Here are some thoughts on the songs on the unfinished OST for my abandoned 2016 game, Perfect. You can buy the album here for $3 and you are free to use the music as you wish in projects, as long as you make < $50k a year. Otherwise contact me about licensing fees!
Prelude – 2016-2-8
I believe I wasn’t going to use this for the final game – it was one of the first (the first?) song written, with an early version of Perfect in mind, and ended up being a little too “orchestral” and dramatic… perhaps even a little cheesy (1:29, lol).
Metallic drums are neat, though. The concept of the song is not bad, but poorly executed. I may have been riffing off “Ballad” by Vangelis. The over-attentions to chords in the bassline seem to indicate that maybe I was trying to go for ‘anime opening’, too.
Song Select – 3/1/2016
Originally, the game would present sort of a carousel of squares, each corresponding to an interview and song. This song plays while you pick the song to use. If Perfect were to be finished, I don’t think this song would be in the final game. (Maybe a save menu?)
I didn’t finish this until December 2016, for a ‘live show’ I played, I used this song as the opener.
Computer Desktop – 2/23/2016 – April 2017
Possibly my favorite song here – one of the earliest I started, but I never finished it past 0:45 until using it in a live set in April 2017. You know the green hill in the default Windows XP background? Maybe this song represents flying and soaring through those hills, with the swooping motion of the notes. Even a string quartet shows up, followed by some impossible passages.
I really do like orchestral instruments (I grew up playing the violin and piano!), but the ways in which composers tend to use them are often bland and predictable. I know this isn’t a sentiment only I share – like any sound, a composer doesn’t need to limit themselves to the use of orchestral sounds in 20th century classical traditions or film music cliches. Oh well, here we are. I’m working on something that highlights these kinds of sounds…
Taiwantown Governance – 5/9/2016 – 5/27/2016
This was supposed to represent the process of governing a body of people… maybe from the serious orderly nature of the rhythms. Either way, I ended up using it in a short game, “HIROSHIMA 2016: SEAN HOGAN VISITS JAPAN”. The ending is a Hisaishi Joe nod…I don’t really like it how I used it, now, hehe.
I was probably ripping off Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’s metal melody sounds, too.
ACK – 2/22/2016 – Dec 2016
Again I used this in a liveset and finished it. I was thinking about the TCP algorithm and the “ACK” signal, which is a fundamental algorithm for making the internet work. You could think of this song as travelling through the inside of computers or transcontinental cables. Dark, electricity, encrypted data, etc. I really like the weird synth thing at 0:24 and how it transposes over time. The song, however, moves from an intense image to a more traditional song over time – probably because of using it in a liveset I had to transition somehow. I like how the song has 3 parts w/ different but related ideas.
Dancing Club – 2/14/2016 – Dec 2016
Another liveset song. Was meant for a place inside of a nightclub, while people were dancing. Of course, you would never hear this sort of song in a nightclub, at least not today, the song is more the impression of a nightclub. Maybe it sounds a little too dark though, and in my experience clubs are usually pretty happy places. The darkness probably comes from the context of the game. Weird voice-like samples near the end, a silly time signature, etc.
Music Studio – 4/17/2016 – Apr 2017
I used the 2nd half of this in a liveset in April 2017. Playing with some dance hall music motifs… single big bass, sound effects. The first half of the song was trying to re-use that guitar sound I used a lot in Anodyne’s OST. As well as the ‘brightness‘ synth from the Megadrive soundfont (which is just some sort of sine-wave timbre)
Dim Lake Cavern – 2/12/2016 – Apr 2017
I finished this song for a April 2017 liveset. Originally it was part of one big song…I think with the “Caves” outtake. Somehow in the second half, when that drum beat comes in, reminds me of Angel or Teardrop by Massive Attack. Might have been riffing on that…
I used a lot of those deeper, warm and reverbed synths in the start to simulate the feeling of lit hotel pools. Think that, at night, but in a giant cavern with warm water – that’s the idea I was going for. The image changes, though, as the “Massive Attack” section starts, I guess.
