Projects made by Matthew Phoenix for school assignments, or as collaborations.
School assignment: The Jimi Hendrix Project
For this school assignment we had to produce the 17th song of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. It was a huge challenge to research, write, produce and finalize a song that had to sound like it was made by the legend himself.
We worked in a group of 4, dividing the tasks as much as possible. I wrote the lyrics for the song and when it was time to record we asked three students from the Utrecht Conservatory. During the session, which was plagued by broken Protools HDX cards and a drumkit that barely kept itself together, I was in the studio with the musicians. There I made sure they felt comfortable while communicating with the control room about the progress of fixing the technical malfunctions. In the end it all worked out and after three amazing takes we got what we needed.
We then all had to mix the song individually. I took inspiration from the way of recording and mixing in the 60s, so I used 8 tracks:
-A mono guitar track -A mono bass track -2 mono vocal tracks -A Kazoo track
-A tambourine track
With that I started mixing, using as little EQ and compression as possible and fader riding a lot to create a dynamic mix. The song you hear is the version mixed by me.
School assignment: The First Day On Earth
For this assignment I was tasked with composing a piece for solo flute. It was to be performed by Anne Laberge, a world famous flute player known for her skills with extended techniques.
Because of her skill I decided to compose a piece that would tell a story and use the many
different extended techniques a flute has. I wanted the piece to feel like it could be looped, and soon the idea of a day on earth with he sun rising and setting as beginning and end came up. The piece is called “The First Day On Earth” and it starts peacefully as the sun rises and the world wakes up. slowly but surely it gets more chaotic, representing the struggle to survive. Near the end the sun begins to set and the chaos turns into quietness as the world goes to sleep again.
School assignment: Creative Engineering
With this assignment we had to form groups of 4 and use creative and unconventional techniques
to record a cover. We had to choose five techniques and use them on a different instrument part.
We did the following:
-recording feedback guitar and change the pitch by increasing and decreasing the distance
between the amp and the guitar.
-record drums with only one microphone.
-record vocals with the “David Bowie” technique; three mics 15 feet apart with a gate on the two
mics the furthest from the singer.
-swinging a microphone in front of the guitar amp during recording to create a flanging effect.
-split the signal of the bass guitar multiple times and run it all through different effects (we ended
up with six bass guitar signals, from flangers to fuzz).
We then had to mix the cover and since we were doing a cover of The Beatles’s Come Together
we decided to draw inspiration from the mix of the original song.
School assignment: Café Terrace At Night
For this assignment I had to find a painting and compose a piece to it, highlighting the emotion and atmosphere of the painting. I chose “Café Terrace By Nigh” by my favorite painter Vincent Van Gogh.
I tried to highlight the loneliness that this painting radiates, along with the fascinating night sky and the darkness luring in the alley. That is not only reflected in the composition, but also in the choice of instruments, like the piano, the music box but also the deep and haunting synthesizer sounds.
Collaborative Project: Omelette Du Fromage
This is a school assignment that got out of hand and that turned into a collaborative project with a classmate. It is a hip hop track with London Grime influences and somewhat remarkable French lyrics. The lyrics are actual French gibberish.
The song started as a joke with the hook “Omelette Du Fromage” and the French gibberish went from there, using google translate to translate from Dutch to French. In the end we got a bit too invested in it and we thought it was too good not to put out.