Hi folks! As usual, probably a little longer than intended since the last blog post but I’ve been updating the site and various other pages across the interwebs…
This is just a brief post to let everyone know about my new ‘Inspired by’ series of compositions that I’ll be uploading as and when I can, focussing on music I’ve written thats been inspired by a particular game, film or maybe even just artwork.
First up, two pieces I wrote after playing the wonderfully crafted ‘Firewatch’ developed by Campo Santo, one of my favourite games! It’s been such a huge inspiration in my work, both in game audio and in composition. I hope you enjoy them.
Firewatch – http://www.firewatchgame.com/
Campo Santo – https://www.camposanto.com/
Hi folks! A welcome break from ‘Digital Dark Age’ I’m sure for any readers of this blog – moving onto a project I’ve been working on for some time with Massive Galaxy studios, based in Portugal. I’ve composed a number of pieces of music for the game, including the title theme which you’ll be able to hear in the forthcoming trailer. For now, here’s a selection of some music from the various scenes and levels in-game.
As mentioned in my previous post my interactive concept album / EP will be available to download and play on March 21st – however cassette / digital pre-orders are open now! Any support would be greatly appreciated so please share this with a friend, family member or even an intrigued pet!
Here’s a short teaser for my upcoming interactive concept album ‘Digital Dark Age’ – part of my third year degree major project. The album features 5 songs implemented inside a custom built first person environment in Unreal Engine.
Recently I was asked to write some music for a short first person game level created by a fellow student at Futureworks here in Manchester. It was an interesting piece to work on, and whilst the designer gave me a lot of creative freedom with this piece, the theme of the level was quite particular.
As some of you may know I also write and record music under my synthetic alter-ego ‘DATAStream’, mostly for self indulgent experiments with MIDI, synthesis and using lots of 1980s production techniques. But on the rare occasion, just every so often, a song emerges. This is the tale of one such song….
A little while back I started working on a short composition using mostly hardware synths and drum machines in my studio in Chesterfield, sequencing MIDI parts in Reason and sending them out to various bits of kit. Recording was done using a Soundcraft Ghost LE desk with a little EQ here and there. I could go on about the fun geeky audio stuff for a long time but this post is more about the fact that I was lucky enough to work with JJ Mist to record the topline in the last couple of months and have been very excited about sharing it with everyone!
You’ll be able to hear / download ‘The Spark’ on December 16th via the DATAStream Bandcamp page and the release also includes the extended mix (in true 1980’s 7inch fashion!) so keep an eye out!
JJ Mist Facebook – HERE
JJ Mist Twitter – @JJmist_music
DATAStream Facebook – HERE
DATAStream Twitter – @DATAStream1986
For fellow audio-geeks here is the equipment list for the single…
Drums – Roland JV-80 / Boss DR550
Bass – Yamaha DX7s
Synths – Yamaha DX27 / Roland D5 / Yamaha YS200
GTR – Hondo H76 Strat
Desk (Tracking) – Soundcraft Ghost LE and Tascam 38 multitrack 1/2 inch recorder
Desk (Mixing) – Neve VR Legend with AMS 16 Reverb
About a year ago I embarked on a mission to write some multitimbral compositions using some of my more capable digital hardware synths. The first – ‘JV80’ was written and sequenced using Reason, with a single MIDI cable sending all of that lovely MIDI goodness into the Roland JV-80 (my first synth!). I often feel the need to explain what ‘multitimbral’ means today, and why it’s so awesome – since it’s something I feel that we (myself included) take for granted in DAWs and modern music production, but if you’re curious read a little bit about it in my previous post here.
More recently, I used my Yamaha MU5 tone generator for a similar composition, this time using Logic as the sequencer running 10 MIDI channels. The MU5 is an inexpensive sound module – using mostly GM type MIDI sounds but it’s handy size makes it great for noodling on the go, and using for multitimbral compositions such as this.
- the MU5 is super compact but still boasts full MIDI – as well as a PS2 port for old-school hosts. As you can see on the right of this pic… the Zoom TacR2 Interface generates lots of system exclusive MIDI messages which were cluttering up my event list! I had to delete all these manually…
As you can see in the picture, Logic is being used to sequence this song – which was created all in one morning. There are no FX on the MU5 so it might sound a little dry… but I think it makes up for it in character!
- The MU5s rubber buttons are fun to press – but this isn’t really a keyboard lets be honest…
Whilst the MU5 is 16 part multitimbral, it does only have 28 note polyphony so you’d probably not ever use all the 16 channels simultaneously – that said it would be useful for keeping things interesting in a song, especially if you include some programme change messages as well. If anything, this forces you to be a little more creative and I find limiting myself during writing and recording often tends to be beneficial in the long run.
Next in line for multitimbral duties will probably be my Roland D5 but this will probably be in a few months (hopefully not a full year again!). I really enjoy working in this way and it’s very rewarding if you can handle the odd polyphonic headache!