The Aviation EP (Major Project)

My Free Release ‘The Aviation EP’ Is Available to Download Now.


Koyaanisqatsi (Final Major)

A few weeks ago Mark suggested that I put one of my tracks over some existing footage. Prior to this Phil had played one of my older tracks ‘Dune’ alongside the film ‘Koyannisqatsi’ and had shown me the result. It worked really well and so today I decided to edit some of the film’s footage to my track. I was sifting through over an hour of clips and found some that I really liked so I cut them and muted the original soundtrack. Then I imported ‘Dune’ and did a more precise cut so that the shots would change as the music developed.

When the percussion in Dune kicked in I place footage from the film that was shot at night and i think this gives the visuals an almost menacing undertone.

Below is the video.

I think that this is a good representation of how my music could be used in a professional environment. I know I can cater to different briefs and contexts so hopefully this will show people I can make effective music. I’ve already got some cool feedback after making the video public.

Jonti says:

Think you’ve done a really good job here,
You’ve captured the actual feel and context of the video very well, your music emphasizes the Japanese (I believe its Japanese) instruments and atmosphere, But mixing that up with a very relaxed tune, which contrasts with the footage, showing fast, urban life.
It comes across like meditation music and the sort of themes and sounds you would hear in the more rural parts of Japan.

Working with Nicholas Young (Final Major)

Yesterday DMP’s resident Ewok Nicholas Young (AKA Yung Whippy) came into the cave room with me so that I could work on a soundtrack for his stop motion piece.

This is Nick Young. He is small. Mischievous and not really that young.

This is Nick Young. He is small. Mischievous and not really that young.

Nick had asked me right at the start of this unit if I could provide a soundtrack to his work. I accepted but the mixture of working on my own sounds for uni, working a job in the evenings and being a full time legend meant that I struggled to present him with any sounds. I decided it would be better and invited him to spend a day in the cave room with me which I would be purely dedicated on his soundtrack. I got in at around 10:00AM and got everything set up. About an hour later Nick turned up. From seeing his project’s set and models develop I knew that the story and visual aspects of his animation would be very dark. Below are some super high quality photos of his current set.

This is where Nick spends most of his days. He can't get much Vitamin D

This is where Nick spends most of his days. He can’t get much Vitamin D

A small scene that nick has made out of mod-rock and real rock.

A small scene that nick has made out of mod-rock and real rock.

Inside Nick's little den.

Inside Nick’s little den you can see his main set.

A close up of his character that he's made.

A close up of his character that he’s made.

So having seen the development of these sets and his characters and knowing about the story behind his work I was confident that I could write a track to complement it. Nick told me that he wanted the sound of Vinyl records crackling throughout the whole piece. This was easy to achieve as My software has loads of ambient crackling samples in it already. I found one that was nice and subtle and then clipped a small section off of the end so it would loop seamlessly over 16bars. After this I loaded up a sub bass sound and ran a LFO (low frequency oscillator) through the noise so that it wasn’t just a continuous hum of bass. Then I added a Low Pass Filter to the sound and automated the intensity of the filter so It would give the impression that the Bass was rising and falling away into the Background.

This is what the different groups and scenes look like for the soundtrack to Nick's animation. Within each group are a number of sounds and FX buses.

This is what the different groups and scenes look like for the soundtrack to Nick’s animation.
Within each group are a number of sounds and FX buses.

The sound currently was to intense and would have been uncomfortable to listen to for most people so I reduced the low and mid-low E.Q. values a little. This is something I’ve been doing more regularly as I think I had gone from not having a enough bass in my tracks too pushing way too many low frequency sounds into a track. I’d noticed that This was making my tracks sounds really muddy through my headphones. After this I began to add some sounds which I connect with darkness and too an extent the idea of insanity. Something that I had picked up from the story behind Nick’s character. One of these sounds starts off as simple clap drum. usually from an 808 or 909 kit. Then I set the beat-grid in my software to 1/32 of a bar. (This means you can fit more sounds in a smaller amount of time. I then paint the sound into each new space within this bar. When the claps are played back with this new time signature. It sounds horrific and would be very painful to listen to at a high volume. However when you apply a Low Pass Filter to it and sweep it up and down subtly it can sound something similar to a helicopter’s blades passing overhead. Then I panned these filtered claps from left to right to bring a sense of space to this effect. I continued doing this with other sounds, the majority of them were other percussion instruments. The applied filter has to remain fairly strong throughout when this technique is used to make sure the high frequencies of the claps aren’t too piercing on the ears. The I ran some of these sounds through a Flanger. (Flangers can give a warping/robotic effect to some sounds).

