Continually progressing is what I do. Finally catching up with the rest of the world, today I cracked open the wallet and got the internet going at home.. That's right, up until now I was using it wherever I could find it!
I also bought a new computer to use as a DAW which is good since I used an old Power Mac G4 for most of my internet browsing which was deathly slow, so now the prior DAW will become the new internet machine!
The new DAW is another Mac mini; I know, not the best choice with the HD speed being a factor but in my current price range for now. Installed is Logic Pro 9 and EWQLSO Gold. It's specs are 2.53 Ghz Core2Duo, 4 gb DDR3 ram, and 320 GB HD. As of now, it is my most powerful system to date. It seems to be handling most tasks ok at the moment; still the ideal would be to get a Mac tower of the pro variety sometime in the future.
Four to Five years ago, my primary do it all DAW/internet computer was a Pentium 2, if anyone remembers those. I made music with that computer easily for five years ;) nowadays, we're sending dual core machines better than any PC I own now to the recyclers.
But on the topic of audio, I tossed a couple of works in progress that I am working on with the new mini. I will have to return my attention to 'mastering' some tracks in the new year and speaking of the new year..
I do wish you all, everybody, a happy holiday and much prosperity for the new year to you and yours!
Hello to all who read this and thank you if you do.
But if you don't want to read, there is some music at the bottom :)
I suppose I am still fairly new here and not to be so mysterious, I thought I would share a bit.
It has been over 10 years now since I first composed a song using a computer; quite incredibly so using the DOS based program called "Impulse Tracker". Prior to that I used looping software, but "IT" really allowed me to compose something from what seemed like scratch..
It was also ten years ago that I first used Fruity Loops 3 which ultimately gave me the bug!
It took me a couple of years to learn and teach myself all the new things that I wanted learn; starting with simple techno songs; now aiming for something that resembles soundtracks; often inspired by all the video game music made by the many G.A.N.G members here.
I began putting some of these 'songs' I made to use around five years ago or so. That was when my music really began to take shape and a style was formed. By 2006, I made my music public online and even got some stuff into a couple of games.
I worked with a lot of bands in the later part of the last decade recording and such and also began making a couple of video games of my own. I didn't promote much and still have a lot of music that even now has not yet been heard.
This year, I made a challenge for myself. I had to publicize more which ultimately helped me out. Seeing as how I am so soundtrack driven; especially game soundtracks, I knew I had to do something a bit different and learned a lot through adapting what I already knew and combining it with online resources.
I made a realization while playing Mass Effect. I was thinking that the soundtrack was amazing and really liked how it contained both electronic and classical instrumentation - I did a lot of electronic stuff, but wanted to do something orchestral so this union of genres seemed like something I wanted to pursue. This also lead me here to G.A.N.G.
..So this year I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit, bought a Mac, and started using programs that I didn't know but it really didn't take long to learn how to use these programs such as Logic since it shares some similarities with FL Studio.
I made just over 100 mp3s this year to date in my free time. Before going out and buying a bunch of expensive programs and stuff, since many of you know how much one can get into, I put my old stuff to work and gave it one good last run to see what sorts of things I could do.
One of the challenges I made for myself was to give myself a limit whilst attempting to produce some soundtrack-like material. For those who know their computer hardware, the orchestral samples do tend to eat up quite a bit of resource.
Below are some songs that I made this year. The first six were made entirely on a computer running Fruity Loops 3.56, Edirol Orchestral, and only 256 MB of ram on an over ten year old budget Duron chip clocked at 700 Mhz. For the fun of it! That was a challenge of patience ;)
The following six are more electronic on a Celeron computer with FL Studio 6. Both sets of six tracks were made from start to finish in one week per set. I have high standards for myself however these do not showcase anything in terms of high quality and were intended more for demoing purposes. Some of them are a bit shrill sounding.
The last track Overpass was one of my early tracks using the new Mac Mini and Logic Pro Studio 9 with the default instruments.
Feel free to listen to some of these 'sketches' skip through them, download them, whatever you would like. The goal here was to play around with orchestral samples before buying higher quality and more updated stuff as well as combining the genres of orchestral and electronic; inspired by the ambient, spacey, and epic stuff as heard in Mass Effect:
Please enjoy and feel free to drop a comment!
How are you doing folks?
