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Gustav Johnson

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Everything posted by Gustav Johnson

  1. Gustav Johnson

    HELP!! Ableton/VST plug-ins...

    Thanks for replying, a friend of mine helped me in person after a rehearsal. I've got the plug-ins showing up and running, have any recommendations for VST's I should look into downloading? Gustav
  2. Gustav Johnson

    HELP!! Ableton/VST plug-ins...

    Here's the brief: I"m trying to use VST plug-ins for the first time, and I'm trying to set them up with Ableton Live 9 Lite. I'm running into problems, and any help would be greatly appreciated. See attachment for details (with screen grabs!). Thank you all!! Hashtag technology_problems_rock...
  3. Gustav Johnson


    I took three days making this, please let me know (time-stamp-ish) if/where anything sounds off or clunky! Did my best to make it spiffy, let me know how I can tighten it! (compositonally or producingly) Thanks y'all.
  4. Gustav Johnson


    Thanks Mark! Haven't had time to re-work this one, but I'll add your comments to the others and my own 🙂 I haven't heard anything from you lately, I'll need to look and see what you've been up to
  5. Gustav Johnson

    Mixed Modes

    @ComposerMITA wrote a piece a few weeks ago based on a concept of lines which function relatively independent of one another and which also change 1) tonal centers and 2) modes every couple measures. It sounded like an interesting experiment, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I-dunno, I don't hate it exactly, but it sits with me the same way that free jazz and 12-tone music do. *shrug* It's definitely a good exercise in modes, in part writing, and in trying to make each line work on its own regardless of the others. The original project requirements call for no thought given between the lower two voices and the upper two voices, but I must admit to breaking that a little - if it was possible and convenient to the line, I definitely gravitated towards tones that worked relatively better with the other parts! Viola! - erm, I mean VOILA - c'est mon "chef d'oeuvre". Gustav
  6. Gustav Johnson

    Brigands Soundtrack

    Sorry it took longer than I hoped, but here are my thoughts!! (I gave thoughts overall and for each specific piece, sorry if you weren't looking for that kind of detail...) OVERALL COMMENTS: Great compositions and orchestrations, and very well produced. Sometimes your writing is a little busy and may benefit from some reductive editing, but technically speaking everything you wrote worked well together. In my opinion – some of your instruments (your percussion especially) could go to a whole new level if you brought in one or two live musicians for a session to record some of the stuff on an acoustic instrument. Hans Zimmer does this all the time, as do other great composers and producers. The mingling of live and computer music helps to bring some humanity to the crazy-good sounds a DAW can produce. A small group of live performers may set you back a couple hundred dollars, but would make the soundtrack stand out compared to other soundtracks. Otherwise this is a really good soundtrack and you should be pleased with how it turned out! SPECIFIC COMMENTS: The Horizon: Sweet, love the electric guitar sounds especially. Everything here really sets the stage for a game in this style. The rhythmic guitar at 1:25 ish could maybe have been introduced more subtly, and then built up in a crescendo. The orchestra at 1:40 was also kind of unexpected, almost abrupt. Nice transition into 2:15 ish, this is an interesting section. 2:30 is definitely really working well, the parts speak well with each other and create an interesting overall picture/texture/idea. Good sound production at the end. Airships: Good use of ostinatos to compliment the melodic material. I’d consider bringing them down, either reducing the instrumentation or giving them a quieter dynamic. Seems a little cluttered, is all, with all the sustained sounds and with everybody playing in such a similar range. Never be afraid to listen for reductive editing opportunities. Your countermelodies are super strong and add a lot to the piece. Dogfight: Whoa, cool. I LOVE the Celtic sounds (flute, guitars) in this one. Again, good use of ostinatos. Really good electric guitar melody, I feel like I have to search for it through all the other sounds happening, though. 1:25, REALLY good break and transition into the next section. I don’t think I’d have the snare drum or high percussion sounds accompany the horns, they didn’t feel well-matched to me. Great melodic ideas and supporting ostinatos. 3:20, the percussion exit was abrupt, maybe a cymbal roll into that release would help me feel less like you pulled the rug out from under me? The Brigands: Is your eighth note subdivision consistent? Some parts are definitely swing eighths and some are straight eighths, which sounds weird to me when they happen at the same time. A very “saucy” track, I like it, and the harmonic tension definitely helps. Bounty Hunters: I’m losing a sense of your melodic and counter melodic writing style in here. Not a bad piece, but next to the others it doesn’t seem to have as much personality. A Million’s Pirates: The first couple times I listened to this something struck me as off about the timing of the articulate, high-frequency percussion lines – like they weren’t evenly subdivided. The most recent listen I gave, I didn’t hear the same thing so maybe I’m crazy! Live performers would be epic for that part (maybe on un-tuned toms or field drums, or on their rims, or something similar). I think there’s a Celtic flute somewhere in here, but it’s getting lost for me. Bomb Run (& Fire at Will): I think with these pieces you have a chance to change styles a bit. Think of this as the “bridge” of the game, you don’t have to adhere so much to what you’ve created in the “verses and choruses”, you can break a little bit more and just focus maybe on a new idea in the same vein. Fire at Will started to do that (especially cool rhythm idea @ 1:35 ish), with some new-ish rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic ideas. At this point, my ear wants something that breaks stylistically from all the previous pieces. They’re good pieces, but I think you missed an opportunity to make these pieces something special. Surrounded: Nice intro, a unique character. Again, when I listened the articulate, high-frequency percussion seemed to be unevenly subdivided. This time I think I may understand the rhythm you’re using, but it still sounds a little off. Listen around 1:31/1:37/1:43/1:49 for examples, though there are more. The legato melodies in this one are a nice break from some of the other melodic styles. Sometimes the intervals felt weird to me, but it’s hard to put my finger on why sorry! Neat sound effects. Change of style at 3:05 is welcome and refreshing. Cool keyboard and oboe stuff at 3:20 ish, the build in this area is quite nice. Any reason this piece is so much longer than most of the rest? There are a couple areas where the momentum seemed to slow down, maybe reworking some of them out of the piece may have helped (or maybe not – who knows). Good legato melody at 4:45 ish. What We Fight For: I like the guitar parts I hear in the background at the beginning (0-0:15). Nice use of choir, reminds me of one of the earlier pieces in a good way. Good chord progression here, really fits the mood, especially with the clear descending line it creates. The chromatic downward motion in the cello/basses around 1:30 is fun J Hey, the guitar stuff has returned (2:35 ish), cool! A good piece overall. Our Finest Hour: SWEET rhythmic stuff in this – the interlocking here is especially good. With the melodic material, be careful to listen for velocity and plan how you want to build tension and relax it. The horn melody didn’t peak on the higher note like I expected it to, while the trumpets may have peaked too much (felt kind of forced, not quite human). Otherwise, all I can say is wow – for me you really nailed this one. We Fly Once More: Again I hear swing and straight eighth notes at the same time. It’s more subtle here and somehow seems to work better in this case than the other time(s) I heard it. Great balance for the drums, I wouldn’t mind hearing more of the cymbals and crashes when they’re emphasizing melodic content.
  7. Inspired by Hans Zimmer's theme to the BBC documentary Planet Earth II. Composed/exported in Sibelius 7, finished in Ableton Live 9 Lite. Happy Sunday all! Gustav
  8. Gustav Johnson

