• Submitted on time! Aug 2, 2020
Word Warps

Tell you what folks, this was a strange one! Honestly, focused heavily on the first parameter and kind of skimped on #2, but I had a lot of fun learning about and experimenting with modes. This puppy is in Locrian… ya know… i think.


I tend to talk

talk it over

skyjack, steamroller, siren

i fall sometimes, but i

get up, and

get right

Looking for feedback on

Ill take any feedback on this one :)


kurds August 16, 2020 8:57pm

What a MOOD. That’s some wild synth.

alechutson August 6, 2020 11:12am

Hell yeah. Love the trance vibes. Tense and moody

nick August 6, 2020 11:24am


nurphgun August 5, 2020 3:36pm

Love how the first low bass note + the soaring high note are totally unexpected and take what begins as a a chill meditative thing into something more weird and sinister. I could definitely see this evolving into something bigger with rock and roll elements if you wanted it to.

nick August 6, 2020 11:23am


Ryan August 3, 2020 2:58pm

That synth entrance is a big yumzilla for me. Love when a new ground layer enters and shifts an entire piece. Super dope palm-muted guitar part, too. Did you perform or program that? It is very tight. Cool return to the style of some of your earlier work but with a lot more refined selection. I dig this quite a bit. Do you feel this is fully fleshed out, or would you consider returning to it and drawing it out more?

nick August 6, 2020 11:20am

Hey thanks, no real plans for the tune. I don’t feel like it’s fully fleshed out, but i will probably leave it be for now… laying dormant perhaps. The guitar was, like s=Was It A Car Or A Cat I Saw (@nick), played and recorded, then chopped up and quantized.

Ryan August 6, 2020 12:47pm

I have ~got to try this approach~

Ben August 6, 2020 4:11pm

Yeah that’s crazy. I would love to experiment with this.@@nick when you quantize this [analog] guitar, do you have to sample it and then play it through a software instrument keyboard to quantize it? Or is there some way in logic to quantize audio instruments that I don’t know about?

nick August 6, 2020 4:12pm

Nope, all manual. Cutting up the waveforms and adjusting each one right where i want it on the grid.

Ben August 7, 2020 9:38am

first of all thanks for the PROMPT reply.

Ah yes of course. I do this with vocals sort of often. Amazing what you can do when you purposely go overboard with editing, and use editing/chopping almost as an instrument or as an effect.

Also on this most recent listen, really liking those ride bell stabs toward the end.

nick August 7, 2020 11:56am

i actually dusted off my Celtic Hammered Dulcimer for those stabs 🇨🇮

Ben August 3, 2020 9:33am (edited)

This is great and gritty and I feel like both the rhythms and the tones match the vibe of the key: all 3 are unsettling and on edge. This is pretty classic. Also, I love a good short one.

A quip:

I don’t have the theory knowledge to know if this is actually true, but I do have a distinct memory about Locrian as a key. When I was 14 or 15, I brought a Zappa song in to my guitar teacher and I claimed that it was “in” Locrian. He claimed that you can’t have a song be IN Locrian — you can have the Locrian mode be very present in a song, you can solo in it using Locrian, and the chords can even “return home” to a m7b5 – but it still can’t be in Locrian. I think he was speaking from a classical and jazz background, but he said it was something about how it can’t resolve on a m7b5. Obviously I want to disagree because “resolving” should be completely subjective, but I think he cited some theory/math reason why it can’t resolve on a m7b5 chord (maybe according to the Music Theory definition of “resolve”) and therefor its not in Locrian.

But then at the end of his rant he said something along the lines of “But who the fuck cares, if you want to write a song in Locrian, write your song in Locrian and say that it’s Locrian. None of this fuckin shit really matters, man.”

So I went forth and treated Locrian as a key if I wanted to, and 15 or 16 years later commented on my friend’s Locrian song just to make him aware it may not be an actual key, according to Jeff. Shout out to Jeff, hope he’s doing good.

nick August 6, 2020 11:17am

yeah that’s super interesting and makes a fair amount of sense. i can also understand the side that’s a little more, “what does resolve really mean?” I feel like there is a lot of talk that’s subjective in feeeeling like something is the root or base of the song, but again, what does that actually amount to. @@mattaucoin …. ?

mattaucoin August 6, 2020 5:40pm

first of all, i’m a big fan of this one. nico, I think you nailed the atmosphere – makes me feel queasy.

and yeah, “resolution” is a slippery thing to define. ben, i’d venture to say your teacher was being a little too dogmatic. even if a given mode resists a sense of complete resolution (which the locrian mode does), that doesn’t mean that a song can’t be in that mode from beginning to end – ain’t no law that says a song has to resolve at the end.

trumpeteer123 August 13, 2020 12:46am

hello! I can chime on this, it is “technically” not possible to have a song in Locrian as Imin7(b5) as home key creates the tritone between the 1 and the b5 which is the jazz theory def of “unstable” and wants to resolve somewhere else. It creates a nice struggle where your ear is searching, which I actually think is super interesting to play around with as a feeling. (also in classical the tritone was called “the devils interval” which I find hilarious to think about someone getting damned to “hell” for using one interval too much LOL). It usually has a strong pull a 1/2 step up to Ionian or a 4th up to Phrygian (or in a II-V to Aeolian 😀 )

Phrygian is the closest to Locrian, can be “technically” used as a home key, this is because its only structural difference to Locrian is that is has the natural ^5. I hear the beginning of the tune as being in Phrygian and then with that sick “ahh” using the diminished scale I just hear it as a “diminished” pattern. But I also think that I have spent time studying the other modes cadential chords etc and that if locrian can’t sound “stable” as home key, it doesn’t mean you can’t make cool sounds with those characteristics in mind.

Oh, god, I sound really academic in this comment so if anything feels confused or has any other questions I am a huge theory nerd…

Carseat August 3, 2020 8:42am

Oh wow. Locrian’s never sounded so good.

nick August 6, 2020 11:18am