I hope all is well, soon we have the christmas rush upon us. yey! =)
Last week I produced a couple of new themes (as usual), some pitches and I'm also working on the third AZURE album with my friend Robban Kanto.
5 new songs are currently in proces, I've wrecked some of my drum-gear so I have to buy some new stuff this weekend.
Ahh, and I also just got the heads up from CDbaby that the two EMBRACING albums we produced in 1996/1997 will be released on digital distribution in the coming weeks. iTunes, Spotify etc. So check them out when they are available.
Don't forget to check my twitter and webpage www.morningdewmedia.com
for new music themes and mp3 demos.
Have a nice weekend my fellow audio artists!
On July 9th - I attended the GANG/GRAMMY summer summit at Pyramind in San Francisco.
(As always, click above for the anthem! :) )
Hey, all. Sorry I'm a little late with this update. Due to some unexpected things happening at work (and finishing up my first review for Music4Games), this update came about a day late for me.
At any rate, the idea for this update is bring forth a little project I decided to work on. Many of you should know the name Jonathan Coulton, the guy who did the well known ending song for Portal titled 'Still Alive.' In looking through some other songs of his, I came across one that I really enjoyed, and is probably one some of you have heard as well - Code Monkey.
After listening to the song enough times, I decided to try my hand at building up an arrangement of it. What I have to show you all now is the work in progress, basically the first verse through the first chorus, featuring a few techniques, including mono-sweeping chords, and monophonic noise drums.
Code Monkey ('NES' Arrangement) (Work in Progress)
Feel free to give feedback, suggestions, or simply ask questions about how I'm doing some of the sounds below!
Hey all, Skitch here with a small update for Famicom Fridays this particular Friday. It's a bit small due to various things that I had to deal with in the past week, like the A/C going out, and the work schedule being a bit packed.
It's been a pretty hectic week at Full Sail, but one thing I always like to do is listen to various students working on their own music for our producer's showcase that we do monthly.
One of the groups was working on a catchy little song, so I decided to transcribe some parts of it by ear, and make a little 8-bit rendition of some of the parts they had, and added a little bit of my own flair to it (namely experimenting with the drums to some degree, plus mixing the timbres of the synths together in a balanced fashion). The students in the group seemed to like it, and I hope you all like it too. :)
I'll try to come up with a more involved topic for next Friday's main update, but feel free to throw suggestions of what you'd like to hear/see/learn either about this style of music, or simply if you want to hear some other transcription/arrangement of a song!
Please post impressions/ideas/feedback below, and have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!
(Click the logo for Contra-Inspired Anthem music!)
Well, it's not quite Friday, I know, but I decided to at least make a secondary update to this blog to show some things from my past in doing game music in this particular style, namely in showing two tracks that have been favorites, and giving a little perspective some of the techniques that lead up to the creation of those tracks.
My first foray into doing music tracks in this style began while experimenting in Propellerhead's Reason for various purposes (coming up with techniques to teach, for fun, etc.), and one thing I stumbled upon was doing older video game sounds using the synthesizers built into the program. Thus, with some experimentation, I realized how to do some basic NES-ish sounds, in addition to my introduction to the concept of using a noise generator solely as a means of creating percussive sounds.
Every example that is shown in this blog were all created within Reason alone.
To test this, I did a basic transcription/rendering of a very well known theme from the NES era by the great Koji Kondo as a way to test the concept -
After hearing how the results turned out, I then decided to explore specifically the technique of using noise to create a drum track, as the Zelda theme allowed a very rudimentary basis for the concept. This lead me to a very basic test song that I entitled my Blanc Etude. Namely, I was practicing in how to manipulate how the noise generator could change in tone and response to get different kinds of hits for different types of drum sounds.
Alongside the noise practice, I was also experimenting with how to recreate the sound of monophonic synths being used to create chords in the music of various NES games, and several Commodore 64 titles out there using nothing but sequencing in MIDI, trying to get juuust the right balance out to make the result convincing.
About another month or so of practice later, I then put those techniques together into creating my first major track demonstrating these techniques, one simply known as:
The key here was that I was restricting myself to only 4 channels (2 Pulse Wave, 1 Triangle Wave, 1 Noise), all monophonic, and trying to stay strictly in that style for the track in an attempt to be as 'authentic' technique-wise in the process as possible. The results made me very happy, and it was as fun to write as it is to listen to (even though it was very tedious at some points to pull off some of the nuanced sequencing initially).
