Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hello, Hello Music

With the release of Smear Campaign a few months back, I decided to try out the services at Hello Music to see what they have to offer. With Smear Campaign having a much less accessible sound and style, it is always hard to determine how it will be viewed by others, especially those within the music industry. The album's purpose, first and foremost, was to entertain those interested in the dark ambient style, not to be a hit machine or a radio wet dream.

Just recently I received back a full report from Hello Music regarding Smear Campaign, which contained ratings, strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunity types. Much to my surprise, Smear Campaign's overall rating was not just above the average for similar releases, but for all releases reviewed. This in itself speaks highly to the ability of Hello Music's staff to rate fairly across genres, which is something I don't believe artists will find everywhere. Too many places will rate based on what is the most salable, turning music into straight commerce rather than a creative art. When a company proves to me they are able to consider the intended audience during the review process, I am much more willing to support them and utilize their services.

Given this screening was so recent, I can't yet speak about their ability to place my material or offer opportunities, but I will be sure to share my findings at a later time. From the newsletters they appear to be making a good number of placements, so I feel there is a decent chance.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Whoa, Kontakt!

I just wanted to write a quick blog here (from my phone, no less) about an issue I ran into while upgrading Kontakt 4. There appear to be a number of closed forum posts regarding this problem, but none seemed to have the solution.

The problem:
When trying to rebuild the database you receive an error saying "database is read-only and cannot be changed".

The solution:
Locate the files called kontaktdb and kontaktdbLock in your user's application data directory. You may need to use the search function if you aren't familiar with this directory. Delete both of these files (if kontaktdbLock did not exist, no worries). Restart Kontakt and your database will be recreated.

This was a PC install issue, so if you have this on a mac, you may need to keep searching.

Hopefully my digging will be useful to someone else.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

State of the Music

Things have been moving quite fast recently, though they may not seem to be. My move to Soundcloud is still in process, bringing to light a lot of music people may have missed previously on my site, due to the lack of promotional abilities for individual works. I'm sure many readers have seen these tracks popping up on Facebook and Twitter. Along with placing these older tracks online, I've been finding new homes for them in publishing libraries and pitching them for placement opportunities. Still awaiting responses on most items, but the prospects are looking good.

There has been recent activity regarding Smear Campaign as it was recently reviewed by Gird_09 at Kaliglimmer. Overall the review was quite positive, which I am very thankful for. There should be another review coming soon as well. I can only hope for more kind words.

I am still awaiting the launch of Smear Campaign through Amazon's on demand print service, which will hopefully lead to the tracks being picked up by Pandora. I've run across a good number of tracks they would mingle well amongst, hopefully the staff at Pandora agrees.

As for new projects, there are some films coming my way, including a film by Steve Fletcherson called Crazed. There is also a potential acoustic collaboration project being felt out, which will be detailed when the time comes. If things pan out, live performances will be included.

For now, Relentless is still the highest priority item and is moving along. More updates here soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SoundCloud Invasion!

I'm sure by now everyone has heard about my switch to SoundCloud, but if not, consider yourself in the know. Today I reached another one of the milestones by replacing my website players with set and track widgets from SoundCloud. There is an unfortunate side effect of slightly slower load times for these plugins, but their ease of use, both from the user side and the admin side, is worth every additional second.

A couple of the huge user benefits are tracking controls and download access. The tracking controls will come in handy for anyone that needs to rewind to listen closer, or to fast forward to a specific spot. Download access will not be available for all tracks. For those which are downloadable, the player will show a download button by the track name for set widgets, or on the border for single track widgets.

Over the next couple weeks I will be porting more tracks over to SoundCloud, most of which were probably overlooked in their previous locations. I will be making occasional publishes to Facebook and Twitter regarding new uploads, so be on the lookout for tracks you may have previously missed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm Sharable!

As you may have noticed, I have been transitioning my audio streams over to Soundcloud. This move allows me to categorize items better, embed my tracks on Facebook and keep stats on plays and downloads. Another feature I will be using in the future is the ability to privately share tracks, meaning that I can share special items with my Facebook fans and those who are on my mailing list. Speaking of which, if you are not on the mailing list, now is a good time to join!

