Assembling A Nightmare


The past month has been quite the whirlwind, as I continue working on music day in, and out. Drifting in and out of different projects with vastly different sensibilities and demands can have it's toll, but it's fun. Imagination can take hits at regular intervals, though.

It's in-between one of those intervals at 11.43 pm, that I find myself listening to the track The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails on loop, as I lie procrastinating on my next creative move to finish an electronic rework of a classical piece. Wondering what an orchestral re-work of something as erosive as nine inch nails could sound, could either end up sounding rad or absolutely crap?


The reason that track came to mind in particular is that the atmospheric grainy texture of the start reminds me so much of the Eraserhead score, and it's a strange thing how sometimes influences can warp and shape your perception of 'good' music. Motifs can be such a powerful tool when used in a subtle fashion, The Downward Spiral, being one prime example of it. I suppose, this is also true of film music. Motifs can rule the roost, and dominate the space.

Was scourging through the internet for traces of things I'd worked on, lo and behold I found a trailer for a film whose music I did the past summer (it's below), crazy how time flies


Having worked on way too much horror film music recently, I found myself asking what does it really take to 'assemble' a nightmare? A score to a horror film? Musically speaking, is it all just noise, or is there really a method to the madness? I think it honestly depends project-to-project. But it is fascinating how many colossally different factors affect what ends up on a final version of a score. There are so many nuances, most of it seems to be subjective. A lot of it, perhaps has nothing to do with the music sometimes. And that can feel absurd sometimes. Plotting graphs trying to map the intensity curve in a film (however crude it may seem) is also a thing, apparently.

I often find patterns in the noise of things I have to score, perhaps it is non-existent, or implied. But the one approach-fits all never quite works for music for films, or video games. I guess I've realised that pretty early, and that's a good thing. But also, something scary - when everything's done before, is anything even original anymore? That is a tug of war composers can easily slip off or lose. Maybe reworks of existing compositions aren't always such a bad thing


Perhaps, we're all just a sum of our influences....or maybe not, and there's a catch. If originality is suppressed and mediocrity or conformity to trends is lauded, should a composer ride that popularity train or give it up altogether and risk losing all the acclaim? What about AI or software trying to emulate already existing approaches? Is deviancy really as rewarding as it seems? Perhaps humans and software will never quite figure it out - the key to all of human creativity. Probably nothing to complain about as long as we're all sleeping well

Ah, the questions that keep me up at night.