Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 5 – The Break/The Block

MPC1000 in The Lab
Greetings readers.
6:35am, Monday Morning. I’ve been up since 4:30 am, trying to (re) effect this early morning, “get at the day” routine by getting into bed every night at a decent time. So far, it’s a good way to kick the week off.

I’ve been in the studio for the last hour, getting some to-do tasks checked off. One of them was trying to get the right drum track feel for this third and last idea for the title sequence (theme music) for the web series I’m scoring too. I’ve done a fair amount of my own drum programming since the days of drum machines (of course, for my own tracks), but taking that approach here seems a bit daunting. I’m hearing something similar in feel to Crockett’s Theme (Miami Vice) but can’t get it out of my head to the recording part of it. My sample library is fairly large and I think I have something that may kickstart the idea quicker…we’ll see.

I spent the last few days driving back and forth to Savannah, GA (including an overnight hotel stay). Left Thursday at noon, return Friday night at 8pm – a total of 20 hours or so of driving. Needless to say, it caught up with me by Saturday afternoon. By Saturday night, I was back at it for a little while – my son sat in on one of my sessions and asked me about the totality of the project. Being not one afraid to voice his suggestions, he listened to one of the ideas and suggested I try to mute a portion of a specific track until a certain part of what the video was showing. I’d not thought of that, but tried his suggestion and it didn’t sound to bad at all. It goes to show you that one never knows that another suggestion from someone removed from what you are doing, can turn out pretty good.

As for the theme music, it’s time to concentrate translating this scene notes into actual audio ideas. Last week I finally created the cue sheets that I’ll be sending to the director once I get some initial cue and hit music for the scenes. She spied a session pic of me working on it in studio and replied “I know it’ll sound good, take your time”. You know my steelo is to stay ahead of the game, so…..

Anyway, time to hit the road….have a a good one.


Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 4 – Official Biz

Screen shot 2016-05-21 at 10.32.56 AM

Saturday morning about 10:28am – rainy, but expected (glad I got the front and the rear lawn mowed). It’s been a busy work week so I’m glad the weekend is here, From a scoring standpoint, it was a bust though. Wednesday night I gave it ago, but starting at 10:15pm was to no avail, especially since I’s still learning Logic Pro X and can’t yet navigate it as quickly as with Logic Pr 9. I had an idea for this third and final submission idea for the theme music but I just couldn’t find what I wanted to quickly in the software. Add to that, I was having some unusual application freezes, which slowed the process down. About 10:40pm here comes the frustration and the fact I knew I had to get up at 5pm….oh well.

Thursday was a bit different (though I didn’t actually get into the studio). The official contract came back signed from the director. Everything was agreed to, so that was cool. With that, she also sent me a private link to a demo her and the videographer/music supervisor put together. This demo was actually Episode 1 which she used for a quick presentation at her alma mater.The demo included not only some stock theme music but some cue music for a few scenes in the episode. What was cool about this was that the demo the supervisor chose as a place holder for the theme music was essentially the same idea I had recorded, so that let me know I was on the right track. In addition, cue music in for the scenes were essentially placed in the same place I chose, another sign of thinking in the same lane. All of that was encouraging, as the more you’re inline with the director’s vision for music the better.

So, this weekend I’ll continue to work on cue music for Episode 2, but mainly focus on getting more familiar with Logic Pro X and incorporating the use of various plugins I have, and will use. Speed always helps in getting this type of creative job done.

Quick shout out to a few friends who gave me some opinions (and examples) as answers to a question I had about what kind of music they would expect to hear in watching a certain scene. This type of scene I never thought about writing to because, despite seeing many “variations” of it, in TV shows and movies, I never paid attention to the music. “What kind of scene is it?”, you may ask…stay tuned to future blog posts, I’ll post and talk about the answer in the future.

For now, peace….


Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 9

Logic Studio in The Lab

….and on the ninth day….I’m back. 🙂

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, but things are moving along. First, good Tuesday morning at 7:24am. In our last episode, I received the drum track from from one of my production partners (of C3) for the collaborative track on the EP. Since then, I’ve received keyboard tracks from my other partner in C3, definitely some great additions to the track (as I expected). For all intents and purposes, all the elements of this track are in place. Next step is the final arrangement, then mixdown. I’m definitely looking forward to how this track will manifest itself.

