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Author Topic: The Black Company *Avaronald*  (Read 42930 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2005, 02:30:06 AM »

Well, I'll start off with pointing out that I like these tracks!

Most of this I have mentioned in The Black Company forum elsewhere, but it can't hurt to try and encourage discussion here.

Despite the inherent MIDI-sounding-ness of these tracks (which I can't really say much about, because my work sounds it as well, damned brass . . . ), the only thing that bothered me was the guiro, which seemed out of place, but probably isn't. It might be just too loud in the mix.

Oh, wait . . . I forgot another problem. Around the 1:45 mark onwards in Croaker's Annals there is some annoying crackling distortion in the left channel that is probably due to clipping. I'm not sure how you can get around that in Sibelius, though, other than bringing the volume of the entire piece down . . . which might be make it too quiet. I'm not sure.

Although the first few seconds definitely seem to indicate to me that you've listened to the WarCraft style of music. There's just something about that seems consistent. Which I think is applaudable since you didn't know anything about WarCraft mere weeks ago.

I do very much like the stylistic approach you've employed here . . . it seems to strike me as this group hanging around in taverns discussing their current and past employ. From around 1:30 it really picks up, with that cool melodic motif that gets passed around (starts on the strings).

In fact, it reminds me of . . . 'pirate music', the sort of mercenaries of the seas. Refer to the end as a nice and clear statement of the main motif. For some reason this strikes me as cinematic music.

Annals is a very enjoyable piece of music. I like it. The held chord at the end seems to cut off abruptly, but what can you do?

Oh, something that might help . . . is to add more reverb to the mix (no idea how to go about this with your current setup), so that the piece gently echoes off, rather than dies dryly.

Anyway, the more I listen to the track the more I want to, so I'll move on to the next one.

Something Lurking in Darkness -- the drum beats at the start here reminds me of the orc music from The Frozen Throne, which is a very good thing!

This definitely strikes me as in-game music. It gets me in the mood to run around the map doing things. I have played through some parts of a demo for the project, and watched a fair amount of cinematics (for approval purposes), and I think this is very appropriate music for what I have seen and played.

A very cool string part at 1:24, by the way.

Actually, this whole track I think is really good. And I like how the second half the piece sort of has a quasi-rock feel to it -- it's appropriate and works well.

I also like how you gradually develop the piece -- you don't jump into ideas too quickly, and then throw them away (which I myself have a tendency to do). I like how you let the piece evolve naturally . . . it is very good!

Let me know if/when you post in on SibeliusMusic.com, so I can post some reviews.

But yes, I really like them! And they seem to improve with repeated listenings -- a very good sign with music that will be heard many, many times throughout the course of a game.
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2005, 03:23:38 AM »

Here's new music for the Black Company Mod:

The Forvalaka Tombs: MP3 and sheet music

The piece is experimental (well, at least it is for me) as it combines both the traditional orchestra and modern synthetic sounds in same piece. The piece is divided into three sections: the first presents the orchestrated theme, the second is the "nothing section" with only synth sounds and in the third the first theme comes again with different variations. The first and second part are dark and menacing, but the third is a bit lighter than the previous two. This piece is perhaps a bit more symphonic than the traditional W3 musics, but I leave it for others to decide if it works or not. I think it's rather good, but I'm a non-competent critic as I composed it   Wink  (Once again, I apologize the audio quality - I have problems with the sound levels as they should be high for the W3, but my software records them very silent and I have use dubious methods for raising the volume, which causes the sound the crackle in loud passages; but rest assured for I will do everything in my power to make the pieces sound as good as possible when in the game.  Grin )

As the name indicates this piece is "dedicated" to the forvalaka who is a cat-like beast, with vampire tendencies. At day it is two legged but at night it is four, with pure red eyes and a panther like body. Incredably quick and mobile, it is one of the most dangerous creatures (and one of the few creatures spoken of) in the Glen Cook's world.  


I also have another piece to give to you today.
Shades on the Road: MP3 and sheet sheet music

This is a little ambient piece, with strings and clarinet and english horn. It is more harmonic than melodic and the percussion are an essential part of it (well, they are part of every piece, but in here they are easier heard as the piece hasn't a full orchestra playing  Smiley ).
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2005, 03:06:01 PM »

It's funny -- I was going to harass you to post the music updates here, but you've done it ages ago, anyway. I have been out of it, lately, indeed!

I have left reviewing these pieces far too long, as I have been extremely busy, however I have been listening to them quite a bit since shortly after you released them.  

Since I've been listening to them so much, my comments will not be as detailed as normal, since I can't hear them for the first time again.

Anyway, here I go . . .

The Forvalaka Tombs
I'll preface all of this with saying that you have undoubtedly got the game music style down excellently! By that I mean it's more gamey than filmic, which is something most games nowadays seem to be moving away from . . . becoming more film-like as they go along.

This music doesn't strike me as threatened as I felt during the Forvalaka sequences in the cinematics, but since the player is meant to be fighting and doing things, having them not paralysed in fear could be handy, I guess.

