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Trying

08/20/2012

I’m going to try and use this thing more often.  The trick is not writing too much cause I like to write.

I heard back from Steven and Trent on the free tracks so I’ll be uploading those over the next few weeks.  I’ll probably upload all the deciBel stuff one week and the Axis stuff the other.  I’m also intending on writing a bit to go with each song on its creation, history, credits, and such.  Trent and I had actually discussed giving away all the deciBel stuff before but I never got around it and then forgot.

Lately my musical undertakings have really just been exploring Komplete 8 and learning the software I own better.  FL Studio takes a lot of crap and if you’re a mostly MIDI/VST based musician then aside from Ableton Live I don’t understand why you’d use anything else.  But then again I’ve never understood people who only want one tool for a job.  They make wrenches in different sizes for a reason.  If you’re not making a score then why use Vegas over Acid?

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  Mainly asking myself what makes a song?  For a long time I thought the only ingredient was feeling extreme about something.  Highly passionate.  But that doesn’t make sense.  We don’t live life in extremes most of the time.  Very few members of the angry, hateful metal bands aren’t goofy wise crackers outside of the stage.  And no goth is actually scary to anyone but a stereotype recluse church goer.  Hell, Death Cab for Cutie made a career out of non-extreme lyrics.  Granted I have no desire to sound like them, its just an example.

Anyway, this week is Carousel and next is DragonCon.

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Working

08/19/2012

Its been extremely busy for me lately.  Haven’t had much time to do anything but work and recover from work.  This weekend has been a blessing in that I’ve just gotten to stay home and recuperate.  I’ve been awfully reflective lately too.  Starting going through old project files.  A lot of stuff that was never finished and might never see the light of day.  I’ve contacted the other people involved in those tracks to see if they’d care if I put them up on soundcloud as free downloads.  Here’s hoping.

Lately I’ve been taking the time to learn a bit more about my software and equipment.  Still no expert on any of it but its a start.  Also been thinking I need to get back into electric guitar more.  I’ve gone classical only too long.  And now I have a much better ear for FX too.  I just wish guitar were as easy to record as a MIDI track.

I need a site redesign.  No idea what I want.  Maybe something that’s more me.

No Quarters Intro and Outro Music

08/07/2012

So that title is something I did.  You can hear it on their latest episode 39, Sexual Nintendo.  I believe it is completely unique when compared to any other music I have on the web.

I don’t have a ton of custom musics I’ve done for other people but I have done a few, and gotten paid occasionally.  Its always funny though because there is a definite language barrier each and every time that I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome.  I mean we get to a good place in the end.  But every custom project I have ever done I get a loose set of guidelines and often an example piece of music.  I also tend to research it a bit, for instance in podcasts listening to what they used in the past.  Its funny too because everyone uses dark music so I always start out with dark music, thinking hey why not?  Everyone loves that Carousel intro I did, that’s dark.  No one ever wants dark though.

Super Budget Brothers was easy.  I asked them some questions, found out they were a fan of a song from a certain Nintendo game and went off to make kind of an electro punk song version of it.

TVGP may have been my music but it was totally their brain child.  It was their idea to combine those two tracks and to my dismay both tracks were at the same BPM and key (an absolute devastating discovery for most musicians, 120 BPM at that) so it was really easy to mix.

Carousel I literally as just playing around with a new VST.  Truth be told, there is actually a 3 minute or so song with a terrible lead synth over what is now the intro for The Carousel but I’d sooner write a new song for the riff than release that.  Its funny how often I remove whatever I started the song with.

The one episode of Tiltcast they used my music for (I think Trent’s computer literally was set on fire or something and they couldn’t find the AllThisIsMeaningLess tracks) Justin and Scott just picked out of a bunch of riffs I let them select from.  Listening back I really wish I had EQ’ed them before I sent them.

