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For those who like "Epic Meltdown"

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Doug Gibson, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. You can count on them switching styles as soon as they have found one that makes the studios more money. I think consumers will get sick of "epic" eventually. I have a hunch the next phase will be pure sound design, like only braaaahms without the ostinatos. Maybe even without drums.

    Based on their schedules, he must have written the stuff only days ago, maybe he has it more or less memorized?
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  2. Ok, so a more serious reply from me.. It certainly does not compare to Goldsmith. However, Tyler does a lot of scores like this and it is entirely possible it is exactly what Stallone wanted, who knows?

    I think the trend of this kind of music is already a bit long in the tooth and would guess it won't last that much longer. As you stated, we are saturated with it even in documentaries where it makes no sense whatsoever.

    That being said, even though I'm not his biggest fan or anything, I feel obligated to defend him here a little because the prevailing attitude about him seems too severe for my taste. I mean, are the following music examples really so bad? But, if this is more just about being sick of the trend of the "epic" music, I understand.

    P.S. Yes he has sweet hair.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  3. Oh wow! That's so funny, Mauro, that you posted that. I remember having lunch with David (Penn) when he was collecting ideas for launching
    that site. That was ....oh 2010. My goodness.
    Mauro Pantin likes this.
  4. I am more in your camp Patrick.

    My bias towards "golden boy" stems from a colleague of mine. I can't go too into it and probably am writing more than I should, but basically he was hired to work on a score with him. He went into it with "stars in his eyes", and probably pretty green. In the end, his music was used, and he felt very under-paid. Cold shoulder immediately after the project was finished. Basically B.T did him dirty. Of course, there are always two sides to every story, so keep that in mind.

    The point about B.T. is, regardless of what I think of it, he has his "finger on the pulse". He gets Hollywood and plays the game at an expert level.
    It is what it is.

    You know, I personally don't ever look towards film music for the "meat and potatoes" of my musical nourishment. I no longer want to be a film composer.
    Being an orchestrator has been perfect for me. All the various people skills you need. I just would not want to score a film at all. Strange how life works.

    I guess my point is, I see Hollywood purely as a business. They are happy to turn out high-art, and happy to turn out crap as long as it makes money and people want it. You could make a film of two puddles of water slowing joining together if there was enough of an audience for it. Then of course the sequel.
  5. #65 Alexander Schiborr, Sep 26, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
    I want to like that 1000 times...especially what you said that it´s time for a broader discussion. I couldn´t have put it myself better..
    Patrick, one thing, I am with you and I never spoke different about that: I am pretty sure Tyler gave Stallone EXACTLY what he wanted. Merely that wasn´t my point. And I didn´t spoke about that at all that he wasn´t able to give his clients what they want. In fact I never lost one word about that. I think you make a good point here because yes he delivers that.

    Regarding your examples. Sure they are not in the same ballpark of that epic music, ever asked yourself at that point how much of that he did really compose on his own or arranged, orchestrated? When I look up in the internet informations about things like that, it leaves for me some questions. You know like additional writers, arrangers, orchestrators, even ghostwriters? I know at that point I enter speculations and some of the contractors are definitely put to silence or simply not mentioned. You have to know that there are very very few people in that circuit who write entirely every single note of a score / cue by themselves. Simply because of time and short deadlines or simply that they need help for certain styles like big band orchestra arranging etc.

    PS: Patrick what is that with the sweet hair? :D
  6. I am afraid to go down that road of asking how much he actually composed, arranged, etc. I would wager that on his early stuff like Frailty he probably wrote most of that stuff, but with the big band thing I would guess he likely had help with the arranging.

    The sweet hair? I don't know the secret, but if I did, I couldn't tell you about it anyway. I would be killed like Jeffrey Epstein. Forget I even mentioned it please. :)
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  7. The idea itself is revolutionary. If we applied that method of study to a broader scope and not just the billboard top 100 we would get incredible insights on a lot of music. But it would likely be difficult to market as well as he has with the billboard top 100 study. It is HIT SONGS deconstructed, after all. Not "great melodies deconstructed" or "Mid to late 20th century film music deconstructed". Oh well.
  8. Really? I am not so sure about that. David, while a very nice person, was firmly in the "weekend warrior" camp of music. As I am sure you can tell his background is in marketing, and basically he wanted to transition from working in the business world towards his passion for music. Which is great. He was pretty much your typical self taught lover of music. The cynic in me thinks a lot of A&R and wanna-be's don't know their head from their ass.

