Creation of a Taskless Sheep Song
The year is 2007, my friends, Taskbeenden and TheNameless, and I were actively collaborating on an album, to be called "Greatest Hits". I mean, "Meadowlicker". Or "Meadow Mayhem".

Anyhow, on April 14th 2007, Task uploaded a sample for a yet unknown song. It sounded like this: (with test drums) (without drums)

Let me clarify: We were using a self-made tool to help us organize our songs and samples, it was called EXP Manager - the name came from an original idea by Task and Nameless, I think I never really found out what it stands for, but basically it was only them working on songs via email. When I joined the project, I thought I could help out with a website, and I used the name that already existed.

Back to the project!

Usually, as soon as a sample for a new project had been uploaded, a post in the forum's project was created to determine the mixer of the song. The mixer of the song was the boss, the master; he would always have the final word. It made a lot of decisions easier because we could always leave it to the Mixer to steer the song in a direction.

Each of us rolled virtual dice; I rolled 783 (out of 999), Task rolled 819, Nameless rolled 279. Task won, he would go on to direct The Causation.

What happened next was - nothing. We would wait, listen to the sample, let it inspire us. We were supposed to add another instrument layer on top. There were no rules. New instruments could force the song into different moods altogether, or just play along nicely.

About a month later, inspiration struck and I uploaded piano and strings, which I had recorded with my keyboard. Task, being the Mixer, was, excuse the pun, tasked with creating the first version.

I think you will notice that the atmosphere changes immediately. The piano is, I don't know, happy? Melancholic? The strings are trying to drag the mood back down, I guess. You might also realize that it sounds super weird. This is where I screwed up. The direction of the song was wrong, but we hadn't thought of that at this point.

Task, feeling invigorated, almost immediately added live drums, making for a huge difference:

If you listen to it, it's like the song is wailing. It's trying to be something it's not. I think at this juncture we all knew something was up, but couldn't quite put our fingers on it. (Beside the piano being out of sync a lot.) But hey, the ending is quite nice! We marched on.

Only two days later, Nameless sat down and hummed into his microphone. We were on a roll! Or maybe it was a stumble.

The first two minutes don't seem to come together, the song is all over the place. BUT THAT ENDING! Discussions broke out. Was it a good idea to add background voices before the main voice? Would it distract too much? Would the song even need lyrics and another voice?

We listened to it a few more days and all came to the same conclusion: The background voices don't fit. Task made another version five days later, fixing some rhythm things and removing the background voices.

At first, Nameless retracted his voices, then I slowly noticed that my piano was the actual problem. The song lay dormant, we didn't know what to do with it and continued working on other songs.

Then, three months later, Task turned it around and offered an alternate route; no more piano, no more strings, no more background humming, a new beginning, sort of. Another month went by and Task returned with a plan: LYRICS!

Inspired, I continued writing the lyrics, based on a (gone) friend of mine, and recorded them. We were getting somewhere! Task, as usual, spun it all together into a new version:

It sounds pretty final, although some sections were too loud and some stuff was still missing. (And "century" isn't pronounced that way...)

We ignored the song for a year, completing other tracks meanwhile, then returned with the final adjustments towards the end of the overall album project. Within a month, Task generated another three versions with tweaks and additions, based on our forum discussions, and, another four months later, the final mix was exported in highest possible quality.

Not all songs ever got off the ground. Here's a song from March 2007, which remained a lonely, but charming sample forever (played by Nameless).

I've been trying to add stuff all throughout Meadow Mayhem and even Rotten Melody. All my attempts have failed, even though I have written lyrics for all four minutes of it.

Maybe the song is content with itself and perfectly happy as it is.

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Philipp Lehner

Games & Music

Philipp Lehner

Games & Music

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