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A Solitary Journey

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After a long period of silence, here is my newest composition.. I continue to use a large amount of different sounds.  There are a few traditional instrument libraries, but many sounds are synthesized, or 2-3 layers to give the sound (hopefully) an organic sound..  In a some cases, the individual score parts, might be containing a few different sounds, because they are in the same 'family of sound'.  I suppose I could also look at them as different 'articulations' of a traditional orchestral instrument. 

A significant amount of time has been put into refining, the original sound, also refining some of the melodic or note content of individual tracks. I used to (decades ago) start with creating my palette of sounds first.  but with many of Kontakt, UVI and other companies, a patch may easily have four sound sources that morph, so that creates a small world of (infinite variety).  So often creating a new track with a new patch, will suggest a different sound, note content for what is to follow.  

As I've mentioned before I use a technique like Prince and many others, who primarily compose and perform alone.  Since I am not a band with several members, I have to lay down several tracks, before I get a good indication of 'what the song might be'..  This leads to re-recording individual parts over..  Say I added some great bass motifs.. I'll then go back and re-do piano, so that it sounds like the piano player is paying close attention to the bass player, etc. After many rounds, the song may sound substantially different than what I started with. 

A final note -  I had to stop and spend 3 months dealing with Prostrate cancer.  I got radiation, and glad to say, everything is working out OK. But I do urge male composers, as they age, to insist their doctors ask for a PSA blood test.. This is a fair indication of impending cancer starting. In recent years, Dr.s rely only on a physical 'finger' exam to determine size and shape of prostrate. The medical industry was sort of jumping the gun to do Prostrate surgeries, lasers, radiation.   Any procedure incurs some risk.  So work with your Dr. and a Urologist, then finally a surgeon, or radiologist, to determine best course for you..   Many men, wait too long, and risk becomes more serious.  

One of the intriguing and great thing about composing, is each composition becomes a learning lesson for the next piece.  Hopefully he can enjoy our senior years in discovering new ideas, techniques, we wouldn't have come across, had it not been for all the work we did before 

Mark Styles


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On 7/17/2021 at 9:26 AM, mark styles said:

A final note -  I had to stop and spend 3 months dealing with Prostrate cancer.

Holy crap, man! I'm glad you're doing okay though.

I really like this tune and the production is slick!

I especially like the percussion. Around 4:50 with the guitar and the big drums together is a great contrast that really work together.

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I don't quite call the style myself.   I call it EZ listening for the flower child generation..  It has aspects of impressionism, pointillism.  I view these more as musical landscapes. While there are some melodies, They aren't focused on repetition, and re-inforcement..   For my whole live I composed music for other people, sound libraries, etc..  While I enjoyed that. I eventually kind of burnt out..  I happend to get a good side gig as doorman at NYC nightclub.  Short hours, very pay..  It allowed me to only focusing music I liked. and wanted to focus on..   I have only one or two clients at this point..  So I don't have to worry about deadlines, fulfilling a clients musical demand..  A whole lot of this is experimentation and exploration for myself.  

I started writing my own songs at 10. Very rock, pop. By teenage years a string of bands, were we did a lot of pop, English pop, rock'n'roll. Then 1 1/2 years straight, in an all white 'James Brown' band.  Seven nites, a week, six hours a nite. It was grueling, but we made a lot of money and learn't a lot playing in an Beer hall of 500 pretty drunk people.  Play bad, and they would throw crap at you..  really hones us in.  Then came a series of 'original bands'  We did 70% original material.. I wrote most of it.  created basic demos at home, playing parts myself, enough to show band the idea.  Eventually I tired of that, bout an ARP 2600 synthesizer,  Then it was all synths for many years. Working in multi-track studios. I was allow any studio downtime, to use 16, track, then 24..  That's where a whole new level of real learning began. 

Took a long time for synths to get past raw sawtooth, and square waves.  The early samplers were a bit help..  The last number of years I have been using some sample libraries, along with virtual synths, but trying to coax more organic sounds out of them  (but also throw in definitely electronic sounds/   

When you think about orchestral orchestra's are the perfect organ analog orchestra.  The number of performs, ratios of horns/strings/woodwinds, allow a composer a limitless pallet of tonal colors.  I try to take the synths, (UVI, U-he, a slew of others, and the  morphing  Kontakt libraries) to create instruments and sounds unattainable by traditional means.  (I also like to throw in some sci-fi and psychedelic sounds.)  

I also like to use a very large pallet of sounds, some parts are only 1 bar long.. Granted another instrument in conventual orchestra would 'cover' that sound.   But I also like to create a 'surreal' sound..  I don't create a traditional sound stage.  some instruments, have different delays, some instruments various reverbs, (length, color) some instruments so locational data at all..  Why should I? It's all synthetic..  I want the music to have a dream quality, like your in your bedroom, but the north wall is  20 miles aways with hills, and a river in it, yet that doesn't bother your sense of reality in a dream does it..    Dreams ignore the laws of physics, reality, and we don't question it. But in our waking hours, those boundaries, might drive one to a breakdown.. well enough of my personal viewpoint for now.

About my personal health note..  I wasn't sure whether to include it.  But it did give me great concern..  I come from a long lived Italian line.  Most in my family  lived to reach 100 or over.  I always envisioned myself happily composing into my 90's..  Although the treatment went well, my main point, is to alert others to think about your future.. Are we all doing what we really want to be doing?    I'm 73, In the last 12 years, I continually cut more 'crap' out of my life, drama queens, people who only make you waste your time trying to deal with them.. Time is too precious to be f#$%KKing off especially after 50's - 60's. 

I urge all guys (and woman too to be aware of pychical body changes.  It's easy to shrug of aches and pains, to 'getting old'..  Deal with them. There have been tremendous advances in medicine.. but we as individuals especially as we age, can be most aware of when something in us is not working right..  Don't be macho, and shrug it off till it's too late. 


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