Non-Guitar Centric Music

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a thread about non-guitar centric music.. hybrid orchestral, movie / TV scores, trailer, atmospheric / ambient style etc..

to chat about AU / VST instruments / synths, tips and tricks with production / composition..

and of course, folk can drop audio clips in there for fun, review, help etc…


play every note as if it were your first
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    edited December 2015
    for starters
    as some of you folks may know, in addition to being a mindless shredder, I work for a trailer house called Evolution Media Music..
    EMM is owned and run by composer / conductor Tolga Kashif
    currently, all us guys working for this trailer house are signed to EMI

    Gates of Centaurus is that most recent trailer published that I worked on

    EMM have new releases in the pipeline.. I'm hoping that some of the pieces I was involved with manage to make the next album..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 24512
    edited December 2015
    An ambient soundtrack of mine from a few years ago ...



    Remember, it's easier to criticise than create!
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    that is just wonderful… I love the way that pad just floats along in the background..
    what instruments did you use for that piece??
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • kinkin Frets: 882
    Cool, I'll look forward to reading this
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  • kinkin Frets: 882
    edited December 2015
    just had a quick scout through some of your stuff @Clarky ,  that first track sounds epic .
    Do you do most of it with a keyboard controller?

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 31171
    edited December 2015
    I look to this for a lot of rhythmic ideas.

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  • I make scary music for halloween haunters and horror freaks, this one is about 6 overdubs of an Oxygen25  M-Audio synth.  I usually mix in some guitar or found sounds but this sounded finished so I stopped.  

    “Theory is something that is written down after the music has been made so we can explain it to others”– Levi Clay


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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    kin said:
    just had a quick scout through some of your stuff @Clarky ,  that first track sounds epic .
    Do you do most of it with a keyboard controller?

    I 'mouse' in the notes, velocities and other expressive characteristics.. even the drums..
    because I'm a crap keys player.. lol..
    when I'm composing, often I'm nowhere near a guitar or keyboard.. I'll hear it in my head and start scoring it..
    my 'portable DAW' is a notepad and a pen.. I carry it absolutely everywhere..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    octatonic said:
    I look to this for a lot of rhythmic ideas.

    recordings never do this music justice..
    seeing and hearing a Gamalan orchestra in the flesh is amazing.. and so mesmerising too..
    it's one of many incredible and lasting memories I have of Bali..
    I remember seeing a the Monkey Dance in Ubud.. rhythmically stunning..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    I make scary music for halloween haunters and horror freaks, this one is about 6 overdubs of an Oxygen25  M-Audio synth.  I usually mix in some guitar or found sounds but this sounded finished so I stopped.  

    interesting piece.. I totally get where it's coming from..
    just my opinion… I think it's a touch too dry..
    to get the spooky atmosphere, try drowning it in an enormous reverb.. something mental like a cavern with a 9.0 sec tail..
    the trick is the dry / wet balance.. the dryer the tone, the closer it'll be in the mix.. 
    the wetter, the more it'll retreat to the rear of the mix..
    now you have left / right… front and back..
    things that are far away that cannot quite be recognised or understood can be unnerving..

    compressing / limiting and eq-ing just the reverb can be interesting too..

    play every note as if it were your first
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  • Clarky said:
    I make scary music for halloween haunters and horror freaks, this one is about 6 overdubs of an Oxygen25  M-Audio synth.  I usually mix in some guitar or found sounds but this sounded finished so I stopped.  

    interesting piece.. I totally get where it's coming from..
    just my opinion… I think it's a touch too dry..
    to get the spooky atmosphere, try drowning it in an enormous reverb.. something mental like a cavern with a 9.0 sec tail..
    the trick is the dry / wet balance.. the dryer the tone, the closer it'll be in the mix.. 
    the wetter, the more it'll retreat to the rear of the mix..
    now you have left / right… front and back..
    things that are far away that cannot quite be recognised or understood can be unnerving..

    compressing / limiting and eq-ing just the reverb can be interesting too..

    Thanks, I'll have to experiment with these tips on future projects.  Sounds like fun.

