The story of Embark

Embark
– begin (a course of action, especially one that is important or demanding).

The idea of doing an EP is definitely not a new one, but one I decided to take for a specific reason. While I love writing huge tracks appropriate for festivals or clubs, I also like to experiment with more unconventional ideas that may be better suited to just casual listening environments.

The EP starts off with an intro track. I was on the fence on whether or not to include one, but it gave me a chance to experiment a little, and I feel like it has context. Using various Kontakt libraries thanks to the folks at Native Instruments, I was able to create what I believe sounds like a space ship slowly starting up, with gadget-like noises bouncing between your ears and a low rumble that gradually accelerates to take-off. The listener is about to “embark” on a journey.

The second track, Resolve, is more on the deep progressive side. Once given the opportunity to open some shows, I quickly realized how important it is to slowly build up the energy earlier in the night. This sent me off to scour for some deeper, more chill tracks. I wanted to have some of my own material in this same vein, so I created Resolve. The intro and outro sections have more of a future house vibe, whereas the meat of the song is more on the deep side. There are some female vocal ad libs to humanize the track a bit and it builds into an energetic climax featuring a lead synth solo.

You can read the entire story behind Beacon in my first blog post.

Drifting Through Dreams was heavily inspired by Mitis. A couple of the synth patches are tweaked from a sample pack he released not long ago. It runs at 115bpm, with a bit more of a break beat groove to it. It features some plucky arps, pianos, and mellow lead lines. A friend of mine told me it made him feel “like I’m daydreaming, sitting on a bench, watching the sun set” which inspired the title.

The funny thing with Brought Back to Life, is that the pluck line you hear throughout the track was one of the very first melodies I ever wrote when I first started producing electronic music. I just held onto it in an old project file. One day, while going through old projects to see if there was anything salvagable, I thought “I could put this arp to use in something”, and BBTL was born. The intro features ominous pads backing the arp, which carries over into a verse-like breakbeat section, with DnB style basses and some more synth lead goodness. The second drop brings up the energy in a chord heavy 4-to-the-floor section and introduces a new arp which was put in just two nights before the release. Close call, I know, but I’m so glad I put in it in there because it is one of my favorite sections of the entire EP.

Lastly, we finish up with a more chilled out, cinematic version of Beacon. I really loved this vocal and wanted to do something completely different with it. I brought in some new pads made with Serum and Absynth, incorporated a variation of the plucks from the original, and created slowed down, breakbeat drums to fill out the arrangement.

This has been a huge undertaking for me, and I am proud to share it with you all. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

– JS