Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Game music composer Allister Brimble joins composer team at Shockwave-Sound.com

Game music composer Allister Brimble joins composer team at Shockwave-Sound.com

We are happy to announce that we’ve signed up a new composer to our little “stock music team” here at Shockwave-Sound.com and that is none other than video game music composer extraordinaire, Allister Brimble.

Probably beaten only by American video game composer Tommy Tallarico, Allister has composed the music for a larger number of published video games than anybody else. He started out writing music in the early 1990’s for some of the most famous and most loved Amiga games from Team17 Software, including Superfrog, Full Contact, Alien Breed and many more. He has since gone on to compose for hundreds of video games, so he knows what it takes to make music that sounds great in a game setting!

Bjorn Lynne (left), Allister Brimble (right), 2015

Shockwave-Sound.com owner/manager Bjorn Lynne met up with Allister at a recent industry event in Peterborough UK where they were able to discuss music and life over some food and drink, and a few weeks later, we are happy to have the first batch of 4 tracks composed by Allister exclusively for the Shockwave-Sound.com music catalogue. Here they are:

We welcome Allister to our team and look forward to having more of his music up for licensing over the coming months and years.

Come with us and explore the Music of France!

Come with us and explore the Music of France!

We’ve had so much fun over the past several months, composing, recording and producing not one, but two full albums of French and France / Paris inspired music. With “The Music of France, Vol. 1” featuring 13 original music tracks and “The Music of France, Vol. 2” featuring no less than 22 tracks of various French folk / traditional French music as well as some original compositions in a very cheeky French style, these music collections can only be described as “goldmines” for anybody working on a media project that needs that “sound of France”.

For “The Music of France, Vol. 1” we got in touch with Aleksander Grochocki and Patryk Walczak, or just Pat & Olo, who went to work and between them composed and delivered 13 delightful French tracks, ranging from the classical “musette” style, to passionate waltzes and foot-tapping Hot Club of France style gypsy jazz tracks. All original compositions, all recorded live in studio with Pat on accordeon, and with Aleksander on guitars, bass, percussion and “various”. It’s safe to say that we are très satisfaits with the results. Just take a listen to that album and you’ll be whisked off to Paris in a heartbeat.

For “The Music of France, Vol. 2” there was no better guy to go to, than Jerome Lamasset. Already a collaborator and contributor here at Shockwave-Sound since all the way back in 2000, Jerome is an experienced composer, arranger and eager student of French music. He took a slightly different approach to the project, opting instead to go for more traditional, well known French melodies. Perhaps more than most countries, France has a wonderful culture of traditional music, French nursery rhymes and folk songs for which the original composer is unknown. These famous pieces of French musical culture have been passed down from generation to generation, including such timeless tunes as Alouette, Le Temps de Cerises and many others. Jerome rearranged and re-recorded these tracks in creative ways and created sometimes cheeky, humorous or just lighthearted versions.

Jerome also composed additional tracks himself, his own original compositions with a very quintessentially French sound. Again, these are quite tongue-in-cheek. The track Allongèe Pres de Toi was actually composed as a replacement for the very famous French track Frou Frou, which is under copyright and cannot be used as stock music. So Jerome went with his own composition instead, which we happen to think is much better.

All in all, on these two albums, we have published 35 tracks of French music tracks this week, and we can’t help but be proud of these releases. Here are just some ideas for projects in which this music will work wonders:

  • Travel videos and travel shows with France / Paris destinations.
  • Historical and cultural TV programs, websites or YouTube films.
  • Apps and games that seek either a French, or a cheeky / humorous sound.
  • Comedies and candid camera type productions.
  • Retro 1960’s and 1970’s productions, perhaps with a “French cinema” approach.
  • Fairground / Fun Fair, and Circus productions.

And more!

Remember — as with all our CD-collections / albums, all tracks are also available individually. You don’t need to license the whole album if you only need one track. If you just want one track, simply search for the track title in the “Quick search” box on our site, and the track will come up in search results.

Enjoy… Et bonne journée!

