I made a commercial for Chick Flix like they used to do for Big Shiny Tunes. Last shameless plug, I promise.
I made a commercial for Chick Flix like they used to do for Big Shiny Tunes. Last shameless plug, I promise.
A couple days ago I had a good ol’ fasion waiting-for-ariel-to-wake-up time where I try to hide myself in a secluded part of the house to make sure no one talks to me, because I swear to god there is nothing worse than having conversation with someone else’s parents while they’re asleep.
For nostalgia’s sake, I decided to write a song, because I used to do that back in university. University’s the last time that I’ve managed to accomplish this level of freeloading, and I apparently write really twee, laid back music while doing so.
With that in mind, I decided to set out writing a super fucking sugary, cutesy, wide, eyed, indie move sounding song. The name basically came from me trying to give the song a stupid-cute title that sounded like it’d be in an indie movie. Look at me. I’m hip.
This song was kind of cool to write in the respect that I did feel a direction that the song was going in without me trying too much, but it was a weird direction that I had to take care not to screw up. I DID have a pretty easy time writing it, but each phrase ended up taking a lot of thought and care.
In a lot of ways, it’s also a song that sounds a lot like something I’d have written back when I was in university. I was a lot more into the magical rhodes piano sound back then than I am now, as well as that supercute sound. More than that though, it also is a bit more adventurous in terms of form than I’ve gotten to be. The beginning of the song is actually in 10/8 time, which, I reasoned to myself, is a totally valid time signature for what I was doing and didn’t need to be 5/8 or 5/4. When it goes into the B section it actually switches to 6/8 time, because that’s when the arrangement gets more complicated and I didn’t want to have to write in a difficult time signature with a complicated arrangement.
I’m actually pretty happy with the way this turned out. It’s nothing special, but it was at least fun to write, and it was nice nostalgia. As a technical thing, I think there’s flaws in some of the string parts, but I’m happy with how natural I’ve got it sounding. I can claim it’s in 10/8 and switches to 6/8 and not sound pretentious about it because it doesn’t sound like I’m doing it to show off. The beat just feels natural. At least, I think.9 plays
This is actually really bizarre. I wrote a bit of a song earlier today that I was like “oh fuck this song” and I gave up on it and figured I’d come look at it later (re: never look at it again), but I actually had no problem with the song itself, I just didn’t really know what to do with it. It felt like something was missing. It had a really pumpin’ bassline though and I figured maybe I could work around that and bring out the good.
That didn’t happen.
Me being me, I save all of my music from the past five years of writing music in the same folder, and they all have really undescriptive names. There are, as of writing this, six hundred and sixty three different songs saved there. When I say I’ve written “hundreds” of songs. I really do mean hundreds, assholes.
I assumed this, being something that I abandoned, would be named something like “nevermind” or “fuckthis” or “whatever” (all file names in that folder) and so I began the arduous task of actually looking through those files to see if one was the right song. I usually don’t revisit songs, see, so this isn’t usually a problem. If I don’t finish a song in one sitting, I usually don’t finish it at all.
So this song, I checked out had the file name “nah.nwc”, which, I guess means at some point while writing I went “nah this blows” and stopped working on it. Usually this happens when I’m just starting out the song and there’s a couple bars and none of them work. So I opened up the file and found this freaking huge sprawling soundscape. Even weirder is that it’s … good. Like, I was obviously trying to write a kirby sounding song which is something I thought I’d never managed to do. Suddenly I just find this song that I’ve already written that is the best I’ve ever done at getting the “kirby sound”????????
I seriously have no clue when I wrote this. Looking at the sheet music, it’s got to be within the past three years, because it doesn’t look like ass. I’m thinking it’s not within the past year because it’s really busy.
Anyway, I don’t even really understand why I abandoned this song. It was basically finished. All I needed to do was loop it and let the melody stretch out a bit. (code for “I artificially made it longer”). I added some stereo panning for good measure and did it up like I do my newer songs.
It’s not as good as I could do now, and there’s definitely things that I did here that I like to thing that I am “beyond”, but seriously though. What?
So, last night I was really bored at around 5 in the morning and didn’t want to go to sleep quite yet. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, I just didn’t really feel like going to bed. Of course, there aren’t really people up at 5 to talk to, and there’s not a whole lot to do, so I thought maybe I’d write a song. Of course, the voice in the back of my head told me “you shouldn’t do that, it’s five in the morning and this is gonna take at least an hour and a half.” Then I remembered that I used to do this all the time in university. I even have the blog entries to prove it. Hell, half of the stuff I used to write was cranked out in my underwear, on my bed, at five in the morning because I was bored and it was five in the morning.
