Archive for February, 2012

Birds On the Wires–My Take. :)

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Hi there guys, how are you all doing?

Some time ago a guy from our band has accidentaly bumped into something interesting: a picture of birds on electrical wires being converted into music. The original idea came from Paulo Pinto after seeing a newspaper photography and can be seen here.

Well, here’s our take on the matter with a set of wires near us. lol Coincidentally I’ve choosen a similar timbre for the theme–maybe because that’s how God want it to sound anyway. :)

Enjoy it!

Birds On the Wires #1: Pic

Real birds--with a pseudo-5th line at the bottom-right corner. lol


Birds On the Wires #1: Sheet

Some tweaks here and there... (Click to enlarge)

And the final result:


Beethoven Trampling me Like… A Moon.

February 20, 2012 1 comment

Hi there guys, how are you all doing?

This week me and a pupil of mine started digging Beethoven deeper for the guy’s History of Music lessons. I’m still not an expert in Classical Music but from a big bunch of stuff I’ve been listening to for some months now I can easily say that Beethoven is the most… emotionally striking to me. His chords hit me like punches and suddenly I’m almost literally on my knees.

I wanted to share my favorite work from him presented in a visual transation (I did mentioned that before) for a better understanding of the matter by music sheet non-readers. The music alone is absurdly strong in the same measure it’s beautiful with its tonal nuances everytime the theme reboots itself; but SEEING it happen can be even more impressive.

The work is popularly know as “Moonlight Sonata”, but the 1st movement is usually more recognizable for a wider audience. Here I want you to hear (and watch) its powerful B-Side, the 3rd movement. :)

See ya next week, happy Carnival! ;)

“Invisible Polish”.

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Hi there guys, how are you all doing?

Here I am talking about indie games–and their music–once again. :P But there’s a fair share of awesome stuff out there and I can’t help myself but echoing those guys.

First of all there’s a new indie videogame music bundle running as you read this. And you definitely shouldn’t miss this one as well since it has Aquaria, Sword & Sworcery, To the Moon, Jamestown, Machinarium, Shatter, Mighty Switch Force and much more in it. Just check it out RIGHT. NOW. :)

Swords and Sworcery Soundtrack

This alone would make it worthy. But still, there's more. MUCH more. :)

Also, an amazing interview with indie developers was published this week at Edge Magazine’s website, and I’m taking the liberty of quoting those wise guys on the videogames soundtrack matter. Take a quick read:

How does that particular element fit in with more subjective games? Is it an important factor in conjuring a more expressionistic feel for your game?
Dino Patti (LIMBO) It’s very important. When I worked out the budgets for Limbo, I underestimated everything to do with the sound. We ended up finding this really awesome audio designer, Martin Stig Andersen, and as soon as we realised how good he was, we just put in more money – I just grabbed it from other areas of the budget!
Robin Hunicke (Journey) We work with a composer almost from the beginning of a project. It’s like Dino said, the sound budget is so critical, you have to just pull from wherever you can to support it. We work with Austin Wintory on the music itself, and then we have help from Sony Santa Monica and Sony San Diego in terms of designing the soundscape as well as implementing the score in a way that is interactive and reflective of your actions and the state of the game. When we create a moment, a feeling, a huge component of that is the audio. Just recently, we went through a period when the audio tool was being updated so there was no music in the game. It was impossible to evaluate it! You would find yourself trying to fix problems that didn’t exist before the sound was gone. It’s so essential to the design. When it’s not there, the game is just completely broken. I was so moved by the audio in Botanicula – the sounds and the character voices have a handmade quality – it’s so personal, you feel like you’re watching a little puppet show. That creates a real connection. And in Journey if you’re going to be drifting through the air and gliding on sand, you need to have this beautiful orchestral score – hearing real strings and vocal tones that have been manipulated to create a mysterious quality. It’s completely integral to the feeling.
Jakub Dvorsky (Machinarium) Yes, the sound has to fit the visuals which have to fit the gameplay. Everything must flow together. We record all the sounds ourselves; for Machinarium, I recorded them all in our cottage. It was a lot of fun, making noises, banging bits of rusty metal together. And the sound recordings are also a bit dirty and ragged like the visuals.
Brian Provinciano (Retro City Rampage) For years I was working on Retro City Rampage by myself and because I can’t compose music, it didn’t have audio. As soon as that was in, I realised how much it was missing. A friend of mine is working on a vertical slice for a project right now and I told him, “Get audio in the game immediately”. I’m now working with three sound guys – I mean, who knew that a game that uses one programmer and a part-time artist would need three music guys? But they were so talented I wanted their stuff in my game. Most of the time I’ll tell them to just record whatever they want. Have fun! And that has actually inspired me to create certain levels and missions, just from a song.

