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Thing a Week with Bryan Schumann

Bryan Schumann - Composer Quest

Composer Bryan Schumann has embraced self-imposed deadlines; he's been consistently making at least one "thing" every week in 2016 and blogging about it. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about what he's learned from this experiment. Bryan also talks about his eco-friendly music projects, like a bike-powered electric band and his future solar-powered recording studio.

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Patching Together a Creative Life with Anton Torres

Anton Torres - Composer Quest

Anton Torres has been an electronic music hobbyist for over 20 years, using the very earliest incarnations of Apple's Logic and Ableton Live. In today's episode of Composer Quest, Anton shares some wisdom on living a creative life, even if you only have 15 minutes to spare each day. We also hear why Anton decided to leave his suit and tie job in New York to pursue his creative dreams, and how he ended up working at the board game company Asmodee North America.

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Game Music Melee

Game Music Melee

A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a very fun live composing event at GlitchCon, called Game Music Melee. Three of us composers got up onstage to write video game music on the spot, based on game suggestions from the audience, in JUST 30 MINUTES. Not a lot of time. Emily Reese of the Level with Emily podcast hosted, and after two rounds of composing, she interviewed us about our process. It turned out so cool, I wanted to post it as this week's Composer Quest episode.

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Music Production Lesson: Visual MIDI Improv

Charlie McCarron - VMI v1a

I was inspired by my interview with Cyriak Harris to create a piece of music purely by visually entering MIDI. Although Cyriak listens back and tweaks the notes as he goes, I decided to take it to another level and turn off my speakers until I was totally finished. I also tried to avoid anything I would normally do to make it musically "right," and just make visually-interesting patterns.

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Music Evolution with DarwinTunes Creator Bob MacCallum

Bob MacCallum Composer Quest

Over the past few years, Bob MacCallum has been focused on one question: can music evolve through natural selection? In this episode of Composer Quest, we discuss Bob's amazing evolutionary music project, DarwinTunes. In the DarwinTunes experiment/game, participants rate and "mate" short sound loops to breed new musical offspring. Although it started with randomly generated sine waves and noise, the evolved sounds are now surprisingly musical. Also in this episode, we talk about Bob's scientific analysis of over 70,000 Billboard hit songs from the past half-decade, which has revealed three major revolution years in music history: 1964, 1983, and 1991.

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Composer Secrets with Ian Dicke

Ian Dicke Composer Quest

Ian Dicke has secrets, but not the scandalous kind. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about his tricks of the trade when it comes to structuring his compositions and developing musical ideas. Ian also shares his approach to teaching post-1940s art music, which usually only gets about a week of attention in undergraduate music programs.

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Patchwork Scriabin: The Ultimate Prelude Mashup

Alexander Scriabin Patchwork Colors

100 years after the death of Alexander Scriabin, his music lives on in a form he would never have expected. A week ago, I announced the Patchwork Scriabin quest along with UniqueSound, and 49 people contributed to our Scriabin "sound quilt" by recording a measure of his Prelude in A minor, Op. 11 No. 2. I'm excited to present our final mashup, with 68 uniquely-produced measures. You'll hear trombones, bells, accordions, chiptune synths, wine glasses, dog barks, dance beats, and much more.

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Online Jamming with Plink

Plink Jam Session Composer Quest Patrons 2015

Last week, I asked my Composer Quest patrons to join me in an online jamming experiment. My friend Alex pointed out Plink, a cool site that lets you jam with random people on the internet. By adding a hashtag to the URL (#cqpatronjam), we were able to have our own "chat" room.

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Composing with Knobs and Patch Cables, Featuring Mike Olson

Eurorack Modular Synth Patching

Mike Olson schooled me in the ways of old-fashioned analog electronic composing, where you only have dials and cords to create music with. In this episode of Composer Quest, Mike shares how his creative process works when he's at his Moog modular synthesizer. We also talk about how to sound-treat your home studio, and what makes music go from merely "perfect" to "hair-raisingly transcendent."

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Animation Composing with Paul Fraser

Paul Fraser Composer Quest

Paul Fraser went into the CalArts composition program with the mindset that he would spend half his time making weird music, and half his time composing for animations. He's since worked with some amazing animators, including the creators of Adventure Time. In this episode of Composer Quest, Paul shares his creative process in composing and sound designing animations. We also talk about some of his creative personal projects, like his "Weekly Splice," where he gathers one sound every day and mixes seven of them together at the end of the week.

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