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Getting back into Composition - Printable Version

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Getting back into Composition - Samulis - 03-18-2017

I've been working on integrating VSCO 2 Pro with my 90's samplers/ROMplers and ended up creating this thing last night. I haven't written music seriously in about a year, so I'm really rusty, and it's pretty inspired by the Age of Empires II score, but I think it's a decent start-
https://instaud.io/OWB

I used just the strings from VSCO 2 and the bass/perc from a BOSS DS-330 unit, which is pretty much a stenciled Roland GM ROMpler with some wonderfully cheesy delays and reverbs built-in (I used the pan delay for this track, which is endless fun). It's barely a draft, and I don't know if I'll ever finish it, but it seemed like a cool premise and I want to keep exploring cross-overs.

Next week I'll be getting an Alesis MIDIverb II, the rackmount reverb unit Mattias ID'd as being from the AoE II setup pictures that I hope to incorporate into some of this stuff.

I also did a quick demo with the Mirage only and some effects, I don't know if I shared it-
https://instaud.io/LkO


RE: Getting back into Composition - Nayrb - 03-19-2017

Sounding good! Love the bass; totally unexpected. I really enjoy your obsession with AoE and totally encourage you to continue making original music in that style.


RE: Getting back into Composition - Samulis - 03-19-2017

(03-19-2017, 06:41 PM)Nayrb Wrote: Sounding good! Love the bass; totally unexpected. I really enjoy your obsession with AoE and totally encourage you to continue making original music in that style.

Thanks Nayrb! I guess it's just because I'm currently a bit in a lost stage of my development as an artist and it was something from my childhood that I greatly enjoyed and functioned as an outlet for my creativity for years. I can't really explain it all any other way.


RE: Getting back into Composition - Paul Battersby - 03-19-2017

I like the idea of combing orchestra instruments with other things. I typically target folk or rock music for my orchestrating efforts but I like the combination of synth and orchestra as in your first link.

The second link is reminds me of the style of this, which I also like:






RE: Getting back into Composition - kneedeep - 03-19-2017

I am experimenting with including synths as well, both for effects such as sweeps and sub-bass and for drones. Trying to do level ambience for games made me start doing this. There are some things commonly heard in cinematic ambience that an orchestra can't do. This is also where I started getting into effects.

I owned some Boss and Roland stuff in the 90s and I found them relatively horrible even back then, but sometimes horrible stuff can produce interesting sounds.

Your piece is pretty cool.


RE: Getting back into Composition - Samulis - 03-19-2017

(03-19-2017, 07:39 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: I like the idea of combing orchestra instruments with other things. I typically target folk or rock music for my orchestrating efforts but I like the combination of synth and orchestra as in your first link.

The second link is reminds me of the style of this, which I also like:




Haha I LOVE Animusic! Especially that 90's GM sound. They actually built a physical version of the ping-pong one once for GDC or something, really sweet.

(03-19-2017, 08:00 PM)kneedeep Wrote: I am experimenting with including synths as well, both for effects such as sweeps and sub-bass and for drones. Trying to do level ambience for games made me start doing this. There are some things commonly heard in cinematic ambience that an orchestra can't do. This is also where I started getting into effects.

I owned some Boss and Roland stuff in the 90s and I found them relatively horrible even back then, but sometimes horrible stuff can produce interesting sounds.

Your piece is pretty cool.

Horrible is the new cool mang! Wink

I guess when one grows up listening to shitty samples, they sort of become ingrained in the subconscious. Even then, Roland and others did create some really remarkable stuff (at least, according to Mattias, who knows a lot more about Roland devices than I do), it just wasn't affordable for most of us (and I was five years old). I got a copy of one of EastWest's first products when I got my ESI-4000, a drum library from 1992. Honestly I would use it today, it sounds so good, except for the fact that it is unbelievably confusing to use. 