In other news, I broke the studio down over the last two weeks in order to upgrade to a newer, better, faster computer – a 2.5 GHz Mac mini, i5 Intel processor. What does this mean, other than the performance upgrades? Logic X on the horizon :). The reassemble of the studio also meant integrating two older units into the rack for use with Logic: my Roland JV-1080 and Roland S-760 sampler. Why integrate older units from the 90’s when I could use everything more intuitively “in the box”? It’s where I came from AND I’d like to incorporate/integrate the old with the new instead of having them sit in my studio storage taking up space. Strangely enough, its part of the whole composition process. The units are still very capable in light of the advances in synth and sampling technology over the years. I had a long discussion with Netm8kr on this topic this past Sunday.

So, one track pretty much done. Off to the next one in progress on the list.

Have a great day….

:::oceans of rhythm:::


Cross Country Collective (C3) – This is How We Do It (leveraging the ‘net/making music)

Some of you know about a remote collaboration I’m involved in called C3. C3 is the brainchild of Fave and The Big La. Here’s the scoop in case you haven’t seen it:

I am pleased to share with you the debut single, “Give it 2 Ya” from our upcoming EP, Contempojazzsoulhop.

Produced by The Big La and Fave
Lyrics written by Fave
Drums and Sampling: The Big La
Electric guitar: Fresh
Keys and Vocals: Fave

It is (and continues to be) a blessing to work with such open-minded, talented and tech savvy brothers. You may download the single using the title link above or from our website. Feel free to share it among your social networks (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

So, how does C3 do it…how do we make this music happen when I’m on the East coast, Fave is down in the Big T and The Big La on the West coast?. We all use Apple’s Logic Studio to compose music on our individual and collective fronts. This little chat transcript is of example of how we make the magic happen…this is me and Big La on GMail chat not too long ago:

Sent at 9:33 PM on Wednesday, August 11
me:  yo….
todd:  sup man what’s goin’ on?
me:  U man…! I saw the tweet and the email traffic about Bra Strap…where
is the project uploaded…wanna do a lil somethin wid it
todd:  ha ha. yeah
it’s at: (upload directory)
pass: xxxxxxx
thought you’d HAVE to do a instrumental solo version
me:  ha….I’m on my way
todd:  in the “C3 Sessions”
me: cool!
todd:  just rock the guitar on top of it
me:  u know it
todd:  some nice reverb and echo, super quiet track…it’s still just a proof of concept
me:  i heard the original….sensual bruh…I’m feelin that
todd:  haven’t tracked it out to 3-4 minutes
me:  no prob…u know how we build!
todd:  fave has an updated one be plays on but haven’t got that session yet
me:  oh ok, I saw the tweets about it, we can grow it all eventually
todd:  wait. i’m late on tweets…ha ah
todd:  trying to get a few tracks done before my creative phase gets put on hold again
me:  i’m there! sup with the other session…more C3 under development?
me:  man, you and Fave…i gotta grow to be like y’all
 todd:  think that’s from fave
 me:  my creative phase has been  on lock! haha
 todd:  yes it is from him
 me:  ok cool
 todd: that’s the one i did before bra strap. i think fave funked it up. downloading now
 me:  cool ima get that too
 todd:  yup GET TO WORK!!! lol
 me:  u know it!!!…gotta get on that insomniatical night owl tip again…hahahah
 me:  Ok, I’m out your box…I’ll get back to you. peace.
 todd:  aight. peace!

There you have it….leverage technology and the net to compose, engineering, mix, and produce this EP. Stay tuned.

All the best,

The Session…Jazzy vibes in The ‘Lab

The Lab.

So….I had a recording session tonite at The Lab. A fellow musician, friend, and talented keyboardist came by to record some original material he records live when we do sound checks early Sunday mornng…so much so, that he has 4 CDs of various musicians (including me) improvising over very nice arrangements he just comes up with as the audio crew gets us ready for the service.

What was cool about this session is that it was just him laying down keyboard tracks. I record in Logic Pro which really has some NICE drum loops across a great deal of genres, not to mention EXCELLENT acoustic and electric piano emulations as well.

About seven track were recorded, but only one, an uptempo tune with a Latin feel, used an acoustic piano. The rest we use a Suitcase Mk II Fender Rhodes electric piano….very nice….fit the vibe of the tunes perfectly. I couldn’t find specific drum loops to fit every track we recorded, but the absence thereof even lent a new feel to the track itself, in some cases.

I have some drum programming to do…looking forward to that in hopes of seeing what new life will be breathed into these songs….

It was good….very good.