Composing the self-generating soundtrack for Creaks
Then we go into a gothic/baroque world, filled with bells, organs and choirs, and these tunable chimes I made from a deconstructed glockenspiel:
Then a Classical world, dominated by pianos and strings, and an Electronic world filled with textures, rhythms, basslines and melodies created on a modular synth, finally ending up in a futuristic dark magical world full of bass clarinet.
The OST features a broad cross-section of these styles. I had the great pleasure of featuring some of my favourite regular Hidden Orchestra musicians, as well as some new players. Though I am playing more twenty instruments myself – here is a selection of some of them.
I’m a Classically-trained composer, and self-taught producer, with a wide range of experience in many different musical styles and sound art projects, and so I was able to draw on a lot of different influences and ideas to create a soundtrack which uses multiple genres.
For example, the Classical/Folk technique of ‘canon’ allowed me to take a single short melody and turn it into an infinite composition. This can be heard in a number of electronic tracks featured in the inventor’s futuristic Workshop world, but also the Classical cello piece in the Palace world, called ‘One and One’ on the OST.
This piece is essentially a single rising solo cello line lasting two minutes, which I recorded at three different octave pitches. Every 40 seconds, another layer is triggered – choosing between the three different pitches, silence, and a slightly ornate version of the melody – with the result that you have an infinite cello trio piece that is constantly changing, but uses only a very small amount of raw material.
Another example of a technique I developed for the game, using the incredible FMOD Studio software (primarily designed for creating things like organic-sounding gunshots and atmospheres, but with immense capabilities for reactive music), can be heard in the track ‘Lifting’. The track is based around rippling piano chords – I recorded 15 different chords which the software plays in a random order – and also in three layers of different speeds and pitches (half-speed, normal, double-speed). This is combined with eight different modular synth patterns, four organ chords, and a selection of percussion and beats. On top of all this, there are dozens of different cello melodies, which the software also selects at random.
The randomisation is all within the range of carefully-defined limits and probabilities, which evolve throughout the piece.
So very quickly, you have thousands/millions of different combinations of sounds, harmonies, melodies, and structure – it will always sound like the same identifiable piece of music, but will never be exactly the same twice – much like the experience of going to see a band or musician play live – they play a song you know and love, but part of the joy of the experience is that it might be longer, or have a different beat, or an improvised solo, or a different arrangement.