It seems that indie games, perhaps because of their subjectivity, have a much better understanding of how audio can be exploited to create moods and emotions. It doesn’t have to be about vastly expensive soundtracks.
RH Yeah, I mean there are these low-level systems in our brains, things that have been around for a long time. They connect directly to your heart, your desires and your needs – and games can get to them. If you can create an ambience, through visuals or audio, or with the tactile quality of the game, you can create real emotions in people, in the same way that music is able to bring you through an emotional experience. What’s interesting and scary about that is it’s a lot of power! It’s something we really need to take seriously. It should be used for good!
BP That reminds me of another aspect of design. I strive to make my game a smooth, fluid experience. The idea is that, OK, people might not necessarily notice all the cool features, but if there’s a flow state, they will miss the flaws! Subconsciously it just feels good because they haven’t had those stumbling moments. That goes back to what Robin was saying about appealing to the unconscious, to the reptilian brain. It’s… invisible polish.
RH That’s a great phrase for it!

“Invisible polish” is indeed a great phrase. ;) (Read the full article here)

That’s it for now, see ya next Monday!

Midnight in Paris Soundtrack: An Approach

February 6, 2012 1 comment

Hi there guys, how are you all doing?

Last weekend I had the pleasure to watch Midnight in Paris with my girl at home in a warm night–I’m lying, is Hell hot right now here in Brazil lol–and of course I couldn’t help myself but keeping an eye (ear) at the movie’s soundtrack.

It’s cool. Just plain cool. But that’s an overly-easy way to describe it–even though it’s the real truth. :P So if I’m not boring you to death please allow me to talk a little about the approach for getting such a work done. :)

The interesting point here is that the easy way to get the job done would be to pick up a bunch of classics and rely on the strenght of those emotionally rooted  recordings to take advantage of that. But here those guys went a step further and tried (except for a couple tracks) NOT to sound nostalgic–and actually that was pretty much a requirement to make old-time Paris feel alive like Woody Allen intended to.

What a stroll...

So in a general way we got a couple new accordion recordings by Dana Boulé and François Parisi–pretty much straight-forward stuff, but still absolutely needed for a French setting; a bunch of Cole Porter with his impeccable metrics and irritating cleverness lol (“Romantic sponges, they say, do it / Oysters down in Oyster Bay do it / Let’s do it, let’s fall in love”) with the smoothness of Conal Fowkes recordings–the way-to-go when trying to step away from Ella; and more intriguing/humorous tracks elegantly pointing to gypsy jazz like the Swing 41 recording for Django Reinhardt and the recurrent “magic key” (watch the movie lol) “Bistro Fada”, by Stephane Wrembel.

Even when REAL old tracks were selected it’s easy to see it was carefully done. Enoch Light & The Charleston City All Stars’ tunes are particularly well-recorded; Josephine Baker and her conga is simply irreplaceable; and Sidney Bechet’s “Si tu vois ma mère” serves the humble purpose of crytalizing Paris into a watcher’s mind with a non-cut opening footage.

Beautiful, beautiful stuff man. Let me share something here as an appetizer… But go watch the movie. And pay attention to the soundtrack, please. ;)

‘Till next Monday… See ya!

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