    Unless it's changed a lot in the last few years since I looked at it; I found it all very meaningless and something anyone could tell you.

    This article is great for understanding the process behind pop music. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/03/26/the-song-machine
    I recall meeting a "top line writer" and just having no idea what the fuck she was talking about.

    You know... I have no interest or idea about pop music. I am firmly happy with what I listen to. I shared this before I think.

    I've only ever had one student of composition with whom I had a rough time teaching. We had 2-3 lessons before I told him this was just not going to work. Anyhow, a few years later I get an email from a mailing list that he had changed his name from Alex to Franke and some links to his latest music.

    I thought the guy was a douche bag, so I went to listen hoping it would suck. Wow! Unfathomably bad. However, he has 30 some million views.

    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  9. How fitting, now he's making music for another douchebag. Great story, thanks for sharing!

    Was it that your goals were too different or was he not receptive to your approach?
  10. #70 Alexander Schiborr, Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    I wrote a couple of douchy tracks over the weekend. Here for instance this one, now I don´t write at all this kind of stuff and I think nobody needs to even study anything like orchestration or serious anything to come up with that noise. This track would work perfectly in any douchy marvel movie these days and it just shows the problem: Any douche can do that even me who has no idea about the genre besides knowing: Loud Strings, loud brass, loud percussion and choirs. And I even didn´t spent much time with that crap, a couple of hours, I didn´t use even one loop here though the percussions sound loopydouche done on purpose. So..if that impresses people then we should have a debate about what that is and why? I can hand over my wife that tools and she could write such track in lets say..a couple of months. That is the problem, that you don´t need any effort and talent anymore to be a kind tyler or junkie XL. I definitely lost some brain cells working on that quadruple fortissimo cue. It´s that epic that I have to turn it on when going for a crap you know. it is simply cringey and really you damage your brain writing that, that is how felt after that couple of hours.Imagine working for a couple of years only with that kind of stuff what it does to you? No shit I really think it will damage your sensibilities quite seriously. Its like going to Mcdonalds you definitely harm your teeth, gum and taste. :D Now writing a nice Raksin esqued short piece with development and some II,V, Is? Forget about that..I need first to get back some brain cells.

  11. #71 Martin Hoffmann, Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2019
    To be perfectly honest that fell short of my high expectations for your music. I'm so happy you gave it a shot though :D.

    I can't tell whether it's just an issue of the mix that you didn't want to put in the work to make a template that is suited for this kind of music, or of orchestration and composition. For something that as far as I can tell you just did as a joke "for the lulz" I certainly understand not wanting to invest the time to make it the best it can be.

    Imho the frequency spectrum, especially the lows, is a mess and shows a lack of control. I have trouble hearing any memorable rythms, because it's drowned in reverb and all blurs together. For reference here's one of the tracks in that style that I really like. If you compare it to yours, can you hear what I mean with "lack of control of the frequency spectrum"?

  12. #72 Alexander Schiborr, Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    Yes, I can hear that, but again: that is not the point of my post, please realize that. You stumble over now a clean up of lower frequencies..Martin honestly. That thing is technical mixing thing and sure I can spent more time cleaning up the lowend (will take me maybe 60 minutes more), don´t expect that a track done in a couple of hours from scratch is super high meshed up entirely meeting production standards of tracks which have been mixed to death and sound anyways like shit apart from their pure production value. The point of that post is rather to show that problem of that this kind of music itself doesn´t require any special skills and the way what it demands compositonally and orchestrationally from someone. I am talking purely about the writing and the stylistic things. There is no big challenge in doing that music because it simply is what it is: Noise.