And oops, I guess the song doesn’t have an ending.
Exterior Surface of Perfect – 7/13/2016
Since Perfect was this megastructure, it had an exterior made of metal or something protective. I had imagined who would have to clean this, like a window washer. I mean, clearly in this kind of future a robot would… but imagine if a human had to do maintenance in such cold and windy conditions? I guess there are people with jobs like that today. So the imagery of the song, kind of mysterious, windy, lonesome.
Outskirts of Perfect – 2/14/2016 – April 2017
Finished for a live set. I liked to imagine these large gates with a dusty path leading to them, as the main entrance to Perfect. Sort of a desert wasteland, but with occasional plants and trees still. Some of the sounds imitate birds. But mostly going for that feeling of walking around an empty or unknown place by yourself. At night…
The song transitions into a new section near the end, but I never finished it. It seems a little out of place, like you walked by some odd sight. It’s sort of iffy to me, but whatever.
Freezing Desert Night – 7/27/2016
A few other songs on here do this, but similar to some of the thinking in Even the Ocean, I was playing with mixing textures and short melodic phrases. Using some electronic static samples to build texture. I wanted this to be longer but couldn’t at the time figure out what to do. I like that the background texture kind of reminds me of a hospital ICU… it’s an interesting image on top of the other sounds, which are more like ghostly images appearing as you walk around a cold desert.
Dusty Wasteland – 5/28/2016
Another ambient song for travelling wastelands/deserts. Like some of the other songs this uses a technique of trying to score images in a certain space and arranging those together, one after another. This is a useful technique for songs where something too rhythmic or melody-focused would be inappropriate, and when you don’t just want to slap together an ambient drone.
Evening Balcony – 2/17/2016 – 5/2/2016
First, I have to say, there is a really nice and subtle delay feedback tail around 0:17 that I really like. Like magical steam… somehow, I really like how this song transitions into the part with the bassline. It’s kind of meditative… I really recommend listening to Cave Story’s Balcony, which I think might have been an inspiration for this. The chords are a little too forward in the mix for me, though. I’m not sure why I never finished this one since it seems easy-ish to complete.
The plain sine-wave sound is because a plug-in broke and I didn’t bother to try to fix whatever patch I had originally on the synth. But it was pretty close to a sine wave so this is close-ish to the original. Again, here, more of those metal drums, and synths with some kind of pitch envelope on them… I like how there’s a lot of steady-walking-pace melody lines overlapping in the end. Gives a sense of constant labor and movement.
I was trying to capture the eeriness of empty apartment hallways here, maybe even hotel hallways? How they can loop and twist and feel eerie at night. As this one goes on, it becomes less successful, though. Probably the bassline would have needed to become less prominent and something else taking its place to continue the song.
Honestly, this seems to have nothing to do with a bedroom, or the digital. If anything, it sounds a bit like an occult clown dance ritual, with all the detuned honking synths. The bassline is kind of tight and fun, I don’t often write stuff like that. The part at 0:33… how odd. This song probably needed more direction and tethering to some imagined space, if anything, but I could see it being finished and having an interesting 2-minute piece.
Ask me how I feel about the stock market! The really crude beat and harsh synths remind me of stock trade orders zooming around really fast, people trying to short and beat each other out to make money out of someone else’s faith or greed.
Forest Game Level
This was basically a rip-off of uh… Pat Metheny’s ‘Minuano’. This song sort of feels like a theatrical score to someone travelling through an MMORPG’s redwood forest, while they hunt someone else down. It would have been neat to finish this… I especially like the upright bass part. One weird thing is the lack of electronic instrumentation here.
Personal Brand Machine
I was thinking about the steady, factory like process of which social media websites shape get us to try and optimize some process to best exploit and win clout within that website’s system. It’s kind of funny to me, personal brands. Everyone has them, just some are more absurd and extreme than others… think of some game YouTubers. Etc. I mean, I have some of my own, too. Making a living on the internet requires cultivating one, at least a little. So that’s why this song is a little more playful vs. dark.
