Friday, July 8, 2022

'Somehow' the making of

I follow a number of production posts, as I always like to keep learning. Ghosthack gave out a few acapellas recently and so, with gratitude, I was able to start with a few vocals this time (as I mostly do instrumentals). I always think in 'song' as I cut my teeth playing in dance bands. The end result is this: 

I wrote the chords and the hook using the 2007 Bram Bos Tunafish DAW (he still has a great output of Mac OS software if you want to look him up), however, I often find this a good starting point for writing a song, as it is very simple and I want to concentrate on what I am hearing and not get distracted by the DAW itself.
I was going to move it over to LMMS but skipped straight to Sonar Lite where I worked with it. 
The melody and the words really shaped the song for me. I hope you can listen through to the end as it rises and falls.
Here are some of the VSTi's I used to make it:



and of course the vocals:

The drum loops 140 Bpm and some of the background 'risers' and sounds all came from the kind people at looperman 

and a quick vid of these VSTis and then some of the sounds on Tunafish and Sonar after about 20 seconds


Friday, February 11, 2022

'Keep Walking' the making of

 Keep Walking

Though there is very little guitar in the end tune (above), it really started out as a loud guitar jam over a loop of E minor-D- C- D. I put the bass line together very quickly over the 'Amen Break' drum loop, as I was just hanging out for a guitar blast. I recorded it live and put it on my music FB page. I left it at that until a few months later when I re-found the bass line looking for other stuff. 

I set myself the goal to write a tune over a simple bass line, as I have a natural tenancy to overthink writing.

I actually enjoyed the parameters I put on myself and it led itself into a more electronic based tune. After I had written the electronics and the piano (and removed the 'Amen Break' and replaced it with a a different public domain beat), it become a different beast.

Finally, I could 'hear' a bass guitar playing the melody (probably from my 80's influences such as Joy Division, early The Cure and the song Blue Monday). I tried a number of different sounds, until I settled on a - highly compressed - and equalized bass line. Behind it, I also have a doubled it up in octaves to lift it our a bit more, though the octave line is a lot softer.

Compressor and Equalizer 

Same Bass Guitar I've been playing since the 1980's. Still booming.

Here are some of the background instruments (choir, onboard FX, organ Vstis) 

This video shows the progression (in short) of how the tune came together.
It rarely ends the way I start it, which is part of why I like making music. There are always a lot of unknown influences and paths that make the end tune.

Here is the 'making of' Keep Walking:

Here is the direct link to the making of video:

Here is the link to my somewhat 'official' page, which I don't take too seriously, though you do get the end products of my work:


If you are interested:

I rarely collaborate (nowadays) but worked with UR Udoy on a tune he wrote in 2021:

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

'Rivers', the making of



I had been playing with electronic and overdriven guitar just previous to making this one but I wanted to go back to an acoustic tune again for a break.

I had been listening to different styles of acoustic guitar but my favourite is often the old medieval/renaissance 'feel' when I get on the acoustic strings. I don't really know what you call this style. 

I had been experimenting with a few chords and so on but on this particular evening, after a long day at work and also within a week of the first anniversary of my fathers passing; I locked myself away in one evening and finished the tune. After a few run throughs I recorded it live on my phone and directly from a microphone my son gave me into my DAW on the computer in one take.

It is surely technically very imperfect, I'm missing notes and hitting the strings dead at times. However, I felt that I captured the essence. That was enough, so I didn't lose the spirit of the tune.

So, here is the live recording before I added any other instruments, just me and the guitar: 

I'm a big fan of free VSTi's (virtual instruments). So I used a midi keyboard to play these once I started to multitrack it. In my head I was trying my best to play as if they were the real instruments.

So the tracks added after the live recording were:

2nd acoustic guitar - to add a bit more emphasis to the first guitar


Soprano recorder

Gentle percussion - you can barely hear it but it is there

Chinese style flute

I tried to keep it simple as though it was a small group of people playing in a hall.

Mutant Orchestra - cello

Soprano renaissance recorder


Mini DiZi flute

I put together a breakdown of each track so you can hear the instruments separately.

If you have any comments, let me know. 

Probably the best way is through my music page on FB:     Tim Oestmann Music

Thanks for having a look and all the best with your own music making. We all draw from a great river of music and creativity that goes beyond time and boundaries.



Friday, September 10, 2021

'Fizzer' the making of


'Fizzer' started out as an idea of an all electronic tune. I deliberately chose not to use any guitar in the recording. Though I did write the chord progression on my trusty acoustic guitar first; as if it sounds good on a simple instrument, it should, in theory sound good in most arrangements. So here are the chords as I wrote them down. You can see I dated it at 22 August 2021. So, I wrote it in a night basically.

I also was already experimenting with VSTis to pick sounds I was after, and taking notes with every sound that seemed to hit the mark I was after:

I often still use a basic piano roll (by Bram Bos) to get the chords down, as I have been using it for years and it doesn't 'get in the way' of quickly writing down ideas:

I also got the structure of the song down fairly quickly:

The main ideas were to move from minor keys to major keys and move up in sound.

