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The Composer's Thread

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6 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

Not the right thread perhaps, but I wonder if anyone would let me know how they feel this mix compares to the Wallin original, bearing in mind I couldn't actually rerecord the thing to take down the loudness and mic things differently.

 

http://picosong.com/iXrE/

 

It sounds very good.  This is a rerecording you did?  I would say its very good, very well played and difficult to tell it's not the original unless you hear them side by side.  Two immediate things I notice is there was more compression on the OST and it had bass boosting as part of the mastering.  When setting these to the same level, yours sounds cleaner and more accurate to me but the OST sounds punchier and more processed (something I'm not necessarily a fan of).  If you do put more compression on it, go easy on the compression.  Perhaps use a multi-band compressor.  Nice instrumental separation. 

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7 hours ago, karelm said:

 

It sounds very good.  This is a rerecording you did?  I would say its very good, very well played and difficult to tell it's not the original unless you hear them side by side.  Two immediate things I notice is there was more compression on the OST and it had bass boosting as part of the mastering.  When setting these to the same level, yours sounds cleaner and more accurate to me but the OST sounds punchier and more processed (something I'm not necessarily a fan of).  If you do put more compression on it, go easy on the compression.  Perhaps use a multi-band compressor.  Nice instrumental separation. 

 

Oh no, not a rerecording!  I suppose I worded it oddly - this is the recording from the first film (lacking any additional processing done for the commercial album), which I've attempted to reengineer.

 

Looking at the waveform made me shake my head.  It's way too loudly recorded.  And there was a thick soup of mids with a surprising lack of strong information below around 150hz... this is almost certainly the biggest factor in the boxy and dull sound of many Giacchino scores.  

 

What'd you do in your effort, New Bartók?

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1 hour ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

 

Oh no, not a rerecording!  I suppose I worded it oddly - this is the recording from the first film (lacking any additional processing done for the commercial album), which I've attempted to reengineer.

 

Looking at the waveform made me shake my head.  It's way too loudly recorded.  And there was a thick soup of mids with a surprising lack of strong information below around 150hz... this is almost certainly the biggest factor in the boxy and dull sound of many Giacchino scores.  

 

What'd you do in your effort, New Bartók?

 

Ahh, I see.  Yes mids build up too quickly and unnaturally since nearly all instruments have those frequencies.  

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20 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

 

Oh no, not a rerecording!  I suppose I worded it oddly - this is the recording from the first film (lacking any additional processing done for the commercial album), which I've attempted to reengineer.

 

Looking at the waveform made me shake my head.  It's way too loudly recorded.  And there was a thick soup of mids with a surprising lack of strong information below around 150hz... this is almost certainly the biggest factor in the boxy and dull sound of many Giacchino scores.  

 

What'd you do in your effort, New Bartók?

 

I applied:

  • ReLife to artificially restore the dynamic range (helps quite a bit)
  • Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 to boost the higher frequencies (+/- 10000 Hz and up) and substantially lower some of the lower, "pumping" frequencies (along with dynamics compression, boosting the low frequencies seems to be an annoying trend these days)
  • iZotope Ozone's Dynamics to apply a tiny bit of compression, brighten the music a bit further and widen the stereo field
  • ValhallaRoom to create more of a concert hall-esque sound (I'm not overly fond of a dull, dry sound anymore)

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A friend of mine asked me if I could make her a sort of epic mini-score for her to animate, an offer I couldn't refuse. I decided to take it as an excercise for myself to do something in an "epic" vein, a mix of the old and the new of the world of film music. You'll notice a couple of homages/steals to Basil, Monkey Island and my dear Dune. Some of the synths and mixing still need some work, and maybe some flourishes here and there, but overall, here's the whole thing

 

http://picosong.com/WkZQ/

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6 hours ago, Muad'Dib said:

A friend of mine asked me if I could make her a sort of epic mini-score for her to animate, an offer I couldn't refuse. I decided to take it as an excercise for myself to do something in an "epic" vein, a mix of the old and the new of the world of film music. You'll notice a couple of homages/steals to Basil, Monkey Island and my dear Dune. Some of the synths and mixing still need some work, and maybe some flourishes here and there, but overall, here's the whole thing

 

http://picosong.com/WkZQ/

 

Not bad.  Definitely hear the Dune influences.  Once you fix the obvious midi issues should be quite interesting to see how she sets imagery to it. There is quite a bit of mid range "mud" needing EQ fixing and obscuring some of the ideas.  You should have scored a 1980's film like Flash Gordon.

