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Calum

wip How's my music?

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Hi Everyone,

As an aspiring VG composer, this is the perfect place to get feedback on my suitability for such a job.

www.calumbowen.com

Here's a link to my website which is effectively my online CV. Please let me know if you have advice/criticism of any aspects of this!

THANKS A LOT

Calum

P.S. here is a direct link to the music: http://soundcloud.com/calum-bowen

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Thanks man,

I'm envious of your productivity, you're constantly releasing stuff and it looks like you've got a pretty good fanbase (based on the youtube stats!). But i'll message you some more stuff, don't want to make this off topic. :)

If anyone else has any critiques or ways to make my website/music more desirable to potential clients or anything really, that'd be great!

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Aspiring video game composer? Shit, you've got the job. Just when I think I'm starting to get pretty alright, someone like you comes along and puts everything in perspective :P

VERY eclectic.

Those piano samples are incredible, especially the ones in Advert 2. What are you using?

Same goes for the distorted guitar samples in Visual Novel Teaser.

And last question: what kind of training do you have? I hear some VERY strong classical music influences throughout.

edit: Eh, I should probably add some critiques in anyway. Praise is nice, but it's not so constructive :P The problem is that I was enjoying what I was hearing so much, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the details. In general, however, I did notice that most tracks tended to sound synthetic. Obviously, that's no biggie in electronic music, but in sequencing orchestral or acoustic parts, it's critical. You've nailed composition; now, focus on production. Also, the piano pieces were all somewhat robotic, although well put-together.

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Aspiring video game composer? Shit, you've got the job. Just when I think I'm starting to get pretty alright, someone like you comes along and puts everything in perspective :P

VERY eclectic.

Those piano samples are incredible, especially the ones in Advert 2. What are you using?

Same goes for the distorted guitar samples in Visual Novel Teaser.

And last question: what kind of training do you have? I hear some VERY strong classical music influences throughout.

edit: Eh, I should probably add some critiques in anyway. Praise is nice, but it's not so constructive :P The problem is that I was enjoying what I was hearing so much, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the details. In general, however, I did notice that most tracks tended to sound synthetic. Obviously, that's no biggie in electronic music, but in sequencing orchestral or acoustic parts, it's critical. You've nailed composition; now, focus on production. Also, the piano pieces were all somewhat robotic, although well put-together.

Ah thanks so much! Oh wow, well in advert 2 that was the piano setting on alchemy's planet earth pack (which was at one point pay what you like) which i tweaked a tiny bit. Other than that I do use EWQL pianos gold. HOWEVER, it's interesting that you noticed the (basically) free piano sample over the certainly more expensive ones. The guitars are all line-in.

Ah well, I am a third year music student at sussex university - i'm basically constantly doing composition - in terms of classical influences - debussy/ravel, a lot of jazz, stravinsky, but i'm majorly wapanese and (as well as Koji Kondo + Nobuo Uematsu of course) I love the shenmue/okami soundtracks and find that i can't escape writing like them! It was a hard choice not to do music tech because i do feel lacking in production qualities which i'm constantly trying to improve. But I guess I've got a pretty sizeable composition background but it's nothing that couldn't come for free. The best practise has come from self-initiated study :).

Thank you for the critique, it's certainly fair! Mmm, yes, I would love to get things sounding really really amazing.

I'm listening to your stuff on soundcloud now and it seems you definitely have the production chops i'm lacking! Keep it up man and thanks for the feedback.

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Hmmm, Shenmue and Okami soundtracks, eh? Looks like I'll need to procure those ASAP. Never played either.

Sorry, I suck with terminology. By saying the guitars were "line in," you meant that they were recorded, correct?

And Debussy is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite classical dude :D He pretty much wrote the book on the chords I use.

Any theory books/resources you could recommend? I'd really like to ramp up my self study in that area.

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Oh yeah both Shenmue and Okami are amazing games. For shenmue you'd have to find an old dreamcast but Okami is far more attainable - it was originally released on ps2 but there's a wii version as well which I have. Both of those soundtracks have a great mix between large orchestral and Japanese traditional music. They're simply gorgeous. With the Okami, you may have to sift through quite a lot of music to find the great tracks (the best ones are mostly by Rei Kondo). But look out for: Tsuzurao's Theme, The Sun Rises, The Journey Continues, Kaguya's Journey. In terms of Shenmue soundtrack, it's all good really - Nozomi & Ryo is an pretty awesome love theme, Christmas on Dobuita Street is seriously relaxing and gorgeous, Sedge Tree also is the main theme and is great!