Thoughts and insights on our latest collection: “Dark Cues Vol. 7: bZombie”

Thoughts and insights on our latest collection: “Dark Cues Vol. 7: bZombie”

We have just released a new album of horror / mystery underscore music to our catalogue: “Dark Cues Vol. 7: bZombie“. This is a collection of 12 eerie and creepy film score / underscore tracks for use with death and horror. Each track is available to license separately, as well as together as a collection at $99.95 for the full collection with Standard License.

We caught up with composer / producer Pawel Blaszczak and had him share with us some background and insight on the creation of this music:

“Writing the bZombie album was my idea after I
finished Dead Island Soundtrack (Ed.note: Pawel is a composer of music for triple-A video games). I like horror movies and I like watching
pictures or movies from abandoned places. 
I had couple tracks ready in 2012 and I would
like to release them on Bandcamp as short four tracks album. Then I asked my
friend Grzegorz Jonkajtys if he could draw a cover artwork image for me. He designed a great
bZombie cover artwork picture which was very inspiring for me. I then decided to make a full
12-track album.

I like audio editing and synth experimenting.
Also I love piano sounds. So, I decided that bZombie will be more like synths
and piano meet experimenting sounds. My last previous “Days and Dreams” wasn’t
exploring dark side of synthesizers. At the beginning of 2013 I bought some great
instruments from Elektron Octatrack and Analog Four. The two of them are the main instruments I used for
creating the album. I always dreamed of deep editing of piano sound.
Octatrack gave me the opportunity to really make a something new with piano sounds.
Something more than just typical playing piano. A couple of tracks on bZombie has a piano style
playing which isn’t possible with normal piano playing.

I used Octatrack not only for piano mangling. I also used it to create a lot of dark, experimental loops. I used drums made
from synthesizers sounds as part of loops also.
Also, I used Elektron Analog Four. I like very
much this instrument. It is analog. But what is unusual. It is sounding very
modern and, what it is important for me, very dark. Almost every sound from
Analog Four has something dark inside. It is the perfect synth for making
mysterious music.
Composer Pawel Blaszczak

That was not an end of my searching for
interesting, modern, dark and hauting new sound. I prepared couple tracks with
Subtle Noise Cacophonator Noir. It is very rare machine for sound creation. It
is also hard to create something which is melodically. But I tried and on track
Electricity Broken Cacophonator Noir is playing almost full track with piano
sound.

Also I used Moog Sub Phatty. Like all Moogs, it
has a great bass sound. Also I used a Nord Wave with breathing samples. Piano is using
from Nord Stage 2. It is great sounding piano.
What was important for me is that I didn’t want to
create too experimental music. I like melody and I like experimenting with
synths. I would like to merge those two things.

I also would like to really give listeners a feeling that they are in abandoned, empty places. Just
close your eyes and feel that you are in some dark zone, with no people, with
only ghosts from the past.

A listener who bought this album from me mentioned
that it is perfect music for background music of RPG horror games. Myself, I like hear
this album in my car when I’m driving home through forest and empty spaces.”

Listen to the album here

Artist feature: Adam Skorupa

Artist feature: Adam Skorupa

Adam Skorupa originally became a Shockwave-Sound.com music composer / contributor because he happened to be a friend and musical collaborator of Shockwave-Sound founder and creator Bjorn Lynne. Ever since our beginning back in April of 2000, Adam’s music has been available for licensing here, and we felt it was about time we pestered him with some questions about music, life, royalty-free music licensing and what ever else comes up…

Click here to listen to some of Adam’s music while you’re reading this interview:

 

Adam, you’ve been a part of Shockwave-Sound.com ever since the beginning, back in 2000. Was that the first time you were ever involved with any stock music / royalty-free music licensing, and that way of making your music available for use by media producers?

Is it 12 years already? How the time flies. Indeed, Shockwave-Sound.com was the first site, where I’ve had an opportunity to share my work, and after all this time I can state with utmost certainty, that it’s the best site I’ve ever had the chance to collaborate with!

Thank you for the compliment! 🙂 Do you generally write tracks especially with the meaning of placing the tracks in the Shockwave-Sound.com stock music library, or do you tend to write tracks for specific projects, and then place the tracks in the stock music library afterwards?

