Real Orchestra vs Synth Mockup Part 2/6

1452030_553759348030610_820612216_n

Hi again. This is the second part in a small series of blog posts I’ll make about the real-world differences between orchestral mockups (or synth orchestras) versus real orchestras. As a composer who is fortunate to work regularly with live orchestras, I’ll try to help show the difference from a decent demo recording, to a mixed and mastered finished recording.

For this example, I’ve chosen a piece that was recorded at Abbey Road studio 2, with the English Session Orchestra, and was used for the 2013 TK Maxx Christmas campaign. It was an arrangement of the 80’s synth pop hit, “Only You” by Yazoo. A simple piece which relies on expressive playing and fluid, agile string movement is always going to be tricky for samples. Here’s the before and after.

Continue reading

Real Orchestra vs Synth Mockup – Part 1/6

English Session Orchestra at AIR Lindhurst

Hi there, Tom Player here – it’s been a while since my last post! This is the first part in a small series of blog posts I’ll make about the real-world differences between orchestral mockups (or synth orchestras) versus real orchestras. As a composer who is fortunate to work regularly with live orchestras, I’ll try to help show the difference from a decent demo recording, to a mixed and mastered finished recording.

For me, undoubtedly the ‘highlight of the job’ is getting to work with live players. There’s nothing like the moment at the beginning of a session you hear the first note, and suddenly your work is brought to life by an ensemble of talented players. You can breathe! And then the rest of the hard work starts. :)

Continue reading

Music with Context: Audiovisual Scores for Improvising Musicians

Thesis Venn Diagram 2.0 - New Page

Last May I completed my MFA in New Media at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. A good stretch of my time at the college was spent working on my master’s thesis. Here’s the abstract:

This paper explores the idea of mutable, audiovisual scores for improvised musical performances through the description of personal perspectives, practical examples, proposed projects, and research. The author postulates that an audiovisual score can be a useful tool to connect improvising musicians to each other and their audience through the insertion of a mediating audiovisual layer within the work. These systems are used as a primary influential agent for an ensemble of improvisers, providing them with a context for a musical conversation. In contrast to traditional notation and graphic scores, audiovisual scores embrace the chaotic ambiguities of environmental influences giving the music the context of unpredictable everyday events. Presenting an unpredictable audiovisual score parallels the indeterminate improvisation of the ensemble. It activates the last vestige of what remains immutable within traditional forms of notation driven performance inserting it into a mutable layer within the work.

Recently it occurred to me that many AudioCookbook readers will find the subject matter in my thesis interesting. There are detailed, conceptual explanations for many of the projects that I have shared here over the last few years. There are also references to work by many other artists who have provided inspiration to me. If you’re interested please click the link below to view or download the document.

Music with Context: Audiovisual Scores for Improvising Musicians by John Keston