Music For Fashion Show

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Blog post from level 2 AP student Alexandra O’Brien – pictured centre with lecturers Maria Manning and Dagmara Childs.

We were asked by the Fashion department to create original music for the third year fashion student’s final showcase, which was held in the architecture building. We were given a brief with ideas of what they wanted. When it came to writing the music I wanted to capture the feel of the architecture building, as it’s an arty and open space. I took inspiration from Brian Eno to begin with and crafted an ambient soundscape that builds up with percussion and glitched vocals. For the rest of the tracks I took inspiration from artists like Bonobo and Tycho as I wanted to create quite laid back tracks that wouldn’t distract from the fashion show itself. Overall I really enjoyed the experience. It was hard work at times and a lot of hours went into to it but the clients were very pleased. It’s given me confidence in my compositional skill but also in composing to a brief and for a client.

Food For Thought From Eno

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Brian Eno is always worth listening to. He is a very engaging speaker and his thoughts about art and music are extremely thought provoking and inspiring for me.
He speaks about many things in his Red Bull 2013 lecture, but two in particular caught my attention.

In the first he discusses the creative problems in music composition that come with an abundance of options in the modern DAW. Listen to the clip here

In the second he discusses his approach to film scoring and how he avoids the cliches of many Hollywood style film scores. Listen to the clip here

Both these clips should be of interest to Audio Production students who specialise in music composition.

PS. Look out for Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) in the Q&A at the end.

win an online mixing session at Abbey Road

AVID/PRO Tools COMPETITION

Win an Abbey Road mix/mastering session and Pro Tools® system
The Beatles. Adele. U2. Lady Gaga. Ready to add your name to that list?
Avid have partnered with Abbey Road—one of the world’s most famous recording studios—to help artists and musicians make music history.
they’re looking for one great song, chosen by a panel of industry heavyweights, to win an online mixing and mastering session at Abbey Road and a Pro Tools|HD Native system.

Enter now for your chance to win the industry’s respect, fan exposure, plus free gear from Avid and a mix/mastering session from Abbey Road, adding up to a value of over $7,000.

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Get heard, get discovered, and break through.
Judge’s Choice
Three winners, as chosen by the judges, will receive:
Their song/track mixed and mastered by Abbey Road’s online services (worth $1,300)
A Pro Tools|HD Native system with Pro Tools HD 10 software and an HD OMNI interface (worth $5,999) each
Exposure across Avid’s website and social online channels

People’s Choice
The highest voted artist will receive:
An Mbox Pro audio interface with Pro Tools 10 software (worth $999)
Exposure across Avid’s website and social online channels

Get Involved
Submit by: March 13, 2013, 10 am PDT
Vote: March 14, 2013, – March 21, 2013,
Winners Announced: April 10, 2013

Losing My Minor Key – REM remixed

I came across this today (apologies to Dave McSherry who currently has this song as an ‘earworm’ in his head), but I was amazed at the psychological difference turning this song into a major key makes.

Recently produced by Major Scaled – a version of REM’s ‘Losing my religion’, remixed in Major Scale
https://www.facebook.com/MajorScaledTv

This artists work is being removed by major labels so you may not get to hear this for long….

this is from the vimeo post – http://vimeo.com/57685359

“Someone has gone to the trouble (I don’t know how but would suspect using Melodyne DNA or somesuch) of processing REM’s minor-scale downer hit ‘Losing My Religion’ so that all the minor notes are now major. When I followed the link I thought it’d be a cover, but no, it’s the original, processed. It’s uncanny – the song is just as familiar as always but the impact is utterly different. Kind of like finding a colour print of a film you’d only known in black and white, or seeing Garfield minus Garfield for the first time. I like it.”

Major Scaled #2 : REM – “Recovering My Religion” from major scaled on Vimeo.

you can read more here

the Sound of Skyfall

The sound of Skyfall

The SoundWorks Collection dives into the latest installment in the long-running saga based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond character.

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Jarhead) brings the audience an entirely new storyline to the Bond character in “Skyfall”.

