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  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests
    Indie Game Development, Video Game Scoring, Piano Performance, Improvisation


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  • Collaboration Status
    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Software - Preferred Plugins/Libraries
    Kontakt, Reaktor, Synth1, C700
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Mixing & Mastering
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (List)

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sphexic's Achievements


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  1. I get it every winter, too. Hoping to rectify that with a move to a nicer climate soon. My best advice is to keep your mind busy. Get obsessed with something that doesn't remind you how dark and gray it is outside. Do some indoor exercises like push-ups. Keep up consistent sleep habits and avoid alcohol. Most of all, allow yourself to have a "blah" day once in a while where you do nothing; that usually helps me recharge after weeks of expending energy to keep my spirits up. If you're in the Northeastern US, the coldest day of the year is only a week or two away and it gets warmer from there, so hang in there!
  2. from Xenogears was the first song I learned to play all the way through on the piano. Before that, it was just picking out game melodies on a tiny Casio keyboard while looping MIDIs on the computer for reference. There was this cool program that would show the notes being played on a graphical keyboard during playback. I forget what it was called, but it was basically my first piano teacher
  3. Thanks for the correction, Wiesty. As you were able to tell, my theory knowledge is mostly classical, so it's good to learn some theory from another genre. The overall point I was trying to make is that the melody line from 11:56 to 12:04 makes it feel like the song could end when they hit the "-ven" in "heaven," but the bass note underneath them at that point prevents a resolution and elongates the phrase. That sense of full closure is delayed until the very last bass note around 12:35. Everything in between feels like a way of "floating down" harmonically to the expected ending chord instead of going out with a huge bang. Of course, this is just how I'm hearing the song, and that doesn't make other interpretations invalid. I agree that if a song sounds pleasing, that's what matters. But I feel that theory should try to explain why it sounds pleasing. I understand that a lot of people dislike theory because it's taught very rigidly and as a "rule-book for writing music." I personally love theory because I see it as a way of describing musical phenomena rather than prescribing rules. I admit I shouldn't have used any kinds of chord symbols without transcribing the music because my ear isn't very precise. Chlysm's phrase "usually takes place at the very end of the song where the lead or vocals has hit it's final note and a chord in a different key is played" is very close to the definition of a deceptive cadence, though, and describes the phenomenon he's referring to really well. Classical music uses different chords, certainly, but the concept of a deceptive cadence is the same: one of flouting an expected ending to a phrase. I was mistaken in saying this Dream Theater song uses a dominant chord, as you've shown. But there seems to be an expectation of resolution that is interrupted by the stuff that happens between 12:04 and 12:35, whether that's just caused by the harmonic implication of the melody or by a combination of factors. That's all I'm trying to get across.
  4. Correct me if I'm wrong anyone, I haven't done theory in a while. It sounds to me like a deceptive cadence. A deceptive cadence is when you expect some kind of closure by moving from the dominant (V) to the root chord (I) of the key, but instead you get a related chord (usually IV or VI because they share 2 notes with I). Structurally, this serves to extend the phrase before coming to a close. You can really hear that in this song. From 11:24, if you listen to the bass, every 4-bar phrase goes to the dominant (V) chord. It sounds like the song is about to end. This is because the bass wants to jump from that chord to the root, the point of rest. But instead, they veer off into a chord farther from the tonal center so they can jam a bit longer and settle onto the root chord (which gives the feeling of ending) instead of landing on it abruptly. If you listen to the singers at 12:04, you can actually hear that their melody goes to the tonic (root note of the key), but the bass doesn't land on the tonic, so it creates this jarring tension of "Whoa, I thought the song was about to end." This is a great thing because the song (especially such a long one) has built up a lot of energy, and releasing it all at once would actually be a huge let-down. So instead, they ease their way back to tonic, giving a more gentle path toward the song's end. Also, if you jump back and forth between the beginning and end of the song a few times while paying attention to the bass, you'll hear that the song eventually does go back to the root chord of the key (and the entire song), giving the sense of closure/resolution we expect from a song. Hope that helps! Let me know if you need me to clarify anything. Writing music theory in words always ends up really cluttered compared to scores and diagrams. Edit: Just wanted to point out that the part in question from 12:04 is not actually a key change because the music doesn't settle in that new key. Because the song almost immediately goes back to the original key within the same musical phrase, it's more of a "key stretch," where chords from a different key are being borrowed for the sake of tone-color.
