Opus 2

I hate to start so many posts like this, but I’ve been busy—and not with composing. It’s a hectic time I’m going through, but there are two recent events I’d like to write about before I forget again.

The first topic up is Ludovico Einaudi’s concert, the first one ever held in Korea. I was there! Going in, I thought the tickets were a tad overpriced, but by the end of the concert, I thought my ticket was worth every penny. This is only the second concert I’ve been to (sadly, I don’t get out much), but it’s already clear to me that nothing will ever replace live performances. Videos of live performances, shot professionally or otherwise, are inferior. There’s something about a live performance which makes even pieces that I don’t like sound exciting. And, of course, there’s the thrill of watching a talented musician play, of being in the same room as an artist who I admire. Art is best when it’s lived, not just seen or heard.

Now for some specifics. I’ve always thought of Einaudi as a rather classical composer, so I was surprised because the concert was more modern than I’d expected. The musicians played some electronic instruments which gave the concert a mild rock-vibe. Some pieces were accompanied by flashy light-effects. And there was a video which played behind the performers for the duration of the concert. It wasn’t anything too distracting—closer to moving images than a full-blown video. The entire concert wasn’t so modern that I couldn’t associate it with the image of Einaudi I’d kept in my mind, however.

All the musicians were fantastic, but the passion of the celloist, Redi Hasa, and the violinist, Federico Mecozzi, left a particularly strong impression on me. I never thought it’d be possible to headbang while playing a violin, but apparently, it is. The headbanging of the two musicians seemed uncalculated and looked natural, which is good because it irritates me when artists do things just for effect.

I was sorry that Einaudi played the piano with his back turned to the audience. I thought the piano would be placed the way it usually is in an orchestra, with the pianist’s right profile facing the seats. Not the case, unfortunately. I could only see glimpses of Einaudi’s fingers while he played and almost nothing of his face.

I also wish he’d said more. I think he spoke two sentences: one to introduce his fellow performers, and the other to say goodbye. I grumbled about this to a Korean friend of mine, and she told me that concerts are usually like that. I honestly didn’t know. I mostly watch videos of Japanese concerts, and Japanese musicians are conversational. They do 5 songs, chat for 5 minutes, then do 5 more.

As for the set list, I think I heard everything in Einaudi’s new album, Elements, as well as two of my favourite Einaudi works, ‘Divenire’ and ‘Nuvole Bianche’. I didn’t get to hear ‘Primavera’, the last of my favourites, but that piece is probably hard to perform without more strings.

All in all, it was a very memorable night, and if Einaudi ever visits Korea again, I’ll be there.

Now for the second subject: I’ve installed 4 GB more RAM! I was told my computer could support up to 16 GB of RAM, but that turned out to be untrue; 8 GB is my limit. I was disappointed when I learnt this, but once I tested my new 8-GB setup, I realised that 8 GB might be all that I need. My DAW and VST are soaring; saving my project only takes about 5 seconds. It’s as though my DAW had a rotten cold that has only now been washed away.

If anyone wants a tip on increasing RAM and knows next to nothing about computers, I recommend this: buy exactly the same type of RAM as the one you already have. Double-check the model numbers and make sure that every letter and number is the same.

It’s possible to mix different kinds of RAM, but from what I gather, if you’re unlucky, you could get a blue screen. Some tech-savvy people can fix blue screens, but if you’re like me, the risk isn’t worth it.

‘Andalusian Rhapsody’ by SoundTeMP/Gim Junseong

Summary

A melodic yet exciting electronic piece with mild Spanish themes. Composed for the Korean MMORPG Granado Espada.

Genre(s)

Trance or electronic, but the main melody sounds slightly baroque.

Mood

Fast-paced, melodic, and dramatic.

My favourite part

From 2:57 to the end. A very satisfying climax.

Criticism

The introduction is fine, but the part in the middle—from about 1:00 to 3:00—sounds bloated. It’d sound better if it was trimmed.

Similar music

For an energetic track with Spanish flair, listen to a rock version of Uematsu Nobuo’s ‘Vamo’ alla flamenco’, performed by The Black Mages.