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Damn, fantastic work, bud. Reminds me a lot of the adventure music to the late 90s/early 2000s PC Indy games by Clint Bajakian, and I mean that in the best possible way: I quite adore those soundtracks.  It's too bad you feel you might not get around to finishing it, as I love what you have so far, but I certainly understand the desire to stop certain creative projects in order to start anew. If you don't mind me asking, do you compose on a professional level at all? From what you've posted, I'd say you more than have the chops for it, though I know it isn't the easiest industry to get into exactly. 

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1 hour ago, Loert said:

Here's the beginning of a JW-style action track I started work on a few weeks ago. I'm throwing this out here as I'm probably not going to finish it, I started this "Flying Keys" style passage but ended up thinking "Oh...I should probably stop now before it gets any worse."

 

http://picosong.com/WgKa/

 

I'll try to write something a bit more proper, soon...

I like it!  Keep working on it damn you!

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14 hours ago, Cerebral Cortex said:

Damn, fantastic work, bud. Reminds me a lot of the adventure music to the late 90s/early 2000s PC Indy games by Clint Bajakian, and I mean that in the best possible way: I quite adore those soundtracks.  It's too bad you feel you might not get around to finishing it, as I love what you have so far, but I certainly understand the desire to stop certain creative projects in order to start anew. If you don't mind me asking, do you compose on a professional level at all? From what you've posted, I'd say you more than have the chops for it, though I know it isn't the easiest industry to get into exactly. 

 

Thank you! I'm a big fan of Bajakian's Indy soundtracks too - one of the reasons why Emperor's Tomb was one of my favourite video games when I was a kid. :D 

 

No I don't compose professionally, though very occasionally I help out on some film/game projects. It is my dream job really, despite the fact that I have zero musical connections currently (in real life, that is). Recently I completed work on a short Star Wars-based animation film, so I hope to make that available shortly.

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I managed to squeeze out another minute or so out of the JW-style action track I posted a few weeks ago:

 

(the thumbnail comes from a released piece of Rogue One concept art)

 

As I say in the description it's more like a romp through various Williams mannerisms rather than a perfectly cohesive piece of music. For the longest time I've just had this itch to write some crazy full-blast action material...and after 100 seconds I can say that that itch has been thoroughly scratched. I hope you enjoy!

 

On 21/07/2017 at 10:10 PM, mrbellamy said:

First orchestration attempt :blush: took a stab at a pretty silly but nice and simple piano score I did in high school.

 

Not bad at all, I think there's some great material in the opening 22 seconds. I can imagine it sounding even better if it was played slower (and played by a real orchestra of course). I like the tone of the later oom-pah material, especially from 0:48. Before that I felt that there were too many different notes which obstructed the musical picture - some simpler writing would have given a greater sense of direction. In general the comment I'd make is that the different sections of the orchestra do not support each other as much as they could do. But for a first orchestration attempt it sounds promising!

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:40 AM, Loert said:

I managed to squeeze out another minute or so out of the JW-style action track I posted a few weeks ago:

 

(the thumbnail comes from a released piece of Rogue One concept art)

 

As I say in the description it's more like a romp through various Williams mannerisms rather than a perfectly cohesive piece of music. For the longest time I've just had this itch to write some crazy full-blast action material...and after 100 seconds I can say that that itch has been thoroughly scratched. I hope you enjoy!