    Soliloquy for Clarinet No. 5

    Not sure about the beaming in this measure. It's definitely not wrong but I would have broken up the beams. In this measure I might have kept things consistent and also had a grace note before the quarter note B - it's the only cadence that felt unusual, probably because I wasn't expecting the grace note on count 2 but I was expecting it on count 3. Personal choice! Reminds me a lot of Bach in some way, I love it! I think it's the way you "rock back and forth" between the arpeggios you're using (B & F#), but it's very effective. Nice to listen to, and would be fun to play I'm sure as well. Good one! Gustav
  9. Gustav Johnson

    Brigands Soundtrack

    I've begun listening - so far I like it. I'll get back to you with more thoughts when I finish it (and maybe listen to it a second time). Cheers, Gustav
  10. Gustav Johnson

    Time Moves Too Fast

    Agreed with Monarcheon about the vocals, think about performing them the way a theatre performer might read lines. When you speak, you naturally add inflection, so when you rap treat it as if you were just speaking - ignore the fact that you're recording. Other than that it was pretty sweet. I liked the message of the vox, I might consider learning about syllable patterns/etc. through tutorials or something. My biggest advice is: Have you used a reference track yet? Play this side by side with some professional songs in a similar vein to what you're going for and listen for the differences in sound. If you can find the areas of your piece that are weaker then you can improve them! Thanks for sharing, keep working! Gustav
  11. Gustav Johnson

    Mixed Modes

    Sweet! Thanks!
  12. Gustav Johnson

    Genus Australis

    Awesome piece!! Mv. 1 The interplay is great, sounds really effortless. Mvt. 2: Might have liked to see this tonal expression worked in a little more if you're going to use it. I liked it, but didn't hear references to it before or after, and because it was a nice unique moment my ear wanted to hear more of it. Mvt. 3 is beautiful, the way everything works together is quite nice. Everything sounds very similar throughout, I'm beginning to lose track of myself and lose focus as I listen. You put so much work into the notes and rhythms, but I'm not sure I'd be able to walk away from that with "something to hum", if that makes sense. The textures are so gorgeous, though, that I enjoy listening even if I won't be able to recall specifics from this movement. Mvt. 4 - Nice! I love works written for live musicians, and if it involves unique aspects like the live synthesized stuff then that's something truly special. Would love to see this performed! Gustav
  13. Ditto to all above. The motion around bar 3 reminds me of things from 1812 overture finale, and I agree about Ode to Joy, but it's more like noticing two people who happen to have brown hair in a similar haircut.
  14. Gustav Johnson


