The Midnight Glades

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Category: Stage (Level) Music:
Inspiration: Artwork of different planets and space, especially those of @Kamikaye and @keaglez

This is my first entry for the NIM contest, and will be the most ambient one. Ambiance and atmospheric textures are some of the aspects I enjoy most to work with in music, no surprise some of my favorite game scores are from Limbo and Journey. The idea for this piece is for there to be no clear rhythmic or harmonic progression, the music rather develops in a way an explorer will ease his way through a new landscape.

About the stage: The Midnight Glades
You have just landed on a newly discovered planet. This planet is covered with skyhigh oak trees colored azure, marine vines floating in the air, and hovering islands with indigo waterfalls evaporating before it hits the ground. With astonishing flora in countless shades of blue, green and red, you have to make your way through this unknown landscape. It is extremely exiting to explore and discover all the never before seen beauty of this planet. But it is also a bit scary not knowing what might lay ahead, what creatures may lurk on the path that you must take. The observations you have written so far in your log include:
- Walking under a flying swarm of emerald jellyfish
- Several times you have spotted in the distance what appears to be a species of moon bear, colored crimson and marine.
- A troop of violet mushrooms, each the size of a large car, you swore you could see them move along the ground.
- A large group of shining eyes were spying you through the darkness, after approaching this turned out to be a few burgundy three-headed lemurs.

For this piece I used only objects I had at my disposal while sitting at my gaming desk. Along with my own voice, these objects included a glass of water and a harmonica. I recorded myself humming, whistling, singing falsetto etc. and sampled these to a synthesizer so that I could create harmonies with them, and manipulating them with reverb and delay. The harmonies derive from the pitch at which I played the glass of water (by wetting the edges, and circling my finger around the glass to produce noise), changing the tonic note by simply removing water from the glass.

Hope you enjoy this piece, please leave a comment with your thoughts :)

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something terrible...

I love this!

I also love that my art inspired you to make something so atmospheric and dark. If my art was animated or in a game I'd definitely love for this to be playing while exploring. Great job

erlendflatin responds:

Thank you :)

Wow...very atmospheric. I agree with Dj below for the some part, but this is quite relaxing yet haunting at the same time. It would be good to have more of a tune, but this is still interesting, especially your process of making it as said in description. I'd love to see more work from you. The notes you have are beautiful but perhaps held out too long. Good job though still.

erlendflatin responds:

I suppose the long notes are just a preference of my own ;) Maybe the solution would be to lower the volume on some of the notes, because they work more as drones, and might be more effective in the background. There is the repeating B to Bb, although not a tune, sort of an extremely minimalistic leitmotiv. But more of a tune could add something exiting to this piece as well.
I'm aiming to get two more pieces for the competition, another stage (level) piece and a boss battle, they will differ in that they are not so focused on simply harmony and texture, and add more melody and rhythm as well ;)

You holding notes a bit too long . IF you in game and you hear the same sound for like 30 seconds it will get irritating .

Make sure you utilize silence a bit . With ambient music sometimes you want to have pause instead of just holding noise entire time .

Also even though you don't need melody in ambient music you need to strive for something that people who didn't make your song can pick up on . If pads are too long it may be difficult to tell what theme of music is .

Good examples of ambient music can be found in SIlent HIll and Dino Crysis. Even ambient music has some kind of rhythm so you don't want to just hold pads all the time .

erlendflatin responds:

I appreciate your input, you make some good points ;)

But I would argue that it depends on the game, and certainly the listener, I myself would find music like this very immersive depending on the game. Some notes are held for very long, but it never takes long before something new is introduced along with it. This means that the held notes are used for harmony, sometimes creating dissonance that resolves by fading away rather than a abrupt stop, and you will never here the exact same thing for 30 seconds.

I think silence in this piece would disrupt the flow of the texture, it would have to be very subtle, and well managed.

Melody and rhythm are tools a composer can use to express something, along with timbre and harmony. Avoiding clear melody and rhythm, and focusing on enhancing harmony and timbre is a conscious choice to try and express the uncertainty and exploration of a new landscape. I am trying to evoke an atmospheric landscape through the music, replicating the indeterminacy found in nature, especially birdsong.

We seem to have very different tastes in music, but you are entitled your opinion, and I respect that. There is no one way to compose ambient music, this is just my way ;)

Credits & Info

4.67 / 5.00

Jun 3, 2015
10:02 AM EDT
File Info
6.1 MB
5 min 21 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.