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Old 08-12-2017, 07:22 PM   #41
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

Yep..basically no drum section that's "in your face", like you'd find in other genres. There's obviously other more subtle ways of generating a rhythmic vibe or beat, such as using modulation /LFOs on different mix elements. The thing is drum kits tend to distract the listener from the rest of the mix when it comes to Soundscapes..and , when used, they also tend to make the scape end up sounding just like a regular instrumental piece. When it comes to soundscapes, it's all about tone and contrast..how things flow together and carry the listener along as a whole..and the mood of the piece in general.

But, yeah, rhythmic elements are fine..just as long as it's not Buddy Rich on drums.

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Old 08-12-2017, 07:48 PM   #42
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by TheStumps View Post
Alright, here's my entry.

I went with interpreting the sample audio into the format of the song itself, so the entire song is one large wave structure with wave-like patterns within it structurally.
Due to this nature, I chose to do something I love doing any chance I can get away with it, and made the arrangement of the song a [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
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Enjoyably, one instrument (which spreads texturally over three tracks) was able to take the chiasmus structure quite literally and nearly exactly reverse itself note-for-note in the second half from the first half.

I also took the opportunity of not having drums to make the song in 3/4 timing instead of 4/4, which allows for more interesting melodic structures than 4/4.

Though the song is symmetrical, I didn't make it a perfect symmetry. Firstly, I don't think that would even quite work out, but the main reason for skipping on perfect symmetry is that nature isn't perfect with symmetry so we're just not really used to that idea. Symmetrical things need to be just slightly off between the two sides of each other - like faces, leafs, trees, etc... so that the overall impression is symmetrical, but close examination shows that the impression is only an impression - that differences do exist.

The wave audio field recording plays through the whole song and reverses itself half-way through, however, during the "middle" section, the wave audio file is moved through an amplifier (and a bunch of other stuff) and is turned into organically moving white-noise as a result; and is not likely recognizable as waves any further.


I decided to make a piece on the ambience of Chernobyl's wilderness; which is beautiful, serene, warped, sad, horrific, creepy and touching all at once. It's organic, but just slightly warped synthetically.
I used this to inspire the way the song is effected and designed - for instance, I added dirty pops and clicks in to emulate the impression of a Geiger counter, and even the audio file when recognizable as waves is heavily filtered to give it a silky yet slightly metallic touch.
Juxtapositions of parts and melodies are mostly correct, but in a couple of fleeting moments, they conflict just a hair - "natural", but then just slightly off once in a while, if you're looking close enough.
While notes were written in many parts, where possible, I would run multiple bars sustained with one note and create the melodic rhythm and parts of the melody by employing effects to achieve the same result I first outlined with actual individual notes. I did this because this creates a slight inconsistency periodically like a droopy face muscle of a radiated kitten. You want to say it's pretty and cute, because it's a kitten - it's normally pleasing, but it droops in places just slightly off, but when you look again, it's not droopy again - now everything's back in its right place.
This is most notably presented in the "main melody" instrument of the "middle" section (the one that is perfectly mirrored in the notes from itself on both halves of the song - the melody line marked in red on the DAW picture).

The repetitious wapping bass effect was done for entrainment effects - to give a sense of a dream like state and to soak out the empty space, so that the song felt open (which was accomplished through a heavy amount of L/R balancing and stereo shaping to put sounds exactly around you where I wanted them), but while still open, thick in the air. Like a meadow filled with a thick fog and mist.

This song took about every ounce of skill I have to balance and organize just right (due to the amount of effects and automation, it also pushed my computer right up to just below the boundary of its capacities during playback).
It also took a huge emotional tax to work on because I like things that are tenuous and crying, and while I don't vocalize and I'm not playing an instrument, I compose based on harnessing my emotion for the subject in hand and the tension and stress in this was a lot to endure repeatedly while working on it.

I definitely enjoyed working on this, but I'm VERY relieved to be finished with it. My nerves need a break!

For some fun, I compiled the arrangement within the DAW into an image, so here's what the song physically looks like:
Song time!



Cheers!
TheStumps

That's a really cool piece of music you've tailored there, Stumpy..but it's a little too fast and melodic for what's usually considered at Soundscape. I feel really bad about saying that to you, as it's clearly obvious the amount of work that's gone into this piece..and I hate to say anything at all that comes across as a critizim of it in any way.