    Thanks you two!! Also, @Monarcheon props for using such an obscure word, I had to look it up to remind myself what it meant. The last time I heard it (Music History) seems like ages ago......
  15. Gustav Johnson

    Demons dancing in my head

    Cool idea, love the sounds you crafted for this! The cymbals seemed a little overpowering to me - I would consider finding moments when you could bring the percussion down into the background more, that way the other sounds have a chance to be featured. I would also consider making at least one phrase have a change in percussion pattern. Good ambient track! Gustav
  16. Gustav Johnson

    Little Elegy

    Now that I see it written the other way, you're definitely right. Maybe I've been teaching middle school/high school too long and am getting stuck in a rut of simpler time signatures... Anyway, I did like it 🙂 Gustav
  17. Gustav Johnson

    Little Elegy

    Nice piece! I wonder if there may be a way to notate this that is simpler and more clear to the performer about how the tempos and phrases are related? For example, the time signature changes. Nothing wrong with how it is, like I said there may be a better way? One specific thing is your pedal notation. In Sibelius (it looks like you're using Sibelius based on the font), there's a different kind of pedal line that doesn't re-use the "Ped", which can help clean up the score as well. It's in the same area that you use currently to find the pedal lines. Musically I love your harmonies and melodic content. Beautiful to listen to, and to me evokes a sense of "remembering". I enjoyed it! Gustav
  18. Gustav Johnson


    Thanks for the score, it helps me listen better. I definitely like your melodic content, especially the bits like measure 18-24 ish. Compositionally I think it's good, the melody is clear and the accompaniment is appropriate, although you might want to consider going through and finding places that could be reduced for clarity. The melody is pretty busy the entire time (lots of movement and embellishing tones), so craft the accompaniment to compliment that - be intentional about the "big/important" moments you want to guide the listener to. A nice piece! Gustav
  19. Gustav Johnson

    For Strings (no 1)

    Holy complexity, batman! Reading it, that makes much more sense. Just listening I wouldn't have been able to understand what was happening. I think I'll give this a try! I like new methods of composing/creating, and I've never considered this one - reminds me of when Bernstein would write in multiple scales/keys/modes at the same time.
  20. Gustav Johnson


    A Good piece! A Score would be helpful, do you have one?
  21. Gustav Johnson

    For Strings (no 1)

    Now that I read your comment about each line having its own tonality, it sounds like what I heard is what you were going for (I didn't understand that originally - blame the lack of sleep!). What I was hearing sounded like chromaticism rather than modality, for example: measure three - the bass has A to C# to Bb, then the tenor (viola) has C natural to D natural, and then the alto (violin 2) has C# to D#. It felt chromatic rather than modal, like each voice is contributing to a different tonality than the others. Like I said, it sounds nice and according to the guidelines the work was successful!
  22. Gustav Johnson

    For Strings (no 1)

    To me it felt unclear and hard to follow. As an exercise, I'm sure it was helpful to practice those different modalities/etc. . I'd suggest working to refine the clarity so the listener doesn't feel like it's all one puddle of over-blended "mud-color", but distinct patches seamlessly connected to each other. I don't dislike it, just lots more to learn from it! Gustav Johnson
  23. You posted a couple days ago asking about Sibelius users. I use Sibelius, what's up?

    1. Kvothe


      HI Gustav. Thanks for replying to my question about Sibelius.  I truly appericate it.  

      Here's my scenario:
      When using the VST, Sib 7 sound set(not GM), I want to Sibelius to regonize different sythn sounds and effects and play them back. I have tried to use the dictionary, but it seems to work when using GM sounds and not Sib 7. Therefore my question is: Does midi messages only apply to the GM sound set or is there some way they work with Sib 7 sounds, too? 

    2. Gustav Johnson

      Gustav Johnson

      I've tried things like that before and never been able to get it to work. I also don't have a lot of time to invest in that , so take my results with a grain of salt. I know for sure it's possible to import sound VST sound libraries/etc., but using effects gets trickier. I think there are ways to use external programs (like Guitar Rig) to interact with Sibelius playback, but like I said I've never used them.

      I've done a quick internet search to see if I could figure anything further out, but haven't turned anything up. Next time I have some time with Sibelius I'll take a look and see if I can find anything!

  24. Gustav Johnson

    When The Night Speaks

    Very nice! Nice to see someone writing characteristically for each instrument. Be aware of the technical (and tuning!) difficulties of the keys you've chosen. Going up a half step (ending in A-flat) would make most of the passages significantly simpler and better for the instruments tone. But I guess we have 12 keys for a reason, and they all need using at some point I suppose! Really liked the colors you evoked with the harmonies. Gustav
  25. Gustav Johnson

    Dreaming in a Maze

    Not my favorite style, but it definitely does a good job portraying the scene. Not sure why, but it reminds me a bit of Debussy and other impressionistic composers. Would have loved to hear the main theme used more (i.e. measure 3,4,5 in the upper voice), it was a refreshing contrast to all the arpeggios. Sorry for the short comments - I'm on lunch break and don't have much time for in depth analysis! 🙂 Gustav