-Indubitably-

Homestuck Music Commentary

Aug 1st, 2018
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  1. Homestuck Vol. 1-4
  2.  
  3. - Showtime (Piano Refrain) - Kevin Regamey
  4.  
  5. To be honest, I've fallen off the MSPA train pretty hard. This has undoubtedly been the busiest year (or two) of my life, and I am only now returning to reacquaint myself with what the heck is up.
  6.  
  7. Malcolm wrote the chiptune version of Showtime first. I heard it, dug it, and created a piano arrangement just for the hell of it. Like Malcolm has said - earlier on, we didn't necessarily know what we were writing for, so we just wrote whatever spoke to us. I had posted a "Work in progress" version to the music boards, and I received some positive feedback. Positive enough for me to elaborate it into a full piece. As luck would have it, Andrew was finishing up the first playable page of Homestuck just as I posted the full version. As such, I was lucky enough to have the honour of first musical appearance in Homestuck, but most of the credit should certainly go to Malcolm - for defining John musically at such an early stage of the game, and for being the sole inspiration behind this track.
  8.  
  9. Oh, side note: My midi keyboard was misbehaving when I wrote this, so every note of the piece was clicked into a sequencer. D:
  10.  
  11.  
  12. - Harlequin - Mark Hadley
  13.  
  14. With the introduction of the harlequins around John's house in the comic, I was inspired to make a theme song for them. Since it was still early on in the comic, I decided to do it in an 8-bit style, and I figured that I could make remixes of it later if harlequins still turned out to be important in the comic. It turns out I didn't have to very much, since a lot of the other music team ended up remixing it! It still stands as my most favorite 8-bit melodies I've written.
  15.  
  16. - Showtime - Malcolm Brown
  17.  
  18. Probably the first bit of music accepted for HS (The piano version came afterwards but was used in the comic earlier). Difficult to fully recall what was going on with this one, but from what we knew about John at this point (i.e. Bit of a prankster, likes his movies) there was something about the name and the melody that just fit.
  19.  
  20. Early on in HS Music dev, Andrew would basically announce "Need boss music for upcoming battle: go!" and we'd all whip up some music and present it. These days that doesn't happen any more (larger team, ludicrous amount of already made-but-not-used music) but back then it was a fresh slate. I personally whipped up 3 30-second 'Looping boss battle music in the style of NES chiptunes' as per the original request. (I think it was Andrew's idea to start things off chiptune style and we've been evolving since)
  21.  
  22. The other 2 unused tracks (Which I still have somewhere) were ok - One was very piratey but quite sinister, the other was incredibly evil sounding, but Showtime had that initial-boss 'fun-ness' to it and apparantly just hit all the right notes.
  23.  
  24. The melody itself is very simple: It's just a square wave doing some broken chords. For the album version we were told to add some bits to the loopable tracks to make 'em 2 minutes long and have a proper ending, so the album features an intro and second part with a little solo.
  25.  
  26.  
  27. - Aggreive (Violin Refrain) - Andrew Huo
  28.  
  29. Ahh, the glory days, when we had no idea we were going on a universe-destroying/creating adventure, or even a world-destroying one. This was when the music team's main scoop on the kids was that they were going to have theme instruments that somehow function as their weapons or special abilities as well, although I guess this has only mostly come to fruition with Dave's turntables. Well, I'm primarily a violinist, and Rose's instrument was to be violin/strings, so this was right up my alley. I love just randomly improvising on the violin, exploring different poetic areas, if you will, and coming up with things that sounded beautiful to me. At this time in particular, I was doing that a lot. Hadley's Aggrieve was created first in this case, and I had roughly dictated it, so I knew the notes. I fooled around with it a couple of times, playing with a haunting/sad-but-hopeful tone, and the arrangement that you hear was recorded literally the first time it was played - the first time those notes were played in that rhythm, tone and order was the same time it was recorded. That version, cut, is what you hear in the comic. I reverse-engineered the sheet music from my own recording to do a recording for the album. Unfortunately, I was, and I suppose am still today, new to the recording game, and so there are mistakes I cringe at in both the comic and album versions. Gabe Nezovic's mastering helps to cover most of it, but I still feel kind of guilty about it. Oh well.
  30.  
  31.  
  32. - Sburban Countdown - Mark Hadley
  33.  
  34. I really liked Sburban Jungle and felt it was iconic enough to be considered a theme song for Sburb (not just the loading screen as it was originally presented). Since the ending scene for Act 1 was an early pivotal moment in the game, I tried to make something that sounded like Sburban Jungle, but clearly felt like time was ticking away to something big. It's a lot to try and cram into a little over 30 seconds, but I did my best.
  35.  
  36.  
  37. - Aggreive - Mark Hadley
  38.  
  39. This was actually the first Homestuck-related thing I made, when Andrew asked us all to come up with some battle themes. Originally I titled it "Aggress" as a Problem Sleuth homage, but changed the name to "Aggrieve" once the attack command in John's first strife was revealed. Out of all my songs, this one holds a special place for me since it was the first one I did for Homestuck.