    Now do you want me to work further on that shit music so that I clean up some of the frequencies to get a better seperation? Yes..but makes that the fucking piece better? Fuck no..that is the point that is pure production value. Yes, that track could be better produced, but again: That is not the point! :D It makes the pure music not better because it is shit at its core. That is the point at least for me..

    You know dressing up Kim K. in some Versace clothes doesn´t make her a classy women.you know?

    What is a memorable rhythm in that kind of genre? Dadadadamm dam? or what is that? I really ask because I never heard any memorable rhythms in that epic genre rather than all the times pounding drums sounding like doorslams. memorable ryhtms are tied to memorable well crafted themes (for me),
    ever thought about that?

    Doing a workout now....lol
  13. Fair enough, point taken!

    No, of course not. I definitely prefer you working on the kind of music that you enjoy and that barely anyone else is making nowadays!

    I know what you mean, but I can't fully agree with "it's just noise". I do think that there are elements of craft and control that have nothing to do with production values, and lessons to be learned that are applicable to all kinds of music. I generally like the genre, but if it was "all the same noise", shouldn't I like everything in the genre instead of just a hand full of soundtracks? I don't want you to start "liking" that kind of music, there's no need and I always find the rants on "epic" music by you and other redbanned members very entertaining :D. But I want you to keep an open mind that maybe, just maybe, even in the worst kinds of genres there are tiny bits of knowledge and craft that can be extracted and used for higher purposes. I'll elaborate further in another thread where it feels more relevant.
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  14. #74 Alexander Schiborr, Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    Also: When a simple production value makes the piece better then please hire me :D...I actually think this is such of a
    Sure thing, I am bit exegerating, not everything there is noise. Point taken :D (Let me clean up the freaking LOWEND :D)..and then get to THE CHOPPAHH. PS: Also mate it is (unfortunately) not always about what I like, in the end I have also to do things which I simply don´t like. it is what it is. (though I try to reduce it to a minimum possible..)
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  15. @Martin Hoffmann Now here are two alternative versions. Does that make it now better? I mean I really don´t know, in the end, it is what it is: Same composition. You can tweak things etc. and make the same thing more appealing in terms of production. Sure..I don´t say everything in that genre is per se bad. I remember back in the older days I enjoyed listening to some of T. Bergerson stuff, but really the older stuff he did in 2009 / 10 around where he employed still the whole orchestral palettes and colors which was epic but in a sense that you can hear sophistication in his writing. He still has some place there though I don´t listen these days to his music anymore. However I saw that you posted your comment in the other thread..I hope that this gets not confusing too much..:D
    However, I tell you: I prefer..classic scoring all the way over this stuff, I simply can´t enjoy. I thought about how to make that music being epic but more appealing to my ear. I don´t know, maybe it is simply not possible because when you stop using lets say percussion and strings in the way how that music employs these orchestral sections then it doesn´t sound genre typical. Well..

    https:// drive.google.com/file/d/1ELCkdUeRrzHu3mA_KNLB5ilDbYBUY7Gt/view?usp=sharing
    https:// drive.google.com/file/d/16aoUhH70ji82BIlEAAt0jcmyB7obOi2J/view?usp=sharing
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  16. It's already all a blur to me what gets written in what thread, I had to use google to find Doug's post again. To be fair, I don't think any other structure would make more sense. We're talking about things that relate to various different other things in a way that is more akin to a chat, but the posts are too long and in a chat it would be impossible to find anything in the log a year later.

    Much better, thanks! I had trouble hearing what exactly the drums are doing in the beginning, that's much more clear now. I like v3 a tiny bit more, but I don't want to focus on the mix.

    You know I'm not remotely as experienced as a composer as you are, so take it with appropriate amounts of salt, but I think that the composition/orchestration (which are inextricably linked as we've all heard countless time before...) at the beginning could be improved.

    For me waaay too much is happening all at once to lock on to anything, and there is too little rythmic relation between the elements that they'd feel as a cohesive whole to me. At the start that's a timpani roll and then the main big-drum pattern is another kind of drum, right? I'd pick one of the two and establish that as a first anchor to lock on to, and then don't throw all the other elements at the same time at me.