The Picking up the Pixels songs have two separate origins.  The intro song was a rare bird for me in that there’s a logic to its progression.  RPG’s span all of gaming time right?  So the idea was to start out with chiptune and gradually move into more modern sounds.  The middle song I actually wrote for another podcast who the gatekeeper for didn’t want it.  I am super, super proud of that track and luckily Boston loved it.

No Quarters was truth be told based on both BMFCast and No Quarters.  They have a tendency to use light 70’s funk for a lot of their stuff and they seem to love bad 80’s synth.  So I started with the idea of kind of a  funk, punk, 80’s synth bit but I finished and didn’t like it.  Evidently explosions fix everything.

Now I write all this but I’m not writing about all the songs that were rejected.  If you’re an aspiring musician that’s something you have to keep in mind.  You’re going to be repeatedly rejected by friend and stranger alike.  You just have to keep trying.  The hardest part is writing something for a friend because a lot of the time they’ll try and spare your feelings because they’re your friend.  Top that off with that even musicians don’t know how to communicate with musicians and it can be really hard to figure out what a person will like.  You just have to keep trying.  My usual goal is to submit several differing tracks and hopefully coerce some helpful comments out of those rejections.  Of course the real hard part is not letting the part of me out thats says, dude I wrote you the perfect piece why don’t you see that?  But live and learn.  Most musicians need that check anyway.  Its not always about you.

Updates, Free Music

07/10/2012

It a been a while since I’ve been on here so now I bring you information and free music!

Next album is coming slowly but surely.  The intention is to release a 5 track or so deal on bandcamp.  I have it leveled down to two completed songs and around 5 riffs.  Now its just a matter of which of those 5 riffs want to be songs sooner rather than later.

I have also been working with my good friend AllThisIsMeaningless on some stuff. Granted we were working on some of the same stuff a couple years ago but we’re hoping that some of this stuff will hit completion so we can let you hear it.

There is also another podcast i did music for.  Its been a 6 month undertaking due to all of us being so busy.  It will hopefully be on their next show.  I will post again when it happens with links and podcast names and everything.

Let me know your thoughts on those music links!

 

Things and Thoughts

05/09/2012

Well I’ve been busy lately but I still feel lazy, which is an odd state to be in.  Getting married next week which is exciting.  Stretch (AllThisIsMeaningless) is back in town so we’ve been working on some tunes.  Mostly finished what is probably/hopefully the intro track the other weekend.  Now I just need spare time to work on music again.

Found out a few crazy things.  Jeremy Latcham, a dude I went to high school with and barely knew is one of the producers for The Avengers.  One of my old friends from jazz band’s brother is one of the guitar players for the Queen reunion band.  Its cool and depressing all at the same time.  I’m ecstatic for these people but I’m also asking myself, what the heck have I been doing?  I can do more.  Why haven’t I been doing more?  When did my being a fan usurp my creativity?  I need to get out of Tulsa.

Contrived and Alluded

04/13/2012

Contrivances, allusions.  More words that mean similar things and could be interpreted as passive aggressive stances.  I take issue with art sometimes because occasionally an entire chapter of the art becomes a series of contrivances meant to invoke certain emotion without giving any actual substance or meaning.

Meg Lee Chin is a lesser known musical artist that I occasionally enjoy, probably most know for her track Nutopia that was featured on a Pigface album.  Its a neat song that takes some liberties with the lyrics.  Most songs do this but its an example off the top of my head.  “Sipping chemical cocktails” is a phrase used in the song.  The insinuation is that a chemical cocktail is something bad like a drug.  In the context of social language this is an acceptable allusion.  In the context of science and reason, water is a chemical substance.  Its certainly not a bad thing to drink water.  Chemical reactions happen in nature without humanity and some might argue that humanity’s existence is due to a chemical reaction in nature.  Point being, its a phrase she used that in all reality is empty but holds context and allusion anyway.  Its not the only one she used in that song and every musical artist with a vocalist at some point uses them if not all the time.

