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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Symphonic Tales of The Silmarillion - Compositional Diary #2 - 'There was Eru, the One'

Heaven yeah, the first movement is ready :-) 'There was Eru, the One'


As I mentioned earlier it's titled 'There was Eru, the One'. I'll try to go into as much details about its composition as I remember.
First of all, I've started out with a pre-existing classical/electronica hybrid template I generally use for orchestral composition and production. It's, as always composed, mixed and processed in Cubase 7.5. I still use 7.5 tho I have 8.0 installed, but I have had some performance issues with my 80+ channel templates I created in 7.5.

Musically the first that was born was the piccolo flute's rhythmical staccato, keeping its C pitch constantly in the center of the composition. Of course there came the chord progression built around the staccato flute, built with full ensemble instruments of EWQL Hollywood Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra. The drawn line of the piccolo staccato was kept floating without deciding between a major and a minor key, and thus connecting the two parts that slowly emerged from the harmonically constructed context of C major of the first part and the c minor of the second epic part. Yeah, I know, I keep it simple and low profile with the keys, but this kind of topic didn't either need chromatic variation or a really mixed bunch of transitions. I was keeping it simple and clean as I feel the topic of Eru Ilúvatar demands a pure vision on the material.

So slowly the two parts, major and minor were done, and also (forgot to mention), the heavy Loom additive synthesizers were already added to symbolize the Void, the Mechanical magic of the Tolkien universe that is yet to be born through the will of Eru and also through the mightiest Ainur Melkor who turned bitter and evil soon later. (Yet this deep mesmerizing synthesizer is just a signal of what is yet to come in the complex history of Arda, Earth).

So then I felt the need to present Eru to the listener, and (no surprise) I took the means of fanfare. A quite simple, harmonically very clean and also very simple rhythmical structure, to represent the purest form of omnipotence.

Then when it was done came the job to build up the C Major harmonic and melodic build up. Quickly it was set up on the strings and then varied with the addition of brasses at some parts, then usage of woodwinds later and also finally the all soothing harp was woven in. The crescendo part was the last to be polished for proper sounding and greater variation.

Next came the details of the c minor part, addition of heavy, epic string legatos, going down with majesty, and meanwhile the horns, trumpets and trombone strengthened to an epic melody to be kept along the way of the journey towards the culmination of the track. When this was done it was clear that the epic part needs to reach its full potential with a big tempo jump and addition of heavy percussion. The latter was again achieved with the fantastic SD2 Godzilla Hits... A periodically sliding higher drum in 5/4 against the thump of the 4/4 main drum and an almost snare like hit in a syncope pattern. This gave the whole part a heavy, and strong sense of movement and power. The strings now dominated the harmonic context with the stagnant slowly changing choirs. The trumpets playing the main melody quickly jump to the fantastic sounds of the EWQL Gipsy solo violin that lasts till the end. The full strings ensemble was then going into an ever grinding staccato replacing the piccolo in the role, giving a really tense background to the mostly slow, and sometimes quickly jumping solo melody. The interlocked semi final crescendo was using the elements of the opening fanfare part of the movement, and the final crescendo is a variation of that with a heavy thumping ever louder orchestral beat till the final staccato note.

The C Major part is called 'Eru, The One', while the epic ending is called 'The Flame Imperishable'.

A bit of mixing Equalizer setting here and there and setting up the Oxygene 6 for the pseudo master was the last step, before unleashing the first movement onto you! I hope you enjoy the first fruit as much as I enjoyed creating (and listening and listening and listening till all errs was quenched from the final version :)). Thanks for your attention! Now till I'm busy with planning the next movement listen and enjoy, share, spread the word, give me feedback, comment...whatever: be happy my friends!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Symphonic Tales of The Silmarillion - Compositional Diary #1

"There Was Eru, The One"
- J.R.R Tolkien

I've been working for a few days now on the first title of the epic sized opus I'm trying to achieve. Symphonic music with some hybrid elements, telling one of the most compelling modern mythical tale ever conceived, The Silmarillion's uncountable tales and details poured into music in a yet unknown level of detail.

Regarding the first title, finally I've decided to "cut back" the scope of the first title, and instead of depicting the Ainulindalë I'll rather concentrate on Eru Iluvatar only. Giving a first long part to the Creator of the tolkienesque universe, I think I couldn't really go another way around. The conceiving one omnipotent mind of all the happenings of the world, deserves a whole title.

I'll tell you a little bit about how currently the composition is going. Opens with a slow musical scale intro and drives into a strong and clear fanfare part (as you could imagine). Then it turns to the Love Eru is showing in his mind for all the yet to be created beings and things in a more emotional part written in a major key (hopefully you won't feel it too happy, but rather as the strong emotional, spiritual and rational care and sign for all the yet to come). Then the music turns into an epic minor key, to put a sight on the Historical details that start to form in the all knowing mind, right before creating the Ainur from his thoughts to start forming reality.