I kept on working on this technique in general at times, typically from either doing little simple tracks that didn't lead anywhere, or trying my had at taking tracks that weren't 8-bit style to begin with, and reducing them down to that format. My favorite example of this was one I did of a track from the soundtrack of Killer7 by Masafumi Takada:
At this point, I was getting pretty comfortable with the idea of doing things in a 4 channel sense, and doing drums fully with just monophonic noise. So a bit later on, when I wanted to do another original track of a reasonable scale, I decided to do things a little differently, especially regarding the drums. Furthermore, I had read into how various Japanese iterations of games for the NES/Famicom actually had more than just 4 channels of Tone Generators/Oscillators to work with. One title in particular that stood out to me that had such a feature was the Japanese version of Castlevania 3, or Akumajo Densetsu (Demon Castle Legend), by Konami.
Upon reading into this, I decided to do a bit of a less 'authentic' styled 8-bit track, but one that really tried to capture the sound/feel of the music of that particular franchise in the NES/Famicom era. I appropriately named this track:
The difference in this track, regarding the drums, is that unlike The Blue Bomber, which only used a single noise generator for all the drum sounds, this one featured several tone generators/noise generators that were individually being triggered by a separate device within the workspace. This allowed for a bit more ease in the sequencing side of things, as I didn't have to draw as much automation to get all the sounds I wanted...but I never was quite as happy with the results as I was with simply using a monophonic noise generator, and simply putting in the work to get all the sounds out I needed.
Otherwise, I really liked how the track turned out, especially in the timbres I got from using different phase settings on the pulse waves to get varying timbres throughout the song.
At any rate, I hope you enjoyed reading over some of my background doing this sort of music, and if you have any particular questions about specific techniques I used for some of these tracks, feel free to ask them in the comment section. I'll gladly answer as much as I can in the comments section myself, or I might take a bunch of questions, and field them with some examples in a future Famicom Fridays. :)
Thanks, and have a great week, everyone!
(From the October, 2006 issue of Game Developer Magazine)
The Video Game industry is nomadic by nature and no field more transient than Audio. As a result, every audio professional is forced throughout their career to prove and reprove their worth solely on the strength of their résumé and the first 30 seconds of their demo.
Freelance audio folks rarely get to see the demos of their competition and Audio Directors don’t have time to give critiques on the demos that end up in their “No” pile. So how do you know if you’re a “No” or not? More importantly, how can you ensure you’re in the “Yes” pile?
PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING
No demo exists in a vacuum. To the contrary, every demo will almost always find itself sitting in the middle of a stack of demos. Before any tracks can be heard, the first impression your demo will always make is a visual one. As such, presentation is everything. Imagine an Audio Director staring down a stack of CDs without any idea of what the audio on them sounds like. At that moment, the selection of one demo over another is almost completely arbitrary. The only advantage your demo has is its ability to stand out from the crowd.
This means that CD- and DVD-Rs that have been written on with a Sharpie marker are automatically at a disadvantage. At their best, they look sloppy. Far too frequently, however, they contain illegible or incomplete text. No matter how attractive you may think your handwriting is, it can’t compare to a printed CD label. But what do you print on the label?
First and foremost, always include your name and contact information on every part of your demo – whether it’s the case, the disc, the résumé, or a business card you tossed in for good measure. Discs and cases are easily separated and if there isn’t any clue as to whose audio the disc contains, that nameless disc just lost itself a gig.
Secondly, if you’re looking to stand out, avoid the standard cliché images common to the industry. For composers, this means never cover your demo with pictures of sheet music, treble clefs, noteheads, violins, etc.
So many composers use these images as the easy way of saying “This is a music disc.” The problem is that hundreds of composers are all using the same imagery. For sound designers, stay clear of pictures of waveforms, speakers, or screenshots from Protools as they’re all overdone. Both disciplines are also guilty of another common cliché. If you include a photo of yourself, don’t take it while sitting in front of your gear. Take a picture of yourself anywhere else. You’re looking to stand out and be different. Trust me. Audio Directors will still believe you know a mod wheel from a pan pot if they don’t see you beside one.
If you don’t have the graphic design or Photoshop skills to design something other than the clichés for yourself, hire a graphic designer to do it for you. It’s that important. You’re creating a brand of yourself that you’re then marketing throughout the industry. You owe it to yourself to do everything you can to ensure that your disc stands out from the pile of unknowns.