ambient

Pre-12AM Set

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Ambient set, 60 minutes.

Come along for the ride, and experience new sounds

Start your March, stranger than before.

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28th Feb, Ham & Eggs, 11 pm - Experimental / Ambient

Event Link

Simple Movements, Complicated Times

The past month has been quite the whirlwind, working on all sorts of different projects and seeking out opportunities is all part and parcel of my day's work with its ups and downs. This month, I finally started a slow roll-out of tracks that I have been working on since the start of the year. While I might have talked about some of them so far, the idea behind some of those sometimes get lost and forgotten about, as I steadily hop from one project to the next. Hopefully, I'll be able to talk some more about it as time passes by.

A demo of a video game I made music for just rolled out a couple of days ago. You can get the download from here. It won't really work for a Mac right now, but if you're a Windows person, go get it! You might also need to get RPG Maker 2003 to run this, but I would love to hear any feedback you might have for the music in the game or otherwise. 

Moving on, I've also been dabbling with chip-tune heavily and I found some seriously nice software to make 8-bit and 16-bit music. This blog right here made it much more easier for me to navigate the interesting underground community of people that are heavily into Chiptune and woah, my mind was blown looking at the sheer amount of depth in that genre. For the uninitiated, the Chiptune genre is a genre of music where people try and emulate the music of  thegames of yesteryears or the glorious sounds of the 80s and 90s that are completely personified in the chips that were used with game consoles like the NES, SNES, Commodore 64 and many others. Getting the news earlier this week that the NES was making a come back, I'm fairly confident that Chiptune is going to see quite a big revival in the coming year. Having been to Indiecade last year, I still remember hearing heavy influences of the genre in a few acts that I heard there and I was nothing short of blown away.

 
 

From the perspective of music, this month has been liberating in the sense that there are things I've worked on that really pushed me towards different directions - directions that about two years ago seemed like frightening prospects to me. Mostly making a living off scoring short films and videos, it was only natural that I would be asked to do music that is more in the vain of western classical music. This kind of music always comes across to me as something that needs a very specific vision. Sometimes, people look for the typical 'epic' sounding music that has become very widespread in things like movie trailers or contemporary film. While at the surface, it does seem like all fluff and no substance when people ask for that sort of style, I've come to realise that every single time, the output is slightly different. Despite its name, even epic trailer-like music doesn't have one-size-fits-all generalisation. Perhaps that's what I like about the music projects I take up.  They give me earlier-unknown music identities to develop, create and evolve. It's like not waking up every day and having to eat the same old banana pie, but the flavours completely change.

One such example where I did something completely new for me music composition-wise back in March was a track called 'My Moon'. Written as a main theme for a video game 'Dark Sanctuary' under development, what was perhaps interesting was not the output but rather, the input I was given - A flute track that the game designer had themselves composed. While the quality of the flute track was patchy at best, what really took me on a ride about the track in particular was the fact that the presence of echo in the track. At first, the flute melody did not seem to be 4/4 at all, which led me to creating a number of abstract time changes throughout the track, which presented its own set of complications and challenges. Eventually the realisation dawned on me that what was happening was that the melody was trying really hard to not be 4/4 but when in fact it was exactly that. Having caused a strange back-and-forth in the entire arrangement due to my initial assumption, the combination of things slightly swaying back and forth while the time signature stayed constant provided for an interesting dynamic in the composition.

 
 

Clearly, it seems that every single project that I work on asks for a completely distinct and different music style that varies immensely from the last. While the music for Asgeirr has been intensely minimal to say the least with the usage of FM sounds and a slightly off-beat percussive style, the music for Dark Sanctuary on the other hand asked for something very different in terms of how its development was approached. Music for fantasy is a whole different monster as compared to music that is chiptune or FM synth-based.

hen of course, there are Twitterbots.

An Afterthought
As the AI Revolution marches through, the major thought on my mind about it these days seems to be - how much more time before working composers and music producers get replaced by machines too? If companies like Jukedeck and Filmstro are to be believed - not that much. While most music folks in today's age and times seem to be up in arms about it, mentioning things like 'real emotional quotient' and 'the human touch', I don't really see much of two ways about it. To me, honestly - In the future, people that could perhaps harness AI and machine learning and use it as an element working for their music (as opposed to working against it) would be a lot better off. Which is why I have been seriously mulling over what kind of programming project I should take up next. And it's probably important to my future. While I have tried expanding in the past towards more interesting fields like sound design and audio programming. I have no doubt, that even those things could be taken over by an 'intelligent machine' in the future. Just food for thought.

Where do we go from here? I should probably get back to producing my newest track. And leaving the bots to themselves. In the meanwhile...keep your eyes focused on my 'other' Soundcloud

P.S. - Following the interesting nucl.ai Conference happening in Prague right now. Some very interesting developments in AI happening there. 

Influences : The Good and The Ugly

I have realised there have been quite a few influences that have shaped and changed how I approach making music for a film. Yesterday night while I was going through the usual sources to get my hands on new music, I came across a playlist on a website 8tracks. It had this playlist with really old creepy folk songs. 

There was this one song that stood out from that playlist, in particular that used a lot of harpsichord and there was this drone in the background whose pitch kept bending up and down. I never quite managed to find that song, but I thought it really did a good job of creating an eerie ambience.

Below: A similar mix to the one I heard on 8tracks to give me inspiration. It has a doomy folk feeling to it.

 

I set out to make something similar as a skeleton for a dreamy sequence about a bathroom in the movie I was working on. An important aspect when you're working on music for a film is the fact that it's not just about music or ambience, it's the sound as well. For example, I made it a point to incorporate the sound of tap water or maybe just water pouring down on a floor, so that the person listening/watching the film can actually relate it to. Sometimes it's all about the realism.

The track ended up sounding quite creepy and dissonant as well. I took some white noise, processed it and EQ'd it a bit and used it as a snare, It was quite an interesting thing to do, because it interacted so well with the rest of the track, I decided to keep it. I also decided to deliberately incorporate some vinyl crackles just to add a little dirt. Dirty is good, sometimes.

 
 

 

'Don't Be Afraid of The Dark', a horror movie released back in 1973 served as one of the inspirations for the movie score I was working on.

Another cool thing that I tried doing was I really turned down the kick a few notches, so there were times when all you could hear was the snare which created interesting audio illusions that there was a kick when actually there wouldn't be one at places.

I've also been using a lot of Reason to create soundscapes and ambient layers for this score in particular, and I think it sort of, shows that all those sounds were quite experimental, when you listen to them.

And I'm off to a break now.