If you had merely restricted yourself to only a few notes and focused on playing them at well-spaced intervals, then it would have been nearer the mark.

The thing about Soundscapes is, although structured pieces generally, they tend not to sound so structured. Instead they seem to flow along, with the various mix elements undulating throughout.

What you have here is a great piece of instrumental music, with some really solid application of theory and composition..it's just not really a soundscape.

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Old 08-12-2017, 10:00 PM   #43
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
That's a really cool piece of music you've tailored there, Stumpy..but it's a little too fast and melodic for what's usually considered at Soundscape. I feel really bad about saying that to you, as it's clearly obvious the amount of work that's gone into this piece..and I hate to say anything at all that comes across as a critizim of it in any way.

If you had merely restricted yourself to only a few notes and focused on playing them at well-spaced intervals, then it would have been nearer the mark.

The thing about Soundscapes is, although structured pieces generally, they tend not to sound so structured. Instead they seem to flow along, with the various mix elements undulating throughout.

What you have here is a great piece of instrumental music, with some really solid application of theory and composition..it's just not really a soundscape.
See PM

For everyone else, not to leave you all wondering.
I'm fine with this call, and I kind of expected it was possible because I intentionally am challenging the definition of what is soundscape in this at the same time.
That's my learning style!

Cheers!
TheStumps

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Old 08-12-2017, 10:08 PM   #44
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

Sounds pretty soundscapey / soundtrackish to me so I better reread everything as well
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:56 PM   #45
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by Vault O))) View Post
Sounds pretty soundscapey / soundtrackish to me so I better reread everything as well
I don't exactly want to spark a debate in this thread (even though I definitely did want to challenge the genre), but here's basically the thing:

Notes are fine, spread out, but traditionally you don't want melodic runs - especially notes less than 1 bar in length (which I did; again, on purpose to challenge that notion).

I've already let AM know that I'll send him another version to chew on which will simply remove 1 track of melody, dial back one effect rate, and lower one track volume and it will be more aligned with traditional soundscape timings.

I've also stated that I don't think this will still yet strike a traditionalist as actually soundscape and I don't think it has anything to do with timing actually, but instead, emotion.
Typically soundscape music is peaceful in some variation or another - even if "dark", it tends to be still serene in some flavor.
However, Chernobyl Chiasmus is tense, stress-filled and climactic. You can actually point to a specific moment and say, "That's the zenith; that's the climax of the tension."

With soundscape, traditionally, you can't usually do that. You can't very well point to any one spot easily and define it as distinct from another section, and definitely not in terms of "climax".

We'll see what happens with the reprise.

Cheers!
TheStumps

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Old 09-12-2017, 03:12 AM   #46
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

As someone who actually studied soundscape-theory back at uni, I think the main problem here is that A.M. seems to have made up his own definition of "soundscape", which has little to do with R. Murray Schafer's original definition in his book: "The Tuning of the World - The Soundscape" (1977).

The book was an attempt to create an all-encompassing language for analysing and talking about every type of sound in the human environment (which is what he calls "the soundscape"). And although he has some ecologically motivated ideas for limiting human-made noise pollution through music as well, the book isn't really about composing music at all.

Or to put it another way:

Every sound you can hear right now, wherever you are, is (according to Schafer) part of your soundscape, - which means that soundscapes can literally sound like anything (and do in fact sound like anything).

..and that clearly isn't what A.M. has in mind at all.

As far as I can see, the competition is rather about making beat-less ambient music based on field-recordings.

So using Brian Eno's ideas about "ambient music" would in this case be much more appropriate - and more easily understood as well, since people actually know about that stuff (as opposed to Schaferian analysis).

So I wanted to suggest that maybe the competition could be renamed into "Ambient Challenge" or something like that, - in order to avoid further confusion.

I think it's worth considering anyway. Thanks.

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Old 09-12-2017, 04:48 AM   #47
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

Speaking only for myself, that slip from academic to colloquial in the meaning wasn't an issue.
I personally understood that AM was using the way google (or most music outlets) understands the phrase "soundscape music", which will return essentially ambient new-age sound music which prominantly employ sound recordings from nature.

I want to be very clear: I purposefully rolled the dice and pushed the boundaries on the defined rules and concepts. I was never confused, and I do not think AM's call is in error. I full well accepted that what I did may not make the cut, but did it anyway just in case, and also just to try it out.