  40.  
  41.  
  42. - showtime (Imp Strife Mix) - George Buzinkai
  43.  
  44. I wrote this after listening to the original song for HOURS. I do believe this was what originally got me to send music to Andrew Hussie in a fan-mail and got me writing music for the project. It came down to the thought, "I wonder what that would sound like if I re-wrote it in my software." However, as with most of my obsessions, I got well carried away with it.
  45.  
  46.  
  47. - Nannaquin - Mark Hadley
  48.  
  49. A "Harlequin" remix obviously. In order to give it an old-timey feel, I used sounds of a saloon piano and a muted trumpet. Once it was done, I ran it through a filter to make it sound... less good (pitch warping and reducing the bass) and added a loop of some vinyl pops and cracks. For the soundtrack version, I added the needle coming down onto the record at the beginning, and then I thought it would be fun to end it by having the record skip before the needle is pulled off the record. Needless to say, this was fun to make.
  50.  
  51.  
  52. - Skies of Skaia - Mark Hadley
  53.  
  54. Andrew originally did the first update in the comic about Skaia without music, but when I saw the first look we were given of Skaia, I knew something so central to the story needed a theme song. I envisioned something calm and peaceful, with a mixture of wonder and mystery. I quickly wrote Skies of Skaia and presented it to Andrew, who was able to go back and put the music in place. Writing this was a real highlight for me, and at the time it felt like my greatest accomplishment.
  55.  
  56.  
  57.  
  58. - Explore - George Buzinkai
  59.  
  60. I tried towill write something a little more thought provoking this time without too much drummage in the background. It came out smoothly, and I do think it's quite the haunting melody. I was unaware that Andrew wanted me to finish the original loop, and someone else remixed a longer ending for it, doing quite a fantastic job.
  61.  
  62.  
  63.  
  64. - Gardener - Steve Everson
  65.  
  66. This is part of the Bolin Incident. If you don’t know what happened, up until half-way through Act 4 a guy called Bill Bolin was on the time, one of the original members. He was a great musician, that much can’t be denied; he wrote a lot of tracks that appeared in early act 3; Jade’s bass solo, the remix of it, the last part of the Dave and Bro battle… some others I forget. During that flash with Dave and Rose on Derse the original music was five Bolin tracks, ones he wasn’t all that happy with. He flipped out and did a lot of things that ended up with him dropped from the team, and his music replaced.
  67. I called replacing Jade’s bass solo (I was enthusiastic about getting something of mine into the comic). We figured there’d probably be an existing piece of music used for the remix on Prospit so there were a couple of different versions remixing different tracks until Something Really Excellent was locked in.
  68. We were on a strict timetable at the time, so I didn’t get the chance to find a really good bass voice or find a good rhythm. That was much improved for the actual release in Volumes 1-4.
  69.  
  70.  
  71. - Harleboss - Malcolm Brown
  72.  
  73. Harlequin was awesome, and was quite a popular source for remixing the theme (it still is ) so this was my early attempt.
  74.  
  75. The soundfont is actually a FF6 SNES font I found somewhere (At lot of people got it from the choir). The SNES soundfont choice was taken from a kind of natural evolution the music was taking from the earlier Vol 1 8-bi to 16-bit style music.
  76.  
  77. Not much to say on this one except it was quite a stereotypical 'Epic' boss battle theme - Choirs, church organs, bells, guitar and fast drums.
  78.  
  79.  
  80. - Ohgodwat - Nick Smalley
  81.  
  82. WELL
  83.  
  84. It was 2008 and I was a silly little boy and thought ORGMaker was good-ass music program, so I decided to make a song in it. Half an hour later forged this booger of a song. Seriously. It took half an hour to make this. Then I saw that THE HUSS posted something about a Problem Sleuth opening? So I was like damn that’s bananas I’ll show him up! (wow look at this nerd thinking he can actually make music)
  85.  
  86. I sent it to his email and like a day later he sent one back asking about the music team. FLATTERING, IT WAS. So I was like sure sign me up g homey dog slice foo
  87.  
  88. And that’s the story of how I got on the music team.
  89.  
  90. Oh wait. You just wanted Ohgodwhat.
  91.  
  92. (ps that’s what it was called when i made it too)
  93.  
  94.  
  95. - Revelawesome - Malcolm Brown
  96.  
  97. Another "Andrew asks for music for situation X" - In this, he wanted a dramatic reveal that was basically too epic and obviously a piss-take. The two main ones that were used for this and Hardlyquin (Both were used in the comic for more or less the same joke). The goal was to basically make something so dramatically epic and life-changing that it would just be incredibly silly. (I believe Hardlyquin ended audibly on a joke sound, while I wanted Revelawesome to be played as straight as possible).
  98.  
  99. And it was.
  100.  
