Cley Next-the-sea Music

Cley Next-the-sea Music
Cley next-the-sea

Cley next-the-sea music video

Cley (or Cley next-the-sea) is a small village on the North Norfolk coast road, about a mile inland. Back in the middle ages it was an important trading port, but will channels silting up over time its probably best known for its iconic windmill and it's nature reserve.

I started writing the piece of music by rooting through the field recordings for interesting sounds. Cley wasn't the most productive place for usable sounds, but i found some nice sounds of the reeds blowing in the wind, some ambient bird and insect sound, and as i got to Cley beach some now obligatory waves on shingle sounds.

I experiemented with making a synth sound on my Microfreak and dialed in a warm slightly de-tuned synth sound and came up with the idea that you hear at the start of the song, and which i guess is the main motif of the song. Once i'd recorded that section i then, unusually for me, moved onto a drum part, I came up with a part pretty quickly, and then worked on a couple of variations of the part. As i've said in previous posts i find playing/programming natural sounding drums really hard so i'm pleased with how this came out.

Once i had the basic drums down i worked on a bass guitar part to complement the synths, the synth part had a slightly off kilter feel to it and i wanted to replicate that with the bass, when i recorded it i didn't really want to think about 'the 1' or where in the song i was, so i worked out the basic part but then improvised during record on for example when i introduced variations etc.

I then worked on the guitar parts, initially i recorded a bunch of different guitar parts, but ended up getting rid of them in favour of the original part improvised guitar part that i first recorded. I prevaricated over whether it was too repetitive and there are parts where i improvised where the timing is lagging, but i ended up keeping it all in, i just reduced the volume during the middle section as i bring in string parts.

After sorting the guitar i then worked on a couple of string parts, I wanted to have a long laid back feel to the strings to counter the loping rhythm of the drums and synth. I then worked the sample of the reeds into the first part of the song, and the sounds of waves into the latter part of the song. I also manipulated a sample of the waves hitting the shingle and used that to double track the snare on the drums during the middle section of the song.

Overall i'm really pleased with how this came out, i feel like i captured some atmosphere from the day of recording. I often find it difficult to feel like something is finished, and i'm sure i could have added more parts, more string lines etc, but i'm pleased with how it is now, its just enough.

Below is the original field recording video, can you hear which elements ended up in the song?

Cley next-the-sea field recording video