  5. Thanks for linking my remix! I also have The Setzer Sonata if you're looking for a more straightforward arrangement. +1 for Dhsu. IIRC his mixes are what brought me to this site years ago. Also can't go wrong with Shnabubula.
  6. I got monk. First few hours were pretty great, but it turns out fighting dragons bare-chested leaves you open to attack.
  7. I agree with the sentiment that a lot of modern games pander to the Hollywood style too often, but this doesn't indicate a shift in quality so much as style. Take a look at Masashi Hamauzu's soundtrack for Final Fantasy XIII. He had a real orchestra at his disposal, and his score was appropriate for such a cinematic game. I found a lot of faults with the game itself, but I have no complaints about the soundtrack. Hamauzu managed to make something fresh while still hearkening back to Uematsu's iconic themes. Look at this part of FF13's "The Promise" and compare it to this part in FF4's Prelude. The motivic link is vague, but it's that echo of great themes that makes the soundtrack sound like Final Fantasy while staying fresh at the same time. A more obvious connection would be FF4's Prologue compared to FF13's Opening. The theme in FF13 has a similar contour, and it's a little "faster" due to rhythmic diminution. But instead of just being a rehash, it has its own identity that is more adapted to the sci-fi setting of FF13. Of course, there are so many moments in Uematsu's soundtracks that are just straight-up magical. This was certainly in part due to the limitations of the hardware. Uematsu's strength is said to be his melodies, but I'd argue that it also has to do with the unique voice-leading he finds for the middle voices in his music. Just listen to the strings in this piece. The melody is really simple, hovering on one note and staying within the same scale. But the strings in the middle drive the melody into interesting harmonic areas. I understand many recent games have downright bland soundtracks. For all the technology available, we should be seeing more interesting music in games. But my point in making the comparison between FF4 and FF13 is that some composers are exploring the capabilities of the medium. In the case of FFXIII, there's the mix of electronic, electric, and orchestral instrumentation in most battle themes. There's the melancholy in Will to Fight that is a haunting parallel to FFX's Someday the Dream Will End. There's the fantastic articulation of the solo violin in A Brief Respite. Not to mention the jazzy character theme for Sazh. No matter what technology humans are given to work with, a few of them will find ways to produce amazing art with it. It seems like there are a lot more forgettable soundtracks now than in the past, but that's because we tend to forget about the forgettable soundtracks that were made a couple decades ago.
  8. Backed! I really hope you reach your goal. It's clear you've worked hard to reach this stage of development, and there need to be more games with generative music out there.
  9. Well I did end up finishing a game! Simple as it is, I'm happy with it. It's a start. Here's to more progress in 2014, for me and everyone here at OCR
  10. My 2013 resolutions were forgotten within two months, so maybe making these public will help me stick to them! 1. Learn to make good pixel art, leading into... 2. Finally make a video game or two, most likely with Flash 3. Get a better-paying and more fulfilling job 4. Re-connect with old friends and make new ones too
  11. Wow, congrats on doing the keyboard parts in one take. You must know the chords inside and out. I liked how liberal the arrangement was, as it kept throwing out new ideas and kept me listening. The production is solid, and I think the electric keyboard was well situated underneath the piano without falling too far beneath the texture. Though the marimba was substituting for bass, I felt it could have had a solo or two, especially in the sparser parts of the mix! Nonetheless, excellent job and I'm sad this wasn't released sooner.
  12. I don't mind if you host mine. The revision for the album was completely different.
  13. Heck yes! I'll try my best to break it I used to play with RPG Maker all the time. It'd be fun to play again.
  14. Actually, I'd really like to see this made. That final boss battle would go down in history.
  15. http://youtu.be/CLLVwGgzFSs?t=12m39s This thing scared the crap out of me as a kid. I still get a panicky feeling watching this video.
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