Tag Archives: ten thousand waves

Cesar Chavez Dead or Alive: “Ten Thousand Waves”

For the past few days I've been staying at Ten Thousand Waves, a beautiful, Japanese-style hotel in the mountains outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The Waves is just one stop on a nearly month-long trip that has taken me, first, back to Colorado to visit friends and family, and then on a road trip through Southern Colorado and New Mexico (I hope to post an extended account of this trip later).  While pure relaxation has been the main goal of the trip, I have to admit I've also been thinking of it as a sort of Jack Kerouac-esque exercise in stoking my creativity by getting myself out of San Francisco and my normal routine for awhile.  And, while I can't say I've exactly spewed out a stream of consciousness novel on a single scroll or anything, I do think it's been very helpful in that regard.

I've been working on music on and off during the trip, sometimes adding guitar parts to my brother's songs, and sometimes just recording crude acoustic guitar demos of my own using my MacBook Pro's built in mic, and, much to my amazement, I've actually been liking a lot of what I've been coming up with.  All of this culminated last night with me sitting down with laptop in my room, opening Ableton Live, and putting together the song below, which I named "Ten Thousand Waves" after the place that inspired it.

I think it's pretty evocative of The Waves' setting–the beat (inspired by "When Doves Cry," incidentally), main synth part, and lack of a proper bassline suggest to me the dryness and starkness of the New Mexican high desert, while the rippling synth lead suggests the water of The Waves' Japanese onsen

The general sound reminds me a bit of Boards of Canada and I'll probably try to refine the track even further in the direction of something like "Dayvan Cowboy" by adding some more BoC-style, electronically twisted production and percussion variation.  The outro piano coda is definitely inspired by Aphex Twin's Drukqs.

For anyone interested, the software I used was:

• Ableton Live 5.2
• Native Instruments Reaktor (for the beat)
• Native Instruments Pro-53 (the main synth part)
• Native Instruments Absynth 4 and Native Instruments Spektral Delay (for the rippling synth lead)
• Native Instruments Akoustik Piano and Native Instruments Spektral Delay (for the piano coda at the end)

Ten Thousand Waves
Cesar Chavez Dead or Alive

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