themes

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.

Out of Ideas

As I move to work on the second track for the music score for Candy Catch, things get difficult. I have to make a song that sounds like a Christmas theme, with bells and whistles. As much as people think Christmas is happy, fun and all. I would say making a Christmas theme is pretty much a nightmare, especially when your clients are looking for something more traditional and specific.

I tried thinking a lot about what kind of theme would suit a Christmas theme, but nothing really came to mind. I tried listening to a few Christmas themes, but still nothing would come to mind. Eventually I gave up and started going through pictures of cats on the Internet.

Man, I love my job.

Themes and Schemes

I'm at an interesting new phase of my music-scoring career. As you know, six months can do a lot to a musician's influences, desires and tastes. Looking at the fact that this new movie's entire background seems to be urban and the city, I realised the sound needed to sort of, reflect that.

Hence I've decided to incorporate more of a Brooklyn jazz sound to most of the songs wherever it's possible not to mention the main theme which screamed 'Brooklyn Jazz in the City!' like nothing else. You had the electric guitar. The rhodes. The sax. The fretless bass-swag. Acoustic Guitars. Brass. The epic string quartet screaming right at the beginning. Not to mention the constant tap on one particular note on a keyboard. Pure unadulterated epic-ness.

 
 
 
 

Then of course Munchies has that jazz vibe too. Oh, and did I mention Munchies also had some crazy turntable-scratching which added so much to the track it's friggin' brilliant? I think I'll also have to go through the other tracks once again just to make sure the Brooklyn jazz vibe is much more present in the rest of the tracks as well.

Time to get some more work done, Adios.