Getting back on track

Had a feeling recently that I’ve not been composing enough and really wanting to get back into it! I was then shocked to discover that last year’s output consisted of only three tracks, two of which were experimental playing around (ie. Not that great and well under the minute mark). Eek!

  1. Original Etiquette opening for Dan’s version
  2. Aunt Ethel for Dan’s version [mp3 download link]
  3. Serene Beauty (by far my favourite out of the three!)

Therefore I’ve set myself a task of trying to compose at least one track a month (or at least 12 new tracks – one for each month). Already I’ve equalled last year’s output!

For January I composed two demo variations for video for Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. They were unhappy with the original music used (can’t say I blame them, the track they used was non-stop, overbearing and it felt like the footage was being edited to the track rather than following its natural flow). Unfortunately the original video editors have shown no sign of providing us with an dialogue only audio track (!?). Hopefully this situation changes in the near future, if not I’ll release the track online at a later point. Meanwhile this one has to remain under-wraps! Oh the politics!

February was the month where I did a short cue for my latest short film Etiquette (track name was Bumbling Trevor) at the 11th hour. To be honest, I much prefer it to the earlier cues linked above.  Nothing fancy but certainly fits the film better than being a stand-alone track. Also composed a short piece for the Baby Oak logo, which probably took little more than about 5-10 minutes to compose.

So on to March and a new track! A new piece called “Tracking the package“. I decided to go back to my favourite genre: Spy/Action. So I made a spy surveillance/chase styled track. I was adamant that I would not fall back to my safety net which is a harp (which I love), and would try to keep my piano/flutes to a minimum also. It started off rather Bourne in style but towards the end it evolved into what could be described as my own personal style. Tremendous fun to write! The track is not perfect (mixing/timing/orchestration), but you’ll get the idea. So here it is:

Andrew Carslaw – Tracking the package (Spy/Surveillance chase demo track)
I class this as my style because I can’t help but ignore the similarity between this and a track I wrote almost 20 years ago (showing my age now!). Here is an excerpt – for comparison purposes. It was a track called “The Countdown” based on the ticking time-bomb device used in many a Bond film.

Original excerpt from The Countdown (circca 1994) [mp3 download link]
Excerpt from Tracking the Package (2012) for comparison [mp3 download link]

Bear in mind in those days I was using very basic tools – namely a soundtracker program with 8 bit samples on an Amiga, no midi whatsoever! Obviously it can’t quite compare to a full-blown midi sample library, the tracks were not only limited by the number of channels available but also by the size (around 300k). Orchestral style tracks were quite rare back then, everyone seemed to be doing dance/rave numbers. I found it interesting anyway, so thought I’d share it – anyone else agree?

The track was written over the evening of Monday/Tuesday. Therefore technically it’s really a February tune. However, well call it March because it’s only just being released. I’ve recently been upgrading some of my virtual instrument libraries with a few new additions (Albion and ProjectSAM Orchestral Essentials. I may well decided to do a comparison between the two of these for a later blog entry – should anyone show any interest (get in touch if you do). They are both playing to a similar market.

I also decided to try the Sample Logic “Try Pack” for $5. Well worth the money should you have the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 4 or 5 at your disposal! This was of course nothing to do with the 50% off Sample Logic deal that DV247 is available until March 11th! Oh no! 🙂 Hopefully you can be expecting a few more tracks from me soon. I will try to change my pace from my usual more “reflective” style for a bit. I will get plenty of chance to revisit this territory soon when my “happy families” duo (“Family Portrait” and “Dad”) hit later in the year.

Meanwhile, to end on a somewhat cool musical note and being the Bond music fan I am – how much fun is this?

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