The vast majority of the tracks I’ve placed in your stock music library were composed with this purpose in mind. When ever I’m not working on any commercial projects, and I feel like composing something, I tend to visualize various images which I’ve always wanted to illustrate with sound, but never had an opportunity to. The resulting compositions, in my opinion, are well suited for use in commercial ads for cars, leading edge audio equipment, as well as social networks, community activities or war reports. When they’re being placed in your library, I discreetly hope that your customers might use those tracks in the same context, as the one they were composed in.

Sometimes (but very rarely) I also upload tracks that were originally composed with a particular commercial product in mind, but which in the end, for a variety of reasons, ended up not being used for that project. It would be a great shame to stash them away, because I believe them to be good compositions, which might turn out perfect for utterly different projects (most artists hate stashing away their work).

You are a prolific composer and producer in many different genres and styles (one of my all-time favorite tracks, from any artist, at any time, is the deep techno-trance Hypnosphere). Is there a particular genre of music that you most enjoy working with? Or that you feel you do your best work?

I love challenges, and therefore I often test my skills with yet unfamiliar musical genres. It’s such a great feeling to be able to say about the resultant track, that “it’s not my style… and I quite like it”. Such versatility is obviously also quite desired, when one wants to become a professional, making their living only through composing music. Countless times I was in such a situation, that one day I needed to compose a hard rock piece, and the next day the same customer asked me to prepare for example a children’s lullaby, and then upon completing it, I had to start working for example on a club trance track.

In reply to your question about which genre I most enjoy working with, it’s most certainly film scores. It’s a special genre, which includes almost everything that I love most. First and foremost: orchestral sound, which is the best medium to relay feelings. On the other hand, film score arrangements always leave the composer with complete freedom. The entire rhythm section may be electronic or rock, or even, for that matter, ethnic. It’s a great genre, which enables me to combine all the styles that fascinate me the most at a given moment in time.

Have you ever come across your music by surprise in a game, TV broadcast or other media? Perhaps some case where a client had licensed your music from Shockwave-Sound.com and used it in their project… which you happened to come across and hear your own music by surprise?

Yes, it happened a couple of times actually. I have heard my music in game trailers, television commercials, shopping centers, and even iPhone games. Every time it happened, it made a mind-blowing impression. I felt proud, that someone wanted to use my music for their project, because for me this was proof, that someone truly liked it!

Besides obviously handling samplers, synths and keyboards with great skill, do you ever record live performed instruments in your compositions? If so, which instruments and who are the performers?

Recently I had a chance to record with a 150-piece live ensemble (full orchestra and double choir). See how it sounds:

Real live orchestral performance of Adam’s music for “The Witcher 2”

 

There are times, when I work with smaller orchestra ensembles (mainly strings). I also record vocals (despite the fact, that I do not compose songs, I often need some forms of vocal expression in my work). I also quite frequently collaborate with my friend, Olek Grochocki, who’s an absolute master of the guitar, and is able to play any genre to my heart’s desire.

Let’s do a different twist on the “5 island albums” where you would normally tell us the 5 CD’s you’d take with you to a desert island… Let’s instead do it with music production hardware and software. If you could take only 5 items of music production tools… hardware or software… which 5 would you bring?

  • A PC

  • Cakewalk Sonar (I need something to record with)

  • A keyboard (any keyboard with a MIDI connector would do)

  • Symphobia (to be able to produce orchestral sounds)

  • WinRar (in order for my compositions to fit into bottles, which I would then throw into the sea).

Your best-selling track here at Shockwave-Sound.com over the past year is this track, Familiarize. Do you have any explanation or thoughts about why people seem to go for that track and want to use it in their media projects?

Perhaps simply because it’s good? 🙂 But seriously, I think this track is so popular, because it’s so uniquely universal. It may be received as very affirmative (bringing hope, showing the good aspects of life to date), as well as sad (nostalgic, melancholic). Its arrangement is quite modern, which enables it to be used for example in leading edge hardware or revolutionary technology presentations. In general, this track may simply be associated with everything you can imagine. I would also hereby like to ask those, who have used this track in their productions, to send me a link via e-mail. I’m dying of curiosity, wondering how it was used in practice!

