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    • superjim

      Sounds Good! (With SuperJim) Look Good; Sound Good

      2 years ago

      It is time for the origin episode Ladies and Gents of the internet. Today I want to take a brake from running out of money to buy soundtracks and review them here and just talk about my performance philosophy. The thing that drove me to quite a few unique events in my musical career as well as quite a few outside. This may end up being shorter or longer than other Sounds Good! stuff or it may be longer, it depends on how long winded I am feeling.

      The philosophy "Look Good. Sound Good" originated to me, as an extension of some one on one time I had with my soon to be private lessons instructor sometime before 2010. During the lesson he mentioned that I should play in front of a mirror to make sure I can see my own technique when I played. This was to resolve the fact that I did not have very good mechanics, but still somehow managed to not suck. He mentioned a story of a blind snare drum instructor that could tell whether or not someone was playing with decent technique by the sound of the impact. I ended up taking the moral of the mirror and the story to heart: proper technique looks good and creates a better sound.

      Soon after however, I took it to its logical extreme and extended the notion to be applicable backwards. Inspired by the Blue Man Group years prior I already understood that looking like something was awesome was going to make it seem like it actually was, regardless of quality. I was already marked as someone who was "Over Enthusiastic" when it came to performing, with conversations on the topic involved "Be more like Jimmy" and "Jimmy be more like them". I think it is the single greatest thing separating The Piano Guys and other great musical Youtubers. They sell the crap out of whatever they are playing and it makes it significantly easier to be immersed.

      The two halves certainly ended up equaling something more than one whole when I returned a year later with the final, simple philosophy to performing: "Look Good. Sound Good." was redelivered to the professor that inspired it all. When I told him it was perhaps the only time I ever caught him off guard with musical insight and he continued to mention it in lessons, particularly when I failed to achieve one half or the other. During my final semester as a music major I was assigned a shit piece of music that was too hard, poorly written and all of its dynamics "implied" (in other words: missing) I eventually went to him and asked why I was assigned the piece and he responded with something along the lines of "Because it is a terrible piece and the only reason we are doing it is so we do not offend the composer and you are the only person I know that can make the audience not care about the quality". And then I did just that. After the performance a few of the students told me "You were awesome, the piece was rubbish, but you were great"

      Hence the verification of the approach: "Look Good. Sound Good". Looking Good means that you are playing with proper technique and expressing the sounds and colors through your body and to the audience. Sounding Good means going beyond hitting all the right note, but also making them sing among each other with soul and love. Now when I listen to Soundtracks I cannot watch the orchestra play while I play a game or watch a movie. Hence the title being simply "Sounds Good" however, when I write I think about whether or not the music, regardless of whether or not I like it personally, fits in with the media it was made to reinforce.

      I hope you guys enjoyed this little insight... Next one will happen when I have money.

    • superjim

      Sounds Good! (With SuperJim) The Hobbit

      2 years ago

      I see what you did there Howard Shore. You took your Wagner (pronounced Vaud-Ner) inspired soundtrack from The Lord of the Rings movies and just used most of it to write the new Hobbit movie. The counter argument to this opinion is that most of the soundtrack uses the themes from the original themes as a motif and launching point for the parts of the movie that aren't strictly speaking filling the otherwise empty audio. That being said, the new iterations of old themes would be decidedly unique if someone was not incredibly intimate with the soundtrack.

      Since a large portion of what I could be mentioning will be included in a full review of the Lord of the Rings movies (yet to be written) I think it would better suit our time together to look at the stuff that is new to the franchise. However, before we do that I would like to point out something that his been becoming a fad in movie soundtracks that poses to bring good things to the video game world.

      You see, in the past few years, movie composers have all decided that the best plan is to write one theme and put it in every single track that the movie needs. If it is laughably inappropriate to use the first theme, then a second theme will be introduced. I remember the last two Harry Potter movies doing this as well. This is not by any means a bad thing if done right. What this means is that movies will feel more cohesive due to a recurring theme that can instill memories of former scenes. What this means for video games is much more of the same and this can lead to a much more cohesive narrative even in non-linear or even sandbox style games.

      As for the new reoccurring themes introduced. There are three, but I don't think we will see one of them due to the fact we should never see the character it is heavily tied to (Radagast The Brown [This isn't a spoiler]). As for the other two, one is a nice string pizzicato section that indicates exploration and i enjoyed quite a bit. The other you are aware of if you have seen any advertising ever.

