Monday 29 November 2021

AUTUMN Music Album & St. Ralph Sherwin

 The past couple of weeks I decided that I needed to write something completely new and without pressure, something completely free.  My sister suggested that I write a seasonal album called "Autumn". This really inspired me as I love the idea of falling leaves with their colours, mushrooms etc.  I asked her to write me 10 track title names and I would use these as the basis for my writing.

When I write, I start with a picture or an idea and set up my basic project in Cubase.  I have some standard instruments like harp, piano, strings, soundscapes, guitar.  Mostly I briefly decided on a 4/4 or 3/4 time or something else and tempo and then I'll hit record and play in starting with usually either harp or piano or strings and record in something for about 30 seconds.  I will go back to this, quantize it and normalize any velocity that's been played in way to loud or quiet, get it sounding nice, then I'll hit record again, change instrument and play in another tune or accompaniment over the top of what I have recorded.  I do this about 5 times with bass, strings, voices or whatever I feel the piece needs and I gradually build it up.

When I started AUTUMN the first title was "Ode to the Fungi" so I used mostly guitars and stringed instruments which I switched about.  I like to change instruments or bring in new ones after a minute or so.  I was told once by my college tutor "overkill on the oboe" and he suggested switching the lead instrument regularly.  This really helped and I am always aware of the need to bring in something new.  My favourite samples are by Eduardo Tarilonte and I draw upon his soundscapes a lot.  For this album I was able to use Forest Kingdoms more as it's not a "Holy Spirit" album or a religious contemplative track or film.  I felt I could do what I wanted so I used forest soundscapes with subtle sounds of fantasy beasts and birds.  I used sound effects like crackling fires and rain.  It's been really fun and this album captures the atmosphere of the season well.

I certainly enjoyed the last 2 tracks, tracks 7 and 8 that I have written this past week "Walking the dark woodland pathways" as I was able to write something darker and more sinister using the piano and strings and some creaking trees soundscapes and wind.  

I am gearing up to work on "St. Ralph Sherwin" music score, it's been a few weeks since I finished Anna Maria Taigi film score which was so epic I have not been able to go back to it through sheer exhaustion.  I decided to write a couple of "pre-tracks" for St. Ralph Sherwin and ended up writing 3 in a row yesterday which was great.  Finally I was inspired to use Highland Pipes which, if used well, can be so moving - like in Braveheart film.  

I started with subtle soundscapes to give an atmosphere of depth and expanse, then I used the pipes with a lot of reverb to "call out" over the "landscape" that I was picturing.  To this I added a fidule and it gradually built up from there with strings and bass and a bit of subtle nylon guitar to keep in moving.  I fell in love with this piece but had to stop for dinner and just managed to finish it.  Every hal hour or so I would record 30 seconds of video and music and tweet it on my Twitter account.  There was a lot of response to this and people got to hear what I was working on.  Today I've set up the St. Ralph Sherwin film and hope to incorporate this piece into the film as it hit that emotional spot.  It will mean at some point in the score, introducing the pipes and bringing the themes around to this kind of epic thought - probably towards the end where you know the character is going to prison and be executed.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Elizabeth Prout and Edel Quinn Music Scores

This summer has seen me not doing any blog posts at all!  I can't believe how fast it has gone.  Earlier this year I started to write some tracks for my next album "Holy Spirit of Hope" which were also for me to draw upon when writing the music soundtrack for our next film on Elizabeth Prout.  When it came to writing the score I had two tracks previously written and this made the music so much easier to write.  When I had written the introduction, opening titles and beginning, it was mostly underscore but when it came to needing something new or different, it meant I could drop in a track without composing it there and then.  This method works really well.

Sadly, once I've written a score I go onto the next project and don't really remember what took place.  As I've not been posting for months I can't honestly remember the Elizabeth Prout music score or the film other than that I was very pleased with it, it's frustrating that I didn't post any blogs about the process as I did it as I have now completely forgotten.  The film has met with a good reception and it's great to have finished it along with John Henry Newman and Dominic Barberi.  

You can watch a trailer for the film here:

The film is available to purchase from our website, Amazon or Etsy or Instant Video on Vimeo too.

Elizabeth Prout DVD

Also over the summer we decided that we desperately needed to finish our film on Edel Quinn and the Legion of Mary as it had been nearly 2 years since we started it!  This was exciting as it finally gave me an opportunity to use some African sounds that I've had on my computer but never found the opportunity to use.  I really enjoyed writing this music score and every time I used the African voices or drums it really enhanced it!.  A trailer for this film can be viewed here:

The film is now available too on DVD and Instant Video from all the usual places.  

Once these 2 films were completed it left us with 5 more outstanding, St. Ralph Sherwin, St. David Lewis, Margery Kempe, Ignatius Spencer and Bl. Anna Maria Taigi which had been requested.  After a short break we decided to work on Bl. Anna Maria Taigi which we knew was going to be a big film.  We filmed everything we needed in the Spring as well as some Ignatius Spencer footage for use in Elizabeth Prout film but also for his own film.  Editing on Bl. Anna Maria Taigi began and I started to write some interesting, mystical music tracks that I could draw upon - 3 in total and also an "Epic Track" for her trailer.