Old Dredmor track

Here is a track that I worked on in 2005 for the Dungeons of Dredmor soundtrack. It got to a certain point and then it was abandoned. I think part of the issue was that it was not quite appropriate for the game. But it does have a similar sound to a lot of the elements of the rest of the soundtrack.

Thanks for listening!

Infrequent blogger

So!  I had that recital I mentioned in my previous post.  It was a collection of computer music, a piece for cello and “tape”, a film score, and the bridges piece.  I need to revise the film score so it can be recorded and accompany the film on the soundtrack.

Reed and I will be moving to Seattle before September 7, because that’s when the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring program starts. Totally awesome!  I’m currently immersed in a world of apartment hunting, which is exciting.  I like to think about how this decision would influence a lot of potential outcomes, and therefore would theoretically work as a central point from which several alternate realities spring.  But that’s really nerdy so I’ll just ponder that one on my own.

The school itself will be on Mercer Island.  We may end up moving into an apartment on the island itself, which is cool.  I’ve never lived on an island before (unless you say “This Island Earth” but then that’s less unique because there’s X Billion others in the same boat).  The alternative would be to find a place in Seattle or Bellevue and then ride the bike to class, which I would also be fine with.  There’s also the question of finding some kind of part-time weekend or evening job to make ends meet.

I recently completed a 4-week class on the history of electronic music.  Interesting stuff.  My appreciation for cerebral music is increasing, but I think I’ll still be able to handle “that sounds nice”.  The class was taught by Christopher Penrose, who is working on a spectral synth for the iPad called Synthtronica.

I’m sure there’s more to say but I’m not sure what it is just yet.

Here’s a youtube video of one of the pieces I presented at my recital:


At the end of last term I was hard pressed to finish writing a 4-movment sonata for cello and laptop.  Long story short, I have something to upload!

      1. zath_starbuild-tape.mp3
17-Jul-2009 23:13 2.2M

It’s the “tape-part” for the second movement of the sonata.  The sonata as a whole was called “Take It Back” and investigated the idea of being able to reverse your decisions.  Kinda like Braid, I guess, but far less developed an idea.  This movement is the “Oh, Hey, I Can Reverse Time” moment of the piece.  Or something.

It was created using sampled sounds from my viola, mostly me tapping on it or swishing my bow in the air.  There were also tones from the viola or a piano, manipulated by a neato program called HyperUpic.  There was some additional jiggery-pokery in a program called SoundHack.

It’s… ambient?  And it’s about two-and-a-half minutes long.  Really it’s a wash of sound that belongs behind a cello.  Someday I’ll get a good recording of the rest of the piece and put the complete version online too.

Song and Remix

Zaratustra created a game called Fugue back in 2002.  It was for an Hours of VERGE competition (where you have a certain number of hours to create a game from scratch).  He used a public domain song to go with it, but he wanted something that fit the game a little better, so I whipped up a song in an evening.  I think the only requirement was that it had to sound baroque (or use some kind of baroque instrumentation), so it features a harpsichord sample rather heavily.

I’m sure all three of you who read this (including however many of you who are actually me) are familiar with this tune, but it jumped out at me tonight while perusing some of my old stuff, so I thought I’d upload it.

      1. Fugue

Later, Zara was looking for music to use in Zeta’s World.  I volunteered some music from earlier games, and since he didn’t plan to sell Fugue, its music was up for grabs.  I assumed he’d want a remix of the music, so that way he could have the main version of the level play the above song and an alternate version play the remix below.  It was used for a level called “Sunspot”.

It kind of diverges from the original, but that’s alright.  This version was made in late 2004, according to the timestamp on the Impulse Tracker file.

      2. Fugue-Sunspot

Most of the Zeta’s World soundtrack is by Troupe, and it’s good stuff. I guess I’m the “guest artist” for that soundtrack :)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Count The Ways

Last term I submitted a solo viola piece in three movements and was 1 of 4 entrants accepted into a composers competition at my school.  The brief was to write a new piece for a specific instrumentation (fl cl ob bsn f.hn tpt perc vln1 vln2 vcl1 vcl2 cb), use a melody or motive from a piece of music written before 1685, and make sure it ended up four minutes or shorter.

      1. Count_the_Ways.mp3
06-Mar-2009 21:34 8.5M

The piece was written in 6/4 (because it had bits with a 6/8 feel and other bits with a 3/4 feel), so it seemed best to write it so that either division of the beat could be played… but that meant conducting it in 6 and it ended up slower than written (it also had some tricky parts).

But it turned out pretty well.  I didn’t WIN, but that’s cool because we were told all four of us wrote very respectable pieces. :)

It’s exciting to have a piece performed by a traditional ensemble!

Advance to current

Those of you who are subscribed to this blog (what, there’s 3 of you?  How many of those are actually me?) have pined away at a grayed-out blog title on your RSS reader for far too long.  It’s making me uncomfortable.  So!  I’m going to pick up with more zath tunes and maybe, eventually, advance to current (i.e. put up snippets of things I’m working on now).

Summertime Class

I took a Computer Music composition class last summer where we learned about MAX/MSP and digital multitrack stuff.  Here’s what I wrote for two assignments.

      1. Lies

The assignment was to take a couple of recorded samples and fiddle with them in MAX/MSP.  I used a vocal sample with a famous (?) quotation and a bell-like percussion sound.  All the fiddling was done with commands and envelopes, so it was the playback that was affected and not the actual sample.  What’s that called, non-destructive? 

      2. Wetworks

Wetworks used a lot of modified samples jammed together.  I kind of fell in love with the AT&T text-to-speech generator and made use of it for the background sound of hard-to-discern voices.  Vocoded.  There’s also underwater sounds made from pouring water into a cup and then slowing it down to 1/16th its normal speed.  And my long-suffering Roland XP-80 that I lusted after for nearly a decade and then proceeded to ignore… provides a sample!

The teacher said “it sounds really wet, did you make this wearing headphones?”  (lots of post-processing) Well, in my opinion, wet… works (see what I did there?) so long as you’re wearing headphones when you play it back.

What else is new?

There are some other projects in the works.  I was selected as one of four composition students to write a piece for the New Music Ensemble.  I was also working on a piece last term for oboe with Nintendo accompaniment.  They still need work before they’re ready to present, so I’ll get to it and upload more things to listen to ASAP.  Enjoy these two oddities for now.