My final project for this trimester was a jingle based project.
“Students are required to create musical assets for a series of ads or trailers.
Students are to produce music for 5 minutes each of video (ads or trailers to be sourced by students). Import video into your DAW of choice and create (or recreate) music that complements the visuals.
Students should create a “reel” for a jingle company and present this as a (WordPress) website.”
Essentially we were required to provide audio for 5 minutes worth of video of our choice. my intentions for it were therefore to find videos which I thought would be engaging for people to watch as well as challenging for myself musically to compose alongside to. i set out to create music for them in a different way to my usual method of composition.
My challenge to myself was to try and play everything live with outboard equipment. As i had never used outboard synthesisers in this manner it was a large task which required quick learning as well as a clever approach to utilising them.
I also needed to work with video alongside audio, again something i had never attempted. (In fact i didn’t even know i could load video into Ableton or any DAW besides Pro Tools in all honesty.)
Because i was taking such a radical approach (for myself) towards this project, it also necessitated using Ableton instead of my regular DAW (FL Studio) for latency reasons. so the challenge was two fold. use a program i was relatively new as well as to work alongside a medium i was new to. The second challenge thusly being to make the music in a way i had never attempted before.
The process of finding the videos was also somewhat hard. especially because its easy to get trapped in the cycle of just watching videos on youtube. i looked for things which i felt would be interesting to watch. but i also wanted to try and compose a track without drums.
so my videos needed to be things within which all the emotion could be conveyed via the playing and notation.
Initially i settled on the trailer for “Tron:Reloaded” for my first video. I wanted to try and tackle something which i felt was closer to the genre i write regularly. i enjoy writing with future orientated music in mind so i felt it was a good fit.
So I set about writing the music. for this i used my TB-3 and my MS-20 to write everything as i watched the video play. i sequenced the midi via the tb-3 and then recorded the midi notes into ableton. then using the same sequence, i recorded the TB-3 as audio whilst playing with the parameters on it to add to the feeling of the track.
i recorded the strings alongside these two recordings and the additional synths.
In essence it turned out well musically. however i couldn’t find the vocal parts necessary to fill in the blank spaces of people talking within the video. this made it seem strange and disjointed. also i ran into the problem of trying to place percussive samples such as cymbals into the track accurately which i just couldn’t get done. However, i was content in the knowledge that i could in fact perform the video music live.
But, with time running out i decided to focus on my other video and either come back and finish this video, or choose something different.
I chose for my second video. “The Wind Rises” trailer by Studio Ghibli. Having been a fan of Ghibli for many years, alongside being impressed with every release by the music within the soundtracks, i set about trying to do justice to a film trailer personally loved and could find little fault with.
After stripping the original audio in Pro Tools i played around with a few vsts to get the right sound for it. I aimed for a light and airy sounding backing track with a classical feel to it. this worked out well. It was a simple looped chord progression i made on the MS-20 and looped it throughout the track at varying volumes as needed. After this i then found a synth patched which sounded like rushing wind. i used this to bring out the airy feel of the composition. I added strings for good measure (who doesn’t love strings?). then finally i found a swelling synth patch which worked alongside the rest of the instruments to round it all out.
The video was nice to play along to and the original track was also just purely musical with no percussion.
I added lots of reverb and delay (as is my style in general) and the whole video ended up sounding amazing. i was quite impressed by it in all honesty. i also feel as though the act of actually playing along to the music meant i could put more emotion into the track as well as react better to sudden changes in the video, such as the earthquake scene.
One thing i would change with it however was the editing process. i felt as though abletons EQ’s were not as strong as the ones within fl studio. (however that is personal preference), nevertheless it worked well enough. the compressors also are not to my liking. i felt they didn’t give me enough actual compression even when set to 12:1 (!). i think they may actually be set to 12:1 on the strings to tame the dynamics.
Another aspect of it i think could have executed better was my timing. however as this my first attempt at making music this way i didn’t expect it to be 100% perfect. and chasing perfection opens up a rabbit hole of never finishing things so i got it to a point i felt was as good as it could be with my current skill set. (also considering i haven’t played a paino since i was about 12).
Nevertheless here is the video for “The Wind Rises”
My final video was a trailer for a festival in Russia called “Trimurti” which is run by the Trimurti Art group. As one of the few festivals of its type in Russia, i was intrigued to try and capture my own thoughts of how Russia looks, sounds, and feels within a musical context and marry that with the visuals presented in the video.
This i felt would be challenging as well as entertaining. however as i had by this time decided to bail on the Tron trailer time was of the essence.
The original music was very ambient. almost similar to gregorian chanting monks. this style has its proponents but i felt that seeing as the festival mostly plays electronic music as well as some folk bands it would be more fitting to give it a newer age feel.
the process was largely the same as the other trailer however i had to again, play music live which fit the overall feel of the video. I was a lot more carful with my synth patch and VST choices for this track, because i was aiming to try and convey a very specific feeling of intrigue and mystery. i felt i put more of my own personal opinions into the music with this video.
i eventually managed to capture an ominous and cold feeling track which suited the video well. it only took two passes of playing with the video to get it locked down the way i desired it to be.
This track used a lot of sub bass with an LFO to give it some motion. as well as some very “dark” synths. it was also the only composition to use drums. for the drums i found a relatively simple broken beat loop and played that on the MS-20 for the desired length.
it was again heavy on reverb as well as delays.
I didn’t face too many issues with this track. other than the obvious disdain for the stock eq’s in ableton which i will be rectifying during the trimester break by buying some new ones.
the video is hosted here:
Finally onto my Freelance work.
I made a blog post about this recently however things have progressed further since then.
all my tracks have come back from the mastering studio as of this morning. Promo’s have also been sent out to various affiliated labels for their artists to play. which is incredibly exciting.
Also, my contract has been all signed so i am now signed up to the label for a year. which is also really cool. when i first stared at SAE i didn’t expect to be
The tracks are a strange spread of emotions.
N.W.O the initial track is a late night techno “banger”. its heavy on ostinato and uses delays massively to achieve some strange time warping effects which work well with the synth stabs.
Progress is a rolling bass track almost reminiscent of psytrance. (whilst not being quite so obnoxiously fast and cluttered). dark synth stabs and again very delay heavy with pitched down vocals by myself thrown in to tie it all together.
Finally Love and Fire.
this one was done for a friends wedding. i never ended up playing it at the wedding funnily enough. but its more of a deep house track with influences from Parsifal and Mess Me of Kinesen Recordings. its very bass heavy and the melody doesn’t really kick in until the final phrasings.
Nevertheless i am happy with them and i am just waiting for them to go out for release on beatport.