If in the last few hours you scrambled to find out if there’ve been any goings ons on this blog by going directly to scorevgm.com, you may have found yourself in uncharted territory that looks exactly like the picture above.
I know it’s a little frightening, but please DON’T PANIC.
What you stumbled upon is my new website, which I created over the last two days using Squarespace. Before I go into details about the why, please note that if you follow my blog using WordPress, everything will be just fine.
Or, at least, it should be fine, heh. I’m going to continue to use WordPress as my main blogging tool, seeing as I can easily import my blog posts into my new site from here. Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to lose any of you, dear readers. Many of you have been following [Score.] since its beginnings, and I would certainly never want to alienate you from my stuff, or me from our interactions!
The idea for a new website for [Score.] came about after I finished up my demo late last week (more on that later). I thought, ‘Okay, I’m finally ready to send my content out to developers–let’s do this,’ but then came to the realization that my site was really just a blog and not an actual website, per se. To increase the professional look of my business, I needed the site to be focused around what my business is about and what I offer, not just around blog posts about constructing my compositions, reviewing other people’s work, and the like. More
About a month or so ago I was thinking about what kinds of tunes I hadn’t yet written that I should write for my demo. The most obvious of the missing genres was a film-like tune—an epic tune fit for cinema in the ilk of Lord of the Rings or even the soundtrack to Skyrim.
Granted, my tune sounds absolutely nothing like the Skyrim tune above, haha, but I was certainly thinking in terms of having that BIG sound… a big, epic sound with a lot of brass and space and all that good stuff.
I’m sure that you’ll get that impression from the beginning of my tune, “Behemoth,” but it kind of devolves from sounding like a film piece into sounding more like a piece of game music. I committed to this transformation right after I wrote in a part that sounded game-y, especially because it opened up new possibilities and allowed me to put in ideas that wouldn’t have made sense if I wanted to continue to think in terms of film. Very early on you’ll hear the entrance of some pointy-sounding flutes, for instance—those came from the removal of the film restriction that I had put on myself.
So because the music started to sound more like a game I decided to think of it in the context of a game. The original sound was intended to be “epic battle;” thinking about games, some of the most epic battles take place when you’re fighting bosses. Thus, I started to imagine a giant beast – specifically that which looks like a behemoth from the Final Fantasy series – bursting into a room ready to chomp you in half.
While the brass is more representative of the “epic beast boss battle,” I wrote the woodwinds as if they were harbingers of insanity or twistedness. They’re meant to put the player on edge or even scare him or her a little. This idea was almost assuredly influenced by a couple of different Final Fantasy tunes.
“Kefka’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VI will always come to mind when thinking of a tune that is supposed to represent someone truly evil and insane. On its own, one may not hear those villainous attributes, yet when the player hears the theme played as Kefka, for example, poisons Doma, it really gets under his or her skin. In affecting the player in such a way, the true genius of Uematsu ‘s writing comes out. Start the below video at 6:01 to see what I mean. More
Hey! It’s been awhile. I’ve got two tunes for you to check out.
Fanfare and Jubilee (Remastered)
This was actually completed about three weeks ago…
If you compare it to the original versions of the tune you’ll find some changes in the actual composition (as opposed to the sound), but nothing too significant. Mainly, I made the ending shorter so that the listener wouldn’t lose interest. I had thought before that the buildup to the large section that features all of the instruments playing together would be a good idea; however, even I as the composer was fatigued by hearing just one instrument come in at a time. Also, you’ll notice that the trombone starts off the buildup instead of the trumpet, and the percussion doesn’t take extra time to build up either. I think you’ll agree if you compare the two that it was in every listener’s best interest to shorten that section.
While this tune is technically final, having sought out some criticism of it I learned from other composers that they find the mix too dry. While I set out for a drier mix, I am going to run with the suggestions and see how I can improve the sound of the piece by altering the reverb to give it more depth.
This next tune was written for the TIGSource Musical Challenge XXIII. You might recall that I entered one of the challenges a while back with my tune “Mr. AC (Keep Your Cool).” For that tune, the challenge was to make a thirty-second looping battle theme; for this, things were a bit less constricting. The challenge was, simply, to create a love theme. More
Cat’s out of the bag: I don’t work 24/7 all the time. Here Jen and I are enjoying the cherry blossoms in our nation’s capital.
I haven’t posted in about a week and a half, so I thought I’d better give you an update.
First, the music stuff: I am in the process of both remastering old tunes and writing new ones. In fact, I have a list of two tunes to remaster and nine tunes to finish writing, which is a lot of stuff. You might think that I may have spread myself too thin and to that I say you might be correct, haha.
