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MacDemarco - Chamber Of Reflections

Oct 2023
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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 ‚ÄúBest New Music‚ÄĚ 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

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CHAMBER OF REFLECTIONS: SYNTHS RECREATION

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

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MACDEMARCO DRUMS 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

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MACDEMARCO BASS TONE

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

‚ÄćBass Sound with effects

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CHAMBER OF REFLECTIONS VOCAL PRODUCTION

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

‚ÄćVocal Sound with ReelADT and J37

‚Äć

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!

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A MacDemarco se le considera uno de los mayores referentes de la escena d‚Äče bedroom pop de la d√©cada de 2010. Sus obras son autoproducidas y normalmente usa equipo anal√≥gico para grabarlo. Anteriormente tocaba con una guitarra el√©ctrica Teisco de 30 d√≥lares que m√°s tarde dejar√≠a de usar en directo debido a que sol√≠a a romperse a menudo, lo que caracteriza su sonido lo-fi.

En 2014, DeMarco lanz√≥ uno de sus √°lbumes m√°s reconocidos, "Salad Days", que recibi√≥ el premio ‚ÄúMejor M√ļsica Nueva‚ÄĚ por parte de Pitchfork Media.

De este mismo disco, la canción "Chamber of Reflections" evoca la nostalgia, siendo una de las pocas canciones en donde no utliza sus guitarras tan características. Es la pista más exploratoria y atmosférica de DeMarco hasta el momento, y también es dolorosamente solitaria y silenciosamente elocuente sobre la experiencia.

Sin embargo, Pitchfork no menciona que, en realidad, esta canción se inspira en otra canción anterior de Shigeo Sekito "the word II", quien se menciona en los propios créditos de la canción y es agradecido por ceder los derechos para esta canción del álbum. Como podrás comprobar tu mismo, la melodía y acordes son idénticos!

Es curioso por tanto, que justamente sea esta canci√≥n la m√°s escuchada de toda las obras de MacDemarco.¬†En cualquier caso, es una canci√≥n maravillosa que he querido reconstruir con todos los instrumentos y voces de cero. √Čchale un vistazo a continuaci√≥n!

Recuerda que la canción original tiene un detune de unos -30ct para darle ese toque vintage lo-fi, por lo que notaras que con afinación estándar no puedes tocar encima de la canción original. Esa por eso que he recreado la canción llevándola al tono más cercano para poderla tocar en afinación estándar. Los acordes son los siguientes:

chords macdemarco chamber of reflections

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CHAMBER OF REFLECTIONS: SYNTHS RECREATION

La canción más escuchada de MacDemarco sorprendentemente es de las canciones más sencillas en cuanto a instrumentación y acordes, a la par que efectiva. Solamente cuenta con 2 pistas de sintetizadores, 1 pista de bajo, la pista de batería y la voz.

Así que, vamos a por el primer de los sintetizadores, que corresponde a un sonido de órgano modificado. Para recrearlo he utilizado el DX7.

En primer lugar, he buscado en la sección de presets de órganos alguno parecido, y he partido del preset Rom1B 14-E.ORGAN 3. Escucha como suena este sonido sin modificar primero, para ver la evolución posterior.

Organ Raw Sound

Lo primero ha sido corregir los valores de los OP. He desactivado el OP4 poniendolo a 0 para quitar ese sonido agudo estridente. Despu√©s, he ajustado el valor del OP6 a 49, el OP5 a 93, y el resto a 99, consiguiendo un sonido m√°s c√°lido, esc√ļchalo a continuaci√≥n.

organ chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ Modified Sound

Lo siguiente y muy importante, ha sido agregarle un chorus en modo III con los siguientes par√°metros. Con esto conseguimos un sonido envolvente muy similar al de MacDemarco. Esc√ļchalo:

organ chorus chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ sound with Chorus

Con esto ya casi lo tendr√≠amos, pero si queremos perfeccionarlo, podemos agregarle el RC-20 Retro Color con el Wooble de la siguiente manera para conseguir ese sonido lo-fi de cinta. Le he a√Īadido una compresi√≥n side-chain con el bombo para darle din√°mica y eseefecto de bumping. Escucha el resultado final!

retro vintage chamber of reflections macdemarco

Organ sound with all the effects

Para el teclado que hace la melodía y algunos acordes en los estribillos, he usado el Mini V de Arturia.

He partido como base del preset Poly Synthi, que ya se parece mucho al sonido original. Ajustando los par√°metros que puedes ver a continuaci√≥n y sin la necesidad de usar ning√ļn efecto m√°s, puedes conseguir el mismo sonido de la cancion de MacDemarco, esc√ļchalo aqui abajo!

synth keys chamber of reflections macdemarco

PolySynth Keys Sound

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MACDEMARCO DRUMS SOUND

La batería de MacDemarco suele sonar bastante tight, con un toque mudo y seco, bastante lo-fi.

Para recrearlo he utilizado el Addictive Drums 2 partiendo del kit Indie - Spike Stent Indie A. De ese kit, he sustituido la caja por otra que me parecía más adecuada, he subido el volumen del fader de room para darle algo de espacio, y he ajustado algunos parámetros de EQ y envíos a la room.

drums chamber of reflections macdemarco

Después, lo he pasado por el VulfCompressor de Goodhertz, el RC-20 Retro Color con otro toque de Wooble para esa apariencia lo-fi, y finalmente un poco más de compresión con el dbx-160, un compresor que solía utilizar Tame Impala.

compressor chamber of reflections macdemarco
dbx chamber of reflections macdemarco

Escucha la diferencia de sonido sin ning√ļn efecto, y con todos los efectos.

Drums Sound without effects

Drums Sound with effects

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MACDEMARCO BASS TONE

He grabado el bajo por l√≠nea y he aplicado efectos que consisten en compresi√≥n y EQ sobre todo. Escucha el bajo limpio sin ning√ļn efecto y con todos los efectos para ver la diferencia.

Bass Sound without effects

‚ÄćBass Sound with effects

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CHAMBER OF REFLECTIONS VOCAL PRODUCTION

Por √ļltimo, la voz de MacDemarco en esta canci√≥n es m√°s et√©rea que de costumbre.

Para recrearlo, he utilizado la misma cadena de efectos de base que en remakes anteriores (puedes echar un vistazo a otros remakes para descubrirlo!), con el a√Īadido de un par de efectos m√°s: el ReelADT y el J37 de Waves, para conseguir ese toque vintage anal√≥gico de grabaci√≥n de cinta.

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

Eschucha como suena la voz sin estos efectos, y después con ellos para ver la diferencia.

Vocal Sound without effects

‚ÄćVocal Sound with ReelADT and J37

‚Äć

Esto es todo lo que tiene Chamber of Reflections! Espero que lo hayas disfrutado, y recuerda que me puedes apoyar a que siga haciendo todo este contenido gratuito en mi página de Patreon. Coméntame en youtube tu feedback!

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David Alonso patreonthanks for reading!

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

Become a patron
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