MacDemarco - Chamber Of Reflections

Oct 2023

MacDemarco is considered one of the greatest references of the bedroom pop scene of the 2010s. His works are self-produced and he usually uses analog equipment to record them. He previously played with a $30 Teisco electric guitar which he would later stop using live because it tended to break often, characterizing his lo-fi sound.

In 2014, DeMarco released one of his most recognized albums, "Salad Days", which received the “Best New Music” award from Pitchfork Media.

From this same album, the song "Chamber of Reflections" evokes nostalgia, being one of the few songs where he does not use the guitars so characteristic of him. It's DeMarco's most exploratory and atmospheric track yet, and it's also achingly lonely and quietly eloquent about the experience.

However, Pitchfork fails to mention that this song is actually inspired by another previous Shigeo Sekito song "the word II", who is mentioned in the song's own credits and is grateful for giving up the rights to sample his song on the album. As you can see for yourself, the melody and chords are identical!

It is curious therefore, that it is precisely this song the most listened from MacDemarco's discography.

In any case, it is a wonderful song that I wanted to reconstruct with all the instruments and voices from scratch. Check it out below!

Remember that the original song is detuned by about -30ct, giving it that vintage lo-fi touch, so you'll notice that with standard tuning you can't play over the original song. That's why I've recreated the song by taking it to the closest key so you can play it in standard tuning. The chords are as follows :

chords macdemarco chamber of reflections



MacDemarco's most listened to song is surprisingly one of the simplest songs in terms of instrumentation and chords, as well as effective. It only has 2 synthesizer tracks, 1 bass track, the drum track and the vocals.

So, let's go for the first of the synthesizers, which corresponds to a modified organ sound. To recreate it I used the DX7.

First of all, I looked in the organ presets section for something similar, and I started from the preset Rom1B 14-E.ORGAN 3. Listen to how this sound sounds without modifying it first, to see the subsequent evolution .

Organ Raw Sound

The first thing was to correct the OP's values. I have disabled OP4 by setting it to 0 to eliminate that harsh high-pitched sound. Afterwards, I adjusted the value of OP6 to 49, OP5 to 93, and the rest to 99, achieving a warmer sound, listen to it below.

organ chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ Modified Sound

The next and very important thing was to add a chorus in mode III with the following parameters. With this we achieve a surround sound very similar to that of MacDemarco. Listen to it:

organ chorus chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ sound with Chorus

With this we would almost have it, but if we want to perfect it, we can add the RC-20 Retro Color with the Wooble in the following way to get that lo-fi tape sound. I have added a side-chain compression with the kick to give it dynamics and that bumping effect. Listen to the final result!

retro vintage chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ sound with all the effects

For the keyboard that makes the melody and some chords in the choruses, I used the Arturia Mini V.

I started with the Poly Synthi preset as a base, which is already very similar to the original sound. By adjusting the parameters that you can see below and without the need to use any other effects, you can get the same sound as MacDemarco's song, listen to it below!

synth keys chamber of reflections macdemarco

PolySynth Keys Sound



MacDemarco's drums tend to sound quite tight, with a muted and dry touch, quite lo-fi.

To recreate it I used the Addictive Drums 2 based on the Indie - Spike Stent Indie A kit. From that kit, I replaced the snare with another that seemed more suitable, I raised the volume of the room fader to give it some space, and I adjusted some EQ parameters and sends to the room.

drums chamber of reflections macdemarco

Then I've run it through the Goodhertz VulfCompressor, the RC-20 Retro Color with another touch of Wooble for that lo-fi look, and finally some more compression with the dbx-160, a compressor that Tame Impala used to use.

compressor chamber of reflections macdemarco
dbx chamber of reflections macdemarco

Hear the difference in sound without any effects, and with all the effects.

Drums Sound without effects

Drums Sound with effects



I have recorded the bass by line and applied effects consisting of compression and EQ mostly. Listen to the clean bass without any effects and with all the effects to see the difference.

Bass Sound without effects

‍Bass Sound with effects



Finally, MacDemarco's voice on this song is more ethereal than usual.

To recreate it, I used the same basic effects chain as in previous remakes (you can check out other remakes to find out!), with the addition of a couple more effects: the ReelADT and the Waves J37, to get that vintage analog tape recording touch.

vocals reel adt chamber of reflections macdemarco
j37 vintage tape chamber of reflections macdemarco

Listen to how the voice sounds without these effects, and then with them to see the difference.

Vocal Sound without effects

‍Vocal Sound with ReelADT and J37


This is all Chamber of Reflections has to offer! I hope you enjoyed it, and remember that you can support me to continue making all this free content on my Patreon page. Tell me your feedback on YouTube!


David Alonso patreonthanks for reading!

If you liked it, or if you want to download the Ableton Projects with the
‍plugins used and all the tracks & midi files by one click, check out my Patreon page!

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