Arcana makes music regularly and likes video games, music composition, synthesizers, and UX/UI design.
This might be a borderline case but this week I was tired and didn't really end up creating a song of my own, but instead ended up doing an impromptu collab with my friend Starla (who runs compo.thasauce.net). Starla produced the track and provided vocals, and I did a guitar solo and some of the male vocal parts so it's really kind of not my track as the main artist but since it was a COLLAB~ I wanted to upload it anyway since I rarely do collabs or contribution of instrumental parts to other people's songs.
Also we did this as part of Two Hour Track Sunday which meant that we decided on what to do in real time in UNDER TWO HOURS over a stream!
Check out the stream here:https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1017024668
its only temporary
so they said
i'm waiting for my judgment
so you said
I'm filled with all my secrets
I keep them to myself
I'm waiting for my judgment
i'm hidden in this limbo
im waiting for salvation
Tell me all your secrets
I'll keep them to myself
I'm waiting for my judgment
lost in the space between
you and me
tethered to you
can anybody hear me
can anybody hear me
drawn to the world that keeps
you and me
tethered to you
can anybody hear me
can anybody hear me
I set out today to create an "epic orchestral electronic" track that might invoke images of a final boss battle in a video game.
I don't know if I quite got the "epic" down but it has a bunch of tension and stuff. The song is in A minor, it's 136 bpm, etc. etc. I don't really know what else to say about this yet.
if you do want to see the making of video, you can check it out at https://twitch.tv/emeraldarcana and look out for the May 2 video.
I started this one on my other computer (my old 2013 iMac, but, for various reasons, the old iMac actually performs better than the new Mac Mini I got) and it has templates/sounds that are a little out of date. I streamed that one, and interestingly enough I didn't get audio dropouts at all while streaming but as soon as I bring it over to my new 2018-era Mac Mini it starts to sputter and desync and it's a terrible mess and there's only like 6 tracks or so.
Also it's VGM Con and I'm helping out so I can't really do much with it the song weekend. I'm going to just ditch it and move on with the next project.
I did however learn from the chat participants watching about how they like to bus wet reverb or wet echo differently from dry and compress only the wet signal. I normally don't do that.
I created this song as a live stream on Deluge, Eurorack, and Meeblip. Here's the live stream channel: https://www.twitch.tv/emeraldarcana It's under "creating music in real time with hardware".
I got kind of tired so I didn't really sit to polish this one up, but after doing listening I probably would change a few things like adjusting levels a bit more. I was getting into gainstaging problems where the gear was overloading the VCA and the unity mixer was clipping hard. I might have to pay more attention to that later on. Other than that it's a long live jam done in real time.
I haven't sat down to like actually compose in a while - spent a bunch of time on a secret album project (which was primarily me playing guitar poorly 2 weeks ago) then doing the Eurorack modular live set.
Here's Shanna's Theme. Her character is a crystal pirate, so she wanted something piratey - like heroic pirate theme.
arggh my fingers hurt so much this is what you get when you don't pick up a guitar for like one and a half years but then you get mad at sequencing guitars in MIDI so you're like "let's just try playing it" and then you end up with this also my guitar's like years old and I've never changed the strings because rarrr
Two Hour Track Sunday Track originally (submitted here)[http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/2HTS363#entry-17685].
I was learning Shreddage 3 Jupiter, which I had upgraded to after not using Shreddage 2 in about 8 years. There's a bit of a learning curve - it has a lot of articulations and so forth that I didn't manage to get into so the guitars don't really sound real, but that's what happens when you do a compo.
I've been kind of slow on music projects recently. I got caught up in learning a DAW for Windows (Studio One 5 trial, so far) and I'm learning some voice (still a beginner, so no real recordings yet) and am writing more on my blog.
Instead of normal music time, I decided that I'd do Two Hour Track Sunday (http://compo.thasauce.net/compos/view/2HTS)
The instructions were as follows:
Basically, it's to use a web-based sequencer with a partner to create samples, some beat tracks, and then load those into your own DAW after to create a song.
I'm not even sure what to say about the actual song at this point, it just literally started.
I must say that was actually super educational because I had to actually learn how to use the sampler. In the process, I learned how to snap it to zero-crossings, how to slice the parts (by transient, at least - not by beat), how to one-shot vs. pitch shift samples, and even how to load them up. I don't normally work a lot with raw samples, usually I use a sampler that's already been mostly assembled. This was a total eye-opener. I don't know if the song itself came out that well, but it was definitely a cool experience for the purpose of learning.
I did five themes last time and there's three left to go.
Zelfie asked for a theme that followed a reference track that resembled 70s funk/disco.
Pixie asked for a "whimsical" theme and linked me some songs from World of Final Fantasy that were composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Pixie's theme took a while. I broke out my piano book for SaGa Frontier 2 (I don't play piano) and studied one of the songs and learned like a metric ton of stuff about whimsical and bright piano music from just two sections.
I still have one more theme to do: my own (T'mi's theme). The running idea is a combination of the Terminator theme and some random rock riffs to give it a super heavy wall of sound. It's not done, hopefully I'll finish it this week and you'll see the third track.
Edit: T'mi's Story. "An adventurer pulled from time and lost in worlds discovers through the gift of a bird what true friends are." (When you are the composer of your own theme, you can write as many gratuitous program notes as you want. AND you can make it twice as long.)
This week, I offered to create character themes for members of my Free Company (guild) in Final Fantasy XIV Online.
What was I thinking?!?
Anyway, here's three of the themes that I completed this week. The first asked me for "Concerning Hobbits" with a side of horror, the second asked me for "a somber theme with a sense of loss" and the third asked for "something whimsical" (except that I knew that she likes ZUN).
