Saturday, 21 July 2012

3rd Season done!

Who likes good news? Everyone? Then good news, everyone! All tracks that were supposed to be recorded in my studio are accounted for. Track 11 was completed last Sunday (July 15th) morning and track 13 in the evening. The remaining work now is to do the orchestral transcription of track 14 and try to even out sonic differences between all my tracks before doing the final master. So we're definitely getting there.

But, onto track 11 - "3rd Season Aerial Theme (extended)". It was a very interesting track to do, as it presented a couple of challenges - in both sound design, mixing and structure.

Sound design and mixing

Season 3 Main Theme is a curious breed: it was based on Ian Freebairn-Smith's Main Theme from "Sweet Britches" and "Firestorm" - many of the synthesizer part recordings were reused and it is the most apparent in the Ascending Bridge where the rapid synth brass part is clearly the same as (with regards to rhythmic "feel" and sound) in the mentioned Season 2 episodes. Ascending Bridge was my first clue to this discovery and soon I began to hear more similiarities. Ian's main lead sound is definitely present throughout entire Season 3 main theme, although it was "modernised" by overlaying a synth horn (in the first halves of verses) and synth trumpet (in the second halves of verses) on top of it - much like in most Season 2 main theme renditions. The secondary lead sound (which you can hear playing solo in my "Minimalist" main theme versions, e.g. track 4 on Airwolf Main Themes EP) was also upgraded by overlaying a "twinkling" sound on top of it (can be distinctly heard during the final seconds of Season 3 Opening Credits).

Season 3 introduced a new "twangy" sound that plays the famous bass pattern. It's always been a tough nut to crack for me - my syn├Žsthesia kept giving up on it. Until finally, while playing around with FX section on my XS6 I discovered that it is essentially the same sound Levay used since S1, yet processed with a decent Gated Reverb. The sound changes during Ascending Bridge - it has a strong flanger effect applied (which makes each note - even though repeated - sound slightly different). Anyway, having been immensely happy about figuring out the bass sound, I recorded the bass lines... and only 30 months later the track was completed. Yes, you read that right: that's a thirty (30). Why such a long time, you ask? (if you don't ask, skip to the next paragraph). It's quite simple - I wanted to produce my Season 3 version much like the original was, i.e. first have Ian's version and then build on top of the parts that were eventually reused in 1986. It seemed like the natural thing to do. And since the sound design for Ian's track took me a while... there you have it.


That was an interesting piece of the puzzle as well. The problem with Season 3 Main Theme was that there was only ONE version which was used over and over again. The most interesting mix was used in "Day of Jeopardy" - it featured an extended intro starting with the "twangy" sequence playing solo for a couple of seconds. Needless to say I put that in. I also duplicated the first verse right after the Descending Bridge, which was done in "Where Have All The Children Gone". So, there aren't really any surprises, but it's still great to listen to.




  1. It sounds perfect Jan! :)

    Kudos to you for being able to get all this work done, & in such high grade quality. I love the bass line track! Simply awesome!

    Wish you all the luck for the remainder of your work! :)

  2. Perfect Jan!.

    This is going to be truly EPIC!.

  3. Wow Jan you're absolutely right! All these years, I never ever heard the Ian Freebairn-Smith Season 2 theme, underneath the mid-to-late Season 3 aerial theme. It's right there! It always was. I never ever heard that base underneath it. Nice find! And nice scoring! This track, as well as the Sweet Britches/Firestorm track sound friggin' awesome!


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