Erenan's Music

Discussion in 'Other Topics' started by Erenan, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    So I noticed that about a year and a half ago (before I was a member here) some of you guys created threads to share your own music. I've already had a link to my SoundCloud profile in my signature for a long time, but I figured I might as well explicitly and shamelessly create a thread to prompt some responses (assuming you guys can manage to withstand staring at that ugly picture of me my wife took while I was chewing)! :D

    A lot of what I have on my SoundCloud is stuff I don't exactly stand by in terms of quality (it's kind of a small random sampling, honestly, and some of it is crap that I churned out in like a half hour because I just felt like writing something but didn't feel like trying hard), but I really think some of it is quite good, so I'll direct you to some specific things (but feel free to listen to all of it if you want to).

    I like this set of four very short piano pieces. One is a duet and the other three are solos. I was thinking I would write more and treat them as a suite intended to be performed by two pianists divvying up the pieces however they like (duets performed by both of them, of course), and I do have one or two other pieces in the works, but I keep failing to come back to work on these. :confused:

    ODE. I posted this recently at FantasyStrike in the "'Look what I made' thread" thread, but I got no response other than likes by ratxt1 and Kadir. My wife actually liked this one (she usually does not like my music). She said that I was starting to tie things together better instead of just stringing a bunch of unrelated material together, though I disagree with her that I am "starting" to do that. I just do different things with different pieces, and with this one I deliberately did what I did. It really wasn't a "finally coming to grips with how to write better music" thing. I do not stand by this track as being mixed well, but I like the composition a lot.

    In the Presence of My Enemies. Actually, this is a track from the forthcoming debut full-length album from this weird reclusive space-age superhero from the future who asked me to produce his album (don't ask; he's weird). So while the album isn't really "mine" I did actually compose most of the music in this track (I am actually co-composing maybe 20% of the album). Null Terminator (his artist name) wrote the third part with all the lush string synths at the end, but the melody there is actually a slow pseudo-counterpoint repetition of the melody that opens the track, so I actually kinda wrote that part too. :p I will surely do a more proper mix of this thing or possibly just hire someone who actually knows what they're doing.

    The Sand Sub Crew. Actually, this is a remix of a MIDI track I wrote for a point and click adventure game I made in June 2005 (you can still play it if you want to! It's really bad! LOL) before I knew anything about "systems" or "forms" or "complexity effectiveness" or anything like that. But I really like the quasi-classical melody lines, even though it just repeats and repeats and repeats (it was meant for a video game, so it was designed to loop, of course). The guitar solo is pretty bad, but I didn't do a lot of takes. I got lazy.

    Mellow. Made with the iPad version of Garage Band. Another game music remix, except the kinda weird thing is that this was the original track I created and the version going into the game it's intended for (RPG Maker game called Selatria coming out after probably four or five more pushed back release dates from now; this isn't my game, I'm just writing music for it) is actually a separate track derived from this one. So I guess this one isn't actually the remix but the original. :cool:

    .e Intro Theme. Once upon a time long long ago, I was going to try to make some kinda long RPG thing called ".e" but I didn't get any further into it than the prologue cutscene and the stats selection screen (I mean, I had a whole stupid story written out and everything, but in terms of deliverables it was pretty much just a cutscene and a stats screen). So I still have this fake NES music that I wrote for it a long time ago. I still kind of like it.

    I suppose that might be enough so I'll stop there.
    ratxt1, Nachtfischer and keithburgun like this.
  2. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    My thoughts. You definitely look like you're ready to bludgeon someone to death with a lead pipe in that photo, so I'll try to be gentle, haha.

    The piano pieces contain way too much information, in my opinion. If they were to be compared to games, these would be the Nethacks, the Dwarf Fortress, or the Advanced Squad Leader or something.

    They're just really inefficient. Each musical idea seems to get used once, and then there's something new. For example, in O Lord How Many Miseries, there's this little rhythmic motif that appears around 50 seconds. And my brain is like "oh, some information!" I want to then explore that, but it doesn't seem to use repetition anywhere, and then it just ends.

    Ultimately, and this sounds harsh because I'm sure you put a ton of work into these, they too-closely-resemble this satire music that I made simply by mashing keys randomly on the piano. I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart, really. They feel like a long rambley run-on sentence rather than a coherent, structured idea.

    ODE - This is much better, I think. There's a melody here. The A section is good, although I dunno about looping it up front like that. There probably needs to be more development. The B-section, I think, starts out really strong but then takes us on one-too-many little roller coaster adventures. By 2:47, it's starting to dawn on me that there isn't really a structure here, you're kind of jamming. I do appreciate that you eventually get back to the A section but by then it's a little too late.

    The problem with "jamming" out a through-composed thing is that it's just simply asking way too much of the audience, I think.

    Null Terminator - I like the sound of this one. It's reminiscent of Aphex Twin for some reason. The weird time changes seem designed to throw the listener off, though. Overall there are nice parts, but it's adding rather than multiplying. You're not using form to your advantage. I have no idea where I am in any of these pieces; am I at the beginning? Middle? End? Are there still 20 minutes left to go?

