Hella Gems | Original Music Blog

2012 Compilation

April 29th 2014 by

At some point two years ago the drive to actually finish and share tracks left me. I think partly this has to do with an overly harsh internal critic, and also the realization that I should be able to do music without constant positive external reinforcement. Then in 2013 I decided to share some of what I had worked on, so I did a bunch of cleaning, and organizing. This was difficult. I deleted sketches that were going nowhere, and I selected the most finished and interesting pieces from 2012 to share. So here it is - the 2012 year in review. Only two years late. I didn't include the working titles for any of these because they feel too raw to have a title.


I think I made this for a project with David. We were creating a mix tape one song at a time and alternating between us.

MW - 2012 - Track 1


The distorted synth is saved somewhere.

MW - 2012 - Track 2



This is a huge collage made entirely from samples. See if you can recognize the source material. (No seriously, I don't remember every thing I sampled.)

MW - 2012 - Track 3



This is another track for the project with David.

MW - 2012 - Track 4



This was originally going to be a remix of Headlines by Drake, but I thought it sounded better without the vocals.

MW - 2012 - Track 5



Some hip-hop, why not?

MW - 2012 - Track 6



Or how about some Jazz? Just noodlin' away.

MW - 2012 - Track 7



I think I just wanted to use an arpeggiator.

MW - 2012 - Track 8



Tracks 9 and 10 are two versions of the same song. I think the main difference is 10 doesn't have guitar.

MW - 2012 - Track 9

MW - 2012 - Track 10



I think I just wanted to play guitar.

MW - 2012 - Track 11



Big bombastic rap instrumental. Imagine Eminem yelling over it.

MW - 2012 - Track 12



Remix of some Phoenix song. I think it's 1901. The backwards vocals thing at the end doesn't help me remember what song was the source. It was pretty cool that they released stems from the old album. Some new stems from their latest album are posted as well.

MW - 2012 - Track 13



Imagine Drake complaining about being rich and famous over this.

MW - 2012 - Track 14




Not much to say about these two.

MW - 2012 - Track 15

MW - 2012 - Track 16



Started as a remix of Shimmy Shimmy Ya, but it was too raw for me that way, so I gave him the mic and let him take it away.

MW - 2012 - Track 17



I think this was called End Credits as a working title.

MW - 2012 - Track 18

Another SNES style track. You win the game! I suppose this would be the music that plays after the end with the credits rolling by. Not the most original piece, I guess.

Like the rest of these tracks, it would really sound a lot more like the real SNES if I down-sampled it a lot. That would automatically take care of reducing the range of the frequency response too. For now, though. I'm just showing them off in their full high-res glory.


More SNES style tracks

October 24th 2013 by

I'm working on some more SNES style tracks in FL Studio. I think the synthesized electric guitar (with res filter) is a bit of a stretch for the SNESs audio quality when compared to the pros actual attempts at mimicking the electric guitar . Oh well, I like the sound.


I imagine this music to go in some earlier part of the game, where there's some exploration with occasional, easy enemy encounters.

As usual, the track is meant to loop.



Some SNES style music

October 6th 2013 by

Lately I'm working on some SNES style tracks, sort of like the great Square RPGs of the Super Nintendo age.Games like Secret of Mana and the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger and so forth.

I've been interested in capturing the flavor of the SNES. Unlike the original Nintendo, there's no built-in wave tables. Each game had their own, which they could loud from memory. This means that there's no real "signature sound" that you can get from using tools like Famitracker or whatever. The only common bond between these games is that the samples are always really short and looped, due to the overall low memory available. Additionally, there's some sort of delay effect built-in to the hardware.  If you go back and listen for it, you'll hear SNES games universally making excessive use of the effect for all sorts of things.

I pulled together a bunch of cheezy, fake-sounding samples to use that sounded about right. I also made a particular "delay" preset which I named "SNES". It basically duplicates the cheezy "double-attack" effect that I was hearing in a lot of games. It's subtle, but it makes the over-all sound seem "bigger". At first, I was going to go real authentic and cut my samples down into quarter-second looping bits like the SNES would have used, but I figured that would just be a lot of work. Instead, if it sounds "about right," I'll just be satisfied with that.

So for these tracks, imagine some RPG style wars-of-elfen-magic-bla-bla-bla.

The first track would be for some part of the game were you emerge onto the overworld after forging some grueling monster-infested underground tunnel. The enemy's forces are still hiding all around, but it's good to see the sun and the trees once again. Oh, and it's daybreak.

The second track is for some Dungeon. Maybe the final boss's fortress, which you can only enter by finding the seven pieces of whatever. I reused the arpeggio from the first track, so that will represent some sort of tie-in between the two areas.

These are intended to loop indefinitely in the video game, so they end abruptly. Just imagine them repeating continuously.

I do have an idea about what to use these for. I'm working on a game in Gamemaker Studio that would incorporate these tracks, but don't hold your breath for the release. I'm not very good with finishing these types of projects. If I were to use these tracks for the game, they would be heavily down-sampled, which would probably make them sound even-more Super-Nintendo-ish.




Old Man Mardigan

October 23rd 2012 by

Old Man Mardigan

So, it was back in the summer of 2011 when erf and I decided to fight the decrease in creative output and associated malaise with a series of all-or-nothing recording sessions. We were both getting older, and I wasn't satisfied to let the music be simply discarded as a boyish hobby (which it isn't). Over a 2 month period, typically on Sunday afternoons, we would head down to his basement studio in the historic Homepark district to record a series of demos.

They were demos, and they would remain demos, because they were meant to capture the feeling we had on that particular afternoon, and nothing more. Each song was conceptualized, written, arranged, recorded, and put in the can in no longer than 90 minutes. No second takes, no regrets. erf would work the controls and play the more competent instrumental parts, I would share songwriting and vocals with the good man. By the end of the year, there was enough for an EP.

On that first afternoon we made this ditty.

High Flyer derives from the same sessions.

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