Sunday, 26 September 2010

Music and the Machine

Something I've been up to recently (and by recently I mean almost the whole of the last 12 months) is being part of the BumpkinBrothers Duo, which so far has turned out two iphone apps and one PC game. Not bad in a year I reckon.

One of my main duties is to create the music for these wonderful creations and I've been working on the menu music for the afforemention PC game The Machine, before it goes on sale on Impulse (oh yeah!) I'd written two pieces for it so far, one we've used for the main in-game music and one we've decided to not use for the game at all! This time we needed something for the menu so I could go a bit more melodic (I didn't want to distract attention from the game in the previous tunes I wrote but here it didn't matter so much)

After a few false starts (about 10 of them!) I finally came up with something I liked the sound of. Whether or not it really fits will be aparant when we start using it and seeing how it transitions between the two tunes which, although use the same drum set and rhythm devices are otherwise a bit different!

So here it is:

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Old Nokia 3210 and wot I wrote with it

There was talk at my work about the old Nokia 3210 mobile phone the other day and how it's still in demand because of it's simplicity, clear menus and controls not to mention it's super long battery life!

Back in the early 00's I also wanted one very badly, but for a completely different reason! You see it was the first (and one of the only) mobile phones that you could compose your own ring tones for and because back then I was even more into writing music for games than I am now I was incredibly excited when I finally got one....and did nothing with it for months!

That was mainly because I'm not much of an outdoors person so I'm nearly always near a computer and therefore didn't need a mobile composing tool.

However, when I finally ended a relationship with an old GF back in May 2001 I found myself stuck at Kidderminster Railway Station at about 11pm at night with an old guy who'd had a bit too much to drink. While he snored gently in the corner of the shelter I decided to have a go at writing something on my phone to pass the time.

Now the 3210 only allows you to write monotone ring tones, before the days of polyphonic and MIDI enabled phones, so the following recording isn't from the phone itself but is rather a remix I did using a chip pack and Impulse Tracker a few days after writing the original.

Still it's turned out to be one of my more popular tunes over the years and in some ways I'm sad I no longer have the phone itself (In fact I have no idea at all where it went!)

Here we are then, I present: "Twiddle!"

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Piano Tryouts

I was hoping to get some more of these done, but on the basis that I'd like to post here at least once a week I thought I would share my latest effort (from a few days ago now.)

So here's a piece I'm calling "Bring you home" which does have lyrics but I won't be sharing them here! It's an original composition by myself and, well i'm quite proud of the tune but not so much my performance of it! A bit more practice is required...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The obligatory "Hello" post

I've starting a new blog! You're reading it right now you wonderful person you.

Back in the Naughties (between 1996 and 2005) I was pretty active as a tracker composer, many readers will already know what "trackers" are but if not there's additional reading available on the subject over at Wikipedia. I never really got anywhere aside from a couple of game credits to my name and a fairly impressive download count over at modararchive.

In 2005 I started concentrating more on my programming and my new job as well as trying my hand at a great many other projects over the last 5 years. Some of which still continue!

However I've never stopped writing music, although my output quantity is certainly less than it was I still enjoy coming up with a new melody now and then. This weekend I started recording some of my "live" piano playing and it made me think that perhaps I should take a shot at doing something more.

So I had a good look at what equipment I currently have:

Schism Tracker

Mostly synths

PC with integrated soundcard on motherboard (hehe)
Yamaha DJX

So what are my goals? And will this equipment support me?

Goal 1: Writing Orchestral music
Something that has always eluded me has been orchestral scores, the likes of Jeremy Soule type stuff for example. I'm pretty sure I could cook up some great stuff if I had the right VSTs - but which to get and how much will it cost?

Goal 2: Create a Piano only album
I absolutely love playing piano but I don't really use it as a compositional tool would you believe? Most of my creativeness comes from using a tracker (I find myself very creative with generation 2 programs) But getting back to this, I'd love to try and come up with about 10 pieces that I could play on the piano and create some kind of album out of them.

Goal 3: Make some money from my music
Well I'd be lying to myself if I said I would do all of this for free. It's no good waiting for someone to come along and offer you some cash for being creative, you have to make that decision yourself. I don't particularaly want to be "signed" to any label or anything but wouldn't be completely opposed if somehow I was considered good enough for one! Also I'm not sure I want to write music for anything in particular, like games or TV or such, it's not that I don't believe I could but I generally find constrictions like that make me less creative. I'm not saying never though so if you're planning to offer me a big bag'o'cash to write computer game music for your project don't let me put you off! *wink*

Goal 4: Enter and win some free compos!
I used to love doing this when I was younger. I used to get up at 4am on a Sunday morning, log onto (which still exists) and the #traxinspace channel and enter one-hour-compos with many of the guys there (I'll talk more on this later.) So I know there are some compos out there still, the sound devotion renoise compo runs every two weeks I believe so that could be somewhere to start...

So it looks like I could achieve 2 out of my 4 goals straight away, which is creating a piano album (although as good as my DJX is, the piano on it is still General Midi - ugh) and entering some compos to get my name out there again.

I also have some ideas to boost my creativity which I'll be sharing over the next few weeks. Even better than that however (depending on your point of view I suppose) is I'll be sharing some of my previously unshared works here soon, tunes that have never seen the light of the internet for you wonderful people to listen to.