The dilemma is one that isn’t old; namely, I’m caught between wanting to finish up tunes and churn out new ideas. Finishing is two-dimensional problem that I imagine many of us aspiring artists have: one, I always ask myself, ‘Is this even worth finishing?’, and two, I sometimes feel like I’m spending too much time on one idea rather than creating fresh ones, which makes me think of number one’s question again. The answer to that question, by the way, is ‘YES’ 95% of the time simply because I need to practice finishing writing as well as the whole production gig. I refuse to abandon these tunes even though I get scatterbrained and succumb to writing new ideas instead often. The answer to the second? Simply get better and faster, which is done by finishing tunes, and stay focused. And you may think that have a list of nine tunes to finish would warrant me saying enough is enough, leading me to blast through finishing one or two, but no… no, that doesn’t work; no urge to create new things is assuaged.
But hey, the remastered version of “Fanfare and Jubilee” is coming along. Check out what it sounds like at the end of today. Lots of work still needs to be done, of course, including adjusting dynamics, volume levels, articulations, and more, but I think you’ll like it:
As for new stuff, one point of note is that I’m trying to write tunes that are a little longer, have more space, and are less dependent on being driven by one stand-out melody. More
It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got around to remastering the first track that I ever did for this blog, “Woods Theme” (or “Theme for the Woods,” as I called it in earlier posts).
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I usually do my larger-scale compositions in Finale first, which doesn’t have quality sound samples. So, I always aim to go back and remaster the tracks I write in Finale by putting them into Logic and using better samples, as well as by making my own mix instead of using what Finale does automatically.
It feels good to get one under my belt. It’s definitely not my favorite part of the creative process, but it certainly is fulfilling when you finally feel satisfied with a mix. There’s so much to be very meticulous about, and if you don’t have a ton of experience in that world, it can be maddening. Luckily, I have the time right now to stop, let my ears rest, and then resume later, which makes things better on the mental side. Arguably, there’s always that looming “just get it done!” approach that is very effective for the mind and for productivity [which I skimmed right over]; however, at least for this tune, I wanted to make everything perfect. And I kept on learning up until the last bounce as a result.
I even set the remastered version to someone’s walkthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, below:
While you all have heard some of my other final cuts on tunes that have been produced in Logic, you hadn’t yet heard an orchestral piece. As you might imagine, it can take longer to do the production on a piece the more instruments one has because s/he has to make sure that everything is the right balance in every section of a tune. When conducting, a live orchestra, one has the benefit of the musicians knowing what dynamics to play when. They also know how hard to play notes and how to emote passages in the best manner. Everything melds together well due to a combination of the players’ training, what’s written on the score, and what the conductor is doing. More
Last week, Bastion creator Supergiant Games revealed their upcoming title, Transistor, and over the weekend at PAX East they gave gamers a chance to get their first licks in with it. Having interviewed Darren Korb before regarding his work on Bastion, I wasted no time getting in touch with him to ask him a few questions over e-mail about what his fans can expect from the musical side of the game.
Before we get to the Q&A, though, if you haven’t seen the reveal trailer, you may want to check it out:
What have you worked on musically and/or listened to between Bastion and Transistor and how have you seen those things affect your work on the title so far?
I’ve been listening to a ton of Imogen Heap, Radiohead, and Bjork to get myself in the headspace of the kind of stuff I’m trying to write at the moment, but in addition to that I’ve been listening to a bunch of unrelated stuff: The Darkness, Tenacious D, The Belle Brigade, Nada Surf, Ozma, The Beatles, etc.
That’s quite the unrelated group (that’s being said admirably as a fan of a number of those bands, by the way, haha). Would I be going too far to hope that maybe The D will power you to win more VGM awards for your songwriting prowess?
HAH… The D does possess great power…
What’s the musical direction that you’re taking for Transistor and how has it been evolving during the development process? Any bleed over from Bastion? More
Being that I’m a little over two weeks away from entering into the third month of my sabbatical (crazy to think about that), I decided that I need to get serious about finishing and mastering some of my older ideas. I’ve got a couple of new tunes in the oven, but cranking out tunes in Finale that sound synthy doesn’t do me very much good in terms of marketing myself in this day and age. Here are two tunes that I recently finished, both of which might be a bit uplifting:
I wrote most of “Happy-Go-Lucky” a while back, but had a lot of cleaning up to do with it. Originally it didn’t include drums and it sounded very bare. There was just too much space! I thought that I needed some chordal textures at first because the bass sound was holding down a rhythmic base, but I was completely wrong–drums were the answer, and I knew it immediately after I put them in. Gotta give a shout-out to my old professor, Robert Jospe, since I knew what rhythm I wanted to use. Thanks for teaching me how to groove, Jos!
This tune is meant to be the title screen of a racer, and while I was thinking more “F-Zero” at first, David Graey commented on my SoundCloud, saying that the tune reminds his of the Mario 64 race theme (though he’s not sure why, and I’m not totally sure why either, to be honest, haha). I decided to make the picture that of a Mario Kart title screen as a happy medium between his interpretation and my own.