So that's how this is going. Needs so much care, the bar is set so high. I can't tell you how hard it is to imagine that I can live up to these standards. But we will see. The first title's first public version is nearing steadily. :-) I wish I could show you something already, but I want it perfect, at least perfect for a first version (I'm sure it's going to change when the whole Symphonic Tale will get into further shape).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Project: Musical Story of the First Age of Middle Earth and of the Quenta Silmarillion

My friends and fans... It's time to embark on a longer musical voyage. After watching the (possibly) final episode in the series of J.R.R. Tolkien movies by Peter Jackson, I've recently taken into my head to start and work on a really big and inspirational project. I'll try to give my musical sight into the history of the Ainurs, genesis of Arda and the Quenta Silmarillion and neighboring tales by Tolkien, for my own and probably your enjoyment. I'm planning on going through the most important episodes of the epic genesis of Middle Earth to the First Age. Not exactly decided how far, and how long and how detailed, but this is where I feel I can draw a lot of inspiration from at these next months. I've started out with a new one I call (not too much originality, right? :)) the Music of the Ainurs (Ainulindale) . It's so far so good. Expect the first chapter of this long story in the coming weeks.

"There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought..."
—First words of the Ainulindalë
Also you can check an image of my not so old instance of the book in the article called The Silmarillion, which tells and sings the Quentas. To revive all pertaining memories of the mythology, and strengthen my vision for the first episode I'm working on. This book was first published in 1977 in Great Britain.


Ainulindale by Alassea Earello
As a word of warning, I might have an issue with the copyrights using the names and notions created by Tolkien, so it will be highly probable that I'll need to invent new names for publishing the material.

Honestly I'm looking forward to pouring my inspiration into it. and yet the bar is set really high this time, I feel the topic demands the next level of perfection. My goal is to remain in the boundaries of enjoyable music (I couldn't really do much else anyway ) yet if possible with classical values of dynamics and variety of structure..Also be prepared for the addition of some very sophisticated modern ambient like synthesizers, as I feel it adequate to pronounce some characteristics of the tale. Synthesizers, just as classical instruments can represent a high order and also great improbabilities. It's going to be used humbly and modestly, to underline the power of the musical material. 

Summing it up, I hope I won't stumble too much on the way, and also I wanted to articulate my gratitude towards all of you for your continuous support!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Free Music Free Licensed - Part #1 - Scourge #2

Free Music CC-BY-SA Free Licensed music by me - first part: Scourge #2 tracks

I had the idea to start a new periodical section on this blog related to the accumulated commercially usable free licensed (CC-BY-SA aka Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license) I've created on the road of my musical career, so my followers can have just a good listen -- or either choose to select some of the thus provided tracks for their own project, royalty free, in case of proper attribution in the software and the bundled installer or proper attribution and licensing of the video end product where you may decide to use them.

This episode will be about the album called "Scourge #2 - Game Music", released on jamendo.com under CC-BY-SA license. It's been quite popular since its recent release, great instrumental listening while studying, no annoying lyrics, just pure symphonic orchestral fantasy soundtrack music.

Let's go into a short description of the tracks:
- Scourge INTRO - a shorter uplifting introductory track with choral additions to the symphonic structure
- Temple Exploration - a short, loopable, foreboding track, with exotic instruments and choral addition. Could be used in film or game soundtrack as well
- Plains Awaiting - a low profile, calm exploratory track that can be used easily for exploring outer areas, or easily added as a background music for a historical documentary film. Vibrating strings and easy melodies, harmonies characterize this track
- Towns And Villages - full of strings and brass, and all orchestral sweetness, a great track for wandering around or documentary films in a populated area. Bright melodies and positive harmonies.
- Forests' Weave - a calmer track using lots of strings and brass to suggest a forest or wood area
- Cave Exploration - foreboding track, with didgeridoo and deep sounds
- Light Chapter Interlude - a lighter, merrier, yet simple themed short piece, good for interludes in media
- Mountains Ahead - a calm, yet epic approach to wandering around in mountain areas, exploring new territories in a film or game
- Temple Chapter Interlude - a short foreboding interlude music, uplifting, blend trailer like
- INFERNAL DANCE - a furious epic, long fight in a very original, dance like style solely using orchestral, symphonic means. A good end title music for a tense film, or boss fight in a game.
- Tears of Victory  - emotional, symphonic arrangement, slow, choral parts, good for an epic but emotional ending of a game or film

The whole album is using first grade quality ingredients, were composed in Cubase using EWQL (EastWest QuantumLeap) products and mixed with best plugins available (Waves/iZotope).

Please consider donation if using these track. You can donate directly to the composer/producer Pal Zoltan Illes here:

You can have a listen and download below, or through this link: here
  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Epic Fantasy Tracks - Compositional Diary

Recently I've been investing a lot of time in one of my favorite compositional genre which I am most compassionate about: orchestral music in the fantasy topic. Most of the tracks carry the recently so popular hints of Epic Fantasy style. Let me go into some details about the tracks here.