    What's playing all at once on the first beat after the roll? Cymbal, tubular bell, strings, brass, and drums? I know it's all about ridiculous amounts of layering, but I think there needs to be a bit more restraint in the "hierarchy" of how important the layers are. Drums, brass and strings are all very dominant but it doesn't feel to me as though they are properly "cooperating". It doesn't feel like they work together to form "one groove", they just kinda do their own thing each. To me this sounds too chaotic. And in the genre there may very well be examples that are just as or more chaotic, but the stuff that I like in the genre feels way more "in control" to me. Check out the first 45 seconds of this one by Hans:

    Starts off with likely more layers than you have, but it has one very easy to follow pulse in drums and bass and none of the melodic elements "fight" rythmically against the pulse. I get much more of a feel of "unity and purpose" from that.

    I feel like in your track the timp roll isn't a good riser to lead towards the pulse of the drums, the cymbal drowns out too much of the beginning of the pulse and prevents me from exactly hearing what else is happening at the start of the pattern so it gets harder for me to lock on to. The strings, drums, brass - each element for itself is fine, but I don't feel like they work well together, and especially not at the start of the track without starting simpler and developing towards that kind of complexity. To phrase it in Comp1 terms, I need the hand that guides me down that hallway, but it feels more like the hand is slapping me with 3 different rythms all at once :D. I was expecting more of a firm and controlled handshake to start on that epic journey with your track. You know what I mean?

    I'm only giving you such a hard time about the start of that track, because I have such high expectations of your music and I want you to get the most out of this excercise. I think it's great that you tried moving out of your comfort zone and try to write in a style that you don't have the same amount of practice in as in others. And I feel like I'm learning a lot from it too, simply from engaging in this discussion with you and contemplating what works and doesn't work for me.

    I do think the later parts get much much better! Starting at 18 seconds the brass and drums work well together in my opinion. They feel more related and interlocking, and the strings here work as a subtle layer that ads flavor without distracting or fighting with the main elements. Then the next development at 26 seconds is a nice refreshing change of colors and gives us a break from the intensity of the brass. For me personally the main rythm motif has outstayed its welcome a little at the 42 second mark. I think you could push it that far if you did a little more vertical development on it and moved it around a little over different kinds of drums and add/remove/delay a single beat here and there (do it twice!) to keep it from getting stale. But at 52 seconds, after the break, I'm definitely ready to hear a new rythm.

    Starting at around 1:09 the part with the timpani rolls I like a lot! Imho it leads up to the most epic (and this time I'm using the word unironically) moments of your track. I think from 1:08 till 1:31 is my favorite part of the track. I really like the change at 1:48 as well. The rest is fine, but I think it might benefit from one or two more changes in rythm and color.

    There is lots of great stuff in there and if I had written this I'd be quite proud of it, because - believe it or not - I can't just knock out such a track, no matter if you give me a day or a week of time. But I still think the first 17 seconds still could be improved and I think if you listen to the first 20 seconds of a couple of "epic" tracks from established titans of the genre and redo that part as form of deliberate practice, it could be educational, maybe.

    And who knows, maybe you should "as a joke" also submit it to one of those music libraries and it'll make you a fortune x].

    You've motivated me to continue a bit with my trailer music course on udemy, but my god... it hurts to listen to that. He drags in an epic hit sample, adds 3 piano notes and is so fucking pleased with himself... it makes me cringe every time he listens back to his latest change and says "nice!". I'm glad he's enjoying his work so much, but I'm having a much much easier time relating to people that are critical of their own work, like - as far as I can tell - everyone who posts here is.
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  17. Hmm.. I think I have to write again why I posted that track..but one thing for sure: not to ever practise that genre at all. Probably its hard to follow what I tried to explain. I didnt want at all to invite anybody on a journey. What i wanted to show is that there is no journey with that stuff. (For me and my taste and point of view)You mentioned so many points in your post which I all know and featured them mostly to proove what you said so rightly.and there are so many tracks out there like that. For me it makes no difference. I dont know but again that track was done exactly on purpose like that to show the lack of the things you mentioned and still this what I hear day in and day out similiar better or worse. It makes no difference. If you like that genre then go and write in that field. But I tell you something I am going to do my regular music and I stay away from this because it simply eradicates my senses and brain. Please realise that this is not serious musianship, never can be for people like me studying and loving korngold and tschaikowsky.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  18. I fear I still don't quite get it, and I'm not sure I was able to really get accross the points I was trying to make, but oh well... we both tried ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    At one point, this is what I wanted to do, but ultimately the way people around here compose looks much more fun to me. I think from the trailer music guys even among those that like the genre some get depressed from always writing in that same constrained style. So I absolutely understand if you don't want to touch that stuff ever again!

