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Jerion
10th Jun 2012, 21:47
Right, so I've been toying with the idea of remaking the Deus Ex soundtrack using a slightly different style and a more modern assortment of instruments & tools. I'm not sure about taking on the entire game soundtrack at this point, but I've finished the Paris Cathedral and DuClare Chateau ambient tracks. For the Cathedral I've included the convo segment, and for DuClare I've done the combat.

To gauge feedback, I've uploaded both of these music tracks to a EP on my Bandcamp, with free download: http://jerion.bandcamp.com/album/deus-ex-music-reimagined

Depending on reception and sheer stubborn-mindedness, I might go ahead with this project. Otherwise I'll leave it be and move on. :)

Edit, Update: Two new tracks have been added to that assortment.

First up: Mind The (Synaptic) Gap (http://jerion.bandcamp.com/track/mind-the-synaptic-gap)

Second: Tracing Shadows (http://jerion.bandcamp.com/track/tracing-shadows-2)

natech
10th Jun 2012, 23:39
These are amazing! Entrant DuClare is so good. I'll be listening to this multiple times. Do more!

Spyhopping
10th Jun 2012, 23:57
Fantastic fresh take on the melodys. Wouldn't say no to a NYC streets one if you decide to return to the soundtrack. :thumb:

Sotsiak91
11th Jun 2012, 07:37
Nice work Jerion, it gave me a chill :o I'm looking into your other works too.

Zerim
11th Jun 2012, 07:47
Fantastic fresh take on the melodys. Wouldn't say no to a NYC streets one if you decide to return to the soundtrack. :thumb:
THIS!
Versalife might be interesting as well...

Ilves
11th Jun 2012, 09:43
Your choice of instruments and overall sophistication really has taken a leap in these latest pieces. :thumb:

And what Spy said; would love to hear your take on the NYC streets theme!


Or how about the melancholy Airfield?

Jerion
11th Jun 2012, 16:57
I'm glad you guys and girls like them. I'll mess around with NYC Streets, maybe one of the others. Out of curiosity, would anyone say they're interested in this becoming or finding it's way into a mod (such as Revision)?

natech
11th Jun 2012, 17:22
I would love to hear Versalife!

JCpies
11th Jun 2012, 18:48
I'm glad you guys and girls like them. I'll mess around with NYC Streets, maybe one of the others. Out of curiosity, would anyone say they're interested in this becoming or finding it's way into a mod (such as Revision)?

I'd like to see it, plus it might give the creator of the mod more enthusiasm if someone else is behind the music. Have you asked them?

Jerion
11th Jun 2012, 18:51
I'd like to see it, plus it might give the creator of the mod more enthusiasm if someone else is behind the music. Have you asked them?

I haven't approached them, no. As I said, it basically depends on reception (so far positive).

ColBashar
15th Jun 2012, 03:20
In addition to the two pieces you're showcasing here I decided to listen to the whole of your portfolio, Jerion. I really appreciate what you're doing and thing you deserve a more in-depth response than "you're awesome" or "you suck". If I sound harsh, it's only because I'm wearing my critic's hat. Just so you know, if I didn't like what you're doing then I wouldn't be writing to you now.

I was trying to think of a way to describe your work and the words that most encapsulated my reflections on your music are a cacophony of musical riffs. It's like an electronic jazz with a drummer's temperament. It's part Myst, part SimCity 3000, part Stewart Copeland. If that's what you're going for then that's awesome. Stating my bias as a listener, though, I prefer music that subordinates melody to the harmony. Your music seems instead to put an emphasis on the latter quality while allowing the former to flutter in and out of the musical narrative like... ummm, like C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. I can see what you mean when you describe your work as an "adventure". Each individual piece is its own little journey.

This strikes me as disjointing because I can -hear- the talent in your work. I latch on to a particular melody or arrangement as I listen only for it morph into something different. The music doesn't seem to really go anywhere, it progresses but never actually develops. The performance seems to want to remain distant, as if it is trying to show me something rather than engage me directly on an emotional level. Perhaps I am not receptive to it in the manner for which it was designed, perhaps you and I simply appreciate music on two different wavelengths, but from my perspective your works on a whole seem to lack in direction or purpose.

This criticism diminishes, however, when I speak specifically of the two pieces you arranged for the Deus Ex project. Since the structural core of the music has already been established, you are provided a foundation on which to incorporate your particular brand of composition. It's a good mix. In fact, I almost feel it may be a little conservative in some respects (though that could just be the inherent hazard of adapting tracking to electronica). I'm keen to hear you let loose in integrating the Ion Storm team's work with your artistic vision, to really break down the music and build it back up again into a similar yet unique form, rather than limit yourself to a "slightly different style". I feel like you're in a situation where you should commit to being either "in or out", either you should make a faithful adaptation of the Deus Ex score with modern instrumentation or really take ownership of the music and bring it to new horizons. Either one would be pretty awesome in my book.