  101. The music was based on some earlier work I did on an old Sonic Fangame (Completely forget which one - Think it was a boss theme) that I re-tuned for orchestra and gave it more of a buildup. The name was a play on Andrew's penchant for Portmentaeeu that-word-meaning-combining-two-words-together
  102.  
  103.  
  104. - Hardlyquin - Mark Hadley
  105.  
  106. When Andrew asked us to do something for a shock and surprise for the upcoming reveal of John's Dad's room, this is what I came up with. I slipped some Harlequin in there for good measure. The original version was exactly as it appears in the comic (complete with the record scratch at the end), and I lengthened it for the soundtrack since it was so very, very short. Somehow it came out creepier in that version.
  107.  
  108.  
  109. - Carefree Victory - Mark Hadley, Andrew Huo and Toby "Radiation" Fox
  110.  
  111. (Huo) Carefree Victory is really Hadley's baby, and I would feel like I'm plagiarizing to really call it my own. I really just dictated his piece, called Carefree Action, put it into PXTone, added some lines, changed the tempo, and added a coda (which wasn't even used in the comic, I think?).
  112.  
  113. One of the lines I added, for the intro, was roughly inspired by Cave Story music. I'm pretty Cave Story-influenced, especially with Homestuck stuff.
  114.  
  115.  
  116. -Ballad of Awakening - Malcolm Brown
  117.  
  118. Jade. I think, at least if not Jade then certainly something about Dreams (Which a lot of the story was turning into via the Prospit/Derse stuff). It was prevalent that a lot of Jade's character was coming from vague aloofness, yet a degree of precognition via dreaming that would prove central to the character and the concept of Sburb.
  119.  
  120. Thus, it's a playful kind of dream-like melody. A little scatterbrained a quite unusual (Namely due to the time signature which is something like 6/4). I came up with the melody years ago, and it's mostly just playing about on the sharp/flat keys on a keyboard. I generally don't like incorporating it too much because the chord progression sounds a *bit* too close to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" (Which was released way after I originally came up with the melody for BoA, but is infinitely more popular )
  121.  
  122. Despite being used in 'The Flash Where Nothing Happens' and also being quite long, it's still one of my closet favourite tracks. So much so I did a remake that never made it to any album because it wasn't really anything new. In any case, it's here. "http://www.scythe-studios.co.uk/music/mspa/Joy_And_Dreams_Eternal.mp3"
  123.  
  124. I then took an enormous break from HS (shortly after doing a Squiddles track that I don't particularly like) and wouldn't be back 'till around about the time of AlternaBound had started being a discussed thing.
  125.  
  126.  
  127. - Doctor - Buzinkai
  128.  
  129. (Plaz) Doctor was originally by George Buzinkai and then a now non-active member Michael Vellejo added a few bits of percussion to it. I then put together a larger mix of the tune with shinier production and a glockenspiel tag, and this was the version Andrew used in the end.
  130.  
  131.  
  132. (Buzinkai) Doctor was written before Homestuck, actually. The only thing I can really remember was that Super Smash Bros Brawl came out right before I finished it. The original loop (which is not the one specifically heard in the comic, but was included in the album release) was directly inspired by music from Cave Story, and I was trying to at the time musically embody how I felt at the time, I think. Though it never seems to come out exactly as I plan it, I enjoyed the results. I will say that I cannot truly believe how many people have remixed it.
  133.  
  134. http://buzinkai.net/doctor.png
  135.  
  136. The arpeggio part at the end goes between the left, both, and right speakers sequentially. I was too lazy to set the channel settings manually, so I did each note on a different instrument, which is set to each speaker channel. Not many people know that, and I think it actually made it a living hell for remixers who got a hold of the original file.
  137.  
  138.  
  139. - Endless Climb - George Buzinkai
  140.  
  141. The inspiration for this was from a not-very-well-known indie game called Tower of Heaven, which has phenomenal music. Believe it or not, the arpeggios were written first, and the main melody was written last. I tend to write songs backwards sometimes.
  142.  
  143.  
  144. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
  145.  
  146. Midnight Crew: Drawing Dead
  147.  
  148. - Dead Shuffle - Mark Hadley
  149.  
  150. The first MC-related thing I wrote, and retroactively became the MC theme song. This was actually a remake of a midi I made years ago intended for part of an RPG a friend was making, until the RPG was cancelled. It's mostly the same, except that I went back and made it more jazzy (added saxophone and a swing rhythm). The original title of it was "Seriousness".
  151.  
  152.  
  153. - Hearts Flush - Mark Hadley
  154.  
  155. My favorite of the MC ones I wrote. I've always wanted to write a bass solo, and this gave me the opportunity. There's not much else to add, other than I had a blast writing it.
  156.  
  157.  
  158. - Hollow Suit - Alexander Rosetti
  159.  