In writing this song, I actually was extremely aimless. I’m surprised it ended up as structured (too structured) as it is. I don’t really like the twelve bar phrasing, because I can never get twelve bar phrasing to work, but twelve bars is where I decided I should stop the chaos and call it a chord progression.
I’m really liking this 1960s romantic comedy/drama movie vibe that my music seems to have shifted towards recently. It’s like I’m writing for a Broadway musical, and lemme tell you, out of all instrumental music, that’s my favourite. I’ve always felt like my scenery has a huge impact on whatever I’m writing. Now that I’m living in a city, I feel like things have been shifting towards a more movie-set-in-manhatten feel. Which would make sense, because Toronto is really just three million people trying really hard to pretend they live in New York (for better or for worse).
At about the one minute mark (before the flute comes in) I’d actually decided that the song was “finished” and that I’d convert it to an mp3 and be done with it. Hearing it as an mp3 though was actually a weird kind of magical. The song sounded COMPLETELY different, and it’s like everything was so much better and classier. It felt like a real song instead of just the hodgepodge of chord progression that I felt like it was. At that point I sighed and went “well it’s 6, but I guess I should add a fucking B section” and so it went on like that. In general, I’m pleased with the end result, if only because I thought it was crap for 90% of the writing.
I call this track “eggs”
It’s my new experimental style of recording. I like to think I sit conceptually between pink floyd and john cage. I call this a modern day version of alan’s psychedelic breakfast. It’s my latest art.0 plays
Apologies for quality (or lack thereof), we had to record it on a camera (which actually didn’t look that bad) and then we had to convert the video from a .MOV to .avi which just destroyed the quality. But maybe that’ll give you incentive to see how nice the actual game looks?
We don’t really show off the gameplay much, this is just a collection of d00dt00nz (and occasionally me) somehow making the game glitch.
We’re playing the Prototype of The Last Phoenix, which you can download here for your own playing pleasure. It works on Windows systems, sorry Mac users. It works surprisingly well with a mouse, flying is quite nice even if the combat is a little sketchy.
Translation: Ariel and I played a game and shit went nuts, but it’s still a good game and this is only the prototype. You should play it. It’s fun.
A trip the vet? well I hope you like the beach boys…’cause you’re gonna hear nothing but pet sounds while you wait.
A few days ago, Ariel showed me Castle in the Sky. It’s maybe reasonable to say I liked that movie. In fact, I think it’s also reasonable to say she’s uncomfortable speaking with me after my reaction to that movie. Watching it basically reverted me to year 2001 when I was eight years old and liked to play a lot of Final Fantasy. Also, the music sounded like Final Fantasy. I mean, let’s get this straight, it was a fantastic movie, but also the “final fantasy does all these things” factor made it even better.
Every so often, I get scared that I’m getting too rock and pop centric, and so I challenge myself to write some song that doesn’t sound like that. In this case I wanted to rip off some Final Fantasy music, because I’ve been in a Final Fantasy kind of mood. If you didn’t notice. I wanted to do music like the series used to, when it still got most of its ideas from ripping off Studio Ghibli movies. The ps1 era games increasingly focus on a “cool” atmosphere, rather than a “classy” atmosphere. I figure the best of the games are the ones directed at college aged nerds. By 2000s, college aged nerds wanted to be cool, so videogames acted cool. I’m not saying that the shift in atmosphere is a bad thing, I just think there’s something to be said for a fun adventure with drama and action. And airships and dragon powered steamboats. And magic crystals. These earlier games were usually made by ripping off old adventure movies, and so the music was very old fashioned in that respect. Specifically, the theme of love from Final Fantasy 4. People always like to bring this up when they try to legitimize videogame music because it’s taught to japanese schoolchildren, much like the freaking scherzo every grade 9 student has burned into their brain. (can’t remember which one, but I could still play it from memory)
so I initially was just ripping off the theme of love, but I figure my perspective on it is coming from a different angle. I’ve noticed my instrumental stuff seems to be shifting to a dainty and feminine place, like a 1960s romance movie. I’m okay with this. In fact, I encourage it, and I encouraged it here. It’s like when you watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s or the romance scenes in an old episode of Star Trek. There’s an ooze of strings, and a flute drifting above, and then some little bits of mallet percussion and stuff to make it shimmer. That’s my “musical analysis”. Hand that into a prof. 100%. boom.
Anyway, I’m still actually not confident in my ability to write like this, but I think in this case, it ended up being successful and I like it.
Do you have what it takes to become the Idol master?