    Sand Sub Crew - probably my favorite one so far, just because, even if the melody is a little on the wandery side, there is at least a "groove" here that's consistent. Very cool sound overall.

    Mellow - Sounds nice, but feels kinda like a jam. I got kind of bored maybe ~1:30 in, feeling like it probably was just going to loop this for another few minutes with some more "stuff" over it.

    .e Intro - Another favorite. I like that it's basically just a strophic form with the A repeatedly. The A melody is a littttle on the long side maybe but it works, and overall feels pretty coherent.

    Overall: you're clearly someone with a musical ear who possesses all of the tools necessary to make great music. I would just suggest that you just have to try to work with less. Re-use more, re-purpose a motif for numerous things. Also, take more advantage of form. Just as an essay shouldn't be "sentence 1 then sentence 2 then sentence 3 then sentence 4", but rather have a core idea (in music, that's usually your "chorus" melody) and then other sections that support that core.

    I guess what I'm suggesting is that I advise you to utilize Clockwork Music Design. :D
    Nachtfischer and Erenan like this.
  3. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Hi Keith, thanks for listening! I know you are big on artists not wasting the audience's time, so hopefully I didn't disappoint too much. :)

    I am not too surprised by your reaction, actually. It's basically what I was expecting. Well, except for the comparison to your obviously randomly made up on the spot piano stuff. I mean, if you can't tell that stuff apart from my short piano pieces, then I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you're exaggerating, at least a little? I think they are completely different.

    I will say though that actually I didn't work very hard on those, so while I do disagree with your assessment of them in general, these actually were composed rather quickly, and I do think it shows. Still, I stand by them as being among the better works available on my SoundCloud, which again, is a very small sampling. (Actually, I did work pretty hard on "the Persistence of Anxiety" but a big part of that is just that it's a 12-tone piece and it took a while to figure out how to get the tone row to do what I wanted it to do).

    I agree that what you referred to as Clockwork Music Design is a great way to write music, and I actually think I can do it pretty well, and I even try to do it sometimes. But I don't believe that it is strictly necessary to structure music with that kind of approach in mind. I made a decision a long time ago to spend a large part of my time as a composer exploring what can work outside of that paradigm. I do not think that my music is meaningless or without solid structure at all, but I would be happy to agree to disagree with you about any of this.

    Specifically, I have spent LOTS of time trying to explore how to make high density of information and low levels of repetition work in music, and while I don't think these piano pieces are great triumphs of that kind of thing, I have some other stuff in the works that I think works brilliantly (though I'll still need to tweak it a lot once I'm "finished"). I listen to say, Mike Oldfield's Amarok, and I think while it's fun and interesting it's ultimately kind of a jumbled mess. I am deeply interested in trying to get long information-fests to work well, and I believe from experience that they actually can. Still, you probably won't be my biggest fan if I ever manage to get my stupid music career off the ground. :D

    I do think that "A Tidy Dilemma" (one of the short piano pieces) is a bit poor in terms of structure, especially the second half of it. I do consider this one to be more of a failure than a success, and one day I may go back and rewrite it. This is the one place where I mostly agree with your assessment. On the other three of them I disagree probably about 85-90%, honestly. I think they repeat as much as necessary to do what they are trying to do, and I don't think they have too much information. Maybe I'm just weird. I am often drawn to extremely densely packed music, and I have a hard time finding much to listen to that satisfies that particular craving, so I just try to write it myself.

    With "ODE," I definitely do not think I am jamming at all here. I stand by each and every note, but again, I'm happy to agree to disagree. Actually, I initially kind of agreed with your criticism of the verbatim looping of the melody in the A section, but I ultimately decided that it worked best that way. In fact, it really took a great deal of willpower to get myself to allow it to repeat as much as it does, as usually I tend to veer away from repetition. From a broader perspective, it's really what I think was needed there for the strength of the piece as a whole.

    It might be worth mentioning that the Null Terminator track is part of a narrative that is intended to run through the entire album, and so for this project I really cannot do the usual musical repetition thing as much inside of a single piece (we are doing some track to track repetitions of motifs and structures and stuff, though). NT and I have discussed what we're doing with this project quite a bit, and he has insisted that what we've got already in this track is perfect. I don't quite agree with him (we disagree a lot, actually), but he's the boss.

    "Mellow" is totally a jam, but sometimes I think that's okay. It's fine if you got bored. I get it. Again, we might just have to agree to disagree.

    Anyway, I totally appreciate your feedback even if it doesn't seem like it, and I really will take it into full consideration, but I'm trying to do some specific things that are basically mutually exclusive with the clockwork paradigm that you love so much. Great food for thought though. Thanks again. :)

    Wow, that is totally not how I see that photo! Maybe it's even more urgent to change it than I thought!
    keithburgun and Nachtfischer like this.
  4. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  5. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    keithburgun and Lemon like this.
  6. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    Good to see you, Erenan!
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Hey hey, ya good to see you. Will check out your music tomorrow!

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