original score

Building Cities

Shaping and creating sounds is like an art. Much like the art of building a city, A city of sounds. There is never only one plan. There is never a perfect one, either. It is a human process. You make mistakes, you learn. You take the good, throw away the bad. Then you build another layer on top of that. There's foundation and architecture.

Then there's landscaping. If you build only roads and forget necessities, your town is going to be messed up. People won't turn up to live in your city if it's full of beautiful scenic places but has small and shitty houses. You always need the right balance. You can always skew it a bit left or right, to add the human touch. But if one extreme is absent, you risk making the whole structure fall apart to chaos and uncertainty.

I hope you get the analogy. It matters to see everything in perspective when you're working on a project. It might take a few minutes and a cup of coffee or three 17-hour sleep days to get that golden idea or unique concept in your head, but at the end of it all, Believe me. It is the only thing shining through like a light throughout your city when you're done. The golden idea. The concept. Art can only go so far without a concept. Because truth is, you need a concept to sell your art, to make it bankable and establish a value of trust, money and time with it. It is what makes you legit.

As with any musician/artist, there are always influences. Mine, particularly for this score was the score for 'The Social Network' by Trent Reznor. I saw a lot of parallels in terms of theme and subject matter. There were a lot of 'smarts' involved. While I could've absorbed much more from the influence, I didn't want it to overwhelm the sonic picture I was painting for this game in particular.

The score began with the dominating motif on xylophones and a slow percussion and as the score progressed different melodies and elements just melted into each other. There was transformation and evolution. There was a certain 'catch' to the whole score. It was not long. Five tracks that clocked not more than a minute and a half. You need a certain tact to make scores short and concise and I, in particular have a bad habit of making tracks really long and I usually suffer because of it. I have to go back and shorten it, always.

It was not an easy task to create different melodies and chord progressions in such a way that they all had a different 'sonic signature' but somehow came together effortlessly as if made for each other. Creating sound, is indeed the art of making the impossible, possible.

As I finished the score and sat listening to the almost six-minute track on my home studio monitors, I was quite happy. I had tried endlessly for days to challenge myself and create something that was unique, organic in the beginning. Not just that, it transformed into something different and that was something I had never expected. In a good way, of course.

Time to play Bioshock again.

It's Almost Halftime

It's been a gruelling few days as I keep working on the movie score for the horror film day and night. I've almost finished half the score, which seems like a pretty huge achievement to me.

The thought took me back to the concept of an 'Interval', a concept that seems central to plots of most Bollywood movies. It's usually at the half-time that most Hindi movies introduce their plot twist or the beginning of a climax. Intervals are pretty important to us Indians. Gotta get the popcorn, go pee, Update our Facebook status, talk to our friends or just sit and wait for the next half to begin.

 
 
 

It is this idea that brought me to the concept of a track idea for the movie score that I called 'Are You Scared Yet?'. There was definitely a giant twist in the climax as far as I could envision through the script, and I figured what else could be a good time to introduce a little scare here, and a little movement there than the half-time.

Now, horror movies are supposed to be scary, period. So I descended upon the piano roll of my Fruity Loops and set out to create a really abstract synth line which moved at twice the tempo and it was at 7/8. What was interesting was the fact that the synth line seemed to work in such a way, that instead of being 7/8, it started sounding like a normal 4-beat measure, something that I used to my advantage.

Other than that, it's mostly scares, thrills, spills and chills in a horror movie. A demonic sounding choir here and a little crafty synth coupled with a really heavy industrial-sounding beat is all you need, sometimes.