  160. Hollow Suit was my other song on that album and it was a little more popular than Moonshine, though I can’t say either even came close to being hits. Like Moonshine it still has a soft spot in my heart. It’s not as compositionally impressive in my opinion, but it was the first in a long line of quirky tracks I have made for Homestuck. The vibraphone and electric organ were incredibly fun to use, and the whole thing ended up having an Elfman/Kirkhope vibe to it. Now, I don’t have synesthesia, but for some reason whenever I think about this song, I think “green”. Just some useless trivia for you.
  161.  
  162. Looking back on Drawing Dead as a whole, do I think it was a good album? No, not really. It was good for us at the time, but it was so all over the place, almost completely devoid of mastering, many of the songs used inferior samples, and most of us just weren’t as experienced with composing back then. Mostly it was a case of having no centralized idea of what the style of music should be, and the clashes that followed. I don’t mean that to knock any of us in any way. It was an important step for all of us as musicians and we have been constantly improving since then. I still look back fondly at it, since it was my first ever album release, after all.
  163.  
  164.  
  165. - Ante Matter - Mark Hadley
  166.  
  167. It's hard to find things to say about this one. I wanted to make a slower song, compared to the other ones I did for Drawing Dead. I'm still technically new at writing jazz, so it was nice getting to practice it a bit more. Overall though, I think I liked the title best on this one; I enjoy a good pun.
  168.  
  169.  
  170. - Hauntjam - Andrew Huo and Michael Guy Bowman
  171.  
  172. (Huo) Hauntjam and Hauntjelly are interesting things. They were actually made based on a short fruity loop that The Big Man Andrew did, called haunt.wav or haunt.mp3 or something like that. A jam on his theme, logically, would therefore be called "hauntjam," with the opportunity for naming puns including "hauntjelly." His theme appears mostly unchanged as the bassline for the first part of the pieces. At this point in terms of instrumentation, we were still mostly striving for faithfulness to the canon Midnight Crew "band," as can be seen in the Extras page wherein the MC fill 'em with midnight (http://www.mspaintadventures.com/extras/ps000018.html) (bottom), so Hauntjam employs trombone, string bass, piano, clarinet, and sax (I forget which because I've lost the file and am not a band person, but I think it was alto). From there on, it was fairly straightforward to write a haunting refrain and then solos for each instrument. I will admit I got a little writerblock'd for the second part, which was sort of a brief modulation to the dominant, so it sounds a little strange. But it still has its own little charm, with the almost annoying trill put in for a spooky ghost-like effect. In Hauntjam, Bowman did some good stuff with bringing out moving parts in the first refrain. In Hauntjelly, Xerxes emphasizes the spookiness by changing instruments for more electric organ.
  173.  
  174. - Ace of Trump - Hilary "Pie" Troiano
  175.  
  176. http://jaydeis.tumblr.com/post/19609363685/someone-sent-me-a-pm-asking-for-some-commentary
  177.  
  178. - Moonshine - Alexander Rosetti
  179.  
  180. Fake bands, man. I so wish we had done more with this concept. Since the very beginning of Homestuck, Andrew had this idea that the kids would have fake bands they were into, and we would make MySpace band pages with a few of their songs on them as a fun supplement to the comic, in the same spirit as dave strider’s blog or SBaHJ. (both of which I would link to if tumblr wasn’t bugging out right now and preventing me from doing so)
  181.  
  182. The first one was the Midnight Crew, and Andrew made the cover art before anything else happened, if I recall correctly. That project hung around for a while until the Midnight Crew Intermission, when Andrew decided to expand the “fake band” idea and release our MC as a full album on bandcamp, along with the Homestuck Volumes. Incidentally, I believe Squarewave and Sawtooth were originally going to be a fake band as well, and Dave even had a poster of them on his wall. Reeeaaally wish we did that one, but oh well. At least we got Anbroids.
  183.  
  184. In light of the fact that the Midnight Crew were going to have a real album and that I had just rejoined the team, I was eager to contribute to it. The first song I made for it was Moonshine, which strangely enough to some I’m sure, I still consider one of my better Homestuck tunes, if only technically. Yeah, the instruments I used were atrocious, but I think it would be a fun piece if it were actually played by people. I had a good idea of its form and I was really able to get into the style of music I perceived the Midnight Crew would play.
  185.  
  186. The instrumentation was based off the instruments each character played, with Slick on piano, Droog on sax, Boxcars on bass, and the last one I changed from Deuce’s oboe to clarinet, which is seen much more in jazz. Not that jazz oboe doesn’t exist! Still, it seems very like CD to play jazz on such an instrument. The song itself is more dissonant than most Homestuck music, having a lot of clashing harmonies and tritones which I love but can understand a lot of Homestuckers probably don’t, at least not in this context. The name “Moonshine” came out of how drunk the music sounds, especially in the middle where it picks up a bit and is more obviously in 6/8. But yeah, it uses its motivic material well and is consistent with itself, much more than I can say about many tracks in Genesis Frog for instance, which I’ll admit I got much too carried away with.
  187.  
  188.  