Online Shopping Carts
Another playful one! I really like how this builds up from a funny blippy bass to maybe something you’d hear in one of those absurdist mid-2000s internet videos, like Lonely Island stuff… Hm, the sawtooth wave synth part comes strangely close to “Don’t Stop Believing”, one of the worst songs known to mankind (only outclassed by the Chocobo Theme). But it works here.
I was trying to represent someone who spends a lot of time just shopping, living in a little bubble of their own. Someone to whom the world is just sales, bubbles, rainbows, etc.
I’d love to finish this song at some point!
Data Sea Server Room
What does a Server Room sound like? Well, physically, it is just loud fans, blaring. Quiet rows of black towers, maybe a footstep or two. I was thinking about the steady march and creeping of personal data into massive server rooms, or “Data Seas/Oceans”
The Data Sea
This takes the server room song one step further, jumping straight into the concept of the Cloud, or when online storage becomes more consolidated, redirected, confusing – maybe the “Data Ocean”. I like the imagery of the ocean more, though it’s more dystopic. A cloud can be mysterious, but it still feels more knowable than the vast ocean. Most of us have flown through clouds, after all.
This is a pretty slow-churning ambient piece, but I think it rewards with the textures that appear. (Soundcloud fans didn’t seem to think so…)
Random Number Generator
Pretty much an experiment. What does a random number generator sound like? Well, you’d get something much worse if the frequencies were totally random… so I limited things to be at least a little pleasant. Maybe this RNG only produces integers…
N-dimensional, 3-dimensional vectors! This is what they sound like, maybe…
I really love the 2nd part of this! I want to finish this, too. The first part is kind of a strange intro. It’s the kind of intro that someone would hear and then immediately skip, no doubt. The second half – when the bleeps turn into more normal arpeggiations, I think would be a cool background to some kind of avant garde pop song.
I was thinking about the systems people obey when they choose to go and evict people. It’s pretty dark! Mostly to make money or under pressure from external, heartless developers. Preying upon the least fortunate in our society. The slight pitch shifting in this song is creepy.
The things people do to make money, that ultimately result in violence. The blind optimizer of a soda company whose products cause disease. Harmless-sounding national policy… etc. I like how this song has this ‘approaching wall of CHORD’ that just cuts out quickly. The second, upbeat part of this, I wonder where it would have went. Not sure if it’s the best ‘solution’ for this song.
Strange beat here… interesting drums, though. And those sparkling piano runs are interesting fluorishes. Maybe this could evolve into a dance song.
This sounds like music for a bad candy commercial. Occasionally I’ll try to write some kind of pop like this… and then get bored or frustrated and quit. In the ending part, I may have been ripping off the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song “Tokyo Highway” or the ostinato in Kidorikko’s song “流行通信簿”. Upon listening to that KPP Song, definitely the KPP song.
Cool Cold Club
Interesting beat. Not a ton going on, though… but this would be a nice background ambience for something.
This was a joke. However, there is something kind of fun about taking a musical structure you Really hate and then writing something to that structure and seeing how it turns out. I copied this weird ‘breakdown’ from some pop song, though my memory has protected me from remembering which song.
Why is this a swamp? I don’t know. Maybe from the low bass drums and odd guitar plucks. It reminds me of something Nobuo Uematsu might write, and that I would skip whenever hearing it in the OST… eh heh. The weird sound effect at 0:43 is really nice, though. And in a few other places. Also there’s a dog woof too (a high pitch Cuica)
This synth sound is kind of cheesy. Also there’s glide on it, which makes it worse. Still, there’s something appealing, or fierce, about it..
??? Why did I include this at all? I like the guitar riff though. It reminds me of some Vampire Weekend riff – I think Giving Up The Gun.
Clear piano arrangement rip-off of Plains of Rowahl from Lost Kingdoms. That’s an amazing song.
Classical and cute I guess. Could’ve been something.