Thank you for sharing your compositions with us. I hope that you'll continue the project. Auteur Theory and Sivak Drak are residents of my digital library and I look forward to including your works among their own. There was something special about the pre-digital age of game music and you're helping to keep that tradition alive. Oh, and for my part, I vote for Battery Park, which I think is one of the most overlooked pieces in the score. I know because I'm one of the people who would overlook it. <g>

Jerion
15th Jun 2012, 05:21
In addition to the two pieces you're showcasing here I decided to listen to the whole of your portfolio, Jerion. I really appreciate what you're doing and thing you deserve a more in-depth response than "you're awesome" or "you suck". If I sound harsh, it's only because I'm wearing my critic's hat. Just so you know, if I didn't like what you're doing then I wouldn't be writing to you now.

I was trying to think of a way to describe your work and the words that most encapsulated my reflections on your music are a cacophony of musical riffs. It's like an electronic jazz with a drummer's temperament. It's part Myst, part SimCity 3000, part Stewart Copeland. If that's what you're going for then that's awesome. Stating my bias as a listener, though, I prefer music that subordinates melody to the harmony. Your music seems instead to put an emphasis on the latter quality while allowing the former to flutter in and out of the musical narrative like... ummm, like C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. I can see what you mean when you describe your work as an "adventure". Each individual piece is its own little journey.

This strikes me as disjointing because I can -hear- the talent in your work. I latch on to a particular melody or arrangement as I listen only for it morph into something different. The music doesn't seem to really go anywhere, it progresses but never actually develops. The performance seems to want to remain distant, as if it is trying to show me something rather than engage me directly on an emotional level. Perhaps I am not receptive to it in the manner for which it was designed, perhaps you and I simply appreciate music on two different wavelengths, but from my perspective your works on a whole seem to lack in direction or purpose.

This criticism diminishes, however, when I speak specifically of the two pieces you arranged for the Deus Ex project. Since the structural core of the music has already been established, you are provided a foundation on which to incorporate your particular brand of composition. It's a good mix. In fact, I almost feel it may be a little conservative in some respects (though that could just be the inherent hazard of adapting tracking to electronica). I'm keen to hear you let loose in integrating the Ion Storm team's work with your artistic vision, to really break down the music and build it back up again into a similar yet unique form, rather than limit yourself to a "slightly different style". I feel like you're in a situation where you should commit to being either "in or out", either you should make a faithful adaptation of the Deus Ex score with modern instrumentation or really take ownership of the music and bring it to new horizons. Either one would be pretty awesome in my book.

Thank you for sharing your compositions with us. I hope that you'll continue the project. Auteur Theory and Sivak Drak are residents of my digital library and I look forward to including your works among their own. There was something special about the pre-digital age of game music and you're helping to keep that tradition alive. Oh, and for my part, I vote for Battery Park, which I think is one of the most overlooked pieces in the score. I know because I'm one of the people who would overlook it. <g>

Thanks for the reply. :)

When I started composing in the electronica style about three years ago, I started writing material that more comfortably fit into the "ambient" genre. I've never really aimed for Ambient though, but rather 'Atmospheric'. In the last year or so, I've been gradually shifting towards a more traditional, melody-driven approach to composition. In that respect, I suppose that it is apt to say that it is trying to show you something rather than directly...connect. Take the single, "Luminara". It is conceptually a soundtrack to this image:



Sometimes I write music with such images in mind. "Running The Edge" (the original 2011 version at least- the 2012 version a little bit less so) is essentially the soundtrack for a trailer for Mirror's Edge 2 (a trailer which exists nowhere other than my head- and hopefully the heads of those people who listen to it with as much in mind). This often is not the case though.

When building atmosphere I find harmony to be the key element, while melody provides interest, movement, and character. Walking the line between atmospheric music and melodic music has proven to be a surprisingly difficult fight. Two of the best examples of where I feel I've come closest to pulling it off are Machinaya (from the Caustic Dreams album) and Neraleyan II (from the Halcyon's Reach album). Even with those though the melody is somewhat divided into segments.

It's interesting to me that you would describe it as "electronic jazz with a drummer's temperament." I've performed in jazz ensembles on both drums/perc and piano; I'm split with a half classical, half jazz background for piano, and I suspect that comes across. Point of irony -- writing percussion layers is one of the hardest things for me to do. Part of the reason that I usually keep the melody shifting is that I frankly get kind of bored with music where the melody repeats with little to no variation (Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" is one of the worst offenders I have heard in that regard, seriously, I've come to hate that song)- and as I compose, produce, mix and master my own material (and I steadfastly refuse to compete in the loudness war where the latter two steps are concerned), I do a lot of listening to it along the way. Remind me never to write a sentence that long again.