  189. - Joker's Wild - Mark Hadley
  190.  
  191. When we were writing music for Drawing Dead, I just HAD to make a jazz remix of Harlequin. The song pretty much wrote itself after that. I think if I was going to change anything about it though, I'd have tried to get a live saxophone; the synth sounds a bit off. But then, any of the songs off of Drawing Dead would probably sound amazing by a live band.
  192.  
  193.  
  194. - Hauntjelly - Andrew Huo and Ian Taylor
  195.  
  196. (Huo) Hauntjam and Hauntjelly are interesting things. They were actually made based on a short fruity loop that The Big Man Andrew did, called haunt.wav or haunt.mp3 or something like that. A jam on his theme, logically, would therefore be called "hauntjam," with the opportunity for naming puns including "hauntjelly." His theme appears mostly unchanged as the bassline for the first part of the pieces. At this point in terms of instrumentation, we were still mostly striving for faithfulness to the canon Midnight Crew "band," as can be seen in the Extras page wherein the MC fill 'em with midnight (http://www.mspaintadventures.com/extras/ps000018.html) (bottom), so Hauntjam employs trombone, string bass, piano, clarinet, and sax (I forget which because I've lost the file and am not a band person, but I think it was alto). From there on, it was fairly straightforward to write a haunting refrain and then solos for each instrument. I will admit I got a little writerblock'd for the second part, which was sort of a brief modulation to the dominant, so it sounds a little strange. But it still has its own little charm, with the almost annoying trill put in for a spooky ghost-like effect. In Hauntjam, Bowman did some good stuff with bringing out moving parts in the first refrain. In Hauntjelly, Xerxes emphasizes the spookiness by changing instruments for more electric organ.
  197.  
  198. ------------------------------------------------------------
  199.  
  200. Homestuck Vol. 5
  201.  
  202. - Heirfare - Alexander Rosetti
  203.  
  204. This piece is one of the strongest examples of how much better my old music could have been if I had used better samples. But I had nothing but cheap stuff at the time, so I think this one suffers a lot. Personal regret aside, I composed this as an ode to John, so it features the themes from Showtime and Harlequin. I wanted something big and dramatic, so I went the semi-orchestral route, and completely transformed the context of the two melodies I used to suit the mood of the piece. In particular, Harlequin seems almost unrecognizable unless you're paying attention or have a good ear. I think its attempt to come off as big and noble is a little heavy-handed at times, but it would definitely be a fun one to come back to and update.
  205.  
  206.  
  207. - Aggrievance - Mark Hadley
  208.  
  209. Since Aggrieve was the first song I wrote for Homestuck, I also imagined it would be the first thing I would remix. That turned out not to be the case (I remixed Harlequin first), but I went ahead with it anyway. I also figured it might come in handy in case there was ever another strife scene with Rose post-entry, but those became rare after a while, except for special situations.
  210.  
  211.  
  212. - Hardchorale - Alexander Rosetti and Toby "Radiation" Fox (Feat. Bowman)
  213.  
  214. (Rosetti) I've always considered the creation of this song a "classic story". It came about in a strange, almost fateful way, and I think the final product reflects that. It was the first thing that Radiation and I worked on together, and it was through Hardchorale that our friendship started. He approached me with a MIDI file he had made, intending it to be a sort of "boss battle" arrangement of Chorale for Jaspers in the style of Harleboss. He asked if I would be interested in producing it, since at the time he was just starting out and had no means to do so. I agreed, Chorale being one of my favorite Homestuck tunes. So I produced it in a DAW to make it sound "good", and relative to the MIDI file it sounded great, and we were both really happy with it. Radiation got Bowman to record some heavy metal meows, which he apparently almost got kicked out of his apartment for recording and claims to have video of, though I have yet to see it. Once I found out it was going to be on Vol. 5, I added a section to it (roughly the last third of the piece) and at the very end sneaked the Squiddles theme just because I could. I realize that was more of a narrative than a commentary, but it's the history behind this piece that I find fun to talk about more than the piece itself.
  215.  
  216.  
  217. - Crystalanthemums - Alexander Rosetti
  218.  
  219. I composed this one intending it to be the theme of Jade's land. This is the reason Jit has gone on the record as saying Crystamenthequins was intended to accompany Jade's island being destroyed/her entering her land (I'm pretty sure that's how he described it) was because of this song. It's actually a really simple tune, and I've wanted to expand on it for ages but never got around to it. The entire piece consists of the same simple chord progression, but it's a good, if played out, progression. That and the beautiful harmonies one is guaranteed to find with it is why I think this is one of my more popular songs. It's not as well-composed as I'd like it to be, but it is definitely catchy. And Radiation was responsible for the name, jokingly calling it "crystalanthemums" after I described it sound like a crystalline flower. I decided that was as good a name as any, and I've had the pleasure of infecting its two remixes with such silly-sounding titles.
  220.  
  221.  
  222. - Skaia (Incipisphere Mix) - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  223.  
