Everyone’s ready to wrap up 2014 and I’m not an exception.. Since it’s been a “quiet” year for me, I figured an end-of-the-year update on what I’ve been up to might be nice. You know, I’m still alive and working on stuff :)
Comfy or uncomfy?
To be honest something like “quiet on the surface” would be more to the point, as it’s been a rather hectic year. The spare time I’ve had for making music, I’ve mostly rather focused on various supporting activities. During the past 6 months these have included tossing some existing audio tools, getting new ones and learning to use them. I’ve also started practising to improve my keyboard playing technique. All these relate to the growing feel I’ve had for needing to “step up” or “advance” in some ways.
With tools it’s easy to get too comfortable with what you have, and you might find yourself repeating a good old bag of tricks. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that; I just like to have variety to what I do and feel that new challenges (being on “uncomfy zone”) motivate me better.
With the keyboard practise, I’m not looking to become even a decent player but simply get more fluent with phrasing chords, learn new ones, and pick up general keyboard technique. Investing time on some technical foundation should definitely work in favor of songwriting for whatever future releases, perhaps adding complexity eg. beyond minor, major and 7th chords. All that 80s baggage I’m so fond of.. :>
Parting with the audio gear had to do with moving my studio to a new location, but also because I felt I was getting to a point where I put in more work maintaining the hardware than making music with it. Which I’m sure you agree is not the point.. The process is still undergoing and my plan right now is not to start working all the way “in the box” (as in, “computer only”), but time will tell.
Light modification of presets excluded, I still prefer a decent hardware interface to build sounds from the ground up. What hardware-to-VSTi solutions I’ve tried so far, things are not ‘there’ yet in terms of flexibility and instant access. With some VSTis the GUIs are getting so complex that I’m not even sure if they ever can be fully (or fluently) controlled with external hardware. Sure, it could also have to do with taking the time to configure every last thing. With all the plugins etc. I have, I’m not yet sure if it’s worth all the effort. Need to keep testing and investigating..
Anyway, lot of this and that bubbling on the background. Really anxious to put all the new tools to use. Seeing that it’s been about a year since the last proper release, it would be about time :)
But it’s not like this year in music hasn’t been all about setup, clean up and training! For starters, I did visit Payback, Revision, Stream and Assembly demoparties. Something which, sticking by my personal rule, means I need to have an entry for a competition at each party. It really was a nice year for demoparties, and I’m glad I got to visit as many as I did. Esp. Revision and Stream were a blast! My song entries for all the parties are at the at bottom of this post, so get some playing and read on! At Assembly there was also Visualice’s PC demo ‘Trained’, to which me and Melwyn wrote the soundtrack for.
Bordering “released” are a couple of tracks I wrote for a futuristic racing game titled ‘AG Drive’. The game is currently in soft launch phase and should be out during Q1 or Q2 of 2015 on IOS. Aritunes (aka Ari Pulkkinen), the man behind Angry Birds theme and then some, is handling the sound design and direction for the game, and there’s a whole bunch of talented people writing tracks for the soundtrack. Technical side of the game is downright impressive too, as its 3D engine can pump out 250000 polys every frame and the game runs full 60fps even on iPad2! Definitely something to watch out for!
Gotta say I’m really anxious to see it out there as taking part on a futu-racer project has been on my “must do” list ever since I got my hands on Wipeout 2097 :). TouchGameplay has uploaded some beta footage of the game on Youtube, check it out below. You can hear the other of my tracks over the tutorial part starting around 1 min, albeit very much covered by the sound effects. Anyway, more on the tracks when the game is out.
Where game dev is concerned, I’m also working as a sound designer for Grand Cru. We released our first IOS game called ‘Supernauts‘ this summer, with more games under the way. If you’d like to follow up any news about the game dev side of things, grab the RSS feed of the GC blog, or follow me up on Twitter. I won’t be writing much about that stuff here on the blog, where things should be more about both my demoscene and commercial music releases.