 

Very nice!  Great sense of momentum.  I wouldn't mind hearing a few more extended harmonies (not much more but a more than you have).  Also, sometimes you repeat a phrase with the same instrumentation where JW tends to pass around a phrase so the second time you hear it someone else might be playing it.  Nitpicks but overall very well done.

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7 hours ago, karelm said:

 

Very nice!  Great sense of momentum.  I wouldn't mind hearing a few more extended harmonies (not much more but a more than you have).  Also, sometimes you repeat a phrase with the same instrumentation where JW tends to pass around a phrase so the second time you hear it someone else might be playing it.  Nitpicks but overall very well done.

 

Thank you for the feedback! :) I was a bit cautious of using too much extended harmony as frankly I'm not well acquainted with it, and I wanted to be sure that there were no significant breaks in the flow of the piece (which it would be so easy to do through haphazard progressions of extended chords). In many ways JW's system of harmony is still a mystery to me. As for your second point, I tried to vary the instrumentation enough to keep it interesting but I do believe I relied too much on the horns. You're right, JW is really creative with the way in which he reflects phrases across the orchestra; another quality of his which I deeply admire! :)

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1 hour ago, Loert said:

 

Thank you for the feedback! :) I was a bit cautious of using too much extended harmony as frankly I'm not well acquainted with it, and I wanted to be sure that there were no significant breaks in the flow of the piece (which it would be so easy to do through haphazard progressions of extended chords). In many ways JW's system of harmony is still a mystery to me. As for your second point, I tried to vary the instrumentation enough to keep it interesting but I do believe I relied too much on the horns. You're right, JW is really creative with the way in which he reflects phrases across the orchestra; another quality of his which I deeply admire! :)

 

Just study JW.  SW, ET, Superman and that vintage JW sound are so full of modes, interesting substitutions, poly-chords, harmonic extensions, that I would guess almost 50% (who knows might be more) are non diatonic/non triadic chords.  I would point you to Ludwig's very fine blog here (note it is multi-part): http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/john-williams-themes-part-1-the-force-theme/

 

It is also good to do harmonic analysis on the Hal Leonard scores you can find.  Part of the JW magic is he does these things WITHOUT breaks in the flow of the piece perfectly hitting the hits and again this is part of study getting more tools in your tool chest. There are lots of great videos on youtube, some by fellow members of this site, featuring high level analysis of JW style, orchestration, and harmony.

 

JW has always been a master of variety.  I heard something he wrote for band circa 1960's (I forgot what it was).  It sounds nothing like the JW we know and love but you get tastes of the brilliance clearly in evidence.  Part of it was the variety of the instrumentation.  He knew exactly when an idea would get old so would need a twist, or a substitution, or development, or and hand off.  It was just a few minutes long and in our score study, when we first heard it as an anonymous submission, we all thought it was composed by a fellow composer member.  We looked around the room thinking "damn, this is impressive...whoever wrote it really has command of drama and instrumentation and I/we're envious of the obvious talent."  We provided feedback of how original and dynamic the composer voice was.  Then it was revealed to have been an anonymous submission by Don Williams of his brother, John that none of us were familiar with.  We all laughed and immediately realized oh wow, it is evident who the composer was now that we know.  I remember maybe every two bars, he passed the idea from one group to another when it started getting old.  Darn I wish I remembered what it was.  I know it was in one of his Jazz beginning albums. 

 

I consistently enjoy what you are doing so keep learning and writing!

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On July 26, 2017 at 8:40 AM, Loert said:

Not bad at all, I think there's some great material in the opening 22 seconds. I can imagine it sounding even better if it was played slower (and played by a real orchestra of course). I like the tone of the later oom-pah material, especially from 0:48. Before that I felt that there were too many different notes which obstructed the musical picture - some simpler writing would have given a greater sense of direction. In general the comment I'd make is that the different sections of the orchestra do not support each other as much as they could do. But for a first orchestration attempt it sounds promising!

