The Captain (Ambient Music Contest Oct 2019)

Well, this is not the ambient track I was planning on submitting to this contest, but since it’s not entirely non-ambient, and I wrote it over these last few days, for 8Dio Score This: The Captain, I figured it might make a nice bonus entry for now. :slight_smile:

And yes, there is lots of 8Dio stuff (including the Insolidus choir that was mentioned recently), and there’s also some basic cello!

This is almost exclusively 8Dio libraries with some processing, except for one synth, one drum sampler (the low kick), and one acoustic cello played by some 4 month cello beginner.

I started out with the synth loop, and built on that with mostly synth and hybrid sounds, trying to tie the emotions of the scenes together into an abstract story.

8Dio libraries:
Claire Alto Flute
Claire English Horn
Hybrid Synphony
Blendstrument Alive Cymbals
Blendstrument Hybrid Pulses
Hybrid Tools 3

Other software:
Cubase Pro 10
VPS Phalanx Single
2sense Wiggle
FabFilter Timeless 2, Pro-R, Pro-Q3, Pro-MB, Twin 2
Eventide Blackhole
kHs Multipass, Transient Shaper, Frequency Shifter, Delay
Ghz Midside Matrix 3
STA Delay
Brauer Motion
Ozone 9

Massive DAW rig
Acoustic cello


Awesome track - love the cello and low synth. Love the way the track builds


Love it and the visuals were so incredible along with the very thought out music score :+1:

1 Like

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Lessons learned from this first little cello session:

  • Don’t try to learn and record new stuff in one day! (At least not as a n00b, if you need to learn new shifts and fingerings.)
  • Quit noodling and get on with the recording, before you’re too numb and tired to play properly!
  • Cubase 10 VariAudio actually works on the cello, even with mid/side stereo audio, as long as it’s minor adjustments.
  • VariAudio will NOT fix a wobbly vibrato.
  • VariAudio can NOT remove vibrato. (Cello vibrato is part pitch, part amplitude, part timbre, and you can only work with the pitch.)
  • Editing will NOT fix scratchy tone.
  • Editing will NOT fix poor dynamics and expression.
  • Resonances are strong, rooms are weird, microphones are odd… Getting it to sound great in the mix is not trivial!

So basically, what you play is what you get, although you can use VariAudio to tighten up the intonation and timing a bit. (Very nice for electronic/hybrid, which is often very unforgiving when it come to intonation, just as with vocals.)

And of course, you can do umpteen takes! :wink: I suppose you could even splice snippets of takes together as well, but that might me complicated a bit by the strong resonances in the cello. You can’t having ringing open strings going in and out randomly, so it would be like trying to edit vocals with baked reverb.


very impressive composition, the choir is fantatic, i like the hybrid aspect used for the arpegio with some filtering
balance is very good, good sound
very good job


I’ve been working on another, more properly ambient entry as well, but I haven’t been well lately, and couldn’t focus if my life depended on it, so we’ll see… I have some decent chord progressions and sound design, but the “theme” melody is kind of getting on my nerves. :smiley: