Mass Effect 3, The biggest release of 2012 is now only a few weeks away from release, I give you a little behind the scenes info of how and what we’ve used to create our score for ME3. Please note that there are other composers involved due to the sheer amount of music a game like ME3 needed (One of them being Sam Hulick. Check out his work). Also check out the work of my co-writer, Cris Velasco right here.
Growing up in the 80s, electronic music was everywhere. From the likes of Vangelis and his Blade Runner score to Tangerine dream and Depeche mode were on the radio 24/7. Being able to combine two passion’s of mine, electronic music influenced by the 80s together with the magical sounds of the Orchestra, was a dream come true. Early on, I wanted to take this to the next level so I decided to not only use Virtual Instruments but real hardware synths as well. So here’s a list of hardware we’ve used on ME3:
The Juno 106
We’ve purchased this synth right before we worked on the Quake 2 score back in 1997. Feels like forever ago but this synth is still one of my favorites. If you want more history on this synth, I suggest you read it up here.
This Synth has an excellent analog low-pass filter and was used for lot of the pads layered underneath the Orchestra. Everyone from The Prodigy to Depeche Mode have and use one.
Next up is the rather newer Moog Slim phatty and the Roger Linn’s Tempest drum machine:
The Moog was used for a lot of the arpeggiated Bass lines you will hear all over the tracks. This unit gets send first through a Chandler Tg-2 pre-amp before it hits the DAW so the signal is really phat so to speak. The Tempest came in while we were almost done with the score but I still managed to use it on 2 combat cues. Of course Linn style drum sounds, that was the whole point.
I started to build a Eurorack Modular Rig last year with some help from Josh Humphrey of Big City Music here in LA. What you see there in yellow is the Metasonix Vacuum Distortion module. Yes, real working tubes. True Clipping. :) It’s good stuff. The modular was used for a lot of more FX type of sounds. Since theres no way to ‘save a patch’, you never know what you going to get next. Some sounds of it you can hear in our Character creation theme.
Next up is the OP-1:
The OP-1 contains 8 different forms of synthesis. From an FM to wave engine, it has it covered. It also has a unique build-in sequencer. Almost all of the melody arp lines you hear are coming from the OP-1. Lots of outboard was used to give the sequences that ‘Vangelis’ sound (well thanks to the H8000).
What you see here is a Modded Alesis HR-16 drum machine. The original machine is from 1988 but when you hear the crazy modded sounds, its a killer for sure. You can patch for hours and always get something new and strange. Not sure what each mod does but I used this for more of the one shot FX hits in our ME3 combat cues. On the Soundtrack listen to “The Scientist”.
And lastly, the iPad:
Yes, the iPad is now a legit tool to use as a music pro.If you still think this is toy then you are sorely missing out on some of the most innovative software out there. Moog’s Animoog app was used for a lot of the, what I call, Musical sound design. Wave table movements all send through a Eventide H8000 unit, together they make magic. You can hear this app on pretty much every single cue, esp. the ambient ones.
These were some of the main tools used to create the musical soundscape that is Mass Effect 3. Honorable mention: The MS2000 (still a great synth), Roland V-synth and of course my Symbolic Sounds Kyma system, which was used to create some drones and other morph lik effects.
I will leave you with a snippet of our Character Creation theme but you can download the free Mass Effect 3 demo and hear the whole thing when you create your own Shepard. ;) This piece uses the Op-1, Juno, modular rig and the Kyma system for the vocals. Enjoy and for more news on all things ME3 music follow me on twitter!
Special thanks to Rob, Mark and Casey of Bioware/EA.
This website has been a few months in the making and I would like to thank David and Katie for their support and patience while working the behind the scenes stuff. This website is fully done in HTML5 meaning yes, you can listen to audio on your ipad. Also we opt for a single page design out the simple reason that I wanted it to be like a extended resume. With todays social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr, there’s also no real need for ‘news’ on the site it self. Want all the news about what game soundtrack we are working on? Simply join me on Twitter. Sure isn’t that hard. :)
David and Katie are brilliant designers based out of the UK. Please check out their portfolio right here. They really cared a lot and listened to all of my wishes. However, of course, no website is perfect. So for those of you who might missed it, here’s how to navigate the site:
This is the top menu, you will see to your far left. It’s simple. When you click on the section of your choice, it will take you directly to that part of the page without the need to scroll.
Once your arrived at the section of your choice, you will see a TOP marker to your far right. Simply click and your back to the top menu.
I had a few people not catching this so I figured I show how that works. I still think the single page design was the best option. Over the next few weeks I will add more unreleased music and once Mass Effect 3 hits the stores we will, of course, add tracks to the ME3 player.
And lastly, there’s the Itunes icon. When a player shows this icon:
next to it, then you can purchase the soundtrack by simply clicking on it!
So, I hope everyone enjoys the new site and there’s a lot more cool stuff coming. Just wait. :)
Here it is. Our final Warhammer: Space Marine soundtrack track listing:
1. Prologue 2. Titus’ Theme 3. Against all odds 4. Prelude to war 5. Valkyrie Run 6. Battlements 7. Whispers of the the dead 8. The Blood Ravens 9. Reunion with Mira 10.The Weirdboy 11. No Man’s Land 12. The Inquisitor 13. The Meat grinder 14. Heart of Darkness 15. Fight for Honor 16. Titan 17. Legions of Chaos 18. Heresy 19. A Hero’s Legacy
More news you will find over at www.sonicmayhem.com. Top Dollar PR will be doing all of our promotional stuff. Very excited to be working with Greg and his team again. There is an iTunes release planned but not really sure when that will happen, just yet.