Edit: Okay, I added a fourth which was BY FAR the hardest one to do because it was based off of the B section from Isabella's Lullaby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTJjtSP-ORc) and I almost NEVER do super maximal orchestral stuff like this.
Edit 2: Fifth song came up. I added an Alter:Ego voice here (the request was creepy, yet upbeat), but Alter:Ego is pretty finicky and I don't really like how the voice ended up coming out so I'm redoing it.
The little child tastes freedom after escaping from a life time trap.
A bunch of experimentation here with actually playing some parts live in MIDI (over many, many takes).
Unfortunately I don't really like the outcome. It's a little shrill and the melodies aren't varied enough and the harmony isn't really that interesting or exciting, so it's a little bit of a "I wrote it and dumped it off" today.
The adventurers scale the dreadful Elisius Mons while still under pursuit from the Captain of Templar Orionus.
Yes, the title is entirely made-up.
A cinematic piece that I composed as a throwaway mostly to try out Damage 2 by Heavyocity (which is a very expensive and very high quality cinematic drum library).
I wrote this, didn't really like the direction or the compositional choices, and decided to just kind of slap an end on it and not really worry about the transitions, the sudden mood shifts, or anything else. I'd rather just finish it up and let the idea go and start on something different for now.
Title refers to the ring around a star (which is where the coronavirus got its name from). I didn't really want to refer specifically to COVID-19, everyone's kind of done with "quarantine" themed songs I think.
This is practice with making tense, more film-score like tracks. I kind of want to make one of those epic battle themes one day and in the middle there was a transition that I kind of wanted to make more tense but I didn't quite get it right and was a little too tired to try to really push through it today, so instead of changing the mood I kept it the same and finished.
Bm, a lot of harmonies, tiny amount of melody and not that much counterpoint going on. Mostly work with drums here. Meter is 6/8, which is pretty obvious from listening. I do go from 3-bar phrases to 4-bar phrases after the transition.
Something something flying in the sky watching the world from above while kittens are in the rocket
THE SONG'S BACK! WeeklyMusic gets a turn at this because I want to use the melody in something but the song hasn't really come together, ever. That said, I think it's much more successful this time around because I basically shortened it a ton.
BONUS: I mashed it up with this other One Hour Compo song so really, nothing in this song's original, other than me slicing things up from old music.
And you know what, the result is possibly better than the original songs.
It does need some work. The beginning need some more texture and timbre - and mostly in some double-checking the arrangements and lots of production work, levels, mixing, etc.
A critical junction could be a road where you have to make a decision, a point of no return, or, quite literally, the place on the circuit board where you need to keep intact for the device to keep functioning so everyone makes it out alive.
Liner notes are:
This is a redoing of The Cats Got Into the Rocket Ship (https://weeklybeats.com/arcana/music/the-cats-got-into-the-rocket-ship) from WeeklyBeats Week 51.
There are still a lot of the same elements, but much of the arrangement is different and I'd like to think that the harmonic changes are better in the second version than in the first one and that the musical ideas are a little more developed. I am still not quite happy with the arrangement. I think I need to give myself a rest and look at it tomorrow.
As with most songs where the arrangement isn't great, I haven't concentrated too much on mixing and polish, so expect some mud/bad timbres/etc. I am trying to improve in this area too but I'm focusing so much on arrangement, composition, and harmony/melody these days that production/mixing/sound design is taking a back seat.
I'll tag anything that's an ongoing work as "WIP" (work in progress).
A quick jam with Modular and Meeblip Geode synth (which did the bass).
Sequenced with Deluge and Stillson Hammer MkII. Featuring odd sounds from Plaits and Cursus Iteritas.
I think I'll be trying to work on good melodic parts more this coming year. Doing house and techno beats is fun, but if I can create better melodies it's going to make all of the difference for me.
I got this note from a buddy of mine a few weeks ago:
Just dropping a line about Soy Un Navidad. The only rules are to poorly translate into Spanish and have text-to-speech do vocals. Oh, and send the Spanish lyrics, so I can attach them to the album. Outside of that, feel free to do just about anything that comes to mind. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to reach out."
I did this track live (after many takes) on my hardware synths. (It kind of felt like hard mode)
It’s in the key of F major.
Oh ven, todos ustedes fieles Alegre y triunfante Oh, ven, o vienes a Belén Ven y miralo Nacido el Rey de los Ángeles! Oh ven, adoremoslo Oh ven, adoremoslo Oh ven, adoremoslo Cristo el señor Canta, coros de ángeles Canta en exultación Canten, todos ustedes ciudadanos del cielo arriba! Gloria a Dios Toda la gloria en lo más alto Oh ven, adoremoslo Oh ven, adoremoslo Oh ven, adoremoslo Cristo el señor
A really upbeat dance song made with my latest gear thingy, the Synthstrom Deluge.
All of the sounds and arrangement is done with that single box.
I haven't fully figured it out, so the sound design is not exactly ear-popping, but I was able to compose and arrange the entire thing using that box (with some EQ and Limiting post-processing in software after recording).
Considering that I got the Deluge a week ago, being able to compose something using only that piece of gear is actually pretty amazing for me.
BTW, as I mentioned last week, I released an improvisational album at http://irwink.bandcamp.com. If you like listening to the Eurorack jams that I post here check it out.
I was working on my National Solo Album Month entry when I realized that I needed a song that was toward the end of the album that doesn't have as much energy as the song before it.
I released the album. It's a bit of a hack because it's super improvisational.