The best reason behind joining Soundcloud however, is less about what I can do and more about what everyone else can do; share the music! All of my public streams on Soundcloud can be embedded on personal sites, blogs, etc. without worries of copyright infringement. As long as you use the Soundcloud widgets (players), the tracks properly link back to me as the artist.

To share the tracks, head over to my Soundcloud page, find the track or set you want to share and click the "Share" button which is on the player. This will pop up a window giving you some options, including direct feeds to various social media sites as well as the actual code to embed the player. If you want to be super fancy, you can click the "Customize Player" button which will give you size, style and color options, so you can be sure it fits nicely on your page.

When you are done, you could have a player just like this:

Relentless Soundtrack Samples by Nick Olman

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spirit Day Reprieve

In honor of spirit day, I'd like to take a brief reprieve from the world of music and talk a bit about another topic: ignorance. During one of my daily visits to reddit I came across this page which entails a list of bands that apparently are supporters and/or promoters of the gay lifestyle. One of the recommendations outlined on the page is to look through your children's CD collection and burn any of the albums by these artists; in front of them. Looking at the page all I can say is, "Seriously?"

I have always been a huge supporter of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of basically any choice which does not infringe upon the freedoms of others. To me it's the only logical way to live, given that life itself does not grant us a set of rules; there is no instruction manual. All we can go on is what we are taught and what we discover.

Many people will argue that life does indeed have an instruction manual, though. Problem is, this "manual" changes based on what religion each person belongs to. Everyone says they are right, but no one can prove it. I realize that is why we call it faith, but how can anyone say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that what they believe is the one and only truth? How can something which has no physical evidence be infallible? Over the years science has proven more against all religions than it has for any single one of them.

So, would it not be ignorant for us to turn a cheek on everyone that believes differently than we do? If all we were ever taught was wrong, how would we know? We have to see all sides. We have to hear the statements of others. We have to choose for ourselves.

Listening to music is not going to make you gay any more than it is going to make you straight. Curiousity is in our blood, and what is more curious in life than all that is taboo? An overly sheltered life leads to ignorance. Our ignorance will lead to intolerance. Our intolerance will lead to destruction.

There is no reason to make outcasts out of innocent people.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stand By Your Work

I recently came across an article online suggesting reasons behind why people pirate music. Though the article seemed to miss one of my general thoughts, it was quite logical. I mostly agreed with the reasons stated, but the last two reasons mentioned were the ones I feel best represent my issue with music these days.

Many articles over the past few years have been advocating the death of the album, because people are able to go out and purchase just the songs they like. So, what is it about all the other songs that people don't like? Well, I believe the problem is that too many groups have an abundance of filler.

Now, I'm well aware of the fact that music is subjective, but there are just so many songs out there that almost feel as though the artist was bored while recording them. As if there was no meaning behind the track, it simply existed to fill the space between hit A and hit B. It is true that not every song can be a hit, but let's face it, if all you are capable of writing is one good song, why don't you only release that song?

People are sick of buying albums that have 10+ tracks but only 2-3 truly good songs. If you bought it and don't like it, you don't generally have money back options. So what do you do? Well, it seems people begin pirating music because they feel these labels owe them something. I don't believe in pirating music, but I will actually side with those who do in this scenario.

I've had problems in the past deciding if I want to purchase an album because I was not sure I would like every track. This is why I've tried to always keep full stream versions of my tracks available online. I have nothing to hide. If people like it enough to want to place it on a personal device, then they will purchase it. If they do not, I don't want to take their money. I'm in this business to create art, not to trick people into purchasing a disc full of music they'll hate.

I wish more people would hop on this wagon, but I don't believe they ever will. "Why?", you ask? Well, because when people hear all that filler, they aren't going to be purchasing the full album. Again, I realize music is subjective, but there are songs which were so obviously created with less effort than appropriate. Filler may have worked in the past when the only media for music were physical, but it is severely damaging people's views of the industry these days.

Is it too much to ask of an artist and/or their producer to put effort into all of their work? I don't believe it is. If there is one thing I can promise as an artist, it's that I will never release anything that I myself would not consider purchasing if it had been written by someone else. I stand by the work I do. What I create may not be the most popular and it may never end up being the favorite of any person at any point in time, but it will always be exactly what I want it to be at that point in time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eternal Servants to the Departed

We've reached the end of the album today with the track Eternal Servants to the Departed. Those who are familiar with my song Among Them, which was written for the short film Gun Barista, will recognize the title from the lyrics. The idea behind the line of course, was that to survive the main characters would need to forever serve the undead. Seems almost the same as being a zombie when thinking back on it.

