Wednesday, September 19, 2012

askhole, volume 1

it's been a whole three fucking months since i've posted anything in this blog! i apologize. i have no good excuse for not updating more frequently, other than being stuck in my own head and endlessly second guessing myself

about a week ago i started a tumblr for strange videogame screenshots. just today i decided to add one of those "ask me anything" things to it to see what sort of questions i'd get. i only have three so far, but in an effort to get myself to actually post things, here they are:

One of the qualities of your music that I try to emulate is a feeling that the music is part of something much larger. Not that it feels incomplete, but that the track is just one element in a larger universe. Is this intentional? Or did you read that and think, "what is he talking about?" -Ben Prunty

i guess i have a belief that music, like all art, is there to capture a particular feeling, thought, or idea that already exists somewhere in the universe. whether or not i've done this intentionally, i think i have always approached it this way.

it is impossible, though, to get around the fact that the music i've made at each point of my life has been very reflective of the emotional place i was in at the time.

in high school (the OCR music i did) it was a kind of happiness that i had some sort of musical tools to express myself in and a naive faith that things were going to be great as soon as i got out of ohio and into the world

in college (the unidentified flavors stuff i did) it was much more shattered and incomplete because of how alienated i felt from the people around me.

from then on (basically just the Dys4ia soundtrack so far) it's been very overwhelmed but still trying to find a place of peace and happiness to operate within in the world.

i had a more involved answer but i think this best explains everything.

good job on the FTL soundtrack, btw!

(edit): i might as well include the additional stuff i cut out of the original answer

when i was starting out i think i was mostly motivated by having some sort of textural balance - not too many smooth or sharp sounds, etc. sometimes i'd just make pick random sounds i liked and tried to relentlessly hammer them into the mold somehow.

i was also terrified of the idea of repetition, because i was sequencing everything out by mouse alone. if i just repeated some part that was mathematically exactly the same (no volume variation or anything) as a previous part then i'd just be making a machine, and not something that was human. i won't say this is the best way or even a good way to approach it, because it's really came from a fear of the process that had nothing to do with the end result. mostly what it did was make the process of music-making a much more laborious, and less fun/give-and-take-style exercise.

despite the setbacks to the old approach, i always felt like if i were making something, i'd have to at least be a friend to the sounds i'm using and do justice to them. i wanted to let them have their day, like they're little creatures. i wanted to (and still do want to) have some sort of faith in them. in some ways it was admirable, but in other ways it was very naive.

now my approach is somewhat different. i try to find sounds that are interesting and work with the sorts of timbres and weirdnesses they have, instead of trying to relentlessly shape them into something. with the Dys4ia soundtrack i left all the background chatter very exposed because i wanted it to have that dry, uncomfortable, unsexy feeling that untreated audio recordings do (since it's a game about feeling uncomfortable with oneself). i do still think about the music i do as having some sort of narrative, though not always in a linear way. with BGM, the music invariably has to repeat, so you can't put the same sort of linear narrative arc there. instead it's more like a musical snapshot of a particular sort of feeling, which is what i tried to do with the Dys4ia music.

pizzapuke asked you: 
thanks for including skyroads on your blog, it was one of my favorite games as a kid (i've paraphrased this cause i lost the exact message)

no problem! i'm sort of surprised i never played it, given that i grew up with DOS games

animatedscreenshots asked you:
Not a question but the source link for Metamoqester contains the phrase "In a hilarious reversal of normal events, the baby rapes you!" :\

that's what i get for trying to link to things other than wikipedia =/