“The Rose” on Spotify Playlists

My song “The Rose,” from the album “Red Fields of None,” has been added to several Spotify playlists! Thank you to the owners of these playlists for placing my song in such good company.

If you’re a Spotify user and a fan of dramatic/fantasy/sci-fi orchestral music, make sure to check these out. They did a good job at compiling these playlists…

“Fantasy Chill” Playlist by Goman Kalef

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“Epic Music, Battle Music, & Warrior Music” Playlist by Derek Fiechter

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“D&D Stuff” Playlist by Robert Price

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“Intense Classical” Playlist by Nick Berry Pagán

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“Dungeons and Dragons – DnD music / fantasy music / celtic music / role playing” Playlist by Celestial Aeon Project

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“Cinematic Music for studying and motivation” Playlist by Leandros Papakarmezis

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…and here is the entire album, “Red Fields of None”

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“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

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…