      The Lonely Mountain theme is excellent and makes me smile quite a bit, even though the song is supposed to be making me tear up. Expect a lot of written arrangements, (maybe one from me, but no promises). The reasons will involve the theme being easy to work with and the version at the end nearly killed me (literally, long story) in the theater because there are electronic sounds. This is fantasy, not sci-fi, what's more it isn't just Fantasy it is THE fantasy that everyone is familiar with. Niel Finn, I am very upset with you.

      Bottom line is by the Hobbit soundtrack if you like Wagner style music, but prefer it to be better balanced and by a composer that isn't mad with power.

    • superjim

      *cough*

      2 years ago

      this weeks Sounds good! (with SuperJim) has been delayed 2 fold. the planned Rayman: Origins has been killed by word and it hurts to much to try and right it again. i am also still gathering examples of neef norf for you all.

      Instead how about a fun fact? flower petals are symbolic of death in japanese culture...so those of you who have seen the rwyb trailer now know one of the reasons that little red riding hood is fighting wear wolves with a gun-scythe that is the size of 2 of her. it is also why marluxia from the kingdom hearts series has command of pink petals and has a lovely pink hairdo to match.

    • superjim

      Sounds good! (With SuperJim) Minecraft and Terraria

      2 years ago

      Ok so my Sounds Good entry involving neef norf and dub step has been put on hold do to the fact that I have not found words the describe my current distaste in the genres and trying to put a positive spin on it. So in the meantime it is time to talk about complimentary music.

      Complimentary music for the purposes of the this journal is music that while itself, is not neccasarily good, but when presented along with a movie or a game enhances the experience.

      A good example is the music from Terraria. For those of you that don't know, Terraria is a minecraft clone taking place with 8 bit graphics and is in 2d. While Terraria is most certainly the weaker of the two in terms of the gameplay, its music is clearly better fit for the game. The 8 bit chip tune style reminiscent of 1980s games fits really well and the style is clearly understood by the composer. Simple catchy melodies with simple chords and beats to fit the simplicity of the art style.

      Minecraft falls on its face with this factor. This isn't saying that C14's music isn't good, it just sounds like it was written for a different game. The style seems to be modern impressionism, but I can't really tell. All of the tracks just seem to throw up on the game at predetermined times. For a game like Minecraft I can't help, but think that minimalism would be the best fit. The two are both about taking pieces and fragments and repeating them until a grander structure is seen. If we are dead set on not using minimalism then the game should have sounds for the different biomes and dimensions along with when the player is under attack or in a cave.

      While as I said before I like the music from both of these, I can't recommend a purchase over 5 or 10 dollars as the amount of music offered is rather shallow. However leap on the opportunity if it presents itself.

      In an attempt to get myself to update this regularly. Next week will feature my thoughts on the Rayman Origins soundtrack unless I manage to write my Neef Norf entry.

    • superjim

      Sounds good! (With SuperJim) Bastion

      2 years ago

      The story thus far: During February I decided that pursuing a musical career was not in my best interest and it was better for me to keep it as a slightly obsessive hobby instead. However, I really do not want to think that three semesters and thirteen competitive seasons have gone for naught. So I feel that the best idea is to pay it forward sharing with anyone who will listen, my opinions on movie and game soundtracks and tips I learned that will help anyone who wants to jump into music or gain a deeper understanding. I will do my best to make sure my facts are accurate and up to date and will state fairly boldly when i speculating. So I feel like the best way to start off this idea is with a BANG.

      Bastion.

      That is right. Bastion. For those of you who are not currently drooling from the mention of the title here is what you are missing out on: One of the best looking games with the best music that is tied very nicely to a powerful narrative presented well with events occuring in response to the actions of the protagonist. The seven person team at Super Giant Games could teach a few triple A developers how it is done.

      Anyways the music. The music is largely string and percussive focused, however besides that it is all over the board. Like the game, the music draws from USA country and blues lifestyles, Babylon and a psuedo-steampunk. Nearly every track features a string instrument in some form or another based upon a very solid beat as stated previously. However, from this central basis odd mutations begin to occur. "Bynn the Breaker" features classical strings with a techno drumset with a middle eastern string that I am unfamiliar with that reinforces the unusual beat present. From there an electric guitar adds another layer. In "Spike in a Rail" features the same, techno drumset with melody being driven by a banjo and harmonica accompanying in both a counter melody and rhythmic reinforcement role. What's more, you could almost see the bass line being played by someone equipped with a washtub, a broom handle and a string. To simplify all this, it combines several different styles and timbre to create something completely new.