 

Thanks for the criticism and encouragement, man :) I'm with you that it ended up bigger and busier than I really wanted. I guess ultimately my goal was to try and get over being so intimidated by the orchestra and viewing it as this big, unwieldy thing, never feeling like I was ready to try. I wanted to give myself permission to dive in even if it meant throwing a little too much crap in there. Might do another revision, particularly of that 0:22-0:48 section that you mentioned could be simpler, but then again I'm also trying to work on my ability to finish things lol.

 

Agree with karelm on your action piece, especially the sense of momentum. Love the rhythmic energy, variety, and pacing. Don't stop scratching that action music itch too soon, I would be interested to hear you do another with a more deliberately cohesive structure (possibly you did something like that on your friend's animated Star Wars project?) Anyway I too always enjoy the stuff you put up, whether it's one of your excellent JW transcriptions/arrangements or doing your own thing. 

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On 08/08/2017 at 6:52 PM, karelm said:

Something new I am working on.  Full of brassy fanfares.

http://picosong.com/vTB6

 

I really like it! :) The big crescendo from 0:22 is thrilling, it actually reminded me of a jet plane taking off from the runway! The brass goes really well with the spiccato strings, and I like how you kept that idea going throughout most of the piece. You go through a lot of modulations, but they always fit in cleverly within the structure. I also like how (at least in the excerpt you've uploaded) it's book-ended by this murky texture which gives the music a cool arc-like shape. Can't wait to listen to more of your work!

 

Also, "Genre: Blues". LOL??? :lol:

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3 hours ago, Loert said:

 

I really like it! :) The big crescendo from 0:22 is thrilling, it actually reminded me of a jet plane taking off from the runway! The brass goes really well with the spiccato strings, and I like how you kept that idea going throughout most of the piece. You go through a lot of modulations, but they always fit in cleverly within the structure. I also like how (at least in the excerpt you've uploaded) it's book-ended by this murky texture which gives the music a cool arc-like shape. Can't wait to listen to more of your work!

 

Also, "Genre: Blues". LOL??? :lol:

 

D'oh!  I didn't answer any of the questions so Blues was the default.  Cheers old buddy.  What you heard was just the opening section and it fades out to the lyrical section I am still working on.  But I am glad to say I just finished the finale and it is balls to the walls!  Quite manic actually and scored for a very large orchestra including 7 percussionists, harp, celesta, and organ.

 

Here is the ending:

http://picosong.com/vdFn

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Love the way you maintain the momentum and loving the harmonic shifts in the fanfares, especially around the end.

 

Some cool Horner-esque contours too!

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15 hours ago, KK said:

Love the way you maintain the momentum and loving the harmonic shifts in the fanfares, especially around the end.

 

Some cool Horner-esque contours too!

 

Thanks man!  Yes, there are some hornerisms in this. :)

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4 hours ago, Jilal said:

Exciting work indeed, @karelm! Sorry to get technical (at least in 'production' terms), but am I hearing NotePerformer? I've been thinking about purchasing it lately.

 

Thank you, sir.  Yes, this is about 80% Noteperformer (well worth $100) plus some of the harp gliss's were cineharps and some of the brass were Berlin Brass where noteperformer didn't quite cut it. 

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Hey guys, thought I might share something I've been playing with. Nowhere near as accomplished as many of your work, but it's something small...

http://picosong.com/ws6zs

 

It's produced with the musescore notation software with soundfonts I've collected over the years. The music is meant to accompany the departure of some characters from their home.

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44 minutes ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

This is probably the only time I'll share something so complete on here,

I respect your reasoning, but it's truly a shame, amigo. It was very nice! I loved that bass tone around 1:45; what's your favorite Williams score again? ;)

 

Here's a demo for an end credit track I did last year, where I went a little Williamsy, too. :P Unfortunately the project seemed to have halted, and I moved on to other projects, so I didn't really have the opportunity to revise it the way I was intending to. 

