8. Inner Sanctum

View Travis Orbin’s drum tracking video for ‘Inner Sanctum’:

And Gabriel’s piano tracking video:

Read the lyrics to ‘Inner Sanctum’.

Gabriel’s Notes: This song is somewhat of a tribute to the ’90s space rock band Failure. For the fast first half, I had a b-side called ‘Mange’ in mind, in which the bass and guitar play different sets of fifths which are dissonant against each other. For the slow second half, their song ‘Small Crimes’ was my main source. However, I looked to other sources for the vocals and solos and included some quite complex rhythms (the ‘chorus’ features a bar of 7/8 on every third bar, which means it falls on a different chord of the 4-chord progression on each repeat). The first part of the song features an 11-part vocal choir (with doublings), including glissandos similar to those included in Bang on a Can’s large collaborative work ‘Shelter’. For contrast, the second half includes a single, very intimate lead vocal for most of its duration, perhaps inspired by Chino Moreno of Deftones. The linear tempo decrease interlude features more Mingus-style simultaneous soloing, and the song ends in free jazz controlled chaos. I overdubbed a piano solo on this section, but evidently didn’t film it, so I’ve created new footage for the picture-in-picture sections of this video (including the solos in the first half, which weren’t piano on the album). The ending noise was also overdubbed – I wanted to bang on the piano with both hands to make the largest possible amount of noise instead of only using my right hand. There were also some subtle overdubs during the slow section, adding doublings at higher octaves and some improvisation.

The opening fast section of this song requires quite a bit of stamina to pull off, and as a result I started out tracking it in small chunks, so you’ll see quite a few edits towards the beginning. As I warmed up to it, I ended up doing most of it in a single take, which generated quite a bit of lactic acid in my arms. You can see my discomfort in my facial expressions in the second chorus!

Travis’s Notes: Next in the ‘Interior City’ series is “Inner Sanctum”, which miiight be my personal favorite. The gear is the same as in most of “Defense Highway”, except there’s a ‘stack’ instead of a splash. The change to two floor toms at 5:11 contributes a dynamic contrast.

The verses of this one feature a fun, energetic drum ‘n’ bass feel, as does the brief sax solo section at 1:19 – 1:31. During the choruses, the cymbal orchestration strictly follows/complements the chord progression, regardless of time signature. The first (full) one is more subdued, but I launch off some fireworks for the second, hehe.

During the ‘dirge’ section, I wanted to play as simple, direct and powerful as possible; there are a few little syncopations here and there to spice it up, however. The 8th-note pedal hats at 3:51 complement the guitar+sax, then the change to the edge of the ride as a time source provides a bit more urgency.

Skipping ahead, towards the end of the tune Gabe wanted a bit more improv on my end, so I jammed around and wrote some stuff just prior to tracking (much like the first drum solo in “Defense Highway”); this comprises 7:03 – 7:08. Afterwards, I move into my original idea of some syncopated double bass, increasing in note value to cap off the song with utmost intensity.

Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 170 BPM
Tempo change (2:20 – 2:47) = ‘linear decrease’ to 60 BPM, tempo remains at 60 until end

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