How come you ended up as a composer/producer, and not something completely different like a plumber or a fireman, or anything else? What brought you to a career in music and making a livelihood as a composer? That is a dream for many, but few, very few, ever manage to realize it. Did you always plan on being a composer/producer?

I was simply very lucky, and ended up in the right place, at the right time. I almost became an electronics engineer, because that’s what my education was leading to. Fortunately, I came across the right people, who saw some potential in me, and supported me when I made my first steps into composing music. 🙂

I know that you also compose a lot of bespoke music, in other words, compose music especially for unique / individual projects, such as short films, TV commercials and video games. Can you name some of the most interesting projects you have worked on; where we may hear your music?

I’m probably most recognizable thanks to my work on the soundtrack of “The Witcher” and “The Witcher 2” games. If you’d like to, please have a look at the latest trailer, which includes my compositions as well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwUAv-SSZqw. I would also like to recommend a very emotional short animated feature, called “The Kinematograph”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwYToSP8V8o. It made me very proud to be able to participate in the development of a film devoted to international promotion of Poland and its culture. I was honored with a chance to compose a track for an 8-minute animated clip depicting the history of Poland: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr6Q0BpmyG0. I am also the author of music used in a clip that was made to promote the beginning of Polish presidency in the European Parliament: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YYHekN7qco&feature=fvsr.

 

If anybody reading this would be interested in hiring your services to compose and produce new music especially for them, would you be interested in taking such jobs?

Most certainly. If you’re reading this interview, and you believe that my work fits your requirements, do not hesitate to contact me via Shockwave-Sound.com

 We thank Adam for his time and his insights.. but most of all for his great music!(c)2012 Shockwave-Sound.com. All rights reserved.

Artist feature: Pawel Blaszczak

Artist feature: Pawel Blaszczak

Pawel Blaszczak is a composer who has been working with Shockwave-Sound.com and our internal music publishing company Lynne Publishing, for a good few years now. He has been responsible for producing some of the best selling tracks at Shockwave-Sound.com, including the track “Day After Day” which until recently held the position of the most often licensed track here in our music library. We decided to catch up with Pawel in his home city of Wroclaw, Poland, for an interview about composing music for a stock music library and about sound and music in general.

Click here to listen to some of Pawel’s music while you are reading this interview:

Pawel, can you tell me a little bit about your background story as a composer and producer?

I started composing back when I was 15. I was really impressed by a good friend of mine who could play the piano. I genuinely liked it so I decided to give it a go too. My first compositions were done on a piano and Commodore 64. I’m basically a self-taught though I did take private lessons in composition. Later on I bought my first synthesizer and composed on Commodore Amiga. One of my concerts was held at the students festival in the old square in Poznan. In 1998 I received my first order to compose music for a video game developed by Techland, “Crime Cities”. I’ve been bound with the company ever since and I work at Techland not only as a composer but also the Audio Director. I’ve worked on almost all games developed by Techland with “Chrome”, “Xpand Rally”, Call of Juarez”, “Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood”, but also children game series “Pet Racer” and “Pet Soccer” among others. I’ve often been cooperating with Adam Skorupa with whom I worked „The Witcher” video game and various other projects. Since 2005 I’ve been bound with Shockwave-Sound.com. I’m currently working on a horror game “Dead Island”.

I’ve heard before that you played different instruments including guitar, but I’ve noticed in your latest tracks that you seem to concentrate a lot on the sound of the piano. Can you tell us a bit about which instruments you prefer, and how you feel that the different instruments work in different types of music?

The piano is my primary instrument. I love that sound and the possibilities it gives me. Currently I compose most of my tracks on the piano and it is my first choice. I used to compose a lot of music for synthesizers as well as electric-orchestral music. In the nineties I really enjoyed the sound of Limp Bizkit and Rammstein so I started to learn how to play the guitar. I’m doing best with the riffs on my 7-string Ibanez with the Mesa Boogie amplifier. Guitar, however, is my second favorite instrument.

I know that you have worked as a composer for several video games. In what way would you say that composing for a stock music library is different from composing music for a project like a video game?