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3fTFQaZOyaoRnNLUXN1eVF5cXc/view?usp=drivesdk

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1 hour ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

Good stuff, KK.  What synths are you using here?

 

I'm enjoying a rare opportunity to go a little "ethereal/wistful Williams" on a project recently.  Here's a draft of a cue - pardon the weak digital performance.

 

http://picosong.com/w33xY/

 

P.S. This is probably the only time I'll share something so complete on here, and I won't leave it up forever because I don't want to get sued, but also to maintain an aura of mystique.

Good stuff, Grey.  I like it.  Would make for some very fine underscore especially if there is very little dialog to get in the way.  Also has a bit of a french quality ala Pavane pour une infante défunte.

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18 hours ago, karelm said:

Good stuff, Grey.  I like it.  Would make for some very fine underscore especially if there is very little dialog to get in the way.  Also has a bit of a french quality ala Pavane pour une infante défunte.

 

Thanks karelm.  It is indeed for a rare stretch without dialogue - can you imagine if there were more moments like that in 2017?!

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20 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

I'm enjoying a rare opportunity to go a little "ethereal/wistful Williams" on a project recently.  Here's a draft of a cue - pardon the weak digital performance.

 

http://picosong.com/w33xY/

 

P.S. This is probably the only time I'll share something so complete on here, and I won't leave it up forever because I don't want to get sued, but also to maintain an aura of mystique.

 

Your little slice of 'A.I.'?;)

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On 10/5/2017 at 5:50 PM, TheGreyPilgrim said:

Good stuff, KK.  What synths are you using here?

 

A mix of NI Monark and FM8 and some other smaller stuff.

 

On 10/5/2017 at 5:50 PM, TheGreyPilgrim said:

I'm enjoying a rare opportunity to go a little "ethereal/wistful Williams" on a project recently.  Here's a draft of a cue - pardon the weak digital performance.

 

http://picosong.com/w33xY/

 

P.S. This is probably the only time I'll share something so complete on here, and I won't leave it up forever because I don't want to get sued, but also to maintain an aura of mystique.

 

Beautiful Grey. Very A.I.-ish indeed!

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On 29-9-2017 at 1:25 AM, Loert said:

Here's the result of some quickfire composition I did over the weekend:

 

http://picosong.com/wwTLW/

 

I guess I could call it "Prelude to a Drama", where I'll leave the Drama for somebody else to write.

 

What solo woodwinds are you using?

 

Very interesting by the way, although I don't quite like the transition to the somewhat disconnected brassy material near the one minute mark. 

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5 hours ago, Jilal said:

What solo woodwinds are you using?

 

Solo flute is from Symphobia 2, the rest is from Orchestral Tools...

 

5 hours ago, Jilal said:

Very interesting by the way, although I don't quite like the transition to the somewhat disconnected brassy material near the one minute mark. 

 

Thanks! :) Do you mean the transition at 0:50, or the one at 1:09? The one at 0:50 is quite experimental, I could've made it sound more fluid, maybe if I'd gone to Bb Lydian or something. But the intention was to do something very disconnected from the previous material, as if one were reaching the top of a mountain only to find a warzone on the other side...The transition at 1:09, though, I hope is not too "unusual" and I imagined it to give the impression of a plunge into chaos/darkness.

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2 hours ago, Loert said:

 

Solo flute is from Symphobia 2, the rest is from Orchestral Tools...

 

 

Thanks! :) Do you mean the transition at 0:50, or the one at 1:09? The one at 0:50 is quite experimental, I could've made it sound more fluid, maybe if I'd gone to Bb Lydian or something. But the intention was to do something very disconnected from the previous material, as if one were reaching the top of a mountain only to find a warzone on the other side...The transition at 1:09, though, I hope is not too "unusual" and I imagined it to give the impression of a plunge into chaos/darkness.

 

I mean the transition at 0:50. Whereas the beginning of your piece sounds very ethereal and has a very comforting tone, there's a shrill contrast with the dramatic material at 0:50. In my opinion, that is.

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