Much like Looks I Could Kill, this track began as a manipulated version of a fully arranged sound clip. A couple days into working the piece I ditched this original idea, as I felt the vocal portion was much less interesting than I would have hoped. The track was shelved for a couple months before I found the sounds which best suited the mood I wanted to capture.

I honestly cannot remember the original source for the main underscore to this piece, but I do know it originated from a part of the score for Relentless. If I had to make a guess, I would say it's most likely from the first waterfall scene. I do know that the original sounds were ethnic percussion instruments. The resulting layer continues to stick with me however, as one of the most hauntingly hypnotic drones I have ever created. I recall listening to just this layer alone a number of times, completely zoning out from the world surrounding me. This effect is best experienced with headphones.

Along with the main droning, there exist a couple of percussive layers. The first is a sparse arrangement from a portion of the Relentless score, originally created with sounds from Native Instrument's Tension Strike set. It repeats four times during the course of the track, each time using a different set of effects. Some are very subtle, but they are important to each repetition. Overall, the part is quite heavily manipulated.

The second percussive layer is somewhat buried but exists throughout a good portion of the second half. It's origin was a cue from If Looks Could Kill, which made heavy use of samples from Evolve Mutations, another Native Instrument collection. The semi-metallic sound was given in processing for Eternal Servants, it did not exist previously.

There are actually two melodic pieces in this track, though one may be seen more as ambiance. Both parts hail from a short electronic piano bit I composed a good number of years ago. For this piece, the first section was heavily delayed and reversed, resulting in very slow attack times. The second section was elongated and faded into the mix over just about the entire track duration.

The last pieces of the puzzle, the vocal clips, came directly from the recording of Among Them. They were granulated in FL Studio to slow them down slightly and then mechanized by a ring modulator, conforming to the rule laid out during the Locust Star days, "it needs more ring mod." I will forever be in debt to Kelly for this lasting advice, which has proven true on so many occasions.

The final whisper was recorded specifically for this track, but still fits the project guidelines in that it's lyrical source was a previously recorded track. I chose to not use the original recording as the presentation was completely wrong for the desired impact.

This track was the easiest to place on the album as it was the only one I thought could properly close the disc. I feel as though it fully encapsulates the collection's overall darkly melodic vibe. Definitely one of my personal favorites.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Looks I Could Kill

The sixth track from Smear Campaign was also the sixth in line to be finalized. The name comes courtesy of a demo reel James Phillips was putting together for a DVD pitch, which was entitled If Looks Could Kill. I'm not at liberty to divulge information about the DVD other than the fact it starred Debra Ades (who also appears as Ashley in Relentless) and it was seemingly paranormal. I do not know the entire story, so it's actually a projection regarding the paranormal aspect.

In discussions of If Looks Could Kill, James and I would often abbreviate it to ILCK, which I would always want to type as LICK. Out of this small quirk came the idea for a piece entitled Looks I Could Kill.

The track which shows up on the album was not the original arrangement. The piece began similar to Through A Corrupted Mind in that it's basis was a completely assembled clip. The piece used was from a clip of ILCK, which come out okay but far from worthy of the album. Oddly enough, the final album track only includes a single item from the ILCK score, a rather eerie drone.

The main melodic loop hails from the electronic track A Shaded View, which was initially created for a fashion video by Nigel HoSang. In the original track this part plays a more supportive role than the forefront placement it is given in Looks I Could Kill.

There is a second clip from A Shaded View which is used to enhance the bell tone layer. It is a fairly gritty and gated synth patch which ultimately goes hand-in-hand with the melody. I purposely adjusted these two layers out of sync, to create certain moments of tension as the chords progressed.

The corrosive portion which basically takes over the entire track in the end was created using the guitar setup seen on my home page. For this setup I placed small wooden beads onto each of my strings and used some magnetix to drive the strings and pickups. The majority of motion was from repelling pieces attached to the strings with a magnet in hand. The final sound clip used for this piece was actually the same loop used in the beginning of the original Relentless teaser trailer.

