I was able to borrow a GoPro camera for my trip to Belize, so I actually have a lot of video footage. Eventually I hope to use that footage to make videos for at least a few of the songs. This song is actually more based on video footage than field recordings, and it spent a lot of time in limbo before I figured out a direction for it. Once I did settle on a direction it was actually completed quite quickly (by my standards). It was one of the last songs finished on the album along with Stowaway, which I talked about in the last making of post. Continue reading “The Making of Belizean Heat: Part 8 – Caves Branch”
I’m grouping Hideaway and Stowaway together in this post because in a way, they are two sides of the same coin. By that I mean that they both use the same processed cricket recordings as their source.
Hideaway Caye is a tiny peaceful mangrove island and is home solely to the family that runs a guesthouse and boat access restaurant, their two dogs, along with many crabs, seabirds, iguanas, and lots of crickets. The island is so small that rather than taking their big Rottweiler out for walks, they go out in a kayak and he paddles along behind them. Our host Dustin explained to me that before they built the houses there were no crickets or iguanas. While bringing over the thatch for the roofs these little stowaways hitched a ride and then decided to call the island home. Continue reading “The Making of Belizean Heat: Part 6 & 7 – Hideaway & Stowaway”
The Garifuna are a people with a fascinating history and culture resulting from the mingling of African and Native Caribs as a result of the slave trade and colonialism. In Belize, Hopkins is known as something of a center of Garifuna culture.
While visiting there, we stumbled into an impromptu drum circle, which served as part of the foundation and inspiration for this fifth song. Most of the origin of this song however, came from the birds. Grackles to be specific.
Grackles are all over Belize; as common as crows in Vancouver. Like crows, they have a wide repertoire of vocalizations and are very social creatures. While walking down the main street in Hopkins, we heard this apocalyptic screeching coming from a large tree. It turned out to be a massive gathering of grackles having a grand old time. Of course I had to record them, and positioned myself right under the tree. One baffled woman passing by exclaimed “Aren’t you afraid they gonna poop on your head?” and if you listen closely you might be able to hear her in the song.
Shortly after I started recording, this loud bass line and reggaeton drum groove dropped from what I assume was a nearby dance studio. I was disappointed that my recording had been ruined, but my wife was excited to hear how I would incorporate it into a song. So, that bass line provided the main melody of my Garifuna Grackle Party, but I sped it up substantially and turned it into more of an old school rave track.
Most of the sounds and processing on this song were done using the Elektron Dark Trinity of Octatrack, Analog Four, and Analog RYTM. There were also a few sounds from Omnisphere and a Yamaha FB01 FM synth.
The next chapter actually covers two songs, Hideaway and Stowaway.
At long last I’m excited to say that I can start sharing Belizean Heat, the follow up to Sonidos de Cuba! I’m really pleased with how this album turned out. It’s quite eclectic, stylistically spanning from ambient and downtempo to progressive house and synthwave, but manages to be cohesive as a whole. It features a wide array of acoustic and electronic instruments, including trumpet, trombone, melodica, xaphoon, shakers, hand percussion, electric guitar and bass, Sonic Forest, Arturia MicroBrute, Elektron Octatrack Analog Four and RYTM, MFB Kraftzwerg, Dave Smith Poly Evolver, Novation Nova, and modular synthesizer. Continue reading “Warming the Winter With Belizean Heat”