You can see how I've fitted more sounds in the same space by setting the beatgrid to 1/32

You can see how I’ve fitted more sounds in the same space by setting the beatgrid to 1/32

Nick stated he wanted an almost robotic/ industrial feel to run subtly throughout so I thought this would add to that idea. After this I stated working on some subtle noises like drips and small metallic noises that echoed and reverberated around the audio space. I found some that i like and created small, unobtrusive melodies to add some higher frequency detail to the track. I uses a mixture of panning, BPM delays and reverbs to add a feeling of space and time to the project. Like I’ve been doing in my previous project I limited the amount of sounds that played through one area of the speakers at the same time. If I did layer two or more sounds to play together I’d make sure to offset them to the left or right sides of the speakers. Giving each noise more space in the mix. After this it was time to develop the track further so that it would complement the narrative of Nick’s animation.

He explained how he was going to create a montage within his work in which his character loses his mind and goes crazy. He wanted me to create this mood through within the track.

Here is What it looks like.

Here is What it looks like.

To do this I inserted some Kick Drums. I didn’t want ones that had a dancy feeling to them so I found some samples of an old kit in the Mashcine software that I liked. I took these into the piano roll and then Pitched them 4 octaves lower than they are originally set. This made them sound incredibly muddy so I filtered out some of the lower band frequencies to clean the sound up. Then I created a small drum pattern that used different pitches. The resulting beat I had was almost tribal in nature and very dark. I liked it a lot and Nick thought it worked really well when I played it alongside the ambient sections of the track. I wanted to push the sense of menace and rage further and so did Nick. I found a synth sound that I would usually associate with house music or trance, and experimented for a while with it. I applied some distortion, reverb and filters over the sound, which totally transformed it into an industrial drone. Then I pitched it down a few octaves lower and took some of the release and sustain values out of the noise so it would end more abruptly.

So as well as the distortial effect I also used a Frequency Modulator. Something I've used befor which can give a metallic buzz or screech to a sound.

So as well as the distortial effect I also used a Frequency Modulator. Something I’ve used befor which can give a metallic buzz or screech to a sound.

It sounded really good and after adding some Feedback within the Distortion effect. I was happy with the sound and inserted it in to the timeline. The resulting composition was really effective and Nick loved it. I looped this sequence for 16 Bars. After this I calmed the track down a bit and revisited the ambient sections. I made some subtle percussion additions but apart from them the track remained the same as the intro. Nick then asked me to finish the track off with a climactic\ crazy mess of noises that would compliment his ‘death’ scene. To do this I copied and pasted the industrial pieces of the track and added and Grain Stretch effect. I don’t actually know the technicalities of what this effect actually does. All I know is that when applied and manipulated it turns all the sounds into a time stretched bowl of audio spaghetti that tangles up and warps in a crazy mess. Nick Seemed to like it though. So I faded it out to silence to mark the end of the main sound track.

You can also see that I lengthened the silence at the end of the beatgrid to allow time for the Grain Stretch effect to  fade and filter out.

You can also see that I lengthened the silence at the end of the beatgrid to allow time for the Grain Stretch effect to fade and filter out.

Here is the final track.

Nick then asked me to produces some small sound effects for him. One of these was the ambient sound to the laboratory he constructed. To do this I took a completely new approach to production. I turned the beat grid off so that nothing could be quantized. Essentially this can remove all structure or notion of beat to the track. I also lowered the tempo to 33BPM which is much slower than the a lot of music. Then I found some synth sounds and took all the release and most of the sustain values out of them so they were small glitchy beeps and blips of noise. Then I tapped as many keys and pads as possible with complete disregard for any type of musical scale. I was really surprised at how effective the result was. It sounded like a living community of computers talking to each other. The sound however was a little sharp so I added a small amount of reverb to the master channel and this gave everything a sense of space.

The different sounds I used to create 'Lab ambience' in my timeline. "All the colours of the bow"

The different sounds I used to create ‘Lab ambience’ in my timeline.
“All the colours of the bow”

You can see here all the notes I've played for one of the many sounds in the piece. It was totally random. with no deliberate melody played as I wanted the track to sound as spontanious as possible.

You can see here all the notes I’ve played for one of the many sounds in the piece. It was totally random. with no deliberate melody played as I wanted the track to sound as spontanious as possible.

Here is the Final Lab Ambience Track. It is only 8 Bars long and Nick will be easily able to loop it if he wants it longer.

‘Dune’, Sampling & my wordpress portfolio (Final Major)

Last week, apart from playing a set a Jay’s event. I managed to finalise a track I’d been working on. It’s the frist track I’ve made in Mashcine where I’ve used sampling.

I started off by finding the sample, which took a while but eventually I stumbled across this video on youtube.

I’d been wanting to include some arabic samples in my productions for some time.

I imported these into mashcine and began to play around with some pitch shifting techniques as well as applying some changes to the overall E.Q. of the sample and placing other effects like reverbs and frequency modulators over the top.