I really did not intend to spark a debate.

I think it's fair: whoever is running the challenge has the chair for calling the shots on deviations from the rules they have outlined for the challenge.

Besides, why would I ever complain about another excuse to make more music?

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Old 09-12-2017, 04:50 AM   #48
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

I'm guessing it's going to be subjective as to interpretation. Personally I thought anything was a go as long as it fit within the parameters of the rules.

I thought Stumps track was along the vein of the Biosphere sample in the OP
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:24 AM   #49
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

I'd say it's soundscape-y enough. We don't have to have everything as sound collage/random composition/tao de chang à la John Cage. Some more melodic and structured pieces I don't mind seeing.

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Old 09-12-2017, 09:57 AM   #50
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

I like that folks are interested in exploring the boundaries of ambient with more melodic influences, but I just wanted to make a note that I've already finished the more ambient, less melodic (mmm...no, slower-ly melodic, yeah, that's more accurate I think) reprise of the song.

And I think it's fucking cool as hell, personally.

I like both, really. The reprise is really fun because it has all the same central themes and structure, but is wider.
I could plop both in a film for different purposes and yet easily fit both as part of the same film theme.

I'll be posting it once I wrap the engineering side.

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Old 09-12-2017, 04:57 PM   #51
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

OK..seeing as this has all somehow turned into a full-blown debate..just letting everyone know I've replied to Stumps PM basically suggesting his revised piece would work best if he dropped one other element of the mix, which I personally think would make the piece more emotive in general. But that's basically my own subjective take on his mix and he is, of course, free to do whatever he likes or feels is best in the end..and I'm more than confident that's exactly what he is going to do.

In relation to everything else said here..there are many different forms of Soundscapes and I thought it was clear I was coming at this from an ambient standpoint, so I don't really get where this "debate" is coming from. I even mentioned in one of my posts [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
, that I didn't think any of us expected anyone to be a Brian Eno right out of the gate on this (Note I said "Eno" and not "Cage" or "Schafer").

I even linked to the definition of soundscape, as it appears on [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
: "..a mélange (mixture) of musical and sometimes nonmusical sounds", which is not something I "made up"..

To be fair, there are different forms of soundscapes, as Schafer himself posited, but the goal of this Challenge has always been with a view to creating those of more minimal musical nature, rather those of the "natural" or "real world" Soundscapes variety.

If any of you want to dive deeper into the area of Soundscape Theory, then I respectfully suggest you take it over the [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
of this forum..this thread is about producing Soundscapes using a supplied sample, while following a number of set rules..not debating the theory of the same.

I started this challenge not with any one form or genre of soundscape in mind..and it's certainly never been my intention at any time, to impose my own definition of what a "soundscape" is or should be on this group. I just thought it would be a good idea to start something like this and try to get those interested to try something maybe new to what they're used to doing.

In short, I drew up a list of general "rules" to hopefully guide everyone in the same direction, so there could be a common framework or template, by which we could work and end up having some sort of benchmark by which we could gauge the end results. Keep in mind not everyone here has studied music theory..or even attempted to produce a Soundscape before..we're talking about me trying to make this as accessible and inclusive as possible, so anyone in this community could take part if they wanted to.

If anyone has a problem or takes issue over how this has been set up, explained or structured, then please..by all means..step forward and take over. I mean that..seriously..and I'm saying it without any ill feeling or nastiness whatsoever. In the end, this was always intended to be a group "community project" and it's up to the group to decide..and that how it should be.

I'll leave it there for now

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Old 09-12-2017, 06:01 PM   #52
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post

"What you have here is a great piece of instrumental music, with some really solid application of theory and composition..it's just not really a soundscape."

"..and it's certainly never been my intention at any time, to impose my own definition of what a "soundscape" is or should be on this group."
The first quote is what I reacted to, since it seemed rather unfair to force your own idiosyncratic definition of soundscape unto a submission that actually had striking similarities to some of the examples you posted yourself.

The second quote contradicts the first one.

But asking TheStumps to remove certain things was exactly that: Imposing your own definition of "soundscape" on his artistic expression by way of censorship.

So which one is it?

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Old 09-12-2017, 07:21 PM   #53
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by Iyashi Sound View Post
The first quote is what I reacted to, since it seemed rather unfair to force your own idiosyncratic definition of soundscape unto a submission that actually had striking similarities to some of the examples you posted yourself.