Yeah, by line-in i mean I plugged a lead from my electric guitar into my tiny mixing desk (you could plug it straight into your laptop/sound card interface) and then used mostly preset guitar settings on logic. But yes, they are live.

Mmm, debussy is the man! In terms of theory books or resources, i don't really know what i can suggest. I think the main way i advanced was that I have an electric piano/keyboard in my room and whenever i have a song playing I just tried to play along. That way it sort of just absorbed into my brain and you can make things you way you want them to sound a lot quicker. But also more active study like finding a song you like and working out the chords, then trying to use those chords in your own song. Or studying the melodies and also combinations of instruments. I need to do this a lot more! But there's absolutely no shame in "stealing" other people's chords or the way they've put things together - thing is you do that anyway but it just takes longer because you don't know where you've stolen it from!

But seriously, you've got some really good production techniques going on - i was listening to your glitchy katamari-type tune a minute ago and there's so much there that i wouldn't begin to know how to do. And that makes me excited and keeps me working because i know there's so much i don't know!

I guess if you love listening to music then try to play the music you love and you'll learn new tricks and techniques.

Thanks for all the comments so far :) you make me feel like a sensei but i am way a student - i have a lot to learn from you!

Hmmm, Shenmue and Okami soundtracks, eh? Looks like I'll need to procure those ASAP. Never played either.

Sorry, I suck with terminology. By saying the guitars were "line in," you meant that they were recorded, correct?

And Debussy is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite classical dude :D He pretty much wrote the book on the chords I use.

Any theory books/resources you could recommend? I'd really like to ramp up my self study in that area.

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Oh, you're an aspiring video game composer too? I'm also working to become a game composer as well! And first of all, I'm glad finally a Westerner like myself wants to implement some of the Japanese game music style into games as much as I do! Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, and Yasunori Mitsuda are definitely among my favorite top 3 game composers amongst many others.

Getting to the topic at hand, I just listened to all of your music currently shown on your website's homepage. One thing I definitely have noticed is that you have grown much in the span of your compositions. It makes me happy because I know you'll continue to grow as well. I enjoyed your pieces in the Teaser 2 trailer the most. It definitely showcases your abilities, which I think is the point of the trailer, so you nailed it. I also liked the softer theme played in the Ico trailer re-scored. I wish that theme had its own piece lol.

Anyways, I think you're definitely on your way. I'm excited for you because if you keep it up and apply yourself you'll definitely achieve what you want. People like us can't get discouraged!! You also have something that I don't which is the ability to play other instruments. I can only mess around with chords on a piano and create rudimentary piano accompaniment if I tried to record anything on piano via USB. However, I do everything via software on the computer to the best of ability and I'm always working to improve, as you are I'm sure! I'd like to talk to you more about your aspirations as well.

Also, not to mindlessly pimp my own page or anything, but I'd also like your opinion on some of my music from the perspective of someone in my shoes. If you have time, please check it out. I'd greatly appreciate it. http://www.mp3unsigned.com/msl

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Thanks for the feedback MSL, I'm listening to your tunes right now and i'll message you my feedback so as to not get too much off topic. But yes, us game composers must stick together - it's a tough world out there but i can't think of a better life than writing music.

Talk to you in PM,

Calum

Oh, you're an aspiring video game composer too? I'm also working to become a game composer as well! And first of all, I'm glad finally a Westerner like myself wants to implement some of the Japanese game music style into games as much as I do! Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, and Yasunori Mitsuda are definitely among my favorite top 3 game composers amongst many others.

Getting to the topic at hand, I just listened to all of your music currently shown on your website's homepage. One thing I definitely have noticed is that you have grown much in the span of your compositions. It makes me happy because I know you'll continue to grow as well. I enjoyed your pieces in the Teaser 2 trailer the most. It definitely showcases your abilities, which I think is the point of the trailer, so you nailed it. I also liked the softer theme played in the Ico trailer re-scored. I wish that theme had its own piece lol.