However, the repeated notes on the strings does seem to indicate the underlying concern.

Hmm . . . okay, the transitions between the sections are practically non-existent. Therefore I think these could work in one of two ways -- having the piece split into three pieces that come one after the other. The other option would be to alter the music to have more fluid transitions.

But I think at this late stage you'll probably just want to leave it like this.

At any rate, it's nothing terribly bad. Just something to keep in mind for future pieces.

I do like the synth effects used in the quiet section, though.

And the recap section at the end is very fun. Especially works as a finale to the rest of the music. I'm not sure how you're arranging/structuring the music to work in the game, but this does sound like 'hurray, we're finishing' or 'hurray, we're nearly finished!'


Shades on the Road
Okay, this piece didn't have the immediate charisma of your other pieces, but it certainly grows on you. I especially like the descending lower strings while the upper strings meander around at the beginning. Very good.

Simple, sparse and effective, I think. Quite a nice break from the intensity of the more active, action pieces.

The cor anglais melody that comes in halfway through the piece is very good, I think. =)

I'm not sure what it's all meant to mean, but it is very pleasant indeed. I also love the runs down the scale. And the slowly processional end section feels very nice.


Hmm, onto the revised version . . . I think I like the original better, even though this one does have much more depth to the recording. I think the violins at the beginning are slightly sharp, though, for some reason. The meandering line.

Wait. This uses a different instrument set, doesn't it? It sounds much better rendered than the original version, although the original does have some kind of charm to it.


Oooo . . . one thing the revised version does have over the original is that the end note is not cut-off abruptly before its time. I've noticed that with a few of your pieces -- the last note gets cut off too short. I blame Sibelius for that, however I do offer a solution: add a heap of rests after the last note of the piece, and then add a random note somewhere (make it inaudible if you want, so that something really quite and unheard gets cut off instead of the last note). Mind you, this is not an issue if you're using a different sampler to render.

Now hurry up and post Misty Forest!
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2005, 12:11:37 PM »

New music for Black Company

Misty forest: sheet music and MP3

I've always liked french horn. It has tone that no other instrument has - it's tone is rich and sonorous especially in the high registers. That's why this piece is 'dedicated' to french horn. This piece is meant to represent a hunting horn that echoes through a forest in a silent morning - perhaps the elves are on a war-footing, who knows... Tongue (and I'm quite certain that few french horn players would want to strangle me for the high registers  :dry:  )
I've also tried to make to transitions between the sections more fluent.

I've used a different program when recording this piece, so the sound quality should be much better than in the previous pieces. I'm also planning rerecord all the older tracks to make them sound better too... (actually, I've already updated the Shades on the road)

And here's new music for the Black Company again, for the Prelude cinematics:

The Black Company: Introduction
Sheet music and mp3

This piece was really difficult to do and it's the longest piece I've done this far...
As such the piece may sound a bit dull (or at least the beginning), but in my opinion it fits very well to the cinematics. I managed to time the climaxes of the piece to the scene changes of the cinematics (the notation program Sibelius 4 has a neat feature in it: you can play videos at the same time as the music, so you can see instantly if the timing is correct or not). My original plan was to have a unique theme for each of the wizards, but it was too complicated for me to compose, so now there is one consistent theme for all the wizards. The piece is divided into three sections (the structure is ABCBA): the first creates the mood, the second is a military-styled section with brass and heavy percussion and the third is mysterious, shadowy, eery even.
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2005, 03:33:32 PM »

You're introduction piece is really nice. I like the triangle! XD
It's got a nice progressive feel to it, with changes of atmosphere, nice sounds (that snare drum/roll is quite impressive) and structure. It's sounds like a succesful piece for a cinematic Smiley . Now, for your other piece, it's also nice and I can understand how you've harnessed the "misty" feel to it. One thing that seems a little odd is some of the bongo type druming...it sounds slightly like it gets out of time in places, but I'm not sure. However, as an instrument it works nicely. I like the slow strings that accompany the horns as well, they give the piece a certain wholeness and maintain quite a calming feel, yet also mysterious ambience. Nothing much I can really think of right now. Keep them coming! Cheesy
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2005, 12:50:37 AM »

Quote from: "Steven"
You're introduction piece is really nice. I like the triangle! XD
It's got a nice progressive feel to it, with changes of atmosphere, nice sounds (that snare drum/roll is quite impressive) and structure. It's sounds like a succesful piece for a cinematic Smiley.

Thanks!

Quote
Now, for your other piece, it's also nice and I can understand how you've harnessed the "misty" feel to it. One thing that seems a little odd is some of the bongo type druming...it sounds slightly like it gets out of time in places, but I'm not sure.