  224. Original commentary - My Skaia remix was actually done before I joined the music team. I had first made a remix of Doctor (which you can hear here http://homestuckgaiden.bandcamp.com/track/doctor-deep-breeze-mix ), which apparently really caught the attention of the team, in part thanks to Blueberry.
  225.  
  226. Anyway, just as I do now, I streamed music pretty regularly back then, and I’d often times do some improvisational piano over the rest of the mix I made for Incipisphere. Of course, one of those improv sessions (though not a live one) is what made it into the final mix.
  227.  
  228. Ultimately, Radiation told me it would probably be a good idea to not release Incipisphere Mix anywhere, and then eventually I got a private message from Andrew saying he wanted a .wav of it.
  229.  
  230. And the rest, I guess, is history?
  231.  
  232. Oh, and one more thing: AndrewNeo, the guy who runs skaia.net, named both my Doctor remix and my Skaia remix.
  233.  
  234. - Commentary Redux
  235.  
  236. Let’s have a bit of history before we jump into things with this song.
  237.  
  238. A Bit of History
  239. I’ve been writing music among the longest out of all of the team members (9 and a half years now), but definitely not the longest. However, I definitely have to say I’ve improved more over the past two years than the seven years before that just from working with so many talented people.
  240.  
  241. But the difference in improvement between then and now is a story for another day. Let’s zip right just before I joined the team. While Skaia (Incipisphere Mix) is my first official Homestuck song, Doctor (Deep Breeze Mix) is my first Homestuck-related song, which you can download here. (http://www.solatrus.com/static/music/misc/Doctor_Deep_Breeze_Mix.mp3)
  242.  
  243. The reason I’m mentioning my Doctor remix is because it very much helped put Incipisphere Mix on Volume 5. From what I was told, it turned a few heads on the team. Kind of hilarious to go back and look at the thread, because multiple of my chums posted just after I did and I wasn’t even aware of who they were at the time. Then again, I was still VERY new to the community at the time. My very first post on the MSPA Forums was of a WIP of my Doctor remix.
  244.  
  245. Blueberry eventually put me in contact with Radiation, and I was told not to release my Skaia remix anywhere. That made me very curious! And then not too long after that (a few days, I think), I received a message from Andrew Hussie himself on the forums saying he wanted the lossless master of Incipisphere.
  246.  
  247. “Oh snap! I’m a guest artist on Volume 5!” … And the following day I see a new subforum sitting there and I found out I was invited to join the team. Exciting times, indeed.
  248.  
  249. The Song Itself
  250. Now, I’m sure people are wondering why I went with doing a remix of Skies of Skaia. Well, simply put, I really liked the chord progression, and I really enjoyed one of the remixes that was formerly in the discography. Because of both, I decided I wanted to do something with a bit of a heavier sound to it, but keeping consistent with the light and vibrant tone qualities.
  251.  
  252. The bassline and drums definitely helped give the song a much heavier feel than the original, showing an earlier example of what I feel has become my typical contrast in music. I very much enjoy contrasts in all art forms. Unexpected contrasts that are executed well just really made me happy. I can’t say I’m particularly happy with the bassline now, but back then that was pretty appropriate for my skill level, plus having an arpeggiating sound that I really used to do too much.
  253.  
  254. There’s also this really amusing sound effect which is actually this sample (http://www.solatrus.com/static/music/misc/opr00LGU.wav) played backward and faded in.
  255.  
  256. Of course, the comments I see the most on this song are on the improvised piano part. Before I was on the team I started doing a regular broadcast on the skaia.net internet radio, and I’d improvise over this song pretty often back then. I eventually figured out a few parts that I wanted to keep consistent, and I did a bunch of takes to finally get to what you hear in the final song. Of course, MIDI never seems to record very accurately, and I’m not actually the greatest at piano (!!!), so I had to do some fine-tuning on the note timings to make them actually sound precise. But those really fast runs were definitely real, and, no, don’t ask me to play it again. I won’t be able to. It was a really good day for me.
  257.  
  258.  
  259. - Sarabande - Erik "Jit" Scheele
  260.  
  261. I’ll never really know what happened to produce this. Not really, never. I wish I could remember if there was some thought process behind it, some sort of inspiration, but I really can’t remember any. Most likely, that was for the better.
  262.  
  263. What I mean is, I used to do a lot of improvisation after theater classes, instead of practicing, while my mother would clean up the various classrooms that were used. There was never really any inspiration for things that I can remember, and they were just a lot of off-the-cuff experiments of a sort, I guess. Some probably turned out great, and there were probably more than a couple days where nothing happened. I can remember trying to emulate different video game soundtracks or bits from them, but that was never really a norm. The only thing I’d ever think regularly was how no one would ever actually hear the improvisation I was playing, and I was okay with that. This was before college, anyway.
  264.  