All three tracks were composed in Cubase 7.5 and most of the virtual instruments are Sounds-Online EWQL ones, and the lightly used synthesizer VSTis are Loom and XFer Serum. Mixing was aided by Native Instruments, Waves and iZotope plugins.

First in the line of compositions is 'Power of the Awakened Ones', which working title started off as 'Storm Within'. It's a three minutes long short and energetic, 4/4 track, constantly building-up one, that has the power of culmination, like so many of the popular trailer music tracks these days. I was playing around with the strings and brasses along with some powerful percussion instruments, and was starting with a sinister introduction part which was in the end removed, when the main melodic idea was inspired and invented along with the epic vocal part that was accompanied with a quick powerful arpeggio. The strings and solo vocals took over quickly the melodic and harmonic dominance in it together with the brasses, but the final touch was given by adding the light, oriental tasting sound of xylophone. It gave the main melody a very nice shine. Also I had plans of adding complementary synthesizers to the rhythmical bass section to give it an edge, and finally did weave it in at the culmination parts. And to reach the final structure, a small calmer part was interlocked between the tense energetic parts. The acceptance and criticism of the track was quite positive, and as a result of great positivity and support on SoundCloud it went right into the SoundCloud Explorer Classical part.

Cover art by: Daniel Warren
Second one is 'The Invincibles' which had the working title of 'Knights of the Ethernal Wisdom'. I was keeping the template of instrumentation. I was going for a 7/8 rhythm, to give it a nice riding feeling. It's speed is a majestic, middle tempo. The first part to be born was the starting brass melody and harmonies accompanied with a heavy, staccato/marcato contrabass/cello strings that later received at some parts an overlay of woodwinds and choral. The variation between minor and major parts is added to give some introspective on the light fantasy nature of the composition. Then came the idea to add a powerful/medieval adventurous melodic line with the fantastic EWQL Gipsy solo violin instrument, and that went as far as additions of harpsichord and strong brasses at the culmination parts. A very light addition of Synths were the last step to give a little buzz to the already heavy quick and rhythmical marcato of the strings. I'm very content with the result, it symbolizes a true companionship of adventurers, with courage, bravery, honor, piety. Again the acceptance and criticism was very positive, and it also landed in the SoundCloud Explorer Classical chart after the first day of publishing it.

Image by: artofjokinen
Third, and most recent one is 'Sailors of Fortuna', which had the same working title. I was going for a quicker, more pulsating rhythmical approach, and an even heavier use of percussion. First of the composition was to lay out the bass line with heavy marcato/staccato strings, contrabass and celli. The playful, pirate era like melody was invented first using the viola and violin section, but slowly the brass took over the stronger parts. Then a longer choral part was added, adding new harmonic elements to the weave, and using the soprano part grabbing out of the context and adding it to the non-choral parts, the melody was extended with shining celesta. Then came the idea to add guitar (acoustic and distorted) to the lighter parts of the track. It gave a really adventurous and modern touch to the material. Also this addition of guitar lines then crept into the stronger orchestral parts in form of choral and higher brass additions (horns and trumpets). As a final step, I felt the urge to add a dance-like even quicker celebration part to mirror the triumphant pirate/sailor thematic of the era. Quick piccolo and xylophone together with some guitars and quick rhythmical strings gave the final form to it. The recipe was well formulated again, and the first day it got int the SC Classical chart again right into the top 30.

In the end I feel like it has been a successful venture back into the symphonic/orchestral composition which I was on a hiatus within the last half year. Hope you will enjoy the music as much as I enjoyed the creation of it.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Major material upload to YouTube


Dear friends and fans,

There's been a big series of uploads to the official pZi YouTube channel.

'Music for the Wired Generation'
First there's 7 tracks of the long play album 'Music for the Wired Generation' in a playlist you can find here featuring such tracks as 'Vortex of Freedom: Dune' and 'Spaceman's Ease'. You can still find the full album on Spotify, iTunes, Google Music and Amazon as well.
Playlist of Music for the Wired Generation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fxPNHJy81M&list=PL9QjwbOQ_wT2CS4mldn5D2hEzTRR7xuVA










  


'Epic Tracks'
Secondly there's a new playlist for my recent epic fantasy tracks made in the classical genre, such as 'Power of the Awakened Ones' and 'The Invincibles'. Daring, epic and powerful compositions awaiting you now on the YouTube channel as well.
Playlist here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bKZ4-VMhB4&list=PL9QjwbOQ_wT1pq4a2URVUMeZaj_SIQStu

Game Soundtracks

Here's a list of the games Pal Zoltan Illes had part in scoring for:

Ziggurat by MilkStone - action RPG, partly, 2 tracks of the full soundtrack. Blogpost here.
OpenDungeons - open source fantasy real time strategy
Scourge - open source fantasy RPG
Godhead - open source fantasy RPG
JClassicRPG - fantasy RPG engine

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