Album retrospective: Meander (up a mountain)

Meander (up a mountain) was a little bit of a departure from the previous two heavily bloopy albums. I started playing with Ableton Live, and some virtual instrument VSTs, in particular a few from Spitfire Audio.

The album is on Bandcamp, Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music, and other streaming services.

It started with the Spitfire Audio Originals Felt Piano, when I found out that it had been used in the soundtrack of the video game Celeste, composed by Lena Raine.

Discovering that Spitfire Audio’s Originals range were largely fairly affordable, yet high quality, I ended up buying a few of their instruments, and also used instruments from their free LABS range, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover VST (also now free).

The Nimble Tank

This piece was created in Ableton Live Lite, using various Spitfire Audio VST instruments, in particular the Felt Piano, the pizzicato strings from Intimate Strings, Abe Laboriel Jr. Drums, timpani from the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover, woodwinds from Epic Brass and Woodwinds, and the Choir from Spitfire LABS.

The Nimble Tank was partially inspired by “Peril” from the Halo 2 soundtrack, which plays in the level when you land on the surface of (this game’s) Halo, and do lots of shooting of guns and driving of vehicles (including tanks).

I always enjoyed the juxtaposition of the light and lively joyful music with the violent and tense action of the level.

The title came from playing through Halo 2 with a friend who particularly enjoyed driving the tank nimbly through tunnels, caves, and enemies.

An Unlikely Maneuver

This piece was mostly an excuse to muck around with Spitfire Audio’s Epic Choir VST. Other Spitfire Audio instruments include Cimbalom (the harpsicord sounding thing), Nok Cultural Ensemble Tape Percussion, and the bass strings (as well as a guest appearance from some celli) from the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plugin.

Fun fact, the Ableton Live file for this piece is called “epicshouty”, which I think illustrates what I was going for.


If I recall correctly, I made this piece mostly so I could play with the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plugin (which is now free).

I used violins, violas, celli and basses from the BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover VST, and the Spitfire Audio Originals Felt Piano.

The name is a reference to the video game Celeste, and its main character Madeline, who climbs the titular Celeste mountain. The Celeste soundtrack, created by Lena Raine, uses the Spitfire Audio Felt Piano, which was how I discovered the Spitfire Audio VST instrument library.


This piece was a return to SunVox (1.9.6c) after having focused more on Ableton Live and VST instruments.

The title comes from the four keys I had to press on the keyboard to play the bouncy 1-5 arpeggio.

Implement the process

This track was made in SunVox, but this time using the iOS SunVox app on my new (at the time) iPad Mini! The title comes from having followed steps I’d followed numerous times before on the PC, but now on iPad.

This carried the benefit of being able to make digital music whilst lying on a couch! It’s also a little easier to play an on screen keyboard with a stylus than a mouse.

Solemn Excursion

This piece sat around unfinished for a while, just piano and strings, until I decided to add an ambient atmos background track.

I thought the solemn, thoughtful piano and strings gave the impression of thinking while driving at night through the rain, and I found a good recording on, namely carinteriorrain_long (Volvo 740) by j1987.

The instruments are the Spitfire Originals Intimate Strings, and Felt Piano.

Pensive Perambulation

I had been mucking around with GarageBand on my iPad Mini, and enjoyed some of the sounds, but didn’t as much enjoy the rigid way GarageBand requires you to make tracks. So I plugged the iPad into the PC and recorded the instruments directly into Adobe Audition.

It was freeing in a way to work outside a time signature.

The instruments were played by plugging an Arturia KeyStep into the iPad. I also added some background rain sound, with Canberra Rain by dylanbigdaddy on

Meander (Up a Mountain)

This one is a fairly chill piano and electric piano combination. The piano was the Spitfire Audio Felt Piano, and the Electric Piano was from Spitfire LABS.

I picked it to be the title piece for the album not because I like it any more than the other pieces, but because it has a fun name.

Mostly Rests

This piece was inspired by the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild soundtrack, particularly the Temple of Time track, the sparse piano snippets that play on the initial plateau, teasing at a more involved melody.

The piece was played with a set time signature on Ableton Live, which I’m not sure was the best idea, given I was going for a loose time-signature-free feel. I intended to do more work on this piece, and maybe one day I’ll expand more on the concept. As it is though, I put it at the end of the album so if anybody doesn’t like it they’ve already made it all the way through the album by the time they get to it.

It was one of the first pieces I recorded using the Spitfire Audio Felt Piano. Perhaps it could have done with some atmospheric mountain wind sound in the background so it doesn’t fade to complete silence in between the piano bits.