There were people doing really impressive things back then within the incredible constraints (imagine working with 32 or 64 MB for a whole library, without compression- and that's on the high end of the late 90's samplers/ROMplers!). By comparison, VSCO 2: Community Edition is 3000 MB, or about 100x the capacity of the ESI-4000, while the Pro Edition, without compression would be between 30,000 and 50,000, a factor of 1,000x +.Yet many of these early samples, if used carefully and with good phrasing and effects, can sound about as good as current freeware.

Although I was very young, I remember when a 1 GB HDD was a big deal. I used to store all my files on those little floppy discs before CD's finally became standard enough that we could use them (I still have the 650 MB "Verbatim" CD I used to store all my school projects from elementary and middle school). Flash drives were such a big deal when they came in- a CD you could re-write! XD

A few weeks, I installed a new SSD in my computer; it's the size of a postage stamp (mSATA) and holds 1 TB. I am saying this because I know two decades from now we can all meet up and grab a beer on the moon hotel and laugh about when 1 TB was such a big amount.

All that memory-lane-walking aside (no pun intended, serially), I actually really like working on "micro-sampling" projects. I really want to put together a wavetable orchestra at some point, based on the work of Christoph Hart-
http://hartinstruments.net/technology.php

Imagine an entire trumpet or something with perfect dynamic crossfading with 32 or even 64 discrete transitioned layers... that takes up only a few MB. Combine that with true legato and modern modulation technology to reintroduce pitch and velocity waver or vibrato and you might get an entire professional sounding orchestral set in less than 1 GB.


RE: Getting back into Composition - kneedeep - 03-19-2017

Man, the Christoph Hart stuff is amazing. I'd love to hear an entire orchestra created with that method.

And yeah, I remember floppy disks and all that. I was born in the 70s so I even remember those unaffordable Commodores and whatnot, and spending lots of time testing synthesizers in music stores in complete amazement. All the fake sounding "grand" pianos.

I'll take the moon hotel. Sounds nice.


RE: Getting back into Composition - Otto Halmén - 03-19-2017

The GS sounds and VSCO 2 sound quite distinct from each other. They do not sound like they're coming from the same room. Not sure how it plays out in context, but on it's own I don't think the effect is bad at all. Smile

To me, it's perhaps a bit too bright sounding to be a dungeon theme. It certainly sounds like AoE, though. Smile


RE: Getting back into Composition - Mattias Westlund - 03-19-2017

This is great stuff, Sam. I can't really comment on it musically (partly because it's so short, and partly because I'm not very familiar with the AoE II music), but I think you're doing just the right thing: going back to your roots to explore music that you feel very strongly about. I also have a penchant for the more retro side of virtual orchestration and TBH I find this much more appealing than the trailer music fare of today.

The inclusion of synth bass and percussion didn't strike me as strange at all -- after all, it's clear that this isn't trying to be a classical piece or anything like that -- I think it all fits together quite nicely. It's also really cool that you've made h/w sampler patches of VSCO2 samples. I can't imagine that many people are using traditional samplers anymore, and those who do are most likely using samples that were around at the same time as the hardware itself. So props for doing something that is both retro and modern at the same time!

(03-19-2017, 08:00 PM)kneedeep Wrote: I am experimenting with including synths as well, both for effects such as sweeps and sub-bass and for drones. Trying to do level ambience for games made me start doing this. There are some things commonly heard in cinematic ambience that an orchestra can't do. This is also where I started getting into effects.

I can heartily recommend using synths in an overall orchestral context. As you say, there's stuff that an orchestra can't do and besides, sometimes the contrast between realistic and obviously synthetic instruments can be a thing of beauty in itself. It all comes down to finding the right synth sounds for the project at hand.


RE: Getting back into Composition - peastman - 03-19-2017

Very cool! Nice and atmospheric. I really like the sonic space you build in the opening section.

I find the transition at 0:26 a little jarring. It feels like it's suddenly doing something unrelated to what came before. Perhaps you might think about ways to smooth it out a little?