A big complaint on modern horror movies is that they are built on these contrivances.  Horror is a unique genre in that the audience wants to be scared or to jump (not mutually exclusive).  The problem is knowledge is the ultimate weapon against fear so horror movies have to play on these expectations and assumptions.  A horror movie that isn’t clever is probably a bad horror movie.

The problem in art is when something is composed entirely of allusion or contrivance without having any actual intended meaning behind it.  The general public perception of artists is a deep thinker who has statements to make and emotional journeys to enhance the soul to take us on.  The problem is most of the time we do stuff that we think is cool and the depth just comes from our attention to detail rather than an agenda.  A large part of art for the adult is to renew our ability to imagine.

There’s a line to play played between music and video.  Music is almost entirely dependent on imagination.  Video answer the visual and therefore the only thing the watcher is left to imagine is what’s not being shown on camera.  And that’s if the video encourages the watcher to imagine anything.

And then there’s something like the ending of Mass Effect 3 which is built entirely on allusion and contrivance to give the illusion of meaning.  Close your eyes and listen to the music.  It starts out pretty sad, goes into a steady strong build, but at the end of the build something goes wrong.  Music settles down, then credits song hits.  You know its a credits song because it has a beat and makes you want to walk.  Its meant to instill you with a strong conclusive feeling.  The song raises no questions.  While I won’t spoil any of the actual ending video, the video is a series of textbook scenes thought through only to the point of dramatic effect.  The emotional cues are there.  If the game has succeeded in making the player worn out enough, the user may be thinking entirely with emotions at that point.

Why did the alien in Contact take the form it did?  Why did Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies struggle with the decision to take his ancestral sword?  Dramatic effect.  In movies, certain angles of shots, certain pans, and certain events are all cues for dramatic effect.  The shower scene in a horror movie will always be associated with this whether the scene is intended to show love, sex, or murder.  A large part of comedy in movies today exists because of these allusions and contrivances.  Film makers sometimes don’t know how their movie is going to play out and will simply film these scenes hoping to edit them in such a fashion that it becomes something.

Like most things in life, taking some but not all is often the best course.  But then again, there are no answers here, only questions and observations.  Have a good day 🙂

Time for a Change

04/10/2012

No I don’t know what needs to change but its time for something to change.  I’ve gotten lazy and uninspired.  None of my music assignments are finished for other people which is pretty horrific for me.  I mean if I have any actual dream of writing music professionally through commissions I have to be able to write this stuff out on command.

I also need to start participating in more life things.  I do have a passion for videogames and heroclix but I really can’t afford to buy a new game even monthly and I certainly can’t afford to buy a brick of every new heroclix set.  Heroclix  is at least a social hobby for me.  Videogames are not.  I realize there’s a lot of big fans of multiplayer but competitive gameplay is just a waste of time for me.  It requires me to build a skill which takes the time of learning, say, a new instrument.  If a competitive Halo player spent as much time and passion as they did playing Halo as learning an instrument they would at least be able to play on the level of a virtuoso.  Maybe not improvise, but definitely play.

Gaming for me is something to do to relax, have fun, and hopefully get a good story out of.

Point being, I need inspiration.  I need something in my life so that I can write the fun music that these jobs I have require.  I think I’ll start jogging again.  That always helped me write new stuff.  I also need to find some new interesting music that connects with me that’s not sad.  I also need to start learning other people’s music again.  Well that’s not entirely true as I have been learning “I Was Lost Without You” from Mass Effect 3 which is a beautiful track.  Man I wish I could afford piano lessons.

There is a dirty secret about lessons.  Teacher’s are a wonderful shortcut to learning things and a good teacher will teach you to think on that instrument for yourself.  But the thing of it is, the teacher is really just an arrow.  A person to bounce questions off of.  Everything a person needs to learn an instrument is readily available to them through the internet and learning to play books.  Some techniques are harder to learn from a book, particularly in the flamenco vein, but sometimes you just have to stand up and walk through the door yourself.