This track was one of the most fun to create and is also the one which is easiest for me to lose myself in. The droning melody is so hypnotic, easing me into a lull. It is a fantastic retreat from the haunting darkness, or at least it would appear as such.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

With Tortured Affection

Smear Campaign's fifth track, With Tortured Affection, was created exclusively from pieces of the track Nowhere Safe. The title was one of my entries into the Name My Horror Film contest. This title seemed quite suiting for the track in that it was created from a part of the film's score.

There are a couple of elements making up the barren soundscape at the root of this piece. The first is the acoustic percussion section, which was elongated to build the lower, more distant portion of the desolate wind layer. The second was the glitch industrial drum portion appearing in the first half of Nowhere Safe. This part was manipulated in a similar way to create the higher wind sounds. The idea was to give a true feeling of emptiness.

The melodic content comes courtesy of a very harmonically rich bowed glass segment. The instrument was not capable of producing a strong defining root, which resulted in a very dissonant and unsettling drone. This melodic layer is brought in and out of the foreground, again to try and portray an image of desolation.

The harsh buildup is a heavily manipulated layer, which consists of a good amount of distortion from Kombinat and a very high reverb send level. The basis comes from a small atmospheric clip buried in the mix of Nowhere Safe. This just proves that you should never leave a stone unturned when designing sound, you could very well miss the gold.

The melodic ending is pretty much a verbatim copy of the bell-like ending to Nowhere Safe, only on a much longer scale. I felt a bit of beauty was needed to complete the portrayal.

The overall process was quite similar to creating The Deepest of Black Waters, which I tend to think of as the older sibling to With Tortured Affection.

I suppose that With Tortured Affection could be seen as a longing. That being without a person makes the world feel cold and bleak, like being alone in a barren land surrounded only by dirt and skeleton trees, the only sound being that of the frozen wind. The more serene ending is somewhat like coming home.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Through a Corrupted Mind

At this point in the album, we move from the most complex track to the least complex track. Through a Corrupted Mind, in title, is a homage to the character Vincent from the upcoming horror film Relentless. It is not just in title, however, that the track relates to this film.

The main sequence of Through a Corrupted Mind was actually the original idea for the opening piece of Relentless. Upon extending the opening I came up with a second theme, which I felt better suited the opening, leaving the original as an orphaned sound clip. Given my obsession with sound manipulation, I began experimenting with this clip. The basis of the track ended up basically being a version of the track played at a quarter of the speed.

On top of the melodic base, a noisy soundscape is superimposed. This harsh buildup was created from the atmospheric ending of the Relentless credit piece, Nowhere Safe. It's a heavily manipulated and stretched version, a process which helped to tame the abrasive tone of the original source.

Aside from these two layers, there is a semi-percussive layer which appears near the ending. This layer is created from three copies of a percussive section of a film cue run through Audio Damage's glitch plugin, Replicant. The layers have varied reverb and misc effect settings to give the sum a bit of depth. The three parts were trimmed and arranged as necessary, but were mostly dictated through the random nature of Replicant.

As I stated in the beginning, this was indeed the least complex manipulation on the album, though the effort which originally went into writing the base melodic layer was fairly high. This track just happened to benefit from an outtake of the soundtrack. It just goes to show how important a track's tempo can be, as the Smear Campaign version, in my opinion, is far superior to the original.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Primordial (Below Heaven and Earth)

The third track from Smear Campaign, Primordial, is probably the most complex of the entire album. It's name comes in two parts. First, Primordial came from the film Altered States, which I happened to be watching one day while working on the track. A pretty good film, I must add. The second portion was appended due to the hellish vibe the track ended up with.

The piece started with drums, which run the majority of the track's duration. The drum sounds were taken from an impromptu recording session with Ryan Boland and myself. The drum kit included a floor tom, a large plastic bucket, a cymbal and a snare with a wooden block bouncing around on top of it. I believe at some point I played a mesh trash can with guitar strings, but I don't believe that element exists in the track.

The initial drum line was simply two repetitions of Ryan's entire take, split by only a few seconds. This was trimmed apart some as the busier portion of his take became slightly awkward when slowed down (sounds amazing in real-time, for the record). The majority of the track revolves around about 45 seconds of the stretched take. Within this 45 seconds was a short laugh, which provides the demonic laugh when the drum loop ends in the middle and near the conclusion.