Exploring the sound and music of the film we talk with Scott Millan (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Greg Russell (Sound Re-recording Mixer),
Karen Baker Landers (Supervising Sound Editor), and Per Hallberg (Supervising Sound Editor).

see also

http://soundworkscollection.com/skyfall

Music and Technology


Music has always evolved with technology but have the advances always been beneficial?

With news of the forthcoming release of an album entirely composed by a computer what will be left of the creative process for musicians?

Many other musicians have used the latest technology to ‘push the outside of the envelope’ of music, creating sounds and ways of listening previously unknown to man.

In a special edition of Click from the BBC Radio Theatre, presenter Gareth Mitchel and technology specialist Bill Thompson, focus on music and technology.

They are joined by a panel of experts, including the soundscape artist, Martyn Ware – founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17; the technophile composer Alexis Kirke, who has been called “the Philip K Dick of contemporary music”; and the experimenting pianist Sarah Nicolls, who plays on her own ‘Inside-Out Piano’ and triggers music via sensors on her muscles.

Listen to the programme here

Excellent Advice From Chilly Gonzales

I love Chilly Gonzales’s approach to playing and his compositions for the solo piano. In this clip from Rob Da Bank’s Dawn Chorus he explains his thinking behind the challenge of performing beat driven electronic music on a solo acoustic instrument. He also highlights the importance of an understanding of rhythm in music composition.
Recorded at Maida Vale for BBC Radio 1 (25/08/2012).
Solo Piano II is out on August 27

Excellent Advice From Chilly Gonzales by audioproduction

Variations – the history of appropriative collage in music


I’ve been listening to this excellent 8 part series recently. Variations covers the history of appropriative collage in music i.e. using other people’s music in your own compositions – something I’ve done many times in my musical career. The series begins with examples from 1908, examines Musique Concrete of the 40s, the Avant Garde and experimental music of the 50s and 60s to sampling and remixing of the 80s and beyond.

The series investigates the whole notion of authorship. Indeed, “The idea of a completely original piece of music is a fairly recent one. Music was passed on through sound, through generations, even for centuries after the invention of written music. Only gradually, and centuries after the implementation of written notation, did it become standard practice for a composer to sign his name to a piece of music and claim it entirely as his own, giving rise to the cult of the individual composer.” (Leidecker, 2008).

The series is available as a free podcast from RWM’s website (under the heading Curatorial). I highly recommend it to our Audio Production students or, indeed, anyone with an interest in society’s experience of music.

6 years in production – Nelly Furtado’s new album

Found this Interesting insight into the making of an album
(originally appears in BBC News article)

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It’s been six years since Nelly Furtado’s multi-platinum album Loose, which featured the smash hit single Maneater and collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Chris Martin.

She followed it up with a Spanish language record that missed the UK top 100 altogether. So, as she returns to a commercial pop sound, the Canadian star has everything to prove.

“If you wait this long to put an album out, you’d better be sure you tried your best,” says Nelly Furtado.

In fact, the 33-year-old devoted so much time to her new record that producer Salaam Remi accused her of being “three years pregnant” with it.

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These days The Videographer is very important

Every moment of the recording process has been carefully documented on video, with weekly “webisodes” being posted to YouTube.

What the videos illustrate is that, unlike some pop stars, Furtado is directly involved in the creative process.

One clip (above) shows the singer improvising a melody while producer Salaam Remi taps out a beat on a music stand. With the quick addition of some tape-slap reverb, the track gets a name – “popsicle jam” – and is pencilled in as an interlude on the album.

It’s a common part of music marketing these days – alongside free downloads, Facebook pages and endless “teaser” clips previewing forthcoming music videos.
“It’s become a content-hungry universe,” says Furtado. “The most important person on your team nowadays is your videographer because they’re constantly filming you. “But I’m quite private, so I get a little bit nervous about that stuff.”
The pressure to document recording sessions was particularly difficult. “At first, I wasn’t able to write a song with the cameraman in the room,” she says.”

taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17943124

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The album has gone through two titles, half-a-dozen producers, and a mountain of songs – both old and new.

“In the final stages I was getting really anal about it,” says Furtado.