I've used the congas to achieve a certain tribal-music feeling into the piece. It makes it sound more like somebody would be on a march for war...
Generally, it was BadThrall's request that the music should have much drums (explicitly to achieve a war-like feeling in the music) and that's why I explore the possibilities of different drum-instruments (bongos, congas etc.) - however the possibilities is limited by the software I use: and that's a big problem :?
I have two different softwares that I use - sequenser Reason with it's orchestral soundbank and GPO (used with Sibelius). The problem is that when using Reason the sound world is much bigger (Reason comes with numerous sounds), but it discards all tempo changes in MIDI files, and my pieces usually have quite a lot of them. On the other hand, when used correctly, GPO produces a very realistic sound, but the instrument selections is limited to the instruments found in common orchestra (therefore I cannot experiment with different instruments that much  :cry: )
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2006, 12:22:54 AM »

After a long pause there are more music coming now!  Cheesy  Cheesy

A Path to Glory: score and mp3

This piece is very simple and straightforward, and the texture is nothing but vertical, but I think it suits as a background music quite well.

About the music on the way: I've planned to compose a series of themes namely for some of the greatest cities (ŕ la Jason) and they will be presented next as soons as I compose them (it will take some time though, as I have to go to work and I'm also writing my novel and I have to divide my time to those all).   Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2006, 11:05:46 AM »

As I have explained elsewhere, I have been really slack lately, with limited Internet connection and all that.

But I'm back and good now, so I'll post my comments sometime soon.
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2006, 12:00:16 AM »

It's good to know that you are back, Melda!
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2006, 02:29:28 PM »

I've released a new track for the Black Company mod.

Devil's Garden: score and mp3.

The music was inspired by the old Romanian superstition about 'Gregynia Drakuluj' (or in the modern spelling, grădina dracului), the Devil's Garden, the name which in the old country was given to many places, like deep forest, barrows, high mountaintops etc.

About the structure of the piece I just say: listen to yourselves  Tongue

I'm going to compose two more pieces following this - Gania Drakuluj 'devil's mountain' and Yadu Drakuluj 'devil's abyss'.
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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2006, 03:37:59 PM »

Likin' it Wink
Good marching feel in there. The use of harpsichord was a really nice touch too! Only criticism is that some parts sound a little jumpy, as in instruments playing slightly unnaturally out of time, but overall very nice Grin
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« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2006, 03:10:17 AM »

Important Announcement: the older version of Tom-Tom's Death isn't available anymore as I've composed a new version of it, which can be found here:

Sheet music and mp3


This version suites the mod better than the previous one. Although this piece is quite tragic, it still has the same kind of agility the other pieces have too. The previous version was powerless. This version has power; one could imagine the comrades of the deceased carrying him to the funeral pyre and at the same time making a promise to avenge his death...
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« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2006, 04:47:13 AM »

Ooh excellent.

I was hoping you'd revise the original version . . . as it was nice and Arcanum-like, but lacked sophistication.

But here you've completely re-written from scratch, so just let me listen to it.

. . .


Hmm, my first thoughts are that it feels too fast-paced (after the introduction, I mean) . . . it might work in the game, though, so it could be just my out-of-game experience of it.

The second half of the track definitely feels like 'Tom-tom's death', so forget my previous comment.

Love the death bells, too.


With the return to the A section style at the end . . . it seems too lively and . . . cheerful, almost. To me, at least, but like I said -- I'm not experiencing it in the game and so probably don't have as good an idea as someone watching the cinematic.


Overall, I feel the composition is definitely an improvement on the earlier version. But it's not quite what I was expecting (to be honest I was expecting a more Arcanum-inspired composition, so I may be biassed ).


Actually, you know . . . I can't make my mind up with this one.

I keep thinking it doesn't sound quite right, but then I can start seeing how it works.

So yeah -- I think this whole post is a waste of time.

Oh well, good work! Another piece to add to my collection. =)
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« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2006, 11:46:42 AM »

Quote from: "Melda"
Ooh excellent.

I was hoping you'd revise the original version . . . as it was nice and Arcanum-like, but lacked sophistication.


You are going to get the Arcanum-like piece some time soon. I been wondering for quite long how to write music for the cinematics of the mod (they are quite lengthy - I could write a cd full of music just for the cinematics, I think). After long consideration I've decided to compose only one long piece that can be used with all the cinematics (excluding the starting and ending cinematics). I had thought that the piece would be quite meaningless and idle, but in the same time allround and appropriate for every turn - if you have the slightest clue of what I'm talking about. Something like Jason's Cinematic Suite for WIII (I'm by no means saying that Jason's music is meaningles  Smiley ). When working on it I'm probably going to ask you some advice, Melda, so be prepared  :twisted:  :wink:

Concerning the new Tom-Tom's Death, I think it suites quite well, although you may be right that the tempo changes (to be precise, the tempo is andante non molto in the 'slower' section and adagio in the 'faster' - so the pace changes, not the tempo) to bit perhaps too fast... But overall I think that it fulfills it's purpose (the piece has even more   discordances than my previous works representing grief and mourning  Smiley ).
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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2006, 02:49:43 PM »

I thought to let you all know that the music for the Black Company mod can now be found at My SoundClick.com homepage with other new music that isn't available at SibeliusMusic.com

About new music: I don't know when I'm going to compose new music. Currently I've been busy with my friend's film project and the entrance examinations are coming near. But I'll try as much as I can to compose!  Cheesy
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