The main ambient portion of this track came from a 35 second Western rock piece I wrote for a contest on MusikPitch. It was obvious I was not going to take the prize with my entry, so I decided the best option was to recycle. This short bit ended up making a fantastic addition in that it brought a very unique vibe into the track. The original instrumentation of acoustic guitar, bass, drums, shakers and whistle turned into a fine blur of desolation.

What makes this track so complex are the shorter bits which are strewn about the entire piece. These bits include screams, distorted synth lines, bass drops, percussive hits and a brief sample from an amateur adult film, just to name a few. All of these clips were taken out of tracks I had previously composed, some dating as far back as 2004.

Lesson learned here, you really never know when you might need that porn sample you used in a rap track one day 6 years ago.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ghost in the Machine

The second track on Smear Campaign, Ghost in the Machine, was the true beginning of the album. Although it was not the first to be completed, it was the first to have an arrangement, which actually dates back an entire year.

Ghost in the Machine was conceived through experimentation with Nasca Paul's utility PaulStretch. Upon finding the utility, I began sending just about everything I had on hand through it to see how it would sound. At first the sounds used were longer and layered pieces, often making for overly confused soundscapes. It was when I delved into my custom sample directories that I found the base for this particular beauty.

In one of my directories existed a short message which I sampled off an answering machine many years ago. The caller was unknown and the message was unclear. It was the sound of a girl who appeared to be crying, the only intelligible words being "I'm so sorry". It was all a bit unsettling.

Needless to say, I loaded it up into PaulStretch to see what would happen. What came out were some of the creepiest sounds I had ever witnessed. I continued to experiment with lengths, blur settings and harmonics. When I was done I had a directory full of different versions, of which I chose four to use in the final arrangement.

The four versions are each presented with a unique sound. One is heavily reverberated, one is bit crushed, one is degraded with a vinyl simulation and the final is mostly plain, which is the most prominent in the mix. Each of the more heavily effected layers fade in and out through sections of the piece.

Ghost in the Machine is the only piece on the album to include parts which were not based on existing recorded material. These parts are the spoken word and the supporting bass. The bass was necessary because of the narrow frequency spectrum of the phone message. Without this bass, there wouldn't have been any activity below the lower-mid frequency range, meaning rumble would have been way out of the question.

The spoken word was added as I felt a bit of chanting would fill out the track nicely. I had an idea of something I could use from a past recording, but it turned out that I no longer had the individual files. So I brought up a lorem ipsum generator online and recorded some nice latin-esque spoken word parts.

The original arrangement was close to 11 minutes and included a spoken word dialog placed in the foreground. The dialog had a great sound to it, but ultimately I felt it took away from the ghostly atmosphere. After this exclusion some trimming was more than necessary, bringing the piece down to it's final duration.

On a side note, the completed chanting portion was also used in my Halloween setup that year.

Regarding the original phone message: The reasoning behind the call was never discovered and was assumed to have been a wrong number. The meaning was also lost in her crying. Was it a breakup? or worse yet, was it a call for help? To this day, I still have no idea if it was real or a prank.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Deepest of Black Waters

Though it was not the point of origin for the album, The Deepest of Black Waters was Smear Campaign's first completed track. The name for the track came from an old demo I had of an Opeth-esque metal track, which was never going to be finished and was much less fitting for the title.

Like it's successor, Ghost in the Machine, this track was inspired heavily by my discovery of PaulStretch, a utility created by Nasca Paul that essentially stretched audio to extreme lengths, without changing the pitch. I had this ability before, but Paul's utility allowed for realtime experimentation and a unique smearing ability.

The make up of this track is rather simple, consisting of only three parts, which I like to refer to as the drone, the ambiance and the melody. The drone was originally a percussive synth line that I created a few years back with the discovery of "Details" by Frou Frou. Blurring these percussive hits produced a rather peaceful drone reminiscent of crashing waves.

The ambiance and the melody were both created using tracks from a collection of guitar experiments I compiled while Ryan Boland and I were working to compose instrumental horror stories. We did succeed in creating one piece, a 9 minute journey set in a ghost town, but the parts used in The Deepest of Black Waters were not a part of that. They were outtakes.

Before anyone begins to think this piece was just three random bits stretched and thrown together, I should add that these source files took a lot of trial and error time to find. Beyond this the mixing, triming, effect layering and arranging processes were all quite involved. This piece is much more than just three audio files stacked atop one another, it is an intimate arrangement of sound design.

