Thursday, July 21, 2011

Invasions and Wreckage

People’s Remix Competition 198 reached its submission deadline on Monday with a pair of entries. The source tune selected for the round came from the game James Bond 007: The Duel. The selector Beckett007 noted that the music is “actually not very Bondian in sound” but would provide ample material for participants to arrange. SubNormal J3 wondered “What is a Stew Symphony?” and delivered a modest electronic take on the composition largely due to lack of time. Zerothemaster submitted a remix titled “Sean Connery” despite the game featuring Timothy Dalton’s likeness; zero took a more ambient approach, with synthesizer chords that rise and fall in between Bond voice clips.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured the theme “Sea Castle”, a merger of two smaller ideas I held for a while. The round had its largest turnout yet, due in part to an invasion of Monsquaz enthusiasts. They characteristally disrupt with indifference, generating offensive or obnoxious material and then turning around to say "I didn’t mean to." MandraSigma’s laidback dance beat provided an apt backdrop for his “Undersea Basement Club”, apparently using ambient train-like sounds. dusthillguy was the first of the aforementioned invasion: his electro entry featured an extensive speech in a foreign tongue, ending abruptly with a bass hit. RAMPKORV continued the aural confundity by uploading a piano session mixed with frantic strikes and wails. OverCoat layered harp, flute and strings with e-drums and bass to express his “Life at the Bottom of the Sea”. Roseweave completed the Monsquaz invasion by serving up nearly 5 minutes of noodling on the keys, and more wailing.

Amphibious’s chilled chords lead to trip-hop stylings topped with piano riffs and sliding synth lead action. Obtuse used a Reason Disco loop as the basis for his jam with nimble bass guitar work. Rukunetsu started his entry on the keys, but chose to mix in spaced out drums and violins. MisfitBYTE similarly used a string instrument, but surrounds it with a glitch beat, chippy burbles and laments that “Being a systems administrator underwater must suck.” mv blended the synthetic and the acoustic including string runs, eastern percussion and cymbal rolls. fusion2004 made a rare JHCompo appearance with his continuous hi-hat pattern, aqueous pads, descending melodic riff and compressed drumkit. Tomapella felt his entry was “so JRPG it makes me wanna puke” featuring vocal harmonies, militaristic rhythm and an overall squashed but warm sound.

Elrinth begins by way of a three-note motif, affected by heavy delay and subtly altered with bass notes as it builds to a crescendo of snare rolls and 8-bit accompaniment. Jarski put up a tripped out tune using generous amounts of sub-bass and sonar pings. munchi missed out on the first half of the round, but managed to cobble together a bright piece steadied by a rolling drums. coda suffered a technical issue in the midst of creation, leading him to comment “computers suck”; he nevertheless offered deft chords and a funky beat. Detective Tuesday also composed his track in half of the time allotted, “Jammin Under Water” with wet pads, accented percussion and layered harmonic elements. MVM had an error when he submitted at the last second, and as a result his entry was blank; it survives as an externally-hosted MP3 featuring cinematic horns, thundering rhythms and a touch of woodwind.

Trippycompo was somewhat unusual as it resulted in two entries, which both tied for first place. The round was based on samplepack containing a handful of clips and tones, including a snare and looped buzzing. MandraSigma’sGeneruntz” implements a gate-like effect on a sample and places it within a dance pattern, guided along by expansive melody and key modulations. null1024 used the same lead sound, accompanied by a grittier tone and constant kick drum.

Thursday's OHC used "After the Storm" as its theme, serving as a followup of sorts to "Eye of the Storm" from an earlier round. After my matter-of-fact read through of the theme, OCRE explored the ramifications of an alternate timeline using panned acoustic and electronic elements. td244 channeled his inner Prokofiev and served up a multi-section orchestral piece ending with "the most amazing booty [...] right in front of you!" Arcana made a tune representing the aftereffects of a night at the pub, finding his way back home through trance. Obtuse's pop song showed off his vocal chops, albeit fed into the Neptune pitch adjuster. sci glitched amongst a slew of voice clips, filter sweeps and finally decompiled at its finish. After a phone call, Tomapella put together acoustic guitaring and a greeting to ThaSauce in the final 10 minutes of the submission period.

Destroid's entry description could serve as the premise to a noir, but the track itself comes off sounding more like the inside of a microwave heating popcorn. DDRKirby(ISQ) went for a spacier, evolving sound before bursts of arpeggio come in and the tune settles on a beat. mv gently placed emotive chords and distant ambiance to express the post-storm rise of spirits, and then dances around for the remainder. Usabell similarly evoked a sense of dread and awe with pads, gradually segueing into synthetic rhythms. At the end of the listening party MandraSigma appeared asking simply "Survivors?" with a quirky selection of instruments and pitched samples.

I suppose one important thing I’ve gained during my composing tenure is a better understanding of what music is. I use this skill every day when I listen to and review music. In that sense, I’ve grown a lot; my perception will never be as it once was when I first started.

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