      What fascinates me most is the use of middle eastern rhythms. The baladii(spelling subject to interpretation) that shows up nearly everytime a doumbek shows up...that is to say the middle eastern equivalent of the "power ballad" beat. However, it is taken a step further when he takes advantage of the very basics of beat strength and mixes it with a common rock beat to create a familiar, but vastly alien feeling. This I think is the key behind Bastion's unique sound. I can't think of a single game that uses middle eastern rhythms other than when the obligatory sand level shows up. Darren Korb uses this as a tool as opposed to a crutch, it is apparent that he knows what he is doing, whether or not he is aware of it. The clever part of all this is that all of these starkly different sounding piece emphasize the fact that the setting is a shattered fragmented world.

      It also features a few vocal tracks which, to me at least, are the weak point of the soundtrack. However, they are still very good and feature something that I think mainstream music needs to remember. The musical part of these tracks fairly straight forward as are the rhythms. This allows for lyrics with importance and meaning to shine. This becomes apparent when you can hear the diction clearly to make the words easy to understand. Something that is lacking in many mainstream songs...

      Over all I find Bastion the game and the soundtrack well worth your time.

    • superjim

      an almost birthday

      3 years ago

      Ok, so tomorrow is my birthday and before that comes around i want to quickly cover some topics that i wanted to write about, but forgot to... Ready GO!

      Ok so yes, "somebody that i used to know" has a xylophone in it. Yes that interests me. No that does not mean i like it. why? it is incredibly gimmicky and that makes me sad. how do you tell if something is gimmicky? simple: if the item in question is begging for attention to sell the rest, then it is a gimmick. if it fits in smoothly and benefits the rest then it is not.

      They are not musicians, they are performing artists. And while i have distaste in music now a days due to the fact that they are autotuned and feature lyrics about sex, drugs, partying and treating women poorly. i do infact have a lot of respect when it comes to there stage presence. that to me is their redeeming quality.

      I have a tendency to like parodies much more than i like originals. why? because parody requires witty and clever lyrics that are easily heard do to excellent diction. a lot of PERFORMING ARTISTs do not pronounce their lyrics very well and that tells me that i'm not supposed to care about them. for example see everything kanye west has done.

      Why is that my college's bursars office has worst customer service than anywhere else i have ever been? seriously if i had this much trouble with a company i would have a 10% discount off my next purchase and a free copy of whatever my issue was.

      Yes, i'm leaving the idea of professional music behind. Yes, i'm slightly bitter about it. No, that does not mean i'm going to tell little children not to go into music for you as a matter of fact i will still probably incourage it. SO PLEASE STOP ASKING.

      a funny thing happened in the 20th century for classical composers. They all decided that sounding good was optional and explored expressionism which is best simulated by nails on a chalkboard. when they looked around them in the later part they realized they had managed to alienate most of the normal world. Now there seems to be this split of musicians apologizing by writing in romantic and classical styles, ones that want to show the audience that it is good if used right by using it in horror and a group that wants to go down with the ship apparently.

      So my little 6 year old cousin loves minecraft, but his mom won't let him go to the wiki to look up recipes. Guess what happens at 6:30 everyday? i get a phone call asking how to build stuff.


      Ok, so i have a girlfriend now. WOO!!! And she is into videogames and music. i kid ye not.

      Ok, so my GIRLFRIEND told me that not playing a zelda game one of the gamer's deadly sins. so she had me play twilight princess for a bit...thus began the adventures of TIDDLES, master of monkeys, and his faithful steed WINKIE!


      That felt really really good. Maybe i will update more frequently.

      probably not. laters!

    • superjim

      Understanding

      3 years ago

      I almost posted another journal with the same title about the stressful concert and it was nothing short of hateful and spiteful, so i'm going to try again with less detail and rage.

      To be quite honest i did not greet the idea of a local composers concert half way through the year with fully open arms. I did embrace it, but i kind of just said hello and then went on to greet something else. The main initial reason i was cautious was the workload. Sophomores know the ropes and will work until we die, for better or worse. Freshman at this point, including my former self, do not fully understand what determination and dedication is. They are starting to get it now, perhaps earlier than most others do to the commitment in front of them, but they are struggling.

      Now another thing that concerned me was the challenge. Anyone who knows me knows that the easiest way to get me to do something is to tell me i can't do it. i was persuaded that there would not be much of a challenge for me in particular and that it will go over all right. i was given a slightly challenging marimba part and told to learn it. Soon after i discovered that as a sophomore with teaching experience i was to oversee the progress of the piece. Instruction only works when respect happens. We made progress, but i have to admit there were moments where none of us were in good form. In addition to this i was given the i-kid-you-not title of "Filler Bitch" meaning that my ability to learn music rapidly makes me the contingency plan. that made life not fun.

