We've just wrapped original music and full audio post on a cracking new project introducing the new Pretty Green x Smiley collection.
Brought in by producer Effie Theos (who we worked for recently for Adidas International Women's Day), we collaborated closely with director Toto Vivian on this short film, that relives the story of the best night of three young guys' lives following a festival.
The new line of clothing fuses Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green brand and the infamous Smiley - that luminous grinning face which from free parties to punk to acid house, has been permeating music culture for more than 50 years. As this summer’s music festivals kick off, Smiley's psychedelic heritage has inspired a forthcoming range from Pretty Green that celebrates fun, freedom and imagination.
Our task from a music point of view was to embody these traits and create a beautifully evolving, yet understated score. Toto had some wicked moodboard references in the likes of Eno, Paul Kalkbrenner and Caribou - which fully allowed us to feed both our electronic tendencies with organic textures and instrumentation.
The track started out as a simple chord progression played on a patch I designed and sampled from an old 70s ARP 2600 synth we had in the studio recently. It centred around a simple pedalling C major triad with undulating and shifting bass notes underneath, which reframed the harmony.
I wanted the track to feel very open and almost floating, to echo the nostalgia of both Smiley and the young charcaters reliving the night before. So as the composition began to take shape, I found that I wanted the track to feel anchored (either in terms of comsistent tempo or discernible chord progression) less and less. It was more creating a flow and overall tone that grew.
As I began adding more simple textures, filters and effects to the arrangement, I wanted something that felt still more 'human' and had a little more subtle movement and inflection in the held chord at the top. So I recorded some notes on a small Chinese flute that I bought whilst out in Malaysia a few years back, called a Xun.
I sampled these and built a virtual instrument that I could play the chrod progression on. Adding waveshaping technology as well as adding controllable paramters such as granular synthesis and a hint of arpeggiated rhythm to the instrument created a beautifully unpredictable, detailed and evolving electronic sort of sound yet with something inherently organic at it source. Automating the patch on the fly allowed me to pace the build alongside the other parts, one of which included a wild ambient feedback style guitar track pushed through the mental Chase Bliss Thermae delay into our trusty Audio Kitchen Combover amp. Just the job.
We built some understated beats using a kick drum sampled from hitting a piece of foam pipe covering and a pseudo Linn type clap, filtered and saturated from the sound of a leather wallet being hit. Again making electro type sounds from organic found sound sources.
Adding full Foley, ADR and dream-like flashback style sound design that worked subtly with the visuals, completed the project.