  265. My point is, improvisation rarely had a point, so it’s really impossible to nail down if there was any reason for playing Sarabande that night. The way it went about, I just played the piece, exactly how it was recorded, aside from one little mistake. Then I stopped, went “Okay yeah, that was good”, packed up, and left. A while later, I needed to play things for the composer concert, so I performed it from memory, and that’s where the recording came from.
  266.  
  267. It’s kind of gained a status among the fandom for being music for when John reads Jade’s letter, which I think is a rather good place for it to go. Although, I think I actually called it “Rooftop Waltz” at one point, for Rose/Dave shipping stuff, buuuuut I’m rather glad that the “purpose” and title is changed now. “Rooftop Waltz”, that’s such an awful cheesy love title, plus, the piece really is a sarabande. I mean literally, it fits the genre fairly well, plus my composition prof called it “a perfect sarabande”, so there we go.
  268.  
  269.  
  270. - Phantasmagoric Waltz - Alexander Rosetti
  271.  
  272. This is exactly what it sounds like. I went for a whimsical, dreamy feel with this one, expressed through the 3/4 meter, waltz patterns, Lydian mode, and ringing, bell-like timbres. There's not a lot going on in this one, though I think it's charming in a childlike way. It was the first piece I made upon my return to the music team (I was in it since the beginning, but never made anything worthwhile and left for a few months since I was starting my first year of college)
  273.  
  274. (extra comments in reply to a Tumblr question) For some reason waltzes, Lydian mode, harps, and bell-like timbres seemed like the most appropriate ways to evoke dreams for me. I was inspired to make it ever since seeing Jade’s dream self, and how appropriate that it was included in Dave’s dream in Derse!
  275.  
  276. For those not around since the beginning of that page or who don’t know the history, it was originally full of Bill Bolin tunes (a former music team member who left on very bad terms) and we had to replace them with existing material. One of things Andrew put in there was Phantasmagoric Waltz, and now that page has the additional comedy of Dave and Rose jamming out to…a sweet, slow-paced romantic dance? I can dig it.
  277.  
  278. For the record, that’s not a cell phone vibration, whatever you are hearing is there just by chance.
  279.  
  280. - Chorale For War - Steve Everson
  281.  
  282. This one predates my time on the music team! It started life as a midi called Battle Chorale (obviously, a pun on “battle royale”). It was pretty popular, if I recall correctly, though there wasn’t a lot of fan music around in those days to compare to. Some time after joining the team, one of the other musicians created their own hard rock Chorale remix by that same name! So I updated my old one under a new name, and Albatross and Rad created their Hardchorale remix too. Battle Chorale never made it to publication but these two survived.
  283.  
  284.  
  285. - Unsheath'd - Alexander Rosetti
  286.  
  287. I based this off a short tune I wrote as a composition exercise. It turns out the tune was really short, since this song clocked in at a little under a minute. I had intended it to be associated with Dave, hence the style and Hip-Hop sounding lead. Not much to say about this one either other than I should definitely use this theme in the future for something more worthwhile.
  288.  
  289.  
  290. - Bed of Rose's / Dreams of Derse - Mark Hadley
  291.  
  292. John had a "sleep and recover hp/mp" type theme, so I wrote one for Rose as well. Naturally it uses part of the theme from Aggrieve. When it came time to put it on the album, I didn't really want to leave it as short as it was, so I added the Dreams of Derse section to lengthen it, imagining what the cold, far orbit of Derse might be like.
  293.  
  294.  
  295. - Ruins With Strings - Erik "Jit" Scheele & Michael Guy Bowman
  296.  
  297. (Jit) This one is really hardly me, honest, it’s all Bowman. Ruins was this piano recording I’d put up back when I still hardly knew how to record anything, and then Bowman just went and added magic to it. And the piano track, that’s just another one of those “improvisations out of nowhere”, no real purpose or theory-thinking beforehand to delegate anything to it. Especially the descending-thirds, no way I could have just thought about that and been like “Yes that is a good thing to be doing”, it was just spur of the moment thinking.
  298.  
  299. (Ruins was one of the first things I contributed to the music forum after getting on the team, a small improvisation based around descending seconds which was made back when I still had no idea how to record things properly. Since Earth was kind of a gigantic wasteland planet at that point (and it still is, today), I conceptually tied my recording in with that, and called it Ruins.
  300.  
  301. Of course, I really doubt that Ruins would have gotten anywhere if it wasn’t for Bowman, who pretty much surprised me sometime before Volume 5 with an updated version of my recording, which made the piano sound better and added a lot of other instruments to it, really adding a lot of depth and atmosphere to an otherwise-shoddy recording. And then, when Volume 5 came around, it was released as “Ruins (With Strings)”, which is what you just heard in the update!
  302.  
  303. I know I’ve got a better recording of Ruins kicking around here somewhere, I’ll have to see if something can be done with it.)
  304.  
  305.  
