Cutting Room Floor

Here we are Monday 8th August, 9am last Saturday “Cutting Room Floor” didn’t exist, and there was no thought to do such a style of track.

As you might have seen from previous blogs, most pieces of music are as a result of an accident or a detour from the original plan of action.

As usual I have a few tracks on the go both classic rock and soundtrack/instrumental, but couldn’t get anywhere, so I started afresh, loading up my music program (Logic) and immediately selecting a classic Fender Rhodes sound to play around with ideas.

…on my wishlist

So soon a few chords that sounded good together followed, then I delved into my library of sounds, some almost going back twenty years.  Of course then things were slightly more steam driven, but one thing we did then, when I was part of the electronica duo Smooth Egg, was to use something like a AKAI S5000 sampler and sample sounds from anywhere.

At that time I had a collection of soundtrack and loungecore albums and when we were able to find a single note on a track, we’d isolate it, and create a series of samples so those notes could be played individually.  I still have them now, and I used one on “Cutting Room Floor” – the three notes near the intro (of course adding reverb/delay/rotary speaker effects make them even better!).  There are thousands/millions of interesting sounds to buy out there but nothing sounds like them, just hearing one note and you hear the thriller themes and music of the late 60’s/early 70’s.

Steenbeck flatbed editing table – photo by David Tames

Without thinking I called the track “Cutting Room Floor”, in the 70’s I spent a lot of my time in the cutting rooms in Soho, mostly with my Dad who was either editing a film himself on a Steenbeck or he was supervising a production.  One summer I did work experience in Great Russell Street in a cutting room, making tea, delivering and collecting film from the film laboratories and learning the basics of how to add a countdown leader to a roll of 16mm film, as well as taking film titles to be filmed by the great Ken Morse.  I imagine there are few, if any, 16mm film cutting rooms around today, it was definitely a moment in time.

Putting together a video was quickly done, I always try to use free footage, rather than taking copyrighted material and luckily there is loads of free footage of film, projectors and film running (if you know where to look) – to give a relevant impression to sit nicely with the music.   I’m fully aware what a fairly basic editing software such as iMovie is capable of and some of the features it completes in seconds would take days in the cutting rooms and Laboratories of the 70’s, but just like the sounds created at that time, their work has a classic quality that has endured.

Just a reminder to check out my other videos and tracks available on this website, or subscribe to my youtube channel,  follow my twitter account, or like my Facebook page.

Steenbeck photo by David Tames


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