groove

An Orchestra of Variables

After my first meeting with the guys at Motion Punch Studios, I came home and started working on some preliminary ideas for the music score. Since there are only three tracks in that game, It was not going to be very hard, I thought. One had to be for the Start Screen, another for the Halloween Theme and the other for The Christmas theme.

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Now, Since I'm much better at making creepy music than tracks with joyous spirit, I decided to approach the Halloween theme first. I went through a few sounds and came across a few organ sounds on my computer but nothing really seemed to fit the bill. I then proceeded to look through some of the organ sounds I had on my Kawai CP 115, and found one particular sound that was exactly what I was looking for. It was a spooky organ more close to a theater organ than a church one.

Working on what was going to be the central melodic motif to the entire three songs was a hard task as well. What's weird while you're composing music is you never know what will end up being the central melody or sound that everything else is based on. There is always a central theme or a melody to any music that makes the backbone of a track and everything else either drives or supports it sonically. Sometimes it will be subtle and in the background and sometimes it will take up centre-stage and the entire sonic space.
 

 
 

Predictably, the first few notes that I composed on the Kawai and recorded into my computer were what would constitute the main theme. As time passed by, I slowly built up a percussion track around it from a groovebox VST that I use a lot, which was followed by other minor and orchestral elements, A harpsichord there, a little bit of flute here and a little pizzicato string to make things more playful. There was also this jingly-jangly guitar which was made to go through a 'vibrolo' effect to add a creepy vibe.

Originally, clocking at about five minutes the track was too long to fit into the mobile app, so I had to shorten it to about two minute and add numerous FX lke bat screeches and shaking skeletons to make it more halloween-ish. Typical stuff.

I'm yet to work on the other two tracks. Long week ahead.

The Lighter Parts

There is always, a defining moment for every music score, an apex. A point of climax where everything that you've come to know through it is questioned and you know you're at the zenith of all that the movie stands for. To reach that point one has to take into consideration every shaping element in a movie and experience it objectively through your own eyes. This movie in particular has an entire domain that constitutes what I call 'The Sum of Lighter Parts'.

What is that, you ask? Of course like any other movie, there is drama, action and suspense. But what really defines it and really set it apart are the light moments, that in their unique way shine light towards human nature and what its really like to be human and alive between trials and tribulations. To see the happier side.

There are about two-three tracks that I plan to keep on the lighter side. And their placements are just crazy. While one is sandwiched right between the main theme and a really sombre piece of music, the other one was right before a romantic sequence.

I think the more fun I had was probably on the first one. I called it 'Downtown Shuffle (Munchies)'. Munchies, yes. As ridiculous as it sounds, it was probably just the guy running around a supermarket trying to figure his shit out. I made a hunch and figured he must have his headphones on, and made the music in such a way that it faded in from the crowd ambience like a low-pass filter with a subtle radio effect.

I think I've established already that the sound needs to be more jazz-centric in most places. Of course the action sequences ae exceptions to everything. I really had quite a ball composing Munchies. It was like a fun 2-minute jazz-rock track which sounded like a band just having a lil' bit of fun.

 
 

Then there was the other track, where I think I took the jazz-influence a little too far. It mostly had me playing some very complex chords on the piano. I tried making the piano go through a lot of processing but I guess it came out unique in the end. It was quite a unique electric-meets-boxy effect. 

I think this track came in at a perfect time where all the action and the drama has the viewer quite saturated, and things just go easy on you for a while. There's a synth-line going in the background and then the xylophone adds a nice playful touch before the jazz-piano chords kick in. It was a like nice evening in Hawaii.

I think the jazz influence is something I won't be able to shake off for a while.

Time for food.