For my first artifact, I have chosen to make a piece of soundtrack music.
The piece was influenced by various artists and score composers, The first and most major influence was the Social Network score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, taking from its slow burning industrial style to create a sense of heavy atmosphere. The other major inspiration came from Scottish musician and Under The Skin score composer, Mica Levi. I took an interest in how she used space between instruments in forefront of the composition and atmospheric synthizisers in the back.
In this post I will be detailing the editing process behind the creation of the piece of music that I composed in Logic Pro X.
To begin the composition, I selected a drum loop from the Logic X loops library, eventually deciding on a loop called Rivals Beat 01 with a Tempo of 69.
After this I then stretched the drum loop so it would have a longer duration and began experimenting with various virtual instruments and their styles such as bass, keyboard and lead sounds with the on screen keyboard.
After some experimentation I chose to use the Alchemy instrument set. I decided upon this because of its wide range of instruments and it’s inclusion of many more modern styles. The other plugin instruments in Logic did offer sounds and pre-sets that were interesting but these ultimately didn’t sound right for the type of music I was making and seemingly placed an emphasis on emulating older keyboards from the 1980s and 90s.
Using Alchemy, I then recorded two audio tracks within the project. These keyboard pre-sets were named Burning Pad and Cosmic Waves respectively. Beyond this point all of the instruments were recorded in the key of C.
After this I then re-recorded the audio track using the Cosmic Waves pre-set and added more variation to the track and ran it for a longer duration to act as a background atmosphere through the track. I also chose to push the volume of the Cosmic Waves track down in the mix by 4 Db. This was done to give the track a looming presence within the mix.
Also in this screenshot is an inclusion of an audio sample from the NASA website. This sample is in the public domain and can be used non-commercially.
I then went on to add a Reverb effect to the sample, this screenshot shows the interface of the effect I chose. Various elements that make up the effect are shown on this interface but the ones that were changed majorly are the Pre-delay, Spread and Rev.
After this I added a second effect on to the NASA audio sample. Phaser. I added this along with the reverb to make the voice in the sample sound distant, difficult to understand and otherworldly. To create the effect I changed the LFO rates one and two, the amount of sweeps in the stages and the level of the mix.
After this I then manually copied the audio on the Burning Pad track and copied it into further sections of the track and began to add more lead instruments into the piece. Still using Alchemy, I added a pre-set called Bellatrix and recorded more lead with the on-screen keyboard.
To layer the lead synths, I added another keyboard lead with Black Sun as the pre-set. Having this on the track helped to balance the lead synths and the atmosphere keys and blend them together.
After this I added further atmospheric synths in the form of the Arctic Shimmer pre-set. I also placed a slight amount of reverb on this track, although it is very small it was done to help give the impression that the sound was coming from the back of the mix.
I then went on to separate the first loop of the drums so as to add a fade in, because I felt the piece needed to be more dynamic in its introduction. Starting from all the tracks being at the peak of volume sounded to immediate. So by having the drums fade in and the background atmosphere track being pushed down in the mix by about 4 Dbs, it takes 10 – 15 seconds for the piece to reach its full volume.
To finish the piece I then added a bass track. This was the last addition to the track because I wanted to create all of the subtler elements of the piece before adding what usually turns out to be the loudest.
I chose the pre-set Juicy Pump Bass from the Alchemy instrument set and recorded a baseline to accompany the atmospheric sections of the track. After recording I then once again made the decision to make the bass track quieter in the mix by pushing it down 5.2 Dbs. This was done to be fitting to the style that I wanted to create this score based piece in.
After the completion of the track, I then exported the project so as to streamline all of the tracks into one audio file. In Logic Pro X this process is referred to as bouncing, to bounce to project.
When the project is exported you are given various options based on different audio codex. I chose to export my audio piece in Wave or .Wav format in 24bit resolution as this is the highest quality and least compressed audio file type, because I chose to render the file in the highest available quality, it takes up a large amount of hard drive space for a 3 minute track, with the audio file being around 60 megabytes. This is the opposing to the standard and more common audio files types also available on this software such as .MP3 and .AAC which produce files around 8 to 10 times smaller but compress the elements of the audio more heavily.