Lately, I’ve been trying to rethink of the way I compose. I want break myself out of some habits, and I’ve also been wanting to get better at using different DAWs (Logic, GarageBand, Ableton Live, and most recently Soundtrap). So I came up with the idea to challenge myself to write “A Song a Day” as a way to push myself to be less particular about every little detail and just finish a song. If you’re interested in my progress, you can follow me on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
In January, I attempted to participate in The Cue Tube | Score Relief 2021 Scoring Competition, but again (like the WestWorld Scoring Competition) when I tried to upload it to YouTube (right at the deadline), for some reason it had none of my music. I took the opportunity to continue to work on it, and I am much happier with this version, even though most people probably couldn’t tell the difference between this version and the older one. Also, I have no idea what I did differently to make YouTube upload the video along with my music, so… live and learn?? I hope you enjoy it!
My friend Joel and I just launched Motor Mouth Podcasting!
Contact us if you want to start a podcast but don’t have the equipment to record and/or don’t have the time to edit (Joel), or if you want a custom theme composed for your podcast (me).
We also launched our flagship podcast that will be released every-other Wednesday starting January 13th (in case you’ve listened to the Movie Mumble podcast hosted by Nerds That Geek and thought, “I want to hear more of Joel and Tim…”) It will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Audible, and the Motor Mouth website.
In the meantime you can listen to the trailer, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Back in 2015, I was going to score a Wonder Woman fan film, so I composed some themes for the main characters. Since Wonder Woman 1984 is coming out this week, I figured I’d ride the hype and release the tracks that I made back then. I hope you enjoy them!
At the beginning of October I participated in Video Game Music Academy‘s, 7 Days of VGM. The goal is to “write at least 2-4 bars of new music everyday for 7 days straight.” It starts on the 7th of every month, and October’s theme was “The Elements.” Every day a different element was presented, along with a short phrase to use as a composition prompt:
1. Earth (Song of the Earth Mother)
2. Fire (Burning Destruction)
3. Air (Soaring on the Wind)
4. Water (Peace and Tranquility)
5. Wood (Lost in the Forest)
6. Metal (Forged of Steel)
7. Aether (Mysteries of the Void).
Unfortunately, I got a late start and also had a few other hang-ups throughout the week, so I wasn’t able to do the last three, but at least I was able to finish the first four, more common elements. Originally, I posted them on social media in the order that they were presented by VGM Academy, but here I’ve presented them in “ascending” order: Earth, Water, Fire, Air. I hope you enjoy them!
I created a new Testimonials page! Check it out to see all of the nice things people said about my composing, film scoring, arranging, engraving, teaching, and tutoring.
At the beginning of June, I participated in theSpitfire Audio | WestWorld Scoring Competition where I had to score a chase scene from season 3 of WestWorld. When I tried to upload it to YouTube, for some reason it had none of my music (maybe because I used YouTube’s new uploader). Since I uploaded it right at the deadline, unfortunately there was no time to fix it. Eventually I did get the version with my music uploaded (using YouTube’s older uploader). I hope you enjoy it!
Since the beginning of April, I’ve been auditing the “Computer-Based Media Arranging” class at DU (remotely), taught by David Hanson. Here are the highlights of the assignments that I’ve done so far.
One of our earliest assignments was to write four melodies, based on different situations. Our next assignment was to add harmony to at least one of those melodies.
Melody 1. “A Man on a Bike Finds an Injured Baby Girl Raccoon…” – This was based on a scenario that my wife came up with. “A man is riding a bike… he comes across an injured baby girl raccoon… he gently puts her in his backpack… and races to the animal hospital! She is going to be ok… so he takes her home to live with him.” The solo cello plays two different melodies (one for the man and one for the raccoon) which gradually merge. This was one of my melodies that I added harmony to. I added low string accompaniment below the melody for the man, and high string accompaniment above the melody for the raccoon.
Melody 2. “A Conversation Between a Man and a Computer” – This was a scenario that I thought of, inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Written for piano, I used a 12 tone row, and upon each completion, transposed it up a half-step, to increase tension. The middle voice represents the man: C Major pentatonic, and after the initial note C, the notes spell out D-A-V-E (for the ‘V’ I used the note G which is ‘V’ or ‘5’ in the key of C, so D, A, G, E) are placed in that order. The notes in the extreme low register are the beginning of the melody of the song “Daisy Bell” in the key of F# (this represents the ‘human side’ or ‘soul’ of the computer. All the other notes of the row are played as fast as possible in the upper register of the piano, short and dry (this represents the machine-like, computational aspect of the computer). I really enjoyed how this worked on its own, so I didn’t add harmony to it.
Melody 3. “Innocence Amidst Danger” – This prompt came from our textbook. “The childish innocence of a mute Indonesian child at play in a dangerous place.” I chose a ‘tuned gongs’ sample library in Kontakt that was able to adjust the notes to Slendro/Pelog tuning. Initially I created a simple melody that playfully explored the notes of the scale. When it came time to add harmony, I added more of the tuned gongs underneath to fill out a little bit more of the gamelan atmosphere.
Melody 4. “A Cat and a Bird” – Another prompt from my wife. A cat wakes up from a nap. It hears a bird outside. The cat stalks the bird, but when the cat attacks, it just scares the bird and it flies away. For the cat, i used an octatonic scale (C, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, Bb) and the bird is the fully-diminished 7 chord that is the complement of the cats’ octatonic scale (B, D, F, Ab). Again, I was happy with this on its own, so I didn’t add harmony.
Our next assignment was to write a minute-long theme for a contemporary detective show with a heavy backbeat (using the theme song for the show Bosch as an example). My first example was close, but not quite there yet, but after some tweaking (a better drum sample library, a better bass sample library, some better string parts, etc.), I’m much happier with it. Ladies and gentlemen, the next hit streaming series: Detective Backbeat!