Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twelve Tone Semi and A Matter of Diplomacy

It's here, folks! Twelve Tone Semi- an association of composers, musicians, and songwriters of which I am a part of- finally has a website! Click below!

Twelve Tone Semi Home Page

Over the coming months, it will be updated and refined, but having a presence on the internet is important. The above link has some of my work, albeit not too recent. This will also change soon. This association was made possible by the ever talented Dreux Priore, who got several Berkleemusic and independent artists of all stripes to join him in a collective noble quest for glory, the creation of amazing music, and establishment of ourselves as reputable music artists.

I'm very excited about this prospect.

In other news, I had a recent online run-in with an individual who thought the Protect Chagos video I created music for was of my own making, and further assumed I was an agent, representative or advocate for the Protect Chagos campaign. This was and is not the case. I tactfully explained that I merely posted the video online so that others might so my music in action, and was not a move to show my support of Protect Chagos. The individual had opened dialogue through means of sharply worded messages. I can only presume that this might be a case of internet "butthurt," seeing as the Protect Chagos campaign was ultimately successful.

To top this all off, this was not a matter of United States politics, but of United Kingdom politics (at least, to my understanding). So basically, I had someone from across the pond attack my nonexistent views on this campaign, insisting that I "learn the history of the Chagos Islands." I responded with tact in 563 words explaining my non-position in the matter, and so far, have not received a response- which I hope means I was successful in getting my point across. And it only took me a short essay to do so!

Verbosity aside, I hope you enjoy my work and will announce more exciting things as they happen with Twelve Tone Semi.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Website Up!

Hello, my friends. Got some quick news here- I've totally revamped my website and given it a more professional air. It's less homemade-ish.

It was certainly an interesting experience with HTML and CSS, and uh... self-discovery? No, I guess not- though I did have to write a little bit about myself, that's always interesting.

In any case, hopefully I've worked out the kinks and the website is 100% functional. If any of you have any issues viewing the website, let me know.

Also, this is the website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Song, Announcement, and More

As Warren Ellis says, "Good morning, sinners."

I've made a song, and if you care to take a listen and comment, feel free to do so.

In other news, my peers and I are forming a group, a banner we will be united under. This group will be a loose network and collaboration of individuals such as myself, and we're looking to establish ourselves as a reputable music service. This fall, a CD compilation of our work may head its way to a certain bishonen doll convention, so I will post details here when things become clearer. That said, have a great day, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ceremonious Blog Post

Well, I finally got my Master Certificate in the mail. What, don't believe me?

Have at you!

To commemorate this, have some video game arrangements I did. The first is the Koopa Samba (I think it's samba, at least), an arrangement of the boss battle music from Super Mario World.

The second tune is an arrangement of "The Muse's Song," from God of War III. I haven't played the game myself, but I watched an entire walkthrough of it! Does that count? In truth, the music is one of the reasons why I like God of War in the first place.

Enjoy the tunes! If you comment, I might share a download link. Or two. If I like you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The End is the Beginning

Well, I finally did it. I finished all of my coursework with Berklee. It's weird to have it be over after basically nine straight months of schoolwork to get here. It's quite the feeling. I should receive my Master Certificate in Orchestration for TV and Film in the flesh (or on paper, I guess) sometime in the next month or so. And this is where the fun begins.

Here's a couple things I did this semester.
Alchemy Wedding Scene (Source Music)

Alchemy Montage Scene

Waterford Crystal Factory Documentary

I honestly don't know what else to say. I'm thrilled to be where I am right now. Now I'm off to do all the projects I staved off while finishing my certificate. And to figure out how to build a website proper. Not so much looking forward to that, but it's a necessity.

I really don't know how else to close this post. I'm just very, very, happy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Building a Network

Well, things are on the move yet, I think. A recent, surprising turn of events has yielded an increase in my connectivity to the world. Jimmy Hinson of OCRemix and Wall of Sound, Inc. started following me on Twitter, which I believe warrants a minor geek celebration. I've greatly enjoyed what I have heard of Jimmy's work, primarily on Mass Effect 2. Needless to say, it's the equivalent of Justin Bieber following one of his fans, except I'm not rabid or a pedophile.

Having that minor connection, be it small or large, is of worth to me. Networking is important on both a social level and career level. On a social level, it is helpful to have friends to stay connected to, keep up with, and be able to ask questions and discuss thoughtful or thoughtless subjects. On a career level, there is a heavier emphasis on what work you can get through connections. Previously, a direct line of communication proved rather fruitless with Lead Designer A from Company B. I understand Lead Designer A from Company B is probably very busy on creating Title C, but it was-at the time-somewhat discouraging. I have since learned that sometimes, a direct line to a developer is not what gets one work; rather, sometimes you have to be discoverable and just do your own thing before someone takes interest. You can't force interest, or people won't want to deal with you.

YouTube has proven something of a network, as I've established more incoming connections than requested connections in the past few months, which says something about my presence on YouTube. It may be small, but something tells me I am discoverable.

Here's hoping for a continued up-and-up.

PS I am composing a processional for a wedding. I need a theme...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Various Updates

Good evening. It's been a while since I updated here, but I suppose enough developments have transpired to warrant another posting.

First up on the docket, a song to share, with a sampled instrument courtesy of one Dave Graham. This piece uses several instruments, including percussion, strings, guitar, synthesizer, and more. However, it is Graham's sampled prepared piano instrument that offers a unique percussion texture. Take a listen!