Video games require composing the music in a certain specified style. For Call of Juarez, for instance, most of the compositions were guitar-based or orchestral in the styles of Ennio Morricone or Country, Blues or classical orchestra. For stock music I choose a specific overall style that suits me so, for example, light ambient and compose the entire track in this line. Or simply sit down on a given day and compose a track I’m in the mood for usually it’s in one of the styles of stock music. Such approach allows for a lot of freedom to compose a track that feels right for the inspiration and mood one has on that particular day. So if I’m in a good mood I will compose a light and pleasant track, if my mood is slightly off I’m inclined to compose a more dramatic and dark track. This is, of course, more in respect of the draft of a track. Afterwards the production process begins and that draft is polished to create a full-fledged work suitable for publication at shockwave-sound.com.

What is the latest piece of music production equipment, or instrument, that you bought yourself? And what is next on your wish-list?

One of my latest purchases is the sounds library, Audio Bro LASS Strings. Excellent sounding solo violin in the ensemble. Also, Evolve Mutations 2, an outstanding library of electronic sounds. My wish-list currently includes the tremendously interesting Korg SV1. At the moment I have Roland RD700SX for the main piano sound. However, I would like to add more variety to the piano sounds and Korg is significantly different from Roland in this respect. Moreover Korg has fantastically sounding electric pianos. It is very likely that I will also purchase the orchestra library, Symphobia 2, next year.

Which two of your tracks are the best-selling ones here at Shockwave-Sound.com and do you have a theory on why those tracks sell more than others?

Day After Day and Running for Freedom. Truth be told, I have no idea why these two are the best-selling tracks. They definitely count among my favorite ones. When composing tracks I always try to make them as good and original as possible. But it’s the listeners who make the final decision. I’m always glad when I create music that I enjoy myself. I always try to give the best effort and don’t cut corners in this respect. Often before the final track is composed there are several earlier versions of it. On some occasions I discarded track arrangements because I believed I could do a better job. I don’t consider stock music to be some kind of additional less valuable music. I would gladly see many of my tracks included in my album that may see the day of light sometime in the future. I keep pushing my own limits.

Do you sometimes play live concerts, with a band or by yourself? Have you done so in the past?

For quite a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of live concerts. I’m constantly short on time to do that. I used to play concerts and I love it. Maybe I will finally manage to make that happen. Recently I’ve been trying to discipline myself to arrange for it. I have a simple ensemble in mind: a piano, solo violin and cello. Maybe a female vocalist, single synthesizer and small drum set. As soon as I’ve managed to organize it, I’m convinced that the first concerts would be held in Wroclaw where I currently live.

Which piece of work / project have you done, that you are most proud of? What is “your finest work” in your opinion?

I’m proud of most of my music currently posted at Shockwave-Sound.Com. There’s a lot of my personal style in them, especially in the lighter tracks, such as Day After Day, Waiting for Tomorrow and Dance with the Wind. The music from other projects I consider successful include the soundtrack for the “Call of Juarez” series and the music I co-composed with Adam Skorupa for The Witcher. I also think highly of the score for “The Kinematograph” directed by Tomasz Baginski and “The Ark” directed by Grzegorz Jonkajtys.

What music / composers / artists / bands do you like to listen to when you’re not working?

I generally like to listen to good music regardless of the style or composer. It would make a long list but I mostly focus on the tracks that I enjoy rather than composers, performers or entire albums. I like Harry Gregson-Williams for the first part of Narnia and Michal Lorenc for the “Bandyta”. I like the Kronos Quartet for the score for “Heat” and Lisa Gerrard. I love BT for the “Monster” OST (Editor’s note; OST = Original Sound Track).

 

What advice would you give to somebody who is a home / amateur composer and would like to take the step up, to have their music sold as royalty-free music and make a living on it?

First of all not to treat this type of music as the kind one doesn’t have to try or make their best effort. This music has its listeners and they choose it according to their preferences. They will mostly select what they like and has music artistic value. Therefore there’s no space here to make compromises. It needs to be a very well composed music.

And with that we thank Pawel for his time, and thank him for being such a great contributor to our music library. If you’re interested in hearing more of Pawel’s music, then this link will bring up a list of all his tracks, of course all available to license and download as royalty free music.