After using Tunafish to get the basics down, I moved over to LMMS, which has become a favourite of mine ot write keyboard based songs. And I wrote the melody using the midi keyboard attached to LMMS. Extra sounds came from the good people at Looperman who donate free loops. Most of the song, as usual is made via my own gear but some of the extra sounds add spice and lift the production a little higher.

Sonar lite 6 is my go-to DAW, as I know my way around it and can refine the sounds. It still took a number of nights and trial and error until I got the final tune. It's made to be partly melodic, partly art noise to be played loud. I used to play in bands for dancing and that has never left me. 
I did the final mix in Audacity and used Ozone 8 for the first time to give it more 'wideness'.

Here is a short video of the progression. I always like to push my boundaries. Hope you liked it.

I called the song 'Fizzer', as in Australia the term means 'it fizzles out', as in I didn't expect many to like it. I've been pleasantly surprised so far. Thanks and blessings.  Tim Oestmann  :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Blue Leaf Green, the making of

 Blue Leaf Green

The title of the song doesn't mean anything, I liked the images the words conveyed.

The background of this tune came out of conversations I was having with a few people about if it is -still- worth the effort to spend time making music. The end result is 'yes', it is part of my DNA and so it is important for me to keep writing, even if only a small number of people hear it. I get something mysteriously beneficial personally out of creating. And 'yes' if a small number of people hear it or download the music, then if other people's lives have been positively connected, encouraged, then that makes me very happy.  I have been told by people that they have used it in various ways. So onward I go.  

This song came from the end of a difficult day, so I locked myself up for a few hours and wrote it on acoustic guitar. I then used computers to provide the backing. I made a little clip here showing some of the putting together:

I partially take clips or pictures of when I'm writing or making a song, so I have a record of how I did it. I also like learning how other people write and record their music, so if anyone (I don't expect many) want to know how I do this, here it is.

I work on a tight budget (for music, after the household is taken care of), so much of my software is freeware or open source and surprisingly good. I have also been gifted a few instruments, computers and music software (and ideas!) from kind souls around on this globe. 

I have a bandcamp page which you can pay what you want - including a '0' if you are under financial pressure for my last decade of music:

This particular tune - isn't on there yet (as I write this 25 7 2021), as I wait until I have a least four tunes to make an EP. 

However, you can download it from my Soundcloud Page by clicking on the 'download' as shown here:

All the music I write and record is (and loops and samples as far as I check and am aware) are OK to use for personal use if you want, you can share it too. Just not for commercial use without permission. Basically, I'm OK for people to download it. If you want to use it for anything else just get my permission. You'll find me online :-)

I have really appreciated the many musicians who have enriched my life daily and I hope this drop in the big ocean of music will encourage at least a few others.

Blessings. Tim O  

Saturday, July 24, 2021

'Sunrise' acoustic live


'Sunrise' is actually an instrumental I wrote as a young pup in the 1980's. It was influenced by classical guitar, new wave chords, Larry Norman's acoustic guitar playing and just made it up over a number of months. I remember I was still working on it while travelling around Western Australia, so it was written in rooms, on a touring bus and who knows where.

This version above I don't play completely correctly to the original I wrote but it is close. I couldn't actually remember how to play it fully. This clip still captures the essence.

Back in the 80's and early 90's I would play it live at concerts as part of the set and some people seemed to like it. 

I recorded it in a studio back in the 80's also for a friend who was studying sound engineering but I have not heard that tape since. Part of the 'lost tapes' to make it sound more important then it is. I once had a copy of the tape but lost it years ago. 

This version is a mash-up of a 2008 recording I did into a multi-layered, over produced (on very poor equipment) version from the 1980s. I don't mind it but some of the simplicity is lost in translation. I don't regret it though, as music is always an ongoing experiment for me:

And here is the 2008 backroom version that I recorded using a web-like cam, I 'borrowed' from my kids gaming console:

And that's all I have to say about that.

'Couch Surfer' the making of

 Couch Surfer

When Hip Hop first became big (back when we were all younger) I really liked the funky beats, loops and bass lines. The drum-like lyric rapping was also great. I did get a little tired of some Rappers telling us how 'fresh' they were, or  how much money they had, or their unpleasant description of women. However, the - music - was sometimes magnificent in its power and 'in your face' attack.  I still like the beats and bass lines the most and the transformation of that into more melodic genres.

Then there is Chill or LoFi, which I don't actually listen to a lot but is on certain dedicated stations for old stressed and burned out ex-party animals, rockers and Hip Hop kids that have gone over the hill and faraway.

So, having no ideas of my own but a really old CD ROM called 'Hip Hop 3 - Street Style' EJay that I had bought at a thrift shop years ago, I committed a musical crime and used the street urgent, tough, gritty sounds on it and put together a pretty Chill track.

Here is the CD ROM:

As you can see, the gentleman on the front cover is already questioning my actions and not sure what to think about my musical genre pushing.

For me, it was fun. Here is a short clip as I was in the process of making it (just set up my mobile/cell phone on time lapse):

Even though I made the whole thing on computer using samples off the disk, I still needed to mix it and it all takes time:

So, whatever you think of it, it was good to have a break from trying not to fall into the same playing and it is what it is, so chill :-)