of the key cities where Musicity has held events, and I open it up with an invitation to “every city around the world” to “join in” on the fun!

Then comes an extended instrumental section, which starts with a synth solo, followed by a guitar solo. It was a lot of fun building the guitar solo! I had it all in my head… but sadly I can’t play the guitar! One option would have been to hire a session guitar player, as I’ve done in the past, but I had the solo note-for-note in my head, and another player could never have played it exactly as I was hearing it. Thankfully, virtual instruments have come a very long way, and I was (painstakingly) able to play the solo on the keyboard and render it into what I feel is a convincing and satisfying piece.

The song ends with a reprise of the main theme, but over an alternate chord structure, which I also find quite satisfying, and a section of the guitar solo layering over it for the final climax.

 

Production

I’m not quite sure what genre of music this is. It’s the most energic track on the album. It has elements of techno/dance music, it’s mostly electronic, but with elements of heavy rock and an anthemic pop hook. May I call it “techno-rock”?

For the beat, I used the Boom drum machine plugin + added clap samples.

I layered two separate bass parts, one played on Structure (“Ultra Fuzz Attack”), the other on Massive (a blend of “Hisstamin” and “Dry n Wet”).

The synths are a combination of the Roland FA-6 (“42 Brass”, “Moving Pad”, “SuperSaw Ld”) and FM8 (“80s Pad”).

Guitars were played on the keyboard and rendered with RealStrat and various GuitarRig 5 effects. 

Fun trivia: for the lift-up glissando (or whatever it’s called) at the 9th second, I didn’t know how to do this on a synth (!)… so I actually sang it (!!!) and modified the sound with Reaktor’s “The Mouth” until it sounded cool to me!

 

Credits

Music & Lyrics: A. Robin

Vocals: SuperCool-Guy

Instruments: SuperCool-Guy

Arrangement, mix and production: SuperCool-Guy

Mastering: Jon Astley

 

Lyrics

Musicity

Musicity

Musicity

Musicity

Hear the city put on a show

Musicity

It’s a new kind of radio

 

Come down to London… we’re gonna rock on

Seoul and Tokyo… show us tomorrow

Beijing and Shanghai … build up to the sky

Every city ‘round the world come and join in the fun

 

[Instrumental]

 

Musicity

Hear the city put on a show

Musicity

It’s a new kind of radio

 

Come down to London… we’re gonna rock on

Seoul and Tokyo… show us tomorrow

Beijing and Shanghai … build up to the sky

Every city ‘round the world come and join in the fun

 

Musicity

Musicity

Musicity

It’s a new kind of radio

Musicity

Hear the city put on a show

Musicity

It’s a new kind of radio

Musicity

 

Musicity

Hear the city put on a show

Musicity

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