The Watchmaker's Daughter

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Amidst the thicket of cogs and ticks, delicate hands work jewelers tweezers with a reluctant precision. Born into this trade, the watchmaker's daughter winds her days around twitching autonoma, toiling to keep time passing. While ever vigilant of her duties in the shop, her mind lives an artistic life in lands abroad. Mechanized monstrosities of her creation paint portraits, equally masterful and absurd. From humble beginnings hocking her wares on the streets of Paris, she gradually gains the attention of great galleries far and wide. Among those to exhibit her work is an eccentric yet dashing young man of ecclectic and strange tastes. His awkward yet endearing attempts to court her with tales of exotic lands and adventurous expeditions prove successful and they enter into a rock-skipping, wine-drinking, bike-riding relationship. Several decades later she unveils her life's greatest achievement - an army of automatons which wash away the drab hues of the towns and villages with a whirling dervish of quirky colors and shapes. Now old and tired with an equally time-worn lover by her side, she wistfully sighs hoping to find a way to freeze this moment so she can have it forever. The clock strikes one, and the watchmaker's daughter wakes from her slumber. Another completed clock is in front of her while an unfinished mechanical man is slumped in the corner. The vibrant hues of her imagination dim as she begins work on yet another watch.

For more info on this track or to download loopable/editable files, please visit: http://sleepfacingwest.com/sleepfacingwest/2015/8/12/gl018-the-watchmakers-daughter

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I love the blissful mood and the pizzicato-y synths. It progresses really slowly, though. You also could've filled in some more texture during the first minute or so by using a bit more reverb. I admire your sense of harmony, although in my experience the method of just gradually thickening the texture by adding new instruments often falls flat, and this piece is no exception. That said, when you start taking your harmonies in a new direction at 2:15 it makes the piece sound much more interesting IMO. There is quite a fair bit of repetition in this piece, though, and I didn't think it needed to be nearly this long. I will say that I liked the piano solos that pop in at around 3:50, and the sound design for this piece is rather enjoyable. I liked the idea of ending with that tempo automation, yet I also think you needed a final crash or something just to make it feel as conclusive as possible. I do think that the main theme (0:00) sounds sort of topically mechanical considering the subject of the piece seems to be a watchmaker's daughter. :'D I can picture this song in one of those dress-up flashgames, or otherwise in one of those games where you essentially make virtual pizza. XD Okay, haha. I'm done with the weird ass ideas for videogames now. Keep up the good work, SleepFacingWest. ;D

sleepFacingWest responds:

Thanks for the critique! A lot of the music I'm writing these days under the SleepFacingWest moniker is with the intent of being useful in video games and animation. My friend Kevin (of incompetech.com) criticized some tracks I wrote for him recently saying they were too active and dramatic to be used as underscoring. He maintained that if someone dropped one of my tracks in a video of a dog being funny, and all of the sudden there's a shift in the music but the dog is still being funny, the music will kill the video (and thus be useless). Since then I've been trying to figure out how to keep music moving forward without making use of dramatic shifts, melody changes, or heavy orchestrational tricks like I normally would. One of the solutions I tried with this piece was doubling of extant instruments so the music would change slightly in texture, but not so much that it would steal attention from possible on screen action. That said, as you pointed out, this might not be enough in and of itself. I still need to experiment more to find a balance between music that can stand on it's own but also be useful as scoring material.

The track is loosely programmatic meaning that events in the music correlate specifically to the story written above. A lot of flourishes indicate scene changes where she falls asleep, or suddenly moves from a starving artist in the streets to a famous painter in galleries. The angular piano solo is her eccentric/exotic suitor trying to awkwardly (much to her amusement) woo her. As such, some of the repetitive quality of the music is intentional as it mirrors the mechanical themes of the story (see the piece "Gretchen am Spinnrade" which uses a whirling motive to parallel a young woman spinning yarn as she fantasizes about love). All intent aside, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I fully believe that music shouldn't require an explanation to be good. I'll try something else next time.

I agree with all of your critiques with the exception of the conclusive end. The story ends with her waking up at the clock strike (the orchestral chime) and realizing that it was all just a dream. There's an indication that she has been working on the machine that will create paintings for her (the unfinished clockwork man slumped in the corner) but hasn't really touched it since she has a job to do. I sort of wanted this piece to end inconclusively as it suggests the story goes on, but whether or not she is actually able to realize her artistic dreams or gets stuck at her day job remains to be seen.

As always, thank you for the thoughtful comments. This is very helpful!

This sounds so primitive, yet so professional. I love it!

sleepFacingWest responds:


Credits & Info

4.71 / 5.00

Aug 12, 2015
7:42 PM EDT
File Info
11.4 MB
5 min 0 sec

Licensing Terms

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