Cris and I are at the end of writing for our current project. We’ve composed about 120 mins of music in all. Now we are finalizing the last couple of cues and I just finished the game Intro last night. I think the music or sound for an Intro, are important as they will set the tone for the game. They will give the player the first emotional connection of whats to come.
Now, to this day, I still get a billion emails about Quake music. Let me tell you that i am very happy so many people really seem to enjoy the stuff we wrote, way back, in a time before most plugins and software synths. Heck, Reason was *just* released when we finished Quake III Arena. I still have about 250 copies of the noize soundtrack in storage so what I will do is sign each copy and put them up on ebay with the proceeds going to the Japan Earthquake red cross relief. This will be your last chance to get your hands on this rare soundtrack cause after 250, it will never be made again.
ALL THINGS G33K AND L33T
Well I finally am about to make the ipads an integral part of my setup. Things are already working well but im currently waiting for the “the missing link” hardware (http://wifimidi.com/) which will eliminate the OSC translating issue. Basically, for example Cubase does not have a build in OSC function. Meaning I would have to translate each OSC message into Midi which is something i do really not care for. With wifimidi, you will be able to plug the midi out of the unit into your Midi interface (I use the motu express) midi in and now TouchOSC and midi learn should work. Once I have the unit I will write up a more in-depth report. Hopefully it will work as planned.
I have really been enjoying the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering (http://www.teenageengineering.com/). Here you can see my unit going first into the Eventide SPACE, then going into a Chandler Tg-2 preamp and into the RME. I have been using this little bugga on a few things already. Wish I had it during the Tron development but you can hear it on a few of the new Mass effect tracks we did for the DLC.
ALL THINGS APPS
Those of you who beta tested our iphone up will know what this is all about. Steve and I have been busy finalizing the design document for our ipad. It’s been a lot of work and hopefully we will be able to fully share not only what this app is about, but what it took to get there. It’s a rather interesting process and let me tell you, designing a GUI is NOT easy.
The above shot is our main menu screen which you will see after starting the app. Just a little sneak peak at the style, which is of course, the same as our iphone app. The design is by non other then Steve Gerdes, who is also responsible for the entire artwork of all things Tron (Disney music related). Simplicity and fun are the main goals here and for anyone interested, I will disclose more info every month on this and other things.
ALL THINGS REMIXES
I’m actually working on a remix of one of our Mass Effect cues. One night I just started to mess around and 30 mins later it just BEGGED me to please oh please remix me. So i did but due to current workload, it must wait a bit.
I also have a remix of Chase & Status “time” single in the can but that needs a proper mix and such so when time allows, I will finish it up and just release it via white label.
Now your asking ok but what about Toksin EP? It’s the never ending story. I think I was once on the phone with Klayton (of celldweller) and he felt my pain as his record is taken some time as well :). I think going the chapter route is the way to go otherwise I will never release anything. I prolly wont be calling it chapters, more just a few EP’s I suppose.
ALL THINGS MUST COME AN END
OK I will admit it. I am a hypocrite. I hate blogs. I think everyone and their grandma has one. So what. But on the other hand, theres no other place to get this (maybe useful to some, just fun for others) info out. Facebook you say? Please. How about official site? Nah. So a blog? yep. I think it’s important that even if only one person reads it, to write down stuff. It’s like therapy just without the heavy content of drugs, sex or violence. Just stuff I care about and that others may find interesting…
So finally after almost a year our iPhone app TWEAK WARP is going beta. It’s really amazing to see how long it takes to get shit done. We are currently working on a iPad version as well, called Tweak Warp 4. More on that when it develops.
On the video game front, there will be a huge announcement within the next 2 weeks. For those who actually read this, here’s a little sneak peak (well more of a give it away):
There will also be a semi sonic mayhem website update. Going to change the layout a bit and adding sound cloud support. Now if your an upcoming composer or producer you can just drop me your tracks via sound clouds “dropbox”. Its pretty neat. I also will eventually upload everything we’ve ever done, that includes Quake II, unreleased Q2 tunes, q3a, other unreleased promo tracks and all current soundtracks.
Twarp Industries LLC Launching Tweak Warp™ Application in 2010
Los Angeles, January 5, 2010 — Privately owned, Los Angeles-based Twarp Industrieshas announced that it will be launching Tweak Warp™, it’s flagship application for the iPhone in 2010. Tweak Warp aims to be the premiere audio remixing tool on the iPhone,combining the fun of a handheld toy with a sophisticated audio manipulation tool.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming launch of Tweak Warp. This will be an amazing opportunity for iPhone users to get turned on to some incredible music and technology,” states Sascha Dikiciyan, CEO of Twarp Industries. “This is a first step in our long-term strategy for bringing fun, audio driven applications to the iphone and beyond”
The company plans to roll out a private beta in the coming weeks and will be fine tuning the application for an early 2010 submission to Apple’s App Store.
About Twarp Industries LLC
Twarp Industries is the answer for music lovers who want to download, mix and tweak loops on their iPhone. The company is the brainchild of world-renowned composer Sascha Dikiciyan (Quake Series, Splinter cell 4, Hellgate, Prototype,Borderlands) and Art Director Steve Gerdes (Virgin Records, Warner). In 2009 Sascha and Steve brought their vision to HYFN, an award winning mobile and web development firm and Twarp Industries was formed. The company will be launching their first application called Tweak Warp in early 2010. The application will boast a large collection of downloadable Artist loops which users will be able to easily manipulate with the flick of a finger or tilt of the phone, save and share them with the world or use them in their own production.