The second quote contradicts the first one.

But asking TheStumps to remove certain things was exactly that: Imposing your own definition of "soundscape" on his artistic expression by way of censorship.

So which one is it?
I never tried to impose any sort of censorship of his artistic expression, as you put it..I was making suggestions based on my own subjective impressions of his work! As for the examples I posted..as I said in my post [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
.."..take them a "loose guide only" and run with it yourselves".

To be honest, you're blowing this up into something it's not and never was and this is starting to feel like it's turning into something a little more personal.

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Old 09-12-2017, 08:08 PM   #54
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

I feel concerned and also less likely to participate because what sounded to me like a great submission, was told it wasn't right by the person organizing the contest. It seems that it was within the stated rules and there is a process of voting to determine the winner anyways. If the purpose of these contests is to get us to have some fun and try to stretch ourselves, with deadlines and prescribed styles, etc, then does it really matter if someone misses the mark?

TheStumps took it really well, but if I had spent as much effort as he did, and done that big amazing write up describing the process - I'd be feeling so discouraged.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:23 PM   #55
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

OK..Fair enough..point taken.

As I said before, do whatever you want for this..then vote on who the winner is..and they can then take it on from there.

I'm stepping back from this one..it seems there's no need to have anyone heading this anyway, as everyone appears to be the opinion there's a problem with me and how I've explained both the rules in general, as well as my comments to TheStumps

Honestly, I'm not feeling bad towards anyone here, but I would like to see this move forward and there's no reason why it shouldn't without me.

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Old 09-12-2017, 09:06 PM   #56
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

I'm confused. Are you saying you are not participating now AM?
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:21 PM   #57
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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I'm confused. Are you saying you are not participating now AM?
Personally..no, that's not what I mean..I just won't be posting any more comments, suggestions or directions relating to anyone's submissions or what they're doing for this.

No need for confusion at all..nothing has changed regarding the posted rules..just produce a soundscape using the supplied sample, with it clearly featuring in the track and post it here in this thread before the deadline..then the voting will start.

Once a winner is chosen, they'll then host the next challenge and supply the sample for the same.

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Old 09-12-2017, 09:23 PM   #58
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
Personally..no, that's not what I mean..I just won't be posting any more comments, suggestions or directions relating to anyone's submissions or what they're doing for this.

No need for confusion at all..nothing has changed regarding the posted rules..just produce a soundscape using the supplied sample, with it clearly featuring in the track and post it here in this thread before the deadline..then the voting will start.

Once a winner is chosen, they'll then host the next challenge and supply the sample for the same.
Ok, thanks for clearing that up! I am excited to try this out but I am sure my entry will suck or not meet any standards!

Thanks for setting this up!
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A.M (09-12-2017)
Old 09-12-2017, 09:37 PM   #59
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by Sound-- View Post
Ok, thanks for clearing that up! I am excited to try this out but I am sure my entry will suck or not meet any standards!

Thanks for setting this up!
You're more than welcome..and don't worry about the standards or compare your work to that of others who might submit something..just do what you think is your best quality work and that will be just fine.nobody is going to judge you, least of all me..I'll be keeping my mouth firmly shut from here on out.

As Oatbag pointed out, it will all come down to voting anyway, so the group will say which track it thinks is the best out of all the submissions.

Basically, just do your best and have fun doing it.

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Old 09-12-2017, 10:31 PM   #60
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Re: < < < Soundscapes Challenge > > >

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
That's a really cool piece of music you've tailored there, Stumpy..but it's a little too fast and melodic for what's usually considered at Soundscape. I feel really bad about saying that to you, as it's clearly obvious the amount of work that's gone into this piece..and I hate to say anything at all that comes across as a critizim of it in any way.

If you had merely restricted yourself to only a few notes and focused on playing them at well-spaced intervals, then it would have been nearer the mark.

The thing about Soundscapes is, although structured pieces generally, they tend not to sound so structured. Instead they seem to flow along, with the various mix elements undulating throughout.

What you have here is a great piece of instrumental music, with some really solid application of theory and composition..it's just not really a soundscape.
That's a super cool track. I am not really into ambiant stuff but I like how there's a theme but it's different throughout on closer listen! Very cool.

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