Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One on Twoism: Volume 6

       My good friend Paul Rabe and I submitted a full cd design around a couple of months ago to the Twoism music forum for the 6th compilation album coming sometime this summer. The album consists of all user-created music, not necessarily following a theme. However, knowing how like-minded everyone is, it isn't hard for them to create a really consistent body of work. They are a really talented group of people and I've been really thankful to be a part of it through all of my music-making, BOC-loving ventures.

Anyways, the selection was made between multiple designs, slowly narrowing down to a just a few. the process ended up taking a little while, but it was a pretty cool critical thinking/designing period. Last Wednesday they came to the consensus to use ours:

Now I'm going to say, Paul deserves as much (and more) credit for this one as I do, it wouldn't have been possible without his photo-wizardry. Here are a few more links where you can check out some more of his work:

Anyways, I remember sitting up in bed one night and thinking how great this imagery would fit with the forum's aesthetic. I promptly got ahold of Paul and started putting together the layouts and doing a bit of digital manipulation with his scans. I added a bit of paper texture to them, trying to achieve the feeling of an old scifi paperback book. We submitted, and you've already read the rest of the story.

All that's left to do now is get some more imagery over to the person/people working on the website for the album and to retype the back tracklist and credits with the actual people who have made it into the mix. Can't wait to hear/see it all put together!

The Teacher...

...who's birthday it is today
this one's for you:

"The Teacher" by Perch

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chapter 1 finished

Hello all

My pet music project is finally starting to get new installments! This one in particular is pulling from some recordings I did around 2 years ago. Though the front aesthetic stays a bit cryptic, even has puzzles built in to recordings and page descriptions to hide secret messages, I'd like to be open about the recording processes.

Here is the main page with the album:

I've already posted the artwork, but I'll go a little into depth with what I was thinking on that. I wanted to emulate some of my favorite old book illustrations, ones that weren't necessarily realistic landscapes, but moreso just representations of different characters/places bound into one form. The gamekeeper is entering the woods on the left, the tree described in the opening piece divides the image, and the space I imagined for "Siskin" is seen through the gap on the left. I wanted the two openings to represent opposites (black on white, white on black) as to reference the title "Monster in Context".

The two main pieces, Whom and Monster in Context both derive from the same recording sessions I was doing 2 years past. After finishing Whom, I felt that the final product was very playful, and thought that it would be an interesting project to try and return to the source material and work on something darker using the same sounds. The tail end of Monster in Context returns to the more playful tones, sort of to round off the body of work.

Quite a few instruments/objects were used for these pieces. Percussion ranges from a handful of hangers, to ripping fabric, to overturned clothes baskets. The synthesizer noises were a handful of digital synths, along with an antique organ that produces a really great, flat sound. I recorded the funky guitar parts while I was at home in Virginia Beach, thinking that Whom needed something that would really characterize it, not just have it be some forgettable, lofty 2-chord track that it started out as.

The opening piece was an improvised recording of digital string/wind instruments passed through a four track tape recorder. In fact many of the sounds were passed through the same tape recorder to add some more natural sounding grain to everything.

A few samples were used, beginning with Mr. Minter's recording of "The Gamekeeper at Home". A few more were the violin sounds in Whom, the trumpet in Siskin, the bell sounds in Monster. I'll leave the rest to be discovered, I suppose.

I don't know if I could encompass everything that has gone into these pieces, some of them have changed drastically in the time they've been worked on, some are 2 or more pieces combined into one, but I can say that the learning process has been immense- and that all of the pieces, though combining to a relatively short playtime, have quite a story behind them.

Anyways, thank you for listening if you do! This is the first of many bodies of work I intend to produce, audience or no.

Friday, April 11, 2014

New ErtWerk

For the ep I've been working on:

Should be done very soon. It will consist of 6-7 pieces of mostly unheard work
Just for random measure, here is some of the artwork for previous tracks:

Still plugging away slowly at all of this. Work makes investing long periods of time into this project pretty difficult, but I'm trying very hard to keep the fire going

Thanks for checking it out!