Then I started to build the rest of the tune around the sample. An approach that I haven’t used befor.

So here’s the end result. ‘Dune’.

As well as this, I’ve set myself up a new wordpress as a dedicated platform to sidplay my creative works on without the analytical side that this blog has.

Phil and Mark both reccomended that I do this as a way of selling myself as a creative.

It took a little while for me to set up all the correct widgets and pages, but here it is.

Every new track or piece of work that I feel is worthy to go up on this site, will go up.

Goals & new productions (Major Project)

Phil talked to me the other day about my music and where I hope to take it. I mentioned that recently I’ve been really enjoying working on ambient, atmospheric music. As I mentioned in a post below this has stemmed from my gaming days where the Soundtracks stood out to me. I talked about how I had produced an ambient tune that I think could be used for a stealth game such as Splinter Cell. He then showed me a great article where a producer talked about his processes of getting his first job working on video game OST’s. The articile was a really interesting read, as it covered everything from how he first searched and applied for job opportunities to how he negotiated rates of pay with employers. There was some interesting points in the article about how suitable a job opportunity was to his style of music production. The article stressed the importance of always enjoying composing music and gave warnings about taking on the wrong type of job. For example, if I were looking for employment right now I would look to apply for a job that suited my style as an electronic composer instead of one as an orchesteral composer.

From my previous post you can hear the work I produced last week which explored the darker side to ambient music, in contrast to this piece I’ve posted a track below that I’ve just finished which has a much more relaxed and etheral sound to it.

The track’s called ‘Float’ and I feel like I’ve captured that feeling through my production techniques. For instance, whilst producing this track I really experimented with textures and the illusion of space. I achieved this by assigning differnt effects sends over multiple synth notes which all varied slightly to one and other. One of these effects that really gave this illusion of space to my work is called a BPM Delay. Essentially this echoes the sound for a certain amount of time and pace that you controll after the first note has been played. I applied a mixture of shorter and longer Delays to my synth notes which gives the sound more space and texture. You can also change the “colour” AKA “Wet” or “Dry”. If you set an effect too 100% dry you will not hear it. Turn it to 100% wet and you will get the maximum potential of the effect however this can be very overpowering to the overall sound of the audio mix.

The other effect I used is called a Reverb. and it makes the sound you trigger blend into the rest of the mix as it fades out. Combining delays and reverbs can lead to some really nice spacey echo effects that gives some music an etheral quality.

‘Float’ was inspired by the music of an ambient group called ‘Marconi Union’. The group are from Manchester and are known for creating the most relaxing tune ever made. (Scientifically proven).

There music made me notice just how much some effects add to the overall ambience of music.

Back to my chat with Phil, He told me to set my self some goals. One of these he suggested was to make at least two pieces of new music each week. This could be a lot of fun and will overtime help me build a portfolio of my audio work. One that I want to do as well is try and make differeing genres of music. I don’t want to be tied down to just one style or vibe. One day I might want to make some dark moody music, the next I might want to make something more upbeat. Also this’ll keep me on my toes and help me learnt new productions techniques that I can cross with other genres of music that I make.

Another Professional Project (Professional Project)

So Dungeon Dancehall is all over now, I thought why not include some work I was originaly doing outside of the unit for part of my professional project.

This one is a little different, It still involves music but this time I am producing it which is very exciting! It came about with Pegg asking me if I could make some sounds for his top secret video game. I said “yes”.

Although I would say I’m very new to music production, I find the process fun and very relaxing, almost like meditation. I get in a zone and stay in it for a couple of hours, it’s great.

I’d been hesitant befor this to show people any of my previous attempts at making music as it makes me feel awkward, but I’d say I’ve become more confident now.

I’ve produced everything for this project so far on my Ipad on an ¬£20.00 app called Korg Gadget.

The App is a collection of synthesisers & drum machines and lets you create loops from them.

The video below explores the app in detail and one of the presenters also looks like Liam Birtles.


Obviously because Pegg’s game is a top secret government project I can’t release much information about it, however there are some early tunes that I have uploaded to youtube and have permission to show.

Here is an early track I made which Pegg seemed to like.

Although I’m a bass music kid, I really enjoy listening to ambient music as well. I’d say my influences range Marconi union, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin & to an extent Burial.


I’m actually really greatfull that I was given the chance to produce this soundtrack. Since I started making music for Pegg the process has kind of consumed me. I’ve also made two grime tracks that I’m happy with considering I’m so new to this.

They are below.

Obviously these are really different to the style of music that I’m creating for Peggs game. I’s say I enjoy producing these grime tunes more than the ambient stuff.

As far as these tunes are concerned, I’m influenced by early Wiley productions and tunes by Spooky.