It’s a song you want to vibe to at the end of a long day, the song you play in your car at dusk, with the windows rolled down on a balmy summer evening. Loch Raven’s newest release “Tenth” is a progressive house track that is perfect for a chill night, an exciting afternoon, or an energetic morning. The warm and fizzy synths play a familiar melody without feeling repetitive. There is hope and energy in the mellow bass alleviating any worries.
“Tenth” was inspired by a 3,000-mile cross-country road trip Loch Raven took in February. It is this trip, taking place in the sunny southern United States, that became the foundation for the cruisey vibes in his latest track.
“We took the most southern route you can while still being in the US because we were driving a 1977 school bus and we were worried about running into winter weather,” Loch Raven said.
It was this trusty school bus, that carried the pair of travelers across the country, that inspired the name of the track.
“The name ‘Tenth’ refers to the tenth gear of the bus—it's a 10-speed manual transmission and that's the gear we would typically use for cruising down the highway,” Loch Raven said. “Neither of us had ever driven a stick shift before, but it was always so smooth to shift into tenth gear.”
This smoothness, of the road, of shifting into the tenth gear that reminds Loch Raven so much “of the soothing cadence of driving endlessly along the desert highways of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.” Paired with a steady beat and easy bass, the track's title and structure begin to showcase the story Loch Raven portrays.
“It also has the fun double-meaning of referring to route I-10, which was the main highway we took to get home. We drove every mile of it from Santa Monica to New Orleans. We also happened to get into Texas right when those crazy snowstorms were happening from the polar vortex. So much for avoiding the winter weather, I guess!”
The journey of creation for “Tenth” began just like any other of Loch Raven’s tracks, laying a strong set of chords for the groundwork of the tune.
“I typically start by mapping out the chord progression and the lead melodies on the piano,” Loch Raven said of his production process. “I'll then transpose it into Ableton and find synths that match the vibes I'm trying to create. Add in some drums to get the beat going and then I'll pretty much have a rough draft. Then I fine-tune by adding more layers and effects, swapping out samples as needed, and mixing/ EQ-ing.”
But technical elements are not the only part of creating a great track so many people can vibe to. There needs to be a certain spirit or soul to the music, and at the center of “Tenth” is the spirit of new adventures.
“My songs are usually a sonic reflection of things that are inspiring me at the time—experiences, conversations, art, and other music,” Loch Raven said. “This track was wholly inspired by this trip, which turned out to be an adventure of a lifetime.”
Good vibes intermingle with the melodies and harmonies in the tune. But “Tenth” is paired with an equally groovy visualizer. It was created with the help of a person with Synesthesia. Synesthesia is the phenomenon in which two unrelated senses occur in tandem. For example, sensing a certain color when hearing a certain type of music.
“A friend of mine has synesthesia and she perceives music as vivid, colorful imagery,” Loch Raven said. “I asked her to listen to ‘Tenth’ and share her experience with me. These were her thoughts, I can see it behind a slo-mo compilation of people driving up the California coastline. The melody is real buzzy and full of yellow hues, a color I normally see as comfortable, but the beat throws around shades of blue with streaks of white like reflections off the water., With the help of some talented graphic designers, we combined this with other elements of my branding, and voila!”
“Tenth” portrays the feeling of the final steps to completing a marathon run. It is also the feeling of the ocean waves tickling your toes for the first time in many months. Or maybe it could be the feeling of safely embracing a loved one after the long covid pandemic. Whatever images come to mind when experiencing “Tenth,” it is bound to be uplifting.
“I hope [listeners] find the track as soothing and vibey as I do,” Loch Raven said. “But half the beauty of creating art is seeing the meaning people draw from it in the context of their own experiences.”
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