soundtrack

Karoo: The Smackdown

Today we locked off the soundtrack to Karoo, the film I’ve been working on for Kaugoomi. It’s been one of the more challenging projects I’ve been involved with in that I’ve spent most of my time on it wayyyy outside of my comfort zone, composing music that is largely unlike anything I’ve ever had to write before. This is less scary than it sounds, because  it also means I’ve been pushing myself and having a lot of fun.

Instead of epic orchestral, I’ve been doing lots of dark atmospherics, using palettes that are largely limited to organic instruments, with a strong emphasis on mood rather than melody. Most of the work I’ve produced on it is designed to support and punctuate what’s happening on screen rather than taking centre stage itself, which is as it should be. It was hard to begin with, but the process began to flow when the various characters defined themselves – not with melodies, but with textures of sound and signature instruments.

For example, we’ve got a leather-clad villain who decided he was best represented as a metallic sounding bushman bow. We’ve got a mysterious protagonist who eventually revealed herself as a sound not unlike breathing air.

Karoo is an interesting movie, jam packed with stuff that makes for entertaining viewing: sex, death, drama, violence, and even a bit of humour.  I’m sad it’s over – I love this kind of work.

The producers have given me permission to post some of the score here, so below is a cue entitled The Smackdown. In it, a very pissed off bad guy tracks down someone who’s stolen something from him, and dispenses a liberal amount of corrective treatment. Without dropping spoilers, the scene resolves with gory death for someone.

The Smackdown  by  mdavisto

Untitled Dystopia

It’s been a while since my last post; couple of major changes in my life and a move to a new town will do that. Without further ado:

Untitled Dystopia

A month ago I completed work on the soundtrack to Untitled Dystopia, a film written and directed by Martin Lejeune. It was a fun project for me, as Martin had very clear and interesting ideas about what he was after.

You can watch the full movie via streaming video here.

I have been writing pure classical to picture for so long, it was fun to let my hair down and do something completely different for a change. Here’s a clip from the end credits:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Armalion: Worm Battle

This is a piece from the upcoming film Armalion. With Nico Mendrek’s permission it featured in an insert on Afro Cafe on SABC2 last week (I’ll try and upload that video soon), so I’m sure he doesn’t mind if I post it here.

In this scene, our heroes are set upon by a giant dragon summoned from the abyss. Obviously they have to fight it. It eats most of the nameless support cast before being vanquished by a spellcasting witch who turns it on the evil villain. All in all, a fun scene.

I like it because I got to make use of big choirs singing faux-latin (lyrics concocted by my friend Jacques van Heerden) when the beast appears. This is, of course, all done in software, using a library called Voices of the Apocalypse, and its associated VOTA utility that lets you type in syllable by syllable the words you’d like the choir to sing.

East West have since replaced and updated this with a product called Symphonic Choirs which, while being marvellously versatile, does not, in my opinion, sound anything like as good despite drawing on a 35GB library of 24-bit samples.

Also I got to do some nifty sound design during the spellcasting bit, which is made up of choir dischord clusters, reversed recordings of people talking, and the sound a plastic pipe makes when you drown it in reverb. I love my job.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Overture

I nicked this image from WikipediaWhile I can’t currently post my commercial work, here’s a personal project. This piece of music began life as a statement of ideas for Intrepid. Strangely, none of the themes it contains made it into the final soundtrack, though perhaps some elements did.

It is also something of a stress test for my new composing rig: I now have a dedicated server to compliment my main composing machine. This piece uses 5 instances of Kontakt across 2 machines. It works better than I hoped, but I still want at least another two servers. Dammit, Hans Zimmer uses 9.

Ah well.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This piece is now in my showreel, but speaking of things classical, my work on Armalion is drawing to a close, my self-imposed deadline being this weekend. As soon as it’s delivered I’ll be posting chunks of it here.

Theme: Orphans of War

Orphans of War

I completed the score for the scifi fanfilm Orphans of War this week. With Rob’s permission, I’m posting the end credits theme here, cos I’m pleased with how it turned out. I love writing epic space music.

This theme pops its head up in various places throughout the film, mostly when large spaceships are moving majestically across the screen. This is its most triumphant form, and rightly so – our heroes have just prevailed against impossible odds and the threat of fiery death.

Wait, does that count as a spoiler? But heroes are supposed to prevail, it’s not like it’s a surprise. Ok, fine, should they prevail, this will be their theme tune. If they fail it will be the theme from Dying Young.

Edit: Orphans is out now, and you can download it from the Hidden Frontier pages here. Mom, it’s too big for your dialup, I’ll post you a copy.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Intrepid OST released

Cover art by Jeff HayesAt last! after many cups of tea and much mucking about, the Intrepid OST album is available for download. I want to thank Jeff Hayes for designing such sumptuous cover art – you’ll find his inserts and CD labels inside the archive.

Also big thanks to Dylan Feeney for writing the original and beautiful Intrepid theme, and for giving me permission to include it on this disc.

And lastly a very big thanks to the crew of the USS Intrepid for inviting me aboard – it’s been a crazy ride and I look forward to many more adventures.

