On Track: The Ball Starts To Move

This is the first of a set of articles that will look at the development of the tracks found across the Grasslands EPs. Today we look at the fourth track taken from the soon to be released ‘My Folks Prefer The Clone’: The Ball Starts To Move.

Writing The Ball Starts To Move
The Ball Starts To Move was written in 2012 and was always envisaged as a point in the narrative where things starts to happen (as the title suggests). The song was always going to require a powerful rhythm to truly reflect the titular ball rolling along.

The first thing you hear in the track is a raspy retro synth belting out a powerful jittery rhythm. This was the first aspect of the song recorded and Kate Bush was responsible.

A Nod To The Past
The sample used is from the groundbreaking Fairlight CMI. This was a machine I became quite interested in while researching its use by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love‘ uses the Fairlight extensively, as does Gabriel’s ‘Melt‘. A more recent use of the Fairlight synthesiser was on the brilliant concept album by former Savage Garden front man Darren Hayes. His double album ‘This Delicate Thing We’ve Made‘ is a truly amazing left-field pop record. Lots of nostalgic imagery and interesting sound scapes and lyrics. Darren Hayes uses the Fairlight on each track and the work that went into his album spawned an ipad app emulation of the synthesiser called Peter Vogel CMI. The Peter Vogel CMI is a brilliant app that holds the nostalgia of this synth in high regard including loading times and common errors. The image at the top of the page is taken from this app. My first few sessions playing with the synth brought about the main riff for The Ball Starts To Move.

Other Synths
Other synthesiser parts were built around my go to synth: Sytrus. I then played drums over the synths and built up guitar sections.

The original version had a very different hook, which was much higher and sounded like a game show. This was soon discarded and the current version written.

Mixing
The Ball Starts To Move was a pig to mix. An early version of the mix was created in 2012 on Sonar. I have since moved to Logic X on iMac and there is now a brand new, much clearer mix available on the EP.

Listen to the track here:

For those interested in comparing mixes, why don’t you listen to the version above and then listen to the 2012 mix on Reverbnation (Click Here). Can you tell the difference?

Best Bit
Matching the guitar notes to the synthesiser at the end of the song. I love the lyrics too.

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