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July 5, 2010 - Week 2
It's that time of the week. We give you "The Edge," a rock-waltz with attitude. It's a sound that we've been developing since the days of "Morning (Out)" from our Self-Titled album. We want this track to take you somewhere wild, somewhere manic. Find a comfy chair, put on your favorite pair of headphones, download "The Edge," and crank it up. You get one chance to hear a song for the first time... make it count.By SeanThe Edge is a song that is heavily influenced by classic poetry with nautical themes. Specifically, the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge and Homer's Odyssey gave the most inspiration to the song's feelings of homesickness and heartache. I admire the explorers who spent months floating around at sea in giant wooden ships, sometimes not seeing land for weeks....they had a discipline and patience that is rare in people these days. They didn't know what was out there, and most people thought the world just ended and dropped off into space out in the oceans. A "crazy" perception to us...but not in the context of their day.The Edge by The Theory of Funkativity Oh, how the mighty they fall Oh, how the mighty they fall Tossing and turning so free To set an example for all Look at their dance and their fun How they dance, how they dance How they've won So fluid so prude and so green So shallow, and stubborn, and dumb Flying the followers' cheer Loving their formative years Losing track of time 'cause They've had so much wine That it's pouring out Of their ears Chorus: No matter the distance My flesh and bone Pulls your direction Guiding me home I'd cross the oceans Oh I'd sell my soul Choke on my words To call you my own Verse: Dues are dues are dues Which is why they're sending me soon I fear the edge of the world But I'd jump off to get back to you Let me leave, oh, please let me run Forgive your prodigal son Whatever the sentence may be I'll pay it with my sweat and blood The lonely carnivore cries Wiping the salt from his eyes My hope is collapsing But my love's everlasting So I'll fight, I'll fight for my life But if I don't survive, in your heart I'm alive So I'll fight, I'll fight For my life Chorus: No matter the distance My flesh and bone Pulls your direction Guiding me home I'd cross the oceans I'd sell my soul Choke on my words To call you my own No matter the distance My flesh and bone Pulls your direction Guiding me home I'd cross the oceans Oh I'd sell my soul Choke on my words To call you my own Bridge: Dues are dues are dues Which is why they're sending me soon I fear the edge of the world But I'd jump off to get back to you Chorus: No matter the distance My flesh and bone Pulls your direction Guiding me home I'd cross the oceans I'd sell my soul Choke on my words To call you my own No matter the distance My flesh and bone Pulls your direction Guiding me home I'd cross the oceans Oh I'd sell my soul Choke on my words To call you my ownBy MichaelThis is my favorite Theory song to date."The Edge" actually began as a spinoff from Morning (Out), a song that has always served as a great source of creative inspiration for me. It's a heavily modular and improvisational piece, and I'm always trying to come up with a bigger and better twist. I'll change the tempo, structure, chords, or write new intros and endings. One such ending became the bridge of "The Edge." In creating this song, my goal was to gather up all of the elements I love from Morning (Out) and take them to the extreme. I tried to cram as much musical progression, intensity, and grandiosity as possible into the song, and it got to the point where those three factors were almost competing with each other. The song is just restrained enough to allow for progression. It's bursting at the seams in a constant and unwilling struggle to postpone explosion. "The Edge" is a fitting title. The guitar line for the bridge feels very right to me. The physical motion involved in playing it is so smooth and poetic. The movements compliment the sound of the part, which is something I've never encountered before. The upper strings strum out a chord progression, and the lower strings dance out a melody by tugging at those chords. The bass line both solidifies and embellishes that melody. When I think of "The Edge" I think of the bass part from the chorus. To me, that is the essence of the song. A second guitar harmonizes the bass and lead guitar lines during the chorus. I tried to make that second guitar move up any time the lead guitar went down, and vice versa. On top of those three instruments I added a piano line that drifts and falls behind the other instruments. The chorus came out very rich and very unsettling. I wanted the song to explode into a final push that would intensify everything that had some before it, but I didn't want to have to kick it back a notch first in order to give the explosion more impact. Instead, the chorus launches straight into the outro without hesitation. All of the instruments cut out except for the drums and one guitar, but the guitar line is quick. All of the intensity from the chorus funnels straight into the conclusion. It feels like the chorus is the peak, yet somehow the song keeps building and building. By the end, two pianos, six guitars, the bass, and five vocal harmonies are all at play.By MichaelThe song's lyrics portray a desperate yet determined character, and I wanted the mix to reflect that. My goal was to make the vocals battle the instrumentals at certain points while still keeping the lyrics audible. The instrumentals in "The Edge" antagonize the lead vocals and embody the elements against which the character is fighting for survival, as though Pat is a captain caught in a storm and the listener is hearing him shout out orders from a distance. I used heavy vocal compression to keep Pat buried but audible. I fed the vocals through two compression stages. For the first I used the PSP VintageWarmer2. It's a powerful tool, but it's also extremely dangerous. Tracks instantly sound better when you throw on the VintageWarmer, but often times this is only because the plugin's default settings cause an increase in volume. I always make sure to lower the output gain for equal loudness before A/B-ing. It's frighteningly easy to get carried away and throw it on every track. With Pat, I like to turn the drive way up and dial in a lot of compression, but I set the mix knob to only 5 or 10%. The VintageWarmer is a great candidate for parallel compression because it adds a ton of color. This gives me a heavily saturated layer underneath the original that is guaranteed to poke through the mix at all times. Next, I run the track through the Waves RVOX compressor. This ensures that the dry signal gets properly evened out as well. I use around 6-12 db of compression to keep the vocals loud and intense. The RVOX does a great job of sweetening and thickening the track without making it sound overly artificial, though I don't mind a little bit of artificiality in the vocals (it's rock music). After a little bit of equalization and de-essing, the end result is a smooth, high-intensity vocal track that's ready to "fight for its life" in the mix.