Now then. The album is available in 2 versions. First, as a CD image – you should grab this one if you intend to burn it because all the tracks have been mastered and aligned with clever dramatic index points and CD-Text and all those bobs and whistles. Although rar’ed, it’s a chunky download weighing in at around 180mb.
http://rapidshare.com/files/43168572/HLtC_OST.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/43273747/HLtC_OST.part2.rar

If you plan to play it back on your iPod or similar portable device, it’s also available in mp3 format. Where possible, I used 320kVBR, but even so this pack weighs in at a far more svelte 48mb.
http://rapidshare.com/files/45302561/HLtC_OST_mp3.zip

Finally, if you’d just like to check out particular tracks, the entire album is available via streaming MP3 from this website, right here.

One last thing. Some of you have expressed interest in offering money for this album. I am extremely flattered that you would do so, but here’s the thing: in my opinion, artists don’t make money through the sale of albums (well, most of us don’t).

However, we do earn money via paid commissions that arise from the distribution of our albums. Therefore, if you want to support me and Dylan, then burn a copy of the CD, print a cover for it, and give it away to someone. We’d really appreciate it.

NOTE on using Rapidshare: you’ll want to scroll down the page the links above take you to, and click the button labelled Free. This takes you through to the actual download page where you have to enter some Capcha text to prove you’re not a robot, and your download will commence.

Intrepid – scene 22: Battlestations

Navar at the tactical stationSo, we’re still on track to release the OST next week, which I’m looking forward to as a personal milestone. I’ve spent so much time working on other people’s projects; it’s really exciting to be releasing something of my own for a change.

Until the official release, here’s another clip. This is scene 22, the second appearance of the mysterious nemesis, and the crew of the Intrepid go to Red Alert.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd then, because it’s Friday …

Eat Liver
These guys collect the latest stoopid pictures doing the rounds on a semi-daily basis. Good for a chuckle, but also a bit random, by which I mean that although most of the pictures are amusing, some may scar your brain. You have been warned.

Best Old Games
If you’re around my age, you know that although today’s games are better to look at, they aren’t necessarily better to play. You also remember a time when 640k was a huuuuuuuuuuge amount of memory. Gaze in wonder, then, at this mighty repository of Abandonware. It’s all entirely legal to download, too. Eeeeee, they don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they Dorris? No. No they don’t.

Optical Illusions
Mangle your brain with this fine collection of optical illusions. My favourite is the colour perception one – the shadow on the chessboard. My head will not accept that the two squares are the same colour, even though I’ve gone and proved it to myself with Potatoshop’s eyedropper tool. Mental.

The All Singing All Dancing Hardgeus
The personal homepage of a geek I find inspiring – not only for his geekiness, but for his formidable weightloss. This link will take you through to the weightloss portion of his site, which is an amusing read in and of itself. The true gold is on the third page in, however, where there is a time lapse animation of the weight coming off. Oddly hypnotic. Also scary when it loops and he transforms from hot to gross again.

Fluffeh time
Obligatory kittens. Ahhhhhh.

Intrepid – scene 9

Sensor scan of the Surai shipThis is a clip from the back end of Scene 9 where Navar is trying to discourage the crew from investigating the new alien species too closely. I had originally intended this to be Navar’s theme of duplicity, but it just didn’t pan out that way.

In the end, it just didn’t fit where I intended it later, so scene 9 is its lone appearance.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And now, as it’s a Friday, and on the off-chance you are reading this from your desk when you are supposed to be working, here are some amusements:

XKCD
Brilliant and highly geeky webcomic about life, love, and all things intarwebz. Often sharply insightful. You don’t have to be a nerd to read it, but it helps.

Monkey Fluids
Amusing site where a chap called Josh scans pictures out of old Boys Own-type books and re-captions them. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And funny.

Chris has annoyed me for the last time
I was mucking about with After Effects, this is the gory result. Probably NSFW for graphic, if ridiculous, violence.

Purple and Brown
What is this? What is this? I don’t know, but I can’t stop watching. It tickles me in that strange mystical place that makes everything funny to a 2 year old.

I can has cheezburger?
You may. No list of amusements is complete without some fluff. Hooray for kitties!

Intrepid – scene 3

Ooooo a photon torpedoAs you might be aware, our first episode of Intrepid was released last month. It’s pretty cathartic to have it out after all this time.

I intend to release an OST album in the fullness of time, and will do so once certain issues with permissions have been resolved. In the meantime, I’ll be posting individual scenes from the film here.

In this scene, the Captain’s shuttle malfunctions on its way down to the planet. On its current trajectory it will crash into the colony, killing hundreds. After a frantic effort to save it, the crew of the Intrepid have no choice but to shoot the shuttle down.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Amalion – it’s underway

Some evil monstersI’m currently working on the score for a German sword & sorcery fanfilm called Armalion, based on the computer game, in turn based on the minitures game of the same name. This will be my second collaboration with Nic Mendrek from Almost No Budget Films (I love that name) – last year I contributed some music to his epic adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies.

It’s fun to be working with Nic again, and his work has really progressed by leaps and bounds since his last film.

This snippet of music is the introduction sequence.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.