Coming to Direction and Purpose. If defined as a process of taking a melodic identity and evolving it over the entire course of say, a three minute piece of music, then I suppose that yeah, my material thus far largely lacks that. It would be interesting to write a piece of electronic-based music where that happens. You've given me an idea here, I'll probably end up doing something along those lines either in another single or the next album. Whichever happens first. We'll see how it goes.

As far as the "in or out" thing goes, well, that's a decision I haven't made yet. I came at this project with the notion that it could evolve into a proper mod, and should thus remain recognizably true to the source tracker music, such that it could fit right into one of the game's levels with minor alterations. Due to some of the...peculiarities of Alexander Brandon's original composition, it's substantially easier to simply extract the memorable, melodic elements of the music and reconstruct the rest myself. Accurately reconstructing a fully pseudo-symphonic composition by ear alone is a damn difficult task (for me). Things are probably going to go in a "Taking the original and running off with it into the sunset while cackling with an insane gleam in the eye" direction for that reason if nothing else. That you know of the difficulties involved in transitioning tracker music to modern DAW sequencing tells me that you have an idea what I'm talking about here. :)

I'll post up another track when it's done. I'm cooling on NYC Streets at the moment, but Battery Park or Versalife could be interesting. Tracks that give off a "corporation" vibe are always neat.

ColBashar
15th Jun 2012, 15:34
I think I understand where you're coming from. It's the same for me when I write. I get a lot of people who tell me that I'm a good writer and while I'm not going to argue with that assessment, I find it surprisingly difficult to translate that talent into crafting a story. There's a gap between writing and storytelling just as there's a gap between writing music and crafting a suite.

With regard to what I was saying about breaking down the Deus Ex music and rebuilding it, it doesn't have to be a drastic change. I get what you're saying about wanting to remain true to the source material and I agree with you wholeheartedly on that point. The problem, and I use the term "problem" loosely because it's not my place to judge the merits of your artistic creation, of the two DX inspired pieces is that they're like salad dressing. You have oil and you have vinegar. Put together these ingredients taste very good but they absolutely refuse to mix unless you continually shake them up. I can still listen to your pieces and discern where Alexander Brandon lets up and where John French steps in, I can still distinguish the oil from the vinegar. That means either shaking things up more or changing materials.

Here's an example of a more integrated "re-imagining" of the Deus Ex theme, one of my favourites as a matter of fact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H15pVVeEqs As you can see, the structure of the song remains faithful, if not identical, to the original but the change in instrumentation establishes an entirely different sound. Now, I'm not suggesting that you should copy that person's work, but if you're having trouble with the melodies then perhaps you should leave that part of it to Brandon and focus on your strengths, re-establishing the harmony to make an old tune fresh.

This is pretty much the same advice I give to modders. Instead of starting from scratch, start with tweaking existing material. As you get deeper into the project you'll get a feel for what the people before you were trying to accomplish and you'll have gradually built up the expertise to make more significant changes until you've built up the skills to start from scratch. Don't try to reinvent the wheel until after you've made a few copies first.

As for the peculiarities of Brandon's work, I'll have to take your word for it. I'm just a layman when it comes to music and I have no experience with composition. Sivak Drac did a good job distilling several pieces of the Deus Ex score to an arrangement for solo piano. If you're "composing by ear" so to speak, you might want to consider working off of that rather than the original tracks. Since Drac has done the work of abstracting the work for you already, you would be building off of a basic melody that's austere enough to serve as a blank canvas on which you can imbue your own vision.

At the same time I don't want to dissuade you from the idea of transcribing an adaptation of the Deus Ex music for modern synthesisers. Before when I was talking about oil and vinegar, even in the distinctly Brandon parts I could still identify and appreciate your influence. There are certain nuances that can not be strictly transcribed from tracks. I believe there's merit in such an effort, it would in some ways be the score that Invisible War -should- have had. I just don't know how fulfilled artistically you would feel in subordinating your effort to Brandon et al's.

When I get a chance I'll listen to Luminara (I thought you'd written it for the Jedi <g>) with that picture in mind and and see how it strikes me. Maybe I'll check out Mirror's Edge, too. I saw you mention it on another thread recently so it's probably worth a gander. Oh, and don't forget to add Lebedev's Airfield to the list of possibilities. Ilves mentioned it but you may have missed it. That's another favourite of mine because it's one of the few tracks in the game that almost seems upbeat.

