“Lady of Shadows” video narration

Here is the narration that should accompany my video for “Lady of Shadows,” a song from the album “Red Fields of None.” Just imagine the voice of David Tennant, or Kiefer Sutherland, or Patrick Stewart, or whoever your favorite voice person happens to be.

The first instrument we hear is the Bösendorfer piano from Eastwest/Quantum Leap Pianos. From day one, I’ve always loved the sound of this library, and of this piano in particular. This is also my go-to piano for sketching out and brainstorming new ideas. Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to a lot of Eastwest stuff (such as Hollywood Strings, another great library which I also used here), it doesn’t come “mix-ready” out of the box. Their idea is to provide you with the tools you’d get if you were a recording or mixing engineer. So you’ll probably want to spend a little time shaping and crafting your sound.

Next is Hollywood Strings, another library that never disappoints. The legato patches here sound great–I used the bow-change+slur patch, which means that depending on how you play (or MIDI program it), the patch will change between bow-change or slur legato transition (there are other patches that also include portamento transitions). It’s SO rewarding to hear this in action, but a price we have to pay is that there is a little lag when playing. If you want to play it in real time, you have to play a little ahead of the metronome, but one gets used to it with practice. A word of warning: EW recorded some LOUD dynamics on these strings (the library is intended for modern dramatic scores and compositions). At their loudest, these strings are screaming. Be mindful of this, because the strings sound so good that it’s easy to lose track of dynamics and before you know it everything is loud.

ACE from U-He provides the synth pads. This is the same company that makes Zebra, a favorite tool of Hans Zimmer. ACE is a nice modular synth that even emulates the cables for you, and it’s a great learning tool if you want to become familiar with modular synthesizers. Just make sure you read the manual first.

The saxophone is from EWQL’s Goliath library. This library has been around for awhile, but it will never get old. The clarinet is from EWQL’s Hollywood Symphonic Woodwinds.

When the track gets heavy near the end, I bring in some Spitfire Iceni low strings to add some weight to the cellos and basses. Spitfire makes some GREAT stuff, and you’ll be seeing a lot of their libraries in upcoming videos. Iceni is their “low, heavy” library with larger orchestral bass/low sections. The sound is mighty impressive, as you’d imagine.

That about covers it! Feel free to ask any questions on the composition of this piece, or any questions about the libraries that were used.

“Red Fields of None” is available here:
-Bandcamp: https://goo.gl/6bg6B6
-Spotify: https://goo.gl/uuSGpx
-CD Baby: https://goo.gl/qp25HA
-iTunes: https://goo.gl/iHuHwZ
-Amazon: https://goo.gl/Q8y3nj
-Youtube: https://goo.gl/3tKfXo
-Google Play: https://goo.gl/7bXCMT
-iHeart Radio: https://goo.gl/27RcTf


“Red Fields of None”

“Red Fields of None,” the new orchestral album inspired by Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” novels, is now available at your preferred music service! Stream it, download it, add it to your playlists.

-Spotify: https://goo.gl/uuSGpx
-Bandcamp: https://goo.gl/6bg6B6
-CD Baby: https://goo.gl/qp25HA
-iTunes: https://goo.gl/iHuHwZ
-Amazon: https://goo.gl/Q8y3nj
-Youtube: https://goo.gl/3tKfXo
-Google Play: https://goo.gl/7bXCMT

This album was in the works for a LONG time (probably about as long a time as Roland has been on his quest), but I’m happy that it’s finally out there in the world.

I was 15 years old when I first picked up a copy of The Gunslinger. At that time, only the first two books of the series had been published, so I had to wait years for each new volume. While waiting, I re-read the previous books, immersing myself in Roland’s world. Even before I had become interested in writing music, I think I always knew the musical language that, to me, would complement Roland’s adventures. This album is an attempt to capture some of that musical language (yes, some of it… I think there are still a lot of musical themes to be discovered).

Thank you for listening, and I hope these musical works inspire you to rejoin Roland’s ka-tet for another trip to the Dark Tower–or to start your voyage for the first time. –RR25552262_1799227573421263_2722854966120927180_n_2

Royalty-free music for media projects

Yes! Royalty-free music for your media project needs.

Royalty-free library music are music tracks you can use in media projects–for example, a documentary or film you’re working on, or a presentation for work or school. By paying the price of the track, you are paying the licensing fee for such use, and you don’t have to worry about paying additional royalties down the line. The tracks are available as they are, and you are free to use as much or as little of them as needed.

If you need a customized musical piece or a score for a film, feel free to contact me.

Please visit my Pond5 page and take a listen…



“Red Fields of None”

I am happy to announce that my album “Red Fields of None” is finally up on my Bandcamp site! This is a collection of musical pieces inspired by events, themes, and characters from Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series of novels. Thank you, Mr. King, for creating a rich world with fascinating characters to draw inspiration from.