      Now I'm getting worked up...look...i don't like the music we are playing...OK?..it was bound to happen eventually...i have to admit it makes me feel a bit betrayed by music and i understand my professor is doing this as a favor and there are SOME GREAT THINGS TO BE SAID in these pieces, they just have these rough patches...

      This concert looks to go through with percussion ensemble's reputation for excellence intact, but it will do no favors...

    • superjim

      Jim's 10 Commandments...

      3 years ago

      ...to a rehearsal/professional setting.

      1) Thou shalt know thy part and have all equipment ready for the rehearsal.
      2) Thou shalt not be tardy.
      3) Thou shalt refrain from mockery until after the rehearsal has come to a close.
      4) All berating shall be given by the director.
      5) No berating shall be given for more than 5 minutes (with the exception of mutual humor)
      6) Thou shalt not ask for instructions after they were just spoken more than once.
      7) Thou shalt stop when the director stops.
      8) Praise for embracing the opportunity presented is to be given immediately and semi consistently.
      9) Thou shall return equipment where it belongs.
      10) Thou shall leave rehearsal space the way it was before the rehearsal started.

    • superjim

      My sister and music

      4 years ago

      Things i am not allowed to tell or inform my sister about in the modern mainstream music world.
      1) As a music music major i have an idea about how music is made.
      2) i cannot discuss my overall disdain for most modern music.
      3) i cannot question the size of kanye's reproductive implements.
      4) i cannot change lyrics to a more accurate portrayal of my opinion of a modern artist. (Wake up in the morning checking out my titties/i need ear plugs and a beer cause i sing real shitty/my producer always brings a bottle of jack/i use the autotune cause i sing real flat)
      4) i cannot call Ke$ha a talentless skank.
      5) only my mom can do that.
      6) i cannot suggest that any artist is waiting for "the big drop"
      7) she never liked hannah montana or the Jonas brothers and it is obscene that i would suggest this.
      8) i'm not allowed to complement any artist for being clever or innovative, because that instantly means that they are not cool.
      9) i am not allowed to sing pachelbel's canon or the 4 chord song over any song on the radio.
      10) we do agree that this is mainly because i am a terrible singer.

    • superjim

      Shameless self promotion

      4 years ago

      So, kriss, recently interviewed me after a year long hiatus for her aRTistic Users group. you should totally check it out.

  • About Me

    i play a musical instrument called a marimba (for those of you {everyone} who diesn't know what that is imagine a xylophone, make it bigger and lower. also change the bar size so the lower notes are wider than the higher)

    Want me to write music for you? click here!

    to whom who wish to learn more about me:
    i never march to the beat of a different drummer, I'm the different drummer.

    Open AllClose All

  • Comments (114)

    • BuckeyeDon

      BuckeyeDon Crackpottist

      2 years ago

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of25v8otMJQ&featu...

    • superjim

      superjim

      3 years ago

      hehe yes...i''ve done more seasons of marching activities than you have fingers, taugh performed and now majoring in it. pit rules brass drewl...

    • ZetaEtaTheta

      ZetaEtaTheta

      3 years ago

      I am supposed to stop by, say hi, and tell you Buck sent me.

      Hi.

      Oh and I'm supposed to say something about marching band probably. Hrmm. Well, I'll just go with Mellos are the best. When all else fails, go with a universal truth.

    • BuckeyeDon

      BuckeyeDon Crackpottist

      3 years ago

      Must See!

      Even if you have seen it before, it is still worth another look.

      Thanks goes to Dougss for hooking me up with this.

      Post edited 11/09/11 11:49PM

    • BuckeyeDon

      BuckeyeDon Crackpottist

      3 years ago

      Came across this thanks to Wes.

    • Angus314

      Angus314

      3 years ago

      VICTIMIZATION

    • kriss

      kriss Eats Rice

      4 years ago

      Someone elses. It was one of those "if you agree with this, then post" kind of posts, but obviously it was making fun of everyone that did that.

      How ya been?? Haven't seen you around for a while.

    • DocRossim

      DocRossim

      4 years ago

      Argh, sorry to hear you're stressed, I know the feeling. smiley2.gif
      I hope that slow and steady clear up is a little less slow and a little more steady smiley1.gif

    • DocRossim

      DocRossim

      4 years ago

      Well I actually meant life in general but nice to know that too.
      How are you?

    • DocRossim

      DocRossim

      4 years ago

      So how goes the score?