Smear Campaign Release

Today marks the official release of my first full length album, Smear Campaign. The writing process was a fun and emotionally rewarding journey which I won't soon forget. There were some people who helped in the success of this album who I feel should be mentioned. First and foremost being my family, who never stop being supportive, even if I do compose music in a not so popular style. Keldrick Brown, for creating such awesome and fitting artwork. Nasca Paul for his amazing utility PaulStretch which I used in building the foundation of many of the tracks. James Phillips for being one of the biggest supporters of the style. and Ryan Boland, for his contributions to my giant pool of recordings, some of which appear (in varying forms) on the album.

Obviously I'm thankful for everyone's support, those in this list and those who do not appear by name. You all help me to continue my work as a composer, and for that I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Catching Up With Myself

I received an encouraging email today from a publishing library I am a part. It stated simply that I had a statement online which was available for viewing. It appears that there have been some placements for a few of my tracks (Boolean, Null Pointer and Recursion) during the last quarter.

Unfortunately, due to the large number of placements they handle (and also the process in place for many of their larger clients), they cannot notify artists in real time of placements. I suppose this is fine, considering you do eventually find out about them and get paid your share, but I do find it a little disheartening that the statement doesn't appear to give a lot of detail regarding where each piece was used.

Now, I will admit that randomly hearing my music in a show or commercial without prior knowledge would be one sweet rush, but considering the amount of TV I watch the odds are extremely low. There is also the fact I only have the most basic cable package possible (barring none), making the vast majority of programs out of my reach as it is.

Surprisingly I did happen to find one of placements based on the show name, which made for a very welcome elated moment. Given the license date on the statement (6/30/2010) I assumed it must have been a fairly recent episode, if it had even been aired yet. My Google search led me right to a video, which I just assumed was the most recent episode. I (half)watched and listened and wouldn't you know it, Null Pointer showed up! It's merely a few seconds of the track, but still! I thought it was exciting.

Now, fast forward a couple hours and we come to the moment where I was trying to find it again to show my wife. It was upon this search that I found out the video I watched was not the most recent episode. Actually, it wasn't even from the same year. I am being paid this month for a placement on an episode which originally aired in March of 2009! How I got so lucky as to find the track in the first episode I watched, I will never know...

I guess what I've read is true, it does take awhile to get paid for licensing.

For reference, the show that used the track is called Gametrailers, which appears to play on Spike Friday nights. The episode in which Null Pointer is used can be found here. The track appears at about 16 minutes and 14 seconds in.

My track Recursion appears in an episode as well, but I have yet to find it...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reaching Out

Some of you have probably already noticed the news that Among Them has received a little sonic makeover thanks to Bill over at MixLogics. The main reason I came to a decision to send this track out dealt with all of the recent reading I've done regarding mastering. I have done plenty of reading about this process in the past, but most of that was from a do-it-yourself point of view. Just recently I began to wonder if my track could actually hold it's own when thrown into a playlist of well known studio produced recordings. Though unfortunate, a song's sonic presentation can be just as important as it's true artistic appeal.

It's of little surprise to me that this new version presents itself better, but the extent of how much more lively the track feels is almost surreal to me. The reason for this undoubtedly deals with the access to professional equipment and an acoustically treated environment. But above those, a mastering engineer will always have one thing I cannot possess- a truly fresh perspective of my completed work. After spending hours upon hours listening to segments and mixes, I tend to build a preconceived notion of how the track should fill the audio spectrum. When it comes time to master, the proper adjustments would just feel wrong to me, leading me to create a sub-par master.

I guess the moral of the story is, outside input can be the spark that saves a project from certain death in mediocrity. We all can use a little help now and then.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Progressions of Thought

The past week's efforts were dedicated mostly to creating a track for the opening sequence of Relentless. This portion of the film was the inspiration for my last post, regarding the need to let go of (or set aside) ideas which didn't quite fit the mood or style. The main issue with the original was the separation of music and video. Without seeing James' vision in film, I brought myself to envision a sequence based on my track. This is quite backward from the standard process, so the fact of it being mismatched comes without too much surprise.

