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Lesson: Inside Eddie’s Arcade

Breakdown and analysis of the Cracking the Code Theme song

By December 24, 2013 codenews, Lessons
arcade-poster

The Cutting Room Floor

Not all great ideas make the final cut, and the overly ambitious scene “Eddie’s Arcade”, from Season 1, Episode 1 of Cracking the Code, is a great example of that. An over-the-top homage to Tron Legacy and Back to the Future, it was a tour de force of cinematic animation whose demands on my personal time were ultimately at odds with the exigency of actually getting things finished.

But all was not lost. The song that I wrote for the sequence made its way into the trailer, and eventually became the theme song for Cracking the Code. In this behind-the-scenes feature, we take a detailed look at the song’s structure, exploring the logic of the chord choices and the intent behind the harmonic flow. We also go note-for-note through the solo and a discuss a host of related licks and techniques, including hybrid alternate-swept arpeggios, harmonic attack for riffing and chords, and more. Along the way we touch on topics of particular importance not just to this song, but to all groovy rock tunes — dynamic control, muting, and right hand harmonics.

So grab a fistful of quarters as we head to Eddie’s Arcade for a look at the scene that almost was, and the song that definitely still is.

Get Yours To Go

If you dig the tune, you can own your own copy of it for a buck, in both 320kbps .mp3 and uncompressed 44.1khz/24-bit .aiff.

If you want to dig deeper into the parts — or if, like me, you love making and listening to rock mixes — here’s something really cool. The Stems Pack contains the track itself, plus all six central components of the song in both 320kbps .mp3 and uncompressed 44.1/24-bit files fresh out of Logic. I’ve spent hundreds of hours recording and mixing audio for Cracking the Code, and years before that developing the chops to do so. The tracks in Arcade stand, sonically, with the best of anything in the show so far. The drums are huge and slamming. (Let’s hear it for overcompressed room mics!)

This is something I’ve wanted to offer for a while, and I’m sure we’ll do more recording and mix engineering features as we move through the show.

About Troy Grady

5 Comments

  • Justin Armstrong says:

    I just want to say thanks for this lesson / feature. It just makes me eager for the “meat and potatoes” discussions of season 2. While season 1 has been entertaining, season 2 (and 3) are what I’m excited for. I really loved your analytic instructional style. I hope the same format will be present in season 2 and future features.

    Awesome stuff!

  • Rossz says:

    Great video! And great song of course.
    The analysis is very cool (I admit I was a little lost near the end with the final lick) and interesting, especially for guys like me who don’t have the musical theory background, it’s great to see it in application to create cool tunes.
    Only downside: I wish there would be tabs going with it to be able to practice and “get it”!
    Your guitar technical skills make me feel depressed, and you even play drums and synth…

    • Troy Grady says:

      Thanks for the note! I’ve gotten a few questions about the technical content, so I’m already thinking about some supplemental material for here in the article to help further clarify. Stay tuned…

      And as far as the guitar skills, as soon as we get rolling with Season 2, I promise that will all begin to seem a lot less intimidating!

      • John Doerfler says:

        Yes please, supplemental material!!

        • Troy Grady says:

          Hi John! Thanks for the note. We’ve been slammed getting episodes out but I’ll try to at least get some tab up here soon. As far as other types of analysis, let me know if there’s any particular subject area you’re interested in seeing covered.

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