Portfolio 2 Documentation Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

For my portfolio project, I chose to create the soundtrack for Katedra (The Cathedral) by Tomasz Bagiński. For this project, I wanted to compose a Dubstep/Drum & Bass styled soundtrack. Initially, it seems unusual and perhaps unfitting to compose this style of music for the animation, but down to my interpretation of the animation I saw it to be more of a compositional challenge rather than an absurd idea. Since I have been venturing into new and wonderful territories of music and audio, I wanted to take a step back and compose electronic music more traditionally for my final sound and image project.

I first got the provided clip of cathedral and had a look at the video format ...view middle of the document...

I feel the storyline of cathedral can be widely changed to suit people’s own interpretations; the main protagonist/antagonist could either be on a trail of destiny or seeking power for corruption; either succeeding or failing his goal when he transforms into a tree. Going by his actions (and fate) provides a lot of possible implications, however the whole colour scheme and ambience of his surroundings strongly suggests to me that this character is indeed a villain. Looking closely at his facial expressions, grungy appearance, shady façade and lethargic movement further suggests the character is a villain. The dark and gloomy surroundings, volcanic red skies and haunted trees even further strengthen the characters demeanour. I think the character tries to summon some sort of power from the planet he’s on because he thinks he can control it and use it for ulterior motives (perhaps to turn those who oppose him into trees). The other trees that have faces suggest they were once like the antagonist, and have also tried to seize the mysterious power. This power could be some mythical or legendary tale that the character has pursued. All this information and theory about the story behind this clip made me think about the type and style of dubstep/drum & bass I was to compose in.

I started composing the score by opening a Logic Pro 9 session and playing around with the Native Instruments Massive hybrid synthesizer, well known and used for its dynamic range of sounds within electronic music. As I use this synthesiser a lot for my compositions, I have built a library of my own presets, which I often refer back to and use for various projects. I also used a virtual analogue synthesiser called Sylenth1 to create arpeggiated lead synths. For dubstep compositions, Massive is typically used to create a wide range and variety of bass sounds, but it can also be used to create lead synths and effects. Typically, Sylenth1 is more geared to creating interesting and captivating lead synths, but likewise to Massive, can also be used for bass sounds and effects. I heavily relied on these two plugins to produce my composition because of their outstanding capabilities and sound quality.

My initial idea was to compose a purely dubstep soundtrack, but as my ideas developed and I put the possibilities into perspective I decided to combine some drum and bass into the final scene. I garnered the majority of my ideas by listing to heavy bass music in the EDM (electronic dance music) scene to find inspiration in the typical bass sounds used. However, as I continued to develop a structure and realise how the composition works with the video, I decided that instead working around the theme of tension and suspense within the dubstep genre context works much better than producing traditional dubstep like sounds. Looking at the animation and the sort of style it is rendered in, trying to create sounds that work with and enrich it was more important to me than aiming to create...

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