    I'm doing my best to broaden my horizon and expand my taste and I think last week I finally found something that might work as an entry point for me to the "next level":

    I've listend 3 or 4 times to the whole thing already and plan to listen a couple more times over the coming weeks. Once I'm a little more familiar with it, I might point to specific parts and ask here for recommendations that are in a similar style.
  19. Wow....holy shit. I just got pinged here, from the other thread. Hmmm...... I'll have a read thru. Fucking just dropped the forum version of War and Peace on my ass. OK.

    Here I am about to read thru all of this.

    You know, before I do: Since I think we are just using this thread as a dumpster fire for rants, can I add in one?

    Cross-overs. I think they are really hard to pull off, and often just make two great things lesser. For another thread I went to
    youtube to get a link to Iron Foundry, and I see that Metallica just tried to perform this 2-3 weeks ago in S.F.

    I just don't think they mix well at all. Only make each other lame. I find it cringe-worthy.

    Musical transvestite-ism

  20. Ok. General reply first.

    I presume this was for a client? Or perhaps you like to torture yourself?

    Making a living from music.....we've all been there. I have had so many gigs like this. One step away from sucking cock for the crack rock.
    The biggest bane for me was musicals.
    When I was living in NYC so many aspiring musical composers needed help. It's not a genre I care for at all.

    Ear rape is real.

    I've had some "shockers" and certainly have a closest of compositional ghosts I would rather no one find out about.

    About 12 years ago, I had a regular freelance job with a company that made educational videos for high-schools.
    The videos kids are forced to watch at school.
    Each month I would get like 4-5 films to score, and the whole thing was just a cash cow. It was pretty cool actually.
    The directors all had a similar high turn over rate so no one was very picking.
    It was about a step or two above porn music I would imagine. (I have no working experience with that.)

    Anyhow, I would get titles like "Writing a business plan" etc. The weirdest ones for me were a series of films about "being"
    So "Being Jewish" (I'm not) "Being Muslim" (I'm not) "Being an independent Woman" (ok...caught me)

    Not that you asked, but just because, I will restate overall view about gigs.

    We all want three things
    1. Artistically fulling
    2. Paid well
    3. Cool people to work with.

    Most often 2 out of 3 is the best you can do. Again, I have done many 1 out of 3, and some 0 out of 3, but thankfully I only need to accept 2 out of 3
    right now in my life.

    Looking back, the educational video job was a .5 for points 1&2 above, and the people were in fact really cool. So it was a 2 out of 3 at the time. While it did not pay great, it was a steady monthly check for over a year...so that is pretty cool.

    The other pieces of advice I could offer are:

    • If you are taking gigs just for pay, and the low paying - not fun to work on - a pseudonym can be a good idea. This way you protect your name.
    • Misery loves company: Bring on other people for shit gigs when you can. (Just not me)

    Other companies like to work with other "companies" (even if it is more in spirit than reality. I.e three people who each work out of their own home, and FTP files to each other. "Epic Music OMG" would be the credit and so on)

    It comes across very clearly that your (Alexander) time/energy is better spent elsewhere. This is a "Hot potato".

    Not everything composition is going to be a zinger. If this is for a client than sometimes good enough is simply good enough. If the client gives the green light grab the $ and move on. If it was to make a point about the genre, the example is more than clear. Only diminishing returns await.

    I'll get to Martin's point in my next post
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.

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