Getting back into Music making, and Trying something Completely Different

Prior to doing starting the MSc in Digital Media which led to this blog starting, I did an undergraduate degree in music, specialising in composition. Before University, I wrote orchestral music, and continued with this for a short while, but by second year I started getting involved in writing electroacoustic music (some of which you can find here.) Electroacoustics was great fun, but fairly niche. Then I graduated, moved back to Manchester and stopped composing altogether., putting all of that side in doing sound design, which I’ve blogged about before. Sound Design has been great, especially the foley side, but I found I missed the freedom of composition.

I made a New Year’s resolution to start writing music again, and even did some, but I’ve never written music without having other composers around so i felt I had no idea whether my work was any good or not, and eventually it was abandoned. So a few weeks ago I decided to try something completely different, making rhythm based electronic music and putting it out online for feedback.

As with every piece of music I make on the computer, I use Cubase 6.5. This is partly a familiarity thing, as Cubase was preferred over ProTools at Sheffield University, but also I feel it has a better workflow for composing. Though I’m definitely in Camp Steinberg, I do now think that Logic and ProTools are better in some ways for recording.

I’ve been referring to this music as electronic because I don’t know enough about this type of music to tell you what genre it should be in. In my teens I listened to a lot of metal and could tell you (with examples) the exact differences between metalcore, grindcore and hardcore, so I don’t want to incur the wrath of any particular group of fans by claiming to have composed in a genre I haven’t!

The first track I put together is this one, Nightlights was originally intended to be a song and I had a set of lyrics ready, but somehow it ended up going somewhere else. Nightlights was a last minute title choice as I was uploading it!

I’m not totally happy with the drum tracks in this, I listened to artists such as nervous_testpilot and Gareth Coker before doing this, and somehow their drums sound much more lively, it’s down to choosing better synths and doing more with them, so that will be the thing to work on. I’m calling this piece finished as a not bad first attempt and trying something new next

In the second track I made, I decided to try combining electroacoustic sounds with rhythm based synths from Cubase. This track went a bit crazy and I actually intend to go back and expand it as there are a lot of ideas but jumps too quickly from one to another. Plus upon relistening, that moment just before the middle section is way too bare.

So, if anyone reading this has any thoughts, feedback etc. do let me know, and don’t hold back. Seriously, I need criticism.

My eventual aim is to put these up on bandcamp for free, as royalty free music. I’d like to see my music used for something even if I get nothing from it. I’ve really enjoyed writing these and I’ve already started, though next week I’ll be going back to my roots and writing a piece for cello and piano. I’ve already got some ideas that I haven’t been able to record due to having builders in the house. Plus I’ll get to finish my Sound Design project and do some Voice over work for another project which I’ll have a blog post about soon!


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