welcome back friends! i’m staying on the floyd-ferry for the time being, and in this episode, he sleeps in a bit late. “snoozes” if you will. this track is a mix of orchestral instruments and environmental sounds, some of which are INSIDE floyds half-awake dream, some of which are outside, in the real world.
i see this entire floyd series as “music for film with no film”, and as always, would love to hear anyones interpretation of this one, or any of them for that matter. any images or ideas they inspire. if they don’t, that’s good to know too. 🙂
it’s funny, i end up with some pretty specific ideas after each of these, and many of them have to do with WHERE things are happening. what the room looks like for example. where the window is. things like that.
next week, i may get more into a full on dream floyd has. stay tuned!
floyd’s really nervous about going to open mic night. he’s got some songs he’s been dying to try out live, but he’s nervous that they won’t go over well, and generally has a hard time with social scenes.
listen, and see how it goes.
this was another experiement for me, initially to find a way to combine a lots of instruments without maxing out my computer completely. i ended up with a lot of instruments, all generally playing minimal parts. i wanted lots of different color’s, and wanted to play with more instruments than i have been. so i started a session of about 5 or 6 orchestral instruments or sections, then 5 or 6 more in another file, and so on, until i had about 4 sessions going, that all got mixed into the final live recordings. the last step (live stuff) was the melodica, some sound effects, guitar and vocals, and mixing the end to sound cinematic, with volume and panning choices. considering the number of things going on, and time it took, it feels very short to me now, but hopefully effective. let me know what you think! this was also fun, because it started without any clear idea, just sound and idea searching. the one thing i wanted was the sneaky/creapy/pensive thing, which influenced some of the instrument and note choices. the entire openning of the piece takes place inside floyd’s head, until he gets out of his head and into a bar at the end of the piece, and makes his decision on the “open mic” experience.
i actually just decided that this was a floyd episode, as i didn’t approach it as orchestrally or intentionally as the first two. but, the melodica has sort of become my instrument of choice for floyd’s character, and, having bought a new melodica last week, i’ve been using it a lot. this one was also an opportunity for me to play more with all live instruments, except for that fake honky tonk piano and a fake keyboard sound. here’s the layout:
this track is interesting to me, but more repetative than the last couple. for that i appologize (especially if it bores you) but, the goals were as follows:
live drums – decent sounds, but i’m still working at figuring out how to get better live drum sounds. this was not a total success.
live percussion – a success in this case, as i havn’t recorded a live three instrument (or more) percussion section in my little home studio. worked pretty well i think
MELODICA! – my new melodica is pretty satisfying. and i’m loving how expressive it is, as a wind instrument, but easy for me to play, as a keyboard instrument. i also just love the character of it
eastern modal melodic work – this is a little vague, but by ear, i just used a lot of lowered 2nd’s and a couple of other little minory eastern sounding notes in my main scale for this piece. i also went for some flourishes in the part that were characteristic to my ear. this worked pretty well. sort of, almost phrygian.
groove – i’ve been feeling like making something a bit “funky” (as the kids say now), and this was another influence on this piece. the piece is really the product of a short “to-do list” of musical and sound ideas. the way that they all came together isn’t exactly what i expected from any of them individually, but that’s part of the fun of it, i think.
thanks for listening, as always.
also, my interview and performance on chicago’s WBEZ 91.5 FM aired on monday night! thanks to all that tuned in. i’ll be posting clips from the show shortly! so stay tuned!
this is the second of the “floyd” series, which is turning out to be a fun programmatic romp with a combination of sampled and real instruments. this one was written only days after the first episode, “floyd takes a walk”, posted last week, and in this episode, we find floyd at a ball or dance of sorts, again struggling in some endearing way. i imagine him trying to fit in socially, maybe even trying to dance, but generally failing at all turns. it’s the sort of party that would be great fun if you were someone else, he thinks, as he’s preoccupied with his own inabilities to function in such a social environment. but floyd strikes me, so far, as someone who keeps trying. this is part of his charm, and part of the thing that frustrates him so much.
musically, i used pizzicato strings for the basis of the waltz, and percussion that nods to a “falling down” idea; clumsy perhaps like floyd. there’s a toy a accordian in the first section of the piece that also feels very a little awkward or out of place playing single long notes at these same “crash” moments. the opening theme is in the oboes, a favorite of mine, but not as popular a solo instrument as, say, the violins or clarinets. the middle section of this piece is my favorite, where a solo violin takes the melody, and the atmosphere changes a bit. here, i think floyd starts to imagine himself as someone else, someone who’s smart and interesting and smooth and charming. he welcomes the attention. he proudly slides through the room like the sound of a single well played violin, and the underlying accompaniment changes with him. it becomes a little more hip. it moves a little better. grooves a little. it’s another, better, place. here, i used electric bass and drumkit, under organ and violin. the “back to reality” transition is me whistling over the organ, and a bit of the first theme, on the oboe again, before one final crash brings floyd back to awkward reality.
i’m hoping to overdub the solo violin part with a real violinist soon, which will help the piece a lot, some of the sounds i think are pretty believable, while that one is sort of an earsore i think. once that happens, i’ll repost. until then, sorry about some of the synthyness.
thanks for listening and reading! i hope to have another orchestration for this series soon. either way, tune in next week for more new material of some sort.