Earlier this week I started another arrangement, which seemed quite suiting. I played it back numerous times and managed to get it ingrained into my mind. Upon extending I managed to create another theme inside of this new theme. A theme which felt stronger and much more fitting. After sleeping on it, I played it all back the next day. My mind just gravitated to this new theme, making the original feel lackluster.

The last couple of nights I set out to extend upon this single theme idea. The ideas were racing in my head, at points moving so quickly I wasn't quite sure how to put them down. Thankfully the late night session on Saturday produced an arrangement I can truly stand by.

Looking back at the progression, if I hadn't recognized and accepted the issues and persisted despite them, I would have never created this new piece, which I truly look forward to sharing with you all in due time.

So this may very well mark the end of the first chapter with the scoring of Relentless. Next up: finding voices for the leading ladies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Letting Go

What happens when the idea in your head, which has grown and evolved so perfectly over time, doesn't quite match the tone and/or emotion upon culmination of a scene? How long do you continue to tweak and rework an idea to try and salvage this image you have known and loved for so long? When is the time to let go? Based on recent experience, I have found the answer might just be ASAP.

I'm sure that any artist out there will agree that it is hard to not become emotionally attached to our work. To us, these creations are so much more than a form of audio or visual media, they are products of time, thought and passion. In many ways they can define who we are.

...but, collaboration can be more about give than take, especially when your involvement is to emphasize something which already exists. If you end up detracting from the emotion or injecting a conflicting one, the audience will end up feeling put off or confused. Neither of these results are generally desired.

So, when it comes down to spending hours trying to mangle a great idea into something it totally is not and probably never will be, just remember, we are the only ones keeping ourselves from making something even better.

Shifting Focus

Somewhere along the line my view of this blog shifted from my original intention. I meant for this place to be more of an inside view into my work as a composer and songwriter, but it has transitioned to feel more like a monthly newsletter. I believe it's about time to get back to my plan as there is so much more going on than it would seem.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Projects and Prospects

I'm not sure if anyone was actually asking where I've been, but it has again been a decent amount of time between posts. I do plan on posting more than once a month eventually, I just need the material to write.

It's been a bit of a waiting game recently as submissions have been made and projects discussed. The good news is, there will be plenty to keep me busy over the coming months. At this point I have a few short film projects coming up, 2 involving full scores and 1 involving a custom track for video syncing. Along with these confirmed projects, which will be named at the appropriate time, there are other prospective works currently being discussed.

In the world of full features, Relentless is progressing daily in it's home country. The recent announcement of filled cast positions has been extremely exciting and has given way to some great poster options. Please take a moment to check them out at the Horror in the Making blog and vote for your favorite. Of course, while you are there, check out the great movie merchandise and memorabilia you can score (including your name in the credits) for a rather small donation to the project. I want to make it clear that I do not expect anyone to donate, I just want to make these options known. This film is being funded completely by the filmmaker, there is no giant studio budget, so it's a great opportunity to become a part of something and support the arts.

Well that is it for now, but I promise there will be project, news and media updates on the main site soon. Actually, there might just be something there right now...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Silence is Productive

As some may have noticed, it has been a dark period on this blog. This silence wasn't intended to be a statement of shallow progress, but rather a growth and structuring period. There was plenty going on, all of which could have been shared here, but I had to ask myself "would anyone really want to read about such tedious and uninteresting tasks?" My silence was meant to spare everyone the agony of wading through my rants and hardships revolving around this transitional period.

I have decided to break this silence, as the transformation is now in motion.

The most important objective of these last few months was to create a personal website which I had complete control over. I dreamt for weeks about creating a user friendly site which represented my true musical focus, composition for film and other visual media. I needed a presence which showed the industry my level of commitment, professionalism and sincerity, while making sure it's content was clear and easily utilized.

The current phase now is to get this site into the hands of my target audience. Those in need of services I can provide. Those creating true art in motion and dialogue, but long for the perfect melodic, tonal and rhythmic support to complete their vision.

My next slated project is a survival horror film titled "Relentless", written (and to be directed/produced) by James Phillips of Highly Caffeinated Productions. Filming, to the best of my knowledge, is to commence in March. This sets the bulk of my musical involvement to begin early Spring.

Starting today, and continuing through the end of March, I will be working on building the audio library portion of my site. This will include previously recorded tracks, mostly unreleased, and brand new compositions supporting my tagline of "beautiful sonic destruction".

I look forward to sharing these more creative times with all of you.