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DEEP DIVE: Pointing to the pieces

Ohhhhhh yes. It’s time again… for the weekly…

Uh, this week, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look into the music of the Arrows video. It’s time for a DEEP DIVE.

Time travel

snake tail

I planned out the Arrows video in the year 2021.

It was shortly after the Time Travel video dropped. And my head was full of ideas on how to implement time travel in a better way.

It was also a big time for me personally, deciding to leave my job, and changing my name, and so on.

“Music’s a perfect analogy!” I thought. “Music is so closely linked to time. It’s the perfect vessel for exploring time travel.”

But how do I demonstrate sound in a video? My videos already have tons of loud music playing in the background. It would all clash.

My first draft of the script was built around a quieter trance tune, There Is Peace Beyond and its remix. Arroost’s noises would complement the tracks, landing in-time and in-tune with the music.

I still feel attached to that first version of the video. But I decided that it would be too hard. It would be easier… to just…

Make it all myself

I eventually decided to make all the music myself. (Except for a track called Nara in the intro and ending).

Over the following 24 months, I tried and tried and tried to come up with some simple sounds that I could use as background music. I needed it to be:

In my spare time, I record lots and lots and lots of little tunes that I play on various instruments. The main reason I record them is so that I don’t forget any tunes that I accidentally come up with. I give my favourites a little name in my recorder app, so that I can find them again one day.

I found one that I recorded on christmas eve in 2019, named…

Up and on the highway

Please excuse the grating whistling. I was trying to jot down this tune in any way I could, so that I wouldn’t forget it.

When I found it two years later, I liked how it was a bit jolly, and a bit melancholy. I call it… melanjolly.

I also liked how annoying it sounded. So it eventually became…

Arrow in an arrow

In my head, I knew I wanted to end up on this song. “Arrow in an arrow” swirled around my head for the following 9 months. It started to drive me a bit crazy. And my colleagues too, as I couldn’t stop humming it. It was the recurring tune that guided the rest of the music.

In the video, I used it in the “coming out” sequence.

I will be here for too long

Next, I tried to find some phrases that could lead into “arrow in an arrow”.

I didn’t find any phrases I liked, but I grew attached to the strumming pattern. Nothing special. It appeared in the “chaining sounds” section.

Taking too long

I wanted to add more of a feeling of “stuckness”. I wanted to capture the frustration of something taking too long. So I played around with extending the occasional phrase with an extra strum. I liked how it felt like a forced pause - some compulsory calmness.

I also liked how it dragged out some parts of the music - longer than it was supposed to. I liked how it felt like it was falling behind. I added some words and posted it on mastodon.

I used this bit of music in the “automation” section.

I used the unextended version earlier on in the video.

How much longer

I wanted a part that expressed some of the desperation of being stuck. Here I am singing some gibberish out-of-tune to explore that.

I used in the “whistling” section. This is my favourite part! I combined three different types of whistle in this part, and I feel like it added some ‘jolly’ to the melanjolly.

It also appeared in the dream sequence.

Berd will have to do the video

I had most of the main parts figured out. But I was still missing some recognisable tune that I could repeat at various points throughout the video. I kept playing around with little riffs, until I landed on something simple.

I used it near the start, to kick off the song.

I revisited it later, as a callback.

No music

I wanted something a bit faster too. So I just played the same thing a bit faster. It skips ahead a bit, like the opposite of the “Taking too long” bit.

I used it in the dream sequence.

Berd has flown away

I changed the ending quite late in the video-making process. It felt unsatisfying. It wrapped up too quickly, and it needed an extra ‘conclusion’ section on the end. So I quickly figured out a calm phrase to add on.

I’m glad I ended with this.

Tode is still asleep

Next up, it’s the Top 99 Ways To Make Sand, and Ivan Reese has made some amazing music for it. Maybe there could be a breakdown of that video one day!

Days since tode fell asleep: 399
Days since bot went missing: 365 (wow one year!)
Days since berd flew away: 27