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cause he needs to clear his head. but the head in question is plagued with regret and hopelessness. it’s noisy, and heavy, and just won’t leave his body. it rumbles like the breath of a 50 ft. tall monster drama queen.
“floyd takes a walk” is the first episode of a score for narrative i’m working on (what the hell?). i’ve been feeling like taking on a bigger project lately, and getting away (for a bit) from the two section three chord drum-machine jams. and i love thinking in sets, or bigger collections. in this case, i’m writing themes for a specifically awkward, sad, lovable character who i’m calling floyd. it’s tough being floyd. he tries and he tries, but to little or no avail, so it seems. “narrative” may not be the word exactly, as i’m writing these and seeing where THEY take the character. music first, scene second. tune in next week for episode TWO! it’s already finished, but i’ll save it for next week.
thanks for listening! i hope this one gets your imaginative imagery going.
i call this one “theme one” (click to listen) because i think of it as the first of a specific collection of “film music with no film.” i wrote it this weekend at my parents place in Missouri, on their piano, in a food coma.
i’ve been getting more and more focused on writing for picture, and at times when no picture is readily available, i’ve written a few things to mental pictures. this pieces mental picture isn’t as specific as some, but i think it leads the minds eye in a certain direction. while i was writing in MO, i started transitioning into entirely different music at the end of the piece, but in this case, chose and recorded and ending to it. in said film, it probably wouldn’t end the way it does in this case. i dunno.
A. the main theme is presented right at the top of the piece, heard in the high voice of the piano…playful but with a bit of a “trouble in paradise” idea.
B. transition material darkens the character a bit, then redeems/lightens (“ah” vocals) the character a bit. this section acknowledges that something mysterious/questionable is abound i think.
A1. the main theme in a new key with slight alterations – a back and forth of light and dark ideas…using a whole tone scale at the end to add escalating tension.
C. transition/truncated theme brightens things up a bit, quoting the theme and creating a nice little “V I” to the end section. a “V I” (five, one) is basically a way to set up a new resting place, or harmonic “home” for the ear. it’s like the “amen” at the end of a hymn, with two chords (five/one or four/one) that say “all-done” or “your home” to the ear.
D. new material – we arrive at this “home” and slow the pace down. the character is tired perhaps, or contemplative. this section goes back and forth between light and dark versions of itself, nodding to that conflict still existing (whatever that conflict is). then, maybe the character falls asleep.
what do you think?
YOUR MISSION, if you choose to be awesome:
come up with a short narrative for this piece and post it as a comment. i have ideas, but they’re pretty open. i’d LOVE to hear yours.
running a little late this week, cause friends and i were working on a video project for our friend steve niketopoulos, that we finished and presented last night at his suprise birthday party. super fun.
this weeks “song of the week” is comprised of music from the video.
i wrote and arranged a variety of little incidental musics, and a couple of themes that were more “out front”, and in THIS recording, stuck them all into this “tuning a radio” context. it’s fun to think that everything on the radio is my stuff, and by “fun” i mean “narcissistic.”
i tried to mix it so that it sounded like i’m in a car, driving, tuning a radio, and occassionally talking to myself. the outside sound is from a sound effects library and i just looped it. i then mixed it so that it sounds a little muffled, as it would from the inside of a car. the ambulance that you hear at 2min and 38secs or so i panned from right to left and faded out so that it sounds like it’s moving, both from right to left and AWAY. my “talking etc” vocals i left dry (no effects), cause they should sound like they’re right in your space.
the radio stuff is all mixed together with bits of the songs, bits of white noise, fuzz, interference, and different volumes and eq’s.
this is all an experiment in creating an environment, which i think i’m understanding better and better as i do it. but it still doesn’t sound the way i want it too yet. this one gets close to what that environment would sound like, i think, but it’s not there. i don’t think it PUTS YOU IN THE CAR yet. i’ll probably keep tweeking it over the next week or so and see if i can do that.
see if you can pin-point a couple pre-existing themes in the music too. pretty famous ones. 🙂