Ilves
15th Jun 2012, 17:24
melancholy


upbeat

Yah. :D

ColBashar
15th Jun 2012, 19:12
lol Well, I -did- say "almost upbeat". <g> It just seemed lighter to me than most of the score. Of all the tracks Lebedev's Airfield seems to have the most in common with Michiel van den Bos' work on Age of Wonders the year prior. AoW was a much, much brighter, more cheerful game even if it did follow the age old fantasy plot of having to defeat the Big Bad and save the world.

Jerion
21st Jun 2012, 04:32
I'm trying out Versalife; I've got a few neat ideas here. We'll see how it goes. In any case, between this project (which is sort of done approximately whenever I feel like it) and the next album, I've got my music for the next month or two (or three?) cut out for me. :)

Berr
26th Jun 2012, 05:00
I like the two you have released so far a lot - downloaded and added to my DX music collection! I look forward to any more you make as well :)

Jerion
8th Sep 2012, 21:01
Bump, for a quick update: I'm revisiting this project and looking at a couple tracks to tackle. Return to NYC/Mission 8 looks promising-ish so far.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
3rd Oct 2012, 02:13
Amazing stuff Jerion.

I would imagine most mappers would want to use these at some point.
Someone had in fact just given the Cathedral map a long overdue update, so this would be perfect for that.

In terms of usage, I would think the ambient and dance tracks/sections would get the most use.

Jerion
3rd Oct 2012, 04:37
Interesting tidbit, that.

When the music project is finished, it'll certainly be possible to offer the tracks to the mod community in segment form under a no-commercial-use CC license. It's going to be sometime early next year when the whole thing is done though.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
3rd Oct 2012, 13:18
I really admire that you just got up and did this, it will certainly motivate other people and probably inspire others to do something.

[3]Ste
6th Oct 2012, 10:26
I totally agree Shadow, I think the skill the community as a whole has within DX1 is fantastic and its things like this that push the evolution of the standard. The standard of the DX:HR stuff you guys created was just crazy. I was super sorry to not be able to finish my part in that project due to life stuff.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
6th Oct 2012, 10:30
Nothing to be sorry about, we're just finishing part 1, there's Hengsha 2 and Detroit and plenty of opportunities in future and you're giving a lot of support and level design already where it's needed.

iquercus
7th Oct 2012, 17:58
Liking what I hear Jerion!

Berr
13th Oct 2012, 05:30
Jerion: I just swung by the forums again today, and was pleased to see you're having another go at more DX1 music! I still like your first two tracks, and I'm looking forward to more from you!

Shadowrunner: What are you working on, it sounds interesting? Link?

Jerion
13th Oct 2012, 19:40
I've actually got a couple things to talk about, where music is concerned.

1) This "Music Reimagined" Project has been rolled into the Deus Ex: Revision modification, which is presently due out in 2013. Revision will deliver redesigned, more expansive, and more intricate levels for Deus Ex, compatibility with Shifter, and include an optional revamped OST by yours truly.

Reven
13th Oct 2012, 20:05
Not bad Jerion, But have you got it in Dubstep ?.

Jerion
14th Oct 2012, 01:03
...But have you got it in Dubstep ?.

Get out of my thread. :p


You can come back if you leave that at the door.

_sodie_
19th Oct 2012, 04:26
I haven't posted in months and never posted much anyway, but this gets a big +1 from me - Hong Kong, dude... you know you have to try that one ;)

Jerion
31st May 2013, 05:20
Bump: Hong Kong. Whether or not the OST gets finished in time for the full Revision release is up in the air- it's a big project and I'm doing it in spare time- but I've got a couple pieces from it to share with you all. Hopefully, if the stars align, the whole package will be ready later this year.

First up: Mind The (Synaptic) Gap (http://jerion.bandcamp.com/track/mind-the-synaptic-gap)

Second: Tracing Shadows (http://jerion.bandcamp.com/track/tracing-shadows-2)

Aaaah! I've been visible for too long! To the Batcave!

Ilves
31st May 2013, 20:09
I always imagine Synapse in particular is a ***** to "reimagine", the melodic lines being so strict and all. The result here is formidable in that sense; I love how you just let it all flow free after setting up that koto riff in the first few secs. Also love the subtle percussion.


Really, really looking forward to the actual release, and seeing how the whole thing comes together. :thumb:

I wonder though- do you actually play your melodies and chords on a keyboard, or do you sequence them note by note?

Jerion
31st May 2013, 21:11
Yes, that would be exactly the term I would use to describe tackling Synapse. It's not the most difficult I've encountered though, that honor goes to Versalife. I sometimes do things on my keyboard (or the actual piano itself, for what amounts to prototyping), but in most instances on this project at least, I'm having to set things out note by note to make the melody and harmonies line up properly.

JCpies
1st Jun 2013, 10:45
Not bad Jerion, But have you got it in Dubstep ?.

Ahahaha

Someone make a grimey Synapse dubstep remix.