Next on the docket is a happy development in the job world- I have finally gotten a job as an independent contractor for WeGame.com. This has thus far occupied my time for the last two weeks, as I get up at the crack o' dawn to post all news related to video games for the humble site. I am very glad to contribute, the site has a lot of potential and I truly hope WeGame succeeds.

Lastly, a monumental celebration of sorts. I am officially half-over with my final quarter at Berklee. Despite some gripes I have had in the past with it, I really can't complain. It's been a phenomenal educational experience and I am forever grateful to those who made this opportunity possible, and those who have furthered my education.

That said, may the rest of you have a happy evening.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Adventures in Rejection!

As an artist of any kind, there are many others that compete for the same job, the same attention as you. In one's own eyes, there are often times people that may seem more suited for one thing or another, leaving you to wonder, "am I good enough?"

As a composer, I'm no stranger to criticism or rejection. And as a contributor to iStock Audio, I will get a letter once in while detailing my piece was not accepted. The first time I had a piece that was rejected, I was offended, even crestfallen. However, I have learned that six people's opinion doesn't hinder progress, and I have since learned the humor of rejection.

Sometimes, their reasons are just:
"This composition is too bass heavy, it is to the point where the rest of the music is far overpowered. Please consider remixing this piece, and consider using a properly tuned subwoofer when mixing material such as this."

Okay, fair enough. I don't have a subwoofer or decent speakers, so I must rely on my Bose headphones to give me the best representation of how my audio will sound to others.

Sometimes, it's a bit more in the gray area:
"Wile this may have been intended there are several parts in this composition that are out of time. While odd timings can be used creatively in this case we feel that the result is distracting. In addition this composition is muddled, and cluttered. Please consider revising the mix

This composition has inconsistent musical timings and rhythms. While musical compositions do not need to have perfect timing, it is important that compositions have a constant and natural rhythm.

Practice playing with a metronome or computer generated click track, as this will ensure that your compositions have consistent rhythmic patterns.
Make sure that every instrument, element, and section of your composition has it's own space. This mix is quite muddled where many elements are competing with each other. The result is a composition which lacks in depth and creative impact.

Please re-mix this track ensuring that musical elements are not competing with each other, and that each section has purposeful dynamics. During your mixing process take care to use equalization, compression, and leveling that enables each instrument to have it's own place in the mix. These tools will enable you to create a clean and clear mix that has much more purpose and impact."

I'm a musician. Of course I know what a stinkin' metronome is. This was, by far, one of the more insulting I think. The piece had syncopated parts, and intentional tempo dragging. Methinks that the audio inspector that sent me this comes from more of a music production background, rather than a writing one. And the Canadians spell "while" funny. However, I can see their point of view- the "weird" or "unnatural" aren't always acceptable in a commercial medium- but hey, I'm on iStock because it acts as an online portfolio and some chump change. And if by rejecting a piece, they continue to make me look good, then I am all for it.

The most recent one is hilarious and sad at the same time:
"We're sorry, but we did not find this file suitable as stock. With the rapid growth of the iStock collection, we give valuable consideration to each file but unfortunately cannot accept all submissions.

We hope contributors understand that we are ingesting a lot of material. Files being submitted are aspiring to higher levels of musical understanding. As a result we have to ask more of contributors in terms of creativity and quality.

We want to see you successful with your portfolio and we think that a frank approach is the best way to give you the best position for success against the great tracks we inspect on a daily basis.

We can tell from your application that you are smartly capable of understanding the level of production that will bring you success with your media. It would be unfair of us not to point out that the audio production with this file will need work to compete fully with other contributors working in genre.

All the best, and nothing but success to you and your portfolio."

In short, they said I suck at electronic pieces. I give them props for being ballsy. "Files being submitted are aspiring to higher levels of musical understanding." Oh, good thing I'm working on my higher education then! "[W]e think that a frank approach is the best way to give you the best position for success against the great tracks we inspect on a daily basis." Basically, "for future reference, don't suck."

And while I find it humorous yet appreciate that they were "frank" in their rejection, I also can't help but feel that iStock is becoming more of a machine. The audio inspectors used to give me much more constructive criticism than just say a piece is boring. The last letter is proof that they seem to be getting bigger as a company, and as a result, I get what appears to be an "auto-rejection" letter. I wouldn't hold this against them if it were not for the fact that despite high volume in uploads, I still have to wait two weeks before hearing whether my piece was accepted or not.

Perhaps I have become less interesting as a composer. I lack some inspiration in my life, that's for sure. If that is reflected in my music, then let the real adventure begin.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Term

So. I've just begun my new term with Berkleemusic. Well, actually, I'm three weeks in. I'm taking an Orchestration class, a Game Audio (sort of like Audio Engineering for video games) class, "Recording and Producing in the Home Studio," and "Songwriting Workshop: Writing Hit Songs." Out of the aforementioned, the one I'm enjoying most is Orchestration. My instructor, Ben Newhouse, is a very encouraging and particularly wise individual. I feel like I'm unlocking the potential of EastWest's Symphonic Orchestra. Which is fantastic.

My other classes are so-so. I am most definitely not enjoying Songwriting Workshop. I am a terrible lyric writer, and I don't have a knack for verse. So without having any previous lyric writing instruction, I'm more or less stabbing in the dark for that. On top of that, I have to sing my own lyrics (so far). And let me tell you, I am no vocalist. At all. Game Audio isn't too bad, some of the scripting stuff goes over my head, but I'm sure it will all make sense to me soon. I'm just glad I can get some insight into game audio implementation and architecture.

In other news, I worked for Grassroots Campaigns for all of three days. I discovered it wasn't my thing.

But hey, I'm $150 richer- if only to be used for subsistence.