Anyways, I think you're definitely on your way. I'm excited for you because if you keep it up and apply yourself you'll definitely achieve what you want. People like us can't get discouraged!! You also have something that I don't which is the ability to play other instruments. I can only mess around with chords on a piano and create rudimentary piano accompaniment if I tried to record anything on piano via USB. However, I do everything via software on the computer to the best of ability and I'm always working to improve, as you are I'm sure! I'd like to talk to you more about your aspirations as well.

Also, not to mindlessly pimp my own page or anything, but I'd also like your opinion on some of my music from the perspective of someone in my shoes. If you have time, please check it out. I'd greatly appreciate it. http://www.mp3unsigned.com/msl

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Oh yeah both Shenmue and Okami are amazing games. For shenmue you'd have to find an old dreamcast but Okami is far more attainable - it was originally released on ps2 but there's a wii version as well which I have. Both of those soundtracks have a great mix between large orchestral and Japanese traditional music. They're simply gorgeous. With the Okami, you may have to sift through quite a lot of music to find the great tracks (the best ones are mostly by Rei Kondo). But look out for: Tsuzurao's Theme, The Sun Rises, The Journey Continues, Kaguya's Journey. In terms of Shenmue soundtrack, it's all good really - Nozomi & Ryo is an pretty awesome love theme, Christmas on Dobuita Street is seriously relaxing and gorgeous, Sedge Tree also is the main theme and is great!

Yeah, by line-in i mean I plugged a lead from my electric guitar into my tiny mixing desk (you could plug it straight into your laptop/sound card interface) and then used mostly preset guitar settings on logic. But yes, they are live.

Mmm, debussy is the man! In terms of theory books or resources, i don't really know what i can suggest. I think the main way i advanced was that I have an electric piano/keyboard in my room and whenever i have a song playing I just tried to play along. That way it sort of just absorbed into my brain and you can make things you way you want them to sound a lot quicker. But also more active study like finding a song you like and working out the chords, then trying to use those chords in your own song. Or studying the melodies and also combinations of instruments. I need to do this a lot more! But there's absolutely no shame in "stealing" other people's chords or the way they've put things together - thing is you do that anyway but it just takes longer because you don't know where you've stolen it from!

But seriously, you've got some really good production techniques going on - i was listening to your glitchy katamari-type tune a minute ago and there's so much there that i wouldn't begin to know how to do. And that makes me excited and keeps me working because i know there's so much i don't know!

I guess if you love listening to music then try to play the music you love and you'll learn new tricks and techniques.

Thanks for all the comments so far :) you make me feel like a sensei but i am way a student - i have a lot to learn from you!

Sweet, can't wait to check out those soundtracks.

Actually, I'm sort of a pianist. I don't fudge most of my compositions; I actually kind of know what I'm doing! And truth be told, 90% of my musicality comes from all the improvisation and playing by ear (getting damn good at that...) that I've done over the past year and a half, so I'm with you there on just playing what you like til you get something out of it.

Truth be told, I didn't know how to do any of the glitching in that Katamari-inspired song until I wrote it. Experimentation is awesome :D

My production, semi-amateurish as it may be, comes from experimentation, hanging out with Benjamin Briggs and halc (champions, the both of them), and a little bit of technical nonsense I've learned from Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman. Very good read, very concise.

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I just sneakily grabbed a PDF of dance music manual - i'll have to look through that at some point!

Thanks for the tip!

Sweet, can't wait to check out those soundtracks.

Actually, I'm sort of a pianist. I don't fudge most of my compositions; I actually kind of know what I'm doing! And truth be told, 90% of my musicality comes from all the improvisation and playing by ear (getting damn good at that...) that I've done over the past year and a half, so I'm with you there on just playing what you like til you get something out of it.

Truth be told, I didn't know how to do any of the glitching in that Katamari-inspired song until I wrote it. Experimentation is awesome :D

My production, semi-amateurish as it may be, comes from experimentation, hanging out with Benjamin Briggs and halc (champions, the both of them), and a little bit of technical nonsense I've learned from Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman. Very good read, very concise.

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