Musical Activities

I have been spending some time lately on other musical activities and wanted to write about them a bit here. While arranging celtic music for solo guitar will always be my main thing, it is a relatively lonely pursuit and I enjoy playing music with others too. There is just a bigger energy and sound that comes with three or four people playing together. I recently started playing in a band with three other folks. I am on guitar/flute/banjo, and we also have a mandolin player, accordian, and percussion, courtesy of Vash.  We have just had a few practices so far but are coming up with some good material, which looks to be a mixture of irish music, folk, and bluegrass. Our initial goal is to gig in the Portland area, and look for some photos and audio samples here in the coming months.

The other thing I have been trying to do more of is music composition. In particular multi tracking in my home studio. I have a modest but effective setup that includes Logic Pro, a Presonus Mobile interface, and Line Audio and ADK mics. I record in our office but the room has a bit of acoustic treatment and I can get a half decent sound, provided the bus is not going by or the folks across the street are not installing a roof. How I wish for a sound proof room..

I have always been interested in composing but once the celtic music bug bit that kind of took precedence. In the recent years I have been wanting to get back to creating some original music and am finally dedicating some time to it. With so much new media these days in the form of video games, mobile applications, and web content there seem to be more opportunities to have your music licensed and possibly make a bit of money. I am sure the competition is still fierce but at least there are more options than just moving to LA and trying to become a hollywood composer. As with alot of things I think networking and who you know is key. Being able to compose good music has to be a given. There are a number of services that will shop your music to potential clients. My solo cd is represented by a local Portland company Marmoset Music.

While they sound awesome I do not have the background to compose Hans Zimmer-esque orchestral battle scenes, so that is not really what I am shooting for.  I am more inspired to compose with the instruments I can already play (guitar, banjo, flute, mando) augmented with some MIDI sounds.  I have been listening alot to David Hamburger lately, a blues/jazz musician who made the transition into scoring.  He plays most of the fretted instrument family, combining them with percussion and strings on occasion. His stuff is mostly rooted in the blues/jazz/americana camp, which is something I could see myself doing. Ill need to get a Fender Telecaster first though.

I am also a bit of a video game fan and have been inspired lately by game music. Danny Baranowsky has composed some beautiful music for games such as the Binding of Issac and Super Meat Boy. Darren Korb combined acoustic instruments with beats and samples for the game Bastion in a style he describes as “acoustic frontier trip hop”.

So I will be posting here from time to time about my compositional activities and will probably put up some musical samples as well. I know its a bit of a stretch from celtic guitar and traditional music, but to me its all music so its all good.



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