Why did she get so obsessed? The singer calls it “devotion to my fans”, but the reality is that she’s been absent from the charts for too long.

Furtado’s Spanish record was largely ignored in English-speaking countries but won a Latin Grammy
After the career-defining urban pop of her 2006 album Loose, Furtado followed her own path – getting married, establishing her own record label, and recording a Spanish-language album.Mi Plan sold well internationally, allowing the Canadian artist to tour South America for the first time, but she has been absent from the US charts for five years.

So it’s no surprise that The Spirit Indestructible revisits the pop hooks and colossal beats of Maneater – a song so incendiary it literally started a fire in the recording studio.

Furtado says the new material has “swagger in spades”. The lead single Big Hoops (Bigger The Better) rumbles like a volcano as the singer recounts her teenage love affair with hip-hop over a warped bassline.

“I’m channelling my 14-year-old self,” Furtado says. “She’s thinking about putting on her big hoop earrings and baggy pants and going to the mall downtown.”

The lyrics quote Salt-N-Pepa, A Tribe Called Quest and Blackstreet – bands the teenage Furtado listened to in the suburbs of Victoria, Canada.

“Hip-hop was super-exotic to us in Canada,” she recalls. “Because we were near the south, we could get some of the radio stations from Seattle.

“I remember attaching a wire clothing hanger to the antenna of my radio in my bedroom, so I could get the frequency and get that station and listen to the top 10 every night.”

“It was very liberating, finding that confidence through the music. And that’s what Big Hoops is about.”

Furtado took “six months off Twitter” to clear her head before writing the album
Nostalgia is a big part of the album. Parking Lot touches on similar themes to Big Hoops (“let’s dance in the rain”), while Waiting For The Night is based on a diary Furtado wrote as a “smitten sixteen-year-old” on holiday in Portugal.

To help recapture the sound of that era, the singer sought out Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, one of the biggest R&B producers in the 1990s.

Jerkins worked with many of the bands Furtado name-checks – playing keyboards for Blackstreet and writing hits for Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, Beyonce, TLC and Kanye West.

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Making of the video for “Bigger the better”
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“One track that he did that I loved was The Boy Is Mine with Brandy and Monica,” Furtado says.

“He was telling me about the ad-libs – how they had to be equal and fair.

“They had to count out the number of lines to make sure everybody had the same amount.”

“I love hearing that kind of stuff.”
‘Content-hungry’
The singer’s own fans won’t have to wait so long to hear the secrets behind her songs. Every moment of the recording process has been carefully documented on video, with weekly “webisodes” being posted to YouTube.

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It’s a common part of music marketing these days – alongside free downloads, Facebook pages and endless “teaser” clips previewing forthcoming music videos.

“It’s become a content-hungry universe,” says Furtado. “The most important person on your team nowadays is your videographer because they’re constantly filming you.

“But I’m quite private, so I get a little bit nervous about that stuff.”

We’d only work ’til midnight at the latest. Rodney has two little kids – so he doesn’t go to bed very late”
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Working with Producer Bob Rock

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Nelly Furtado, on her decidedly non-rock ‘n’ roll working hours
The pressure to document recording sessions was particularly difficult.

“At first, I wasn’t able to write a song with the cameraman in the room,” she says.

“I’ve always admired people who can write like that. I’ve been there at hip-hop sessions where Kanye West will walk in and write in front of all 20 guys in his team. I’d be like, ‘oh my God!'”

“But on this album, the videographer would stay in the room and I eventually forgot he was there. It takes practice. It’s another creative relationship.”

MORE VIDEOS AT http://www.youtube.com/user/NellyFurtado

text © BBC 

Mr FOLEY – short film


A darkly funny but nightmarish scenario, a man wakes up in hospital with a group of sound artists soundtracking his life. Mr Foley is an award winning short film directed by Dublin directing duo Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman aka D.A.D.D.Y. The film has been on the festival circuit for a while but has just premiered online for all to see, YAY!

link to VIMEO
Written & Directed by D.A.D.D.Y.
Short film
Duration: 4.50 m