“Interstellar” — A short review

Here’s a short review of “Interstellar”– I saw it over the weekend and I thought it was great. Obviously, no film is perfect, but the few flaws it has weren’t enough for me not to enjoy it. Usually, the amount of time I spend thinking about a film after watching it is a good measuring stick for how much I liked it. And I’ve been thinking about this film most of the week!

First off, though… I’ve come across more than a few negative, nit-picky reviews online. When I first started seeing these–especially the ones that seemed to take a lot of delight in tearing the film apart–I suspected that some of these reviewers were trying really hard not to like it. I am more convinced of that now. I wonder if their opinions would be different if the movie hadn’t been so hyped up for so long. Also, for some reason Nolan is a “love-him-or-hate-him” type of director, and I think that plays into it, too. FYI, I am a Nolan fan and am a big fan of his Dark Knight trilogy and Inception.

Visuals-wise, the film is a masterpiece. According to physicist Kip Thorne, who was a consultant on the film, the black hole simulations actually led to new discoveries about gravitational lensing around black holes. The story can be a bit confusing, and they throw around a lot of complicated science concepts, but I don’t think most people would have trouble keeping up. The acting is also stellar (haha). Music-wise, Hans Zimmer delivers a very powerful and surprisingly emotional score (can’t wait for the collector’s edition of the album). If there’s a flaw in the film, it’s the character-driven interactions. That tends to be the flaw in most of Nolan’s films–the stories are very plot-driven, and the characters just do and say what they need to get from point A to point B. This would bug me if it were a weak story, but in this case it’s not a deal-breaker at all. (And this is probably the “flaw” in many sci-fi films and novels.)

One of the messages of the film is truly relevant in today’s climate change era. If we’re to survive as a species, we MUST start thinking of going to the stars (or nearby planets, for starters). If climate change doesn’t kill us, then probably an asteroid or volcano will. We’ll definitely need to be off-planet when the sun expands to the point that it cooks the Earth some 5 billion years from now. The film addresses that type of thinking, and also some of the problems we’ll come across as interstellar explorers. One such problem is relativistic time dilation–time moves slower for you if you’re in a gravity well. The higher the gravity, the slower time moves. An hour for you might be days, weeks, or more for someone outside the effects of the gravity well. I can’t think of any other film that deals with this as dramatically as “Interstellar.”

Bottom line… If you’re a fan of Nolan’s previous work and/or are into realistic science fiction/space travel movies with “mind blowing” concepts, you will enjoy this film.

Gunslingers and Xeelees, oh my!!

It’s been awhile since my last blog post! Just a quick update…

For awhile now my Dark Tower project has been pretty much finished. The goal of this project was to compose dramatic music, something with a modern orchestral sound, that might fit in a score if the Dark Tower series were made into a film. For those unfamiliar with “The Dark Tower,” it’s an eight book novel series that’s kind of different for what Stephen King is known for. Yeah, there are some suspenseful and horror elements in there, but it’s mostly a fantasy/adventure epic. The main character is Roland Deschain, the last of the Gunslingers (kind of like an order of knights, except with revolvers). The stories take place in a dystopian setting, after “the world has moved on.” Throughout the stories, Roland pursues his life goal of reaching the Dark Tower, where he believes he can atone for his past and fix whatever is wrong with the world.

I used a lot of synths, electric guitars, saxophones, etc. in these pieces, but I think in the end result, the orchestra is still most prominent. In the description section in each of the tracks, I provided a bit of an explanation as to what inspired each piece.

The project I’m working on right now is also inspired by a novel series, written by another Stephen. This one is Stephen Baxter’s “Xeelee Sequence,” a space-opera sci-fi series. I think anyone that’s a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars would enjoy these. To summarize, the Xeelee Sequence is about humanity’s expansion into space, from around the 30th century all the way to a million years in the future, and beyond. Baxter is known for “hard science fiction,” which means that he meticulously researches real scientific ideas and concepts for his stories. He covers everything from quantum physics to evolution (in particular, the evolutionary effects on humanity once we’ve been space-faring for thousands of generations) to spacecraft engineering (Baxter himself is an engineer).

If I had to pick one main theme in these stories, it would be “survival”–how humanity adapts and survives, despite the odds against them (a common theme in his works). The other theme is the expansion of mankind throughout the galaxy. After a few shaky starts (humanity actually gets conquered by aliens–twice), humans finally set out into the stars, but not as Star Trek-like peaceful explorers. After the trauma of two alien occupations, humanity takes on a “never again” attitude and expand into the galaxy as conquerors, eventually becoming the dominant species in the galaxy. By then, their only rivals are the god-like and aloof Xeelee, who are too preoccupied with their own projects to really be bothered by humans. But every now and then, humanity gets their attention…

This project will consist of five tracks (for now… I might add to it later). Here are the track names…

1 – Closed Timelike Curve

2 – Expansion

3 – Anthem to the Exultant Generation

4 – Prime Radiant

5 – The War in Heaven

Anyone familiar with the series will understand these references 🙂 The first track should be ready in  a few days, so stay tuned…