  306. (Bowman) Really it’s the “(With Strings)” part that is my doing. When Jit was first inducted to the team, he did not have access at the time to a proper recording environment or midi controller that he could apply a high-quality piano sound to, so he had recorded his piano demo for “Ruins” on what I’m guessing is an on-board laptop microphone. I thought the composition was really great but knew that it would sound too unpolished to make the cut onto a Homestuck album, so I resolved to write a string accompaniment around his composition.
  307.  
  308. By applying an incredibly enormous amount of reverb to the piano part, I hid the low fidelity of the original recording and made it sound as though it was hauntingly played to the listener from the other end of a cave. Given my lack of any truly convincing string samples, I chose instead to use deliberately mechanical strings, gently de-tuning them to sound a bit reminiscent of early string synthesizers, somewhat inspired by “Crystal Japan”, a creepy instrumental by David Bowie.
  309.  
  310. Some of the other elements of the ambiance (the wind, the really high notes that echo for a long time) I drew from the soundtrack to World of Goo, specifically the track “Jelly” which I noticed bore a strong resemblance tonally to Jit’s composition. To seal the melancholy, I doubled the piano melody on guitar using a very cool, muted sound with a lot of echoes and pitch bends. I signed the tune by adding a cadence from “Sburban Jungle” at the very end.
  311.  
  312. Really, the track should probably be listed simply as “Ruins” if not for the fact that there is not official piano rendition of the piece. I think it would be really cool to hear such a version of the tune if Jit ever found himself recording material in a studio again (as he did for Tyler’s piano suite Sburb).
  313.  
  314.  
  315. - Upholding the Law - Alexander Rosetti
  316.  
  317. I consider this an important piece to myself, but not to Homestuck music in general. Actually, it's probably the lowest quality thing I have ever released as Homestuck music. It's just sloppy. But there's a bit more to it than that, and that lies in its instrumentation. This was the first piece I ever composed where I explored colorful and playful orchestration. The xylophone and pizzicato strings that I was playing around with would become my bread and butter a couple years later. I'm not currently known among the Homestuck musicians as being an orchestral composer, but I've reached the point where there's nothing I like composing more than fully orchestrated pieces. At least as far as soundtrack music goes. And not just fully orchestrated either, there's a certain sense of color I love exploring and I like making lighter sounds despite using a bigger and more imposing ensemble. I haven't released anything that showcases that yet, but I definitely will be in the future, so I think that's something to be excited about.
  318.  
  319.  
  320. - Underworld - Steve Everson
  321.  
  322. My other favourite from Volume 5. It started life as a theme for the Aimless Renegade, inspired by a “Desperado” theme which I believe was written by Bolin back when he was still part of the team. I wasn’t really running on any particular goal of contributing so much as liking the style and wanting to make something similar. Imagine the piece as it is now played by some sort of mariachi band and you might have the right idea of what it originally sounded like. Naturally, it didn’t quite fit. I liked the melody but it just wasn’t working for the whole desert hero thing. So I flipped through my library of voices (small though it was back then) and came across the more electronic one that plays the melody now. I re-tooled the accompaniment to fit, and it became a piece that I always considered a theme for Derse. Hence its title.
  323.  
  324.  
  325. - Crystamanthequins - Erik "Jit" Scheefe
  326.  
  327. Probably the thing I’m best-known for off of Volume 5, which is slightly ironic given how rushed it was. No kidding, I finished it up the night that Hussie was rounding up tracks to go through, and threw it in as a last-minute thing, “hey I just finished this can it go in??” deal. I mean, I’d had inspiration for it earlier, but never got around to making it until it was almost too late!
  328.  
  329. Yeah, this one definitely had inspiration. To answer a quick question you might have though, no, I didn’t know about the trolls beforehand, or what Hussie was going to do with the music. I didn’t even find out until Albatross Soup told me about it, a few weeks before it happened. Moreso, the inspiration came from a sudden image I had one night during the summer, in which Jade’s planet, at that time unknown, was highly unstable, and Noir had purposefully upset the balance in order to try and destroy her planet. So the entire first bit is her trying to save her inhabitants, while Crystalanthemums plays. The reason for having that motif, well, I’d had this very strong feeling that it should be Jade’s planet theme. So, it got used.
  330.  
  331. (The mental images of one of the kid’s planets getting broken/torn apart like I’d imagined still give me the shivers. I still love Hussie so much for creating a villain that actually did something upon gaining obscene amounts of power; rather than just retreating and launching some master plan, he actually went around and started doing shit with his powers. Not something you even really see in Hollywood villains nowadays, far as I know. The protagonists and antagonists are always very separated, no interaction between one or the other, nothing like what Noir does. At least, that was my experience at the time.)
  332.  
  333. As for the second bit, well, I’d wanted to make an “industrial, heavy action, stuff going to shit” remix of Perrybob’s Mannequin for quite some time, and it seemed to fit to transition over to that. In my head, the action was going to shift from Jade’s planet to LOHAC, where unspecific action was going to take place. I really don’t think I gave the Mannequin section enough time to develop, or really do