    “Theory is something that is written down after the music has been made so we can explain it to others”– Levi Clay


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  • kin said:
    just had a quick scout through some of your stuff @Clarky ,  that first track sounds epic .
    Do you do most of it with a keyboard controller?

      What kin said.  I'm not exactly a keyboard player either and rely on editing after the fact on the faster passages, although nearly all the parts of "Red Narasimha" were recorded in real time.  And Fretwired, your track was a nice backdrop for browsing the Fretboard. 

    “Theory is something that is written down after the music has been made so we can explain it to others”– Levi Clay


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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 24512
    Clarky said:
    that is just wonderful… I love the way that pad just floats along in the background..
    what instruments did you use for that piece??
    @Clarky .. thanks.

    I used some samples - you can hear the street scene at the beginning - and some of the other strange sounds. I'm big into found sounds and have a Zoom recorder I often take out with me. For example, I used to go to London on business so would take the recorder and get the sound of high speed trains rushing through the station - slow a recording down, EQ the bottom out, add some delay/reverb/distortion and layer up three tracks spaced apart by a second and you have a pad.

    I'm also into using a guitar and looper .. loop up some chords, reverse, add three delays to regenerate and cascade the sound through the loop, slow down, EQ and you have a great ambient pad.

    The track above used Omnisphere and Native Instruments Kore and Komplete plus some guitar - I have have a guitar with a Midi pickup and hook it via a Roland interface into a Roland guitar synth or soft synths on my PC. I also like to copy Bowie from Sense of doubt on the Heroes album and play spare piano chords or single notes which drench in reverb.

    Another trick for a pad is to use soft synth with a build in arpeggiator - play some notes, reverse and slow down .. a good base for creating an evolving pad.

    Remember, it's easier to criticise than create!
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    kin said:
    just had a quick scout through some of your stuff @Clarky ,  that first track sounds epic .
    Do you do most of it with a keyboard controller?

      What kin said.  I'm not exactly a keyboard player either and rely on editing after the fact on the faster passages, although nearly all the parts of "Red Narasimha" were recorded in real time.  And Fretwired, your track was a nice backdrop for browsing the Fretboard. 
    when you "fix up" you keys playing.. out of curiosity, do you quantise the performance, or go to the editor and just drag that occasional iffy note into a better place?
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    edited December 2015
    Fretwired said:
    Clarky said:
    that is just wonderful… I love the way that pad just floats along in the background..
    what instruments did you use for that piece??
    @Clarky .. thanks.

    I used some samples - you can hear the street scene at the beginning - and some of the other strange sounds. I'm big into found sounds and have a Zoom recorder I often take out with me. For example, I used to go to London on business so would take the recorder and get the sound of high speed trains rushing through the station - slow a recording down, EQ the bottom out, add some delay/reverb/distortion and layer up three tracks spaced apart by a second and you have a pad.

    I'm also into using a guitar and looper .. loop up some chords, reverse, add three delays to regenerate and cascade the sound through the loop, slow down, EQ and you have a great ambient pad.

    The track above used Omnisphere and Native Instruments Kore and Komplete plus some guitar - I have have a guitar with a Midi pickup and hook it via a Roland interface into a Roland guitar synth or soft synths on my PC. I also like to copy Bowie from Sense of doubt on the Heroes album and play spare piano chords or single notes which drench in reverb.

    Another trick for a pad is to use soft synth with a build in arpeggiator - play some notes, reverse and slow down .. a good base for creating an evolving pad.

    haaaaa.... propper sound design stuff.. I love this stuff.. but as you'll know, some of this can be seriously time / labour intensive.. the beauty of it though it that you'll be creating sounds that do not exist in any plug-in instrument... totally unique..

    I remember whatching someone create a dubstep track once [which is actually seriously clever if they're not using a sample library].. where they create each individual sound / 'wob' with different LFO settings [1/4 note, 1/4T, 1/8 note 1/8T etc], bounce them and then make a sort of collage from the audio snippets... it gave me an idea.. during the fade out on a song I recorded for a band called the Civilians, I recorded about 10 small funk licks / grooves with lengths varying from a beat to a bar.. and then dubstep style, I pieced them all together to create this super funky groove... sounded mental and very cool too.... this method can put a seriously different spin on your composition.. cos you can come up with things that you'd never have thought of if you were actually playing..