Monday, December 30, 2013

the Princess and the Pound

A christmas present for my mom who has been working on some different short stories!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Cemetery Gates" Miniature

Because I love making trees.

the first task that I've set out on for Michelle's project has been putting together the set for a really really wide shot of Dracula's House. I wrote a bit about it before, but this will consist of 3 panels. The front panel is going to be the most detailed as it takes up most of the screen. 

Michelle had a pretty solid idea of what this shot would be, along with all the props needed. I wanted to have a personal idea the angle and scale of everything, so I tried to draw out a final arrangement for the two focal points (the gate, and the house on the cliff). The initial one I threw together for this was pretty rough, though I wanted to make sure the gateway had a lot of screen presence. The final shot/composite will be framed much better than this portrayal... but this is just one of those things not meant to look particularly pretty to anyone but the person using it as directions.

(Michelle has some much better concept work for it)

Anyways, My first step was making that gateway. It is the first point of interest, and I wanted to have a good idea for the overall scale by making something relative to the characters. The sides are made with carved/painted foam, and rest with a combination of mat-board and wires.

The lantern on top has a wire running down the chain so that it can be animated swinging. The doors are also attached via hinges, and can be opened. 

After the gate was completed, Michelle cut a large wooden board for me to use that would be ample space to make this set. I think the entire thing is around 2 feet wide and a little over 1 foot deep. I worked a bit on making an interesting/slightly inclined terrain out of chicken wire and plaster wrap. I have a photo where you can see the under side of the ground, with all those layers in place. Some painted papier-mâché did well for the dirt ground. There is a better view of that, along with the start of a brick path (again, made with foam) that breaks up as it nears the gate. 

Up next were the trees. These were pretty tough because I wanted them to be really gnarled, thick pieces. To make the roots convincing enough, I decided to collect a bunch of sticks, also used for the branches. I used real bark as well, and to meld everything together I used some plaster-y material. Here's a photo of all of that with the bare plaster:

After that had dried, I painted the plaster parts, and tried to replicate that texture/color pattern. Things here are starting to come together some more. Trees starting to look like trees haha.

The last bit I was able to work on was just putting down some moss to start fleshing out the grass patterns. I also added Michelle's miniature vespa, so you can have an idea how large the character will be in the scope of all this. Keep in mind, the gate is still not attached, just placed in there so you can have an idea.

So this is where the miniature is at right now; this panel is pretty near completion. I still need to work on some wispy foliage for the trees, more blending with the grass/plants, and the fence. The next panel behind this one will be a really wide piece with just open, not-super-detailed hills. The final panel will have the cliff, and a small version of Dracula's house to create a sort of forced perspective.

I'll post some more on this soon! this is really the only animation-related thing I'm working on at the moment, so I'm trying to be pretty gung-ho about it. Again, check out Michelle's side of things along with some awesome interior miniatures here: http://bts-roommatessuck.blogspot.com/

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Old Crap

Here is an old album that I put together before I started really paying attention to what I wanted to sound like. I was drawing from a variety of loose influences at the time, most of which being very digital, right-out-of-the-box kinds of sounds, with lots of pretty accessible chord structures (or none at all). I was ecstatic at the time because I was really starting to produce things at a decent rate, some of these being composed within days.

These are by no means bad things, I just started discovering more and more about the process, and seeing some different directions that I wanted to go with music. By the time I was finished with these, I kind of wanted to stuff them away. I found the work I had done to be way too contained to a computer, and they were just overly-digitalized, cold sounds; I stopped enjoying the kind of work I was making. That, and I felt that they weren't very well composed or recorded/edited. I was a complete stranger to even the idea of mastering/mixing.

Anyways, a few years have passed now, and I thought I'd toss together this unfinished album that never really saw the light of day:

Counter Fiction EP (download link)

1. Kindredscape
2. The Childe Thomas
3. Romance of Moths
4. Let's Make Scenery
5. Behind the Blue Wall
6. Sunrise
7. Regressive Property

Thanks for reading/downloading!