Mixer Jaëxx, U.S. Copyright Office, 2017
Riverwalk is a newly city-developed walkway along the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton Florida. It’s a very nice area to walk in, there’s a stake park, outdoor living room-type areas, water fountains for pets, volleyball courts and even a huge water playground for little kids.
I did field recordings of people talking and walking along the Riverwalk. The voices of people are really hard to hear on purpose; I wanted to create an almost schizophrenic experience. I think I achieved this based on some research of what people with schizophrenia experience.
So why the whispering voices? Well one reason is simply to give the atmosphere of people talking. But I also wanted to create a sorta’ unfounded fear that people are talking about you. Worries some people might be thinking, such as “Are those people in front talking about my outfit?” or an older couple worrying about younger people behind them “Do you think they’re talking about us? Maybe we should sit down to let them pass.” to even something as vein as a guy wondering if two chicks are talking about him “Are they talking about me? Maybe they think I’m a ‘cute guy’.”
I think the song gives that sense of inner monologue that goes on for people who are walking by themselves surrounded by others who are carrying on conversations at the Riverwalk. And, musically, I think the whispering helps the ear pick up on something that should seemingly be pure background noise and help glue various parts of the song together.
Riverwalk was the second-to-last song created for the album. This song is interesting as it has possibly the most rhythm of Bradenton Ambient. Part of it comes from the guitar part. That sound is not actually a guitar but is a flute melody I created for an unreleased chillout song that just didn’t work for the song. In trying to make the flute work, putting different effects on it, I ended up creating the sound you hear. I then brought that sound into Riverwalk, where it fits beautifully.
The song was originally based on the pad, known as the “River Pad” or “1RivPad” on the mixer channel. That pad was going to be the focus of the song, front and center. But I ended up using it as the foundation of which everything else is based on. I added rhythmic elements on top of the pad and that was a great decision because I think the song would have become boring and a stereotypical ambient song if the pad was the main star of the song.
Overall, I think Riverwalk was a really risky gamble, such as using the whispering and the guitar-sounding flute... but fortunately it paid off. The way Riverwalk sounds is just what I was looking for. The songs are ordered on Bradenton Ambient based on alphabetical order, but I think it’s fitting that Bayshore Gardens was the first song as it was created first. And that Riverwalk was the last song because the area of Riverwalk was the last of the areas focused on the album to be developed, and the Riverwalk song itself has the right ending to finish out the album.
The album artwork for Bradenton Ambient, which I created, was of a photo taken at the Riverwalk at 4 in the morning.
© 2017 Mixer Jaëxx