Availability

Opus 2

It’s strange how once you take an interest in something, the world adapts to offer you relevant wisdoms and ideas. Ever since I started creating, I’ve stumbled into a lot of unusual situations where strangers halfway around the world seem to know exactly what my life is like. Some of those coincidences are downright uncanny.

A few weeks ago, I read a remarkable post by Nicholas O’Neill. In his post, he talks about writing words as a relief to writing music then mentions his recent successes in writing. In his own words, ‘I have to say that the notes are much harder to get together, much more frustrating as a medium, and I look upon my verbal tappings as a kind of light relief, letting off steam while the cogs and wheels grind through harmonies at the back of my brain.’

I’ll explain how this relates to me. My two passions are writing fiction and composing, but until recently, I suffered from a bad case of writer’s block. Perfectionism was the cause—every time I tried to write, I’d get paralysed by the pressure of writing well. Eventually, I took a break from writing to become a (bad) composer.

So far, I’ve found composing more enjoyable than writing, but it’s not because I like writing less. It’s because I think less when I compose. I compose through impulse, not knowledge or technique, and I feel justified in doing so because I have low expectations of myself as a composer. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to improve. It means that I place no pressure on myself as a composer and rarely think further ahead than enjoying the composing journey.

Ever since I realised that caring less makes creating more enjoyable, I’ve been trying to channel careless creativity into my stories. I have a hunch that it’s possible, but I’m finding it difficult. Perhaps it’s just hard to disguise love; there is no subject that I love more than that of literature. No matter how many times I tell myself that writing is easy, all I have to do is to think of all the wonderful stories that made me want to write, and my pen stops dead.

One thing is certain: reverence kills creativity. In fact, the best way to create may be by being light-hearted. Nicholas O’Neill’s post seems to confirm this; he was contacted by a magazine to write an article for it. And, as is clear from the quote above, he writes beautifully. You don’t have to find something hard to be good at it.

Opus 2

It looks as though I won’t be composing for a while; I’m having computer problems. I’ve decided to make the most of my break by creating an original logo and browsing the internet for album-cover ideas on other computers.

I know that neither of these things are important, but I’ve become vain since I started making my own music. I’m going to cave and want both things sooner or later, and I suppose now is as good a time as any.

I’ll create my logo. I already have concrete ideas about how I want it to look, and I don’t think producing it will require complex image-editing. If I find myself out of my depth, I can always hire someone on Fiverr to bail me out. I expect to have the final logo within a week.

My album cover is a different matter because I don’t actually know how I want it to look. Not only that, but it seems foolish to decide on an album cover when I’ve finished one track which I don’t even like that much.

I’ll wait and see what other pieces I come up with before I decide on an album cover which suits my music. I’ll just do a bit of research now to find out what my options are.

On another note, I found out that Hollywood Orchestra offers chimes, curious non-bells which sound like bells. I didn’t know that Hollywood Orchestra had them because I was looking for instruments using the word ‘bell’. Many thanks to Dallen for educating me on this topic. This means that I can finish ‘Into Winter’ without buying a bell VST.

My computer should be up and running within a week, maybe more. Time to sit back and enjoy not composing!

Opus 2

The second composition is definitely different from the first. I’m not just talking about the final product but also the experience of composing. I feel much more relaxed than I did while making my first piece.

I mentioned that I have two passions, writing novels and composing, and that I chose to compose before writing because I was in a hurry to own something original. (Writing a novel takes a long time.)

Now that I’ve finished ‘Onwards‘ and am disillusioned with it, I no longer feel the need to rush. I’m more interested in exploring the possibilities to make something good than I am in creating for the sake of creating. I want to make sure that I’m enjoying the musical scenery on my composing journey.

I also don’t feel the need to impose a deadline on myself anymore. ‘Into Winter’ will be finished when I say it is. I really want to take my time with this one so that I can look back and say that I gave it my best effort. I don’t think I did that with ‘Onwards’; I was just trying to make it ‘good enough’, whatever that means.

I’d like to think that I won’t ever become disillusioned with ‘Into Winter’ as I did with ‘Onwards’. That’s probably hoping for too much, but if I really try my best, I might stay fond of ‘Into Winter’ for a long time after its completion.