    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    edited December 2015
    Clarky said:
    I make scary music for halloween haunters and horror freaks, this one is about 6 overdubs of an Oxygen25  M-Audio synth.  I usually mix in some guitar or found sounds but this sounded finished so I stopped.  

    interesting piece.. I totally get where it's coming from..
    just my opinion… I think it's a touch too dry..
    to get the spooky atmosphere, try drowning it in an enormous reverb.. something mental like a cavern with a 9.0 sec tail..
    the trick is the dry / wet balance.. the dryer the tone, the closer it'll be in the mix.. 
    the wetter, the more it'll retreat to the rear of the mix..
    now you have left / right… front and back..
    things that are far away that cannot quite be recognised or understood can be unnerving..

    compressing / limiting and eq-ing just the reverb can be interesting too..

    Thanks, I'll have to experiment with these tips on future projects.  Sounds like fun.

    just thought of something else to toy with... dynamic range..

    if you leave enough headroom in the mix when the atmospheric vibes are running, a sudden "boom" or very deep percussion hit [with something like a Teiko drum] can knock the listener out of his chair.. shock'n'awe..

    so for example.. if the piece is generally averaging around -14dB to -10dB RMS during the atmospherics, a sudden hit at -6dB to -4dB will be quite startling..

    and of course from a production / compositional angle, leaving that amount of headroom free up front allows the piece to grow..

    a trap I fell into when I first got into trailer composition was starting out way too loud.. what happens then is that as the piece evolves and the orchestration gets more dense you'll start "pinning the meters".. from that point on, anything else you add cannot get any louder cos the meters are already peaking at 0dB. So rather than get louder, the mix simply gets more congested, less defined and ends up sounding like a wall of mush...

    solution... when you're mixing down, start at the loudest part and work backwards [in terms of "the next loudest section" etc].. the final sections you mix are the softest..

    play every note as if it were your first
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 24512
    edited December 2015
    Clarky said:

    haaaaa.... propper sound design stuff.. I love this stuff.. but as you'll know, some of this can be seriously time / labour intensive.. the beauty of it though it that you'll be creating sounds that do not exist in any plug-in instrument... totally unique..

    I remember whatching someone create a dubstep track once [which is actually seriously clever if they're not using a sample library].. where they create each individual sound / 'wob' with different LFO settings [1/4 note, 1/4T, 1/8 note 1/8T etc], bounce them and then make a sort of collage from the audio snippets... it gave me an idea.. during the fade out on a song I recorded for a band called the Civilians, I recorded about 10 small funk licks / grooves with lengths varying from a beat to a bar.. and then dubstep style, I pieced them all together to create this super funky groove... sounded mental and very cool too.... this method can put a seriously different spin on your composition.. cos you can come up with things that you'd never have thought of if you were actually playing..

    I know people who create their own drum samples from noises .. can be great fun .. bang something, record it and then EQ, reverb, slice and dice and put it together.

    I have a very powerful hand shower which I once recorded and by raising and dropping the shower head and choosing different ends of the bath and tiles to splash the water over I got a great sample which made a cool bed.

    It was Delia Derbyshire that got me into this sort of fiddling. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop produced some great stuff as did some of the early German Kraut rock bands like Can.

    Remember, it's easier to criticise than create!
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  • There's a Delia Derbyshire display at the Coventry Music Museum. Not sure there's that much stuff (I haven't seen it and it is a fairly small museum anyway) but if you were ever passing through the burbs of Coventry. B-)
    I’ll handle this Violet, you take your three hour break. 
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 24512
    There's a Delia Derbyshire display at the Coventry Music Museum. Not sure there's that much stuff (I haven't seen it and it is a fairly small museum anyway) but if you were ever passing through the burbs of Coventry. B-)
    Thanks. I have relatives in that neck of the woods so I could easily pop in.

    Remember, it's easier to criticise than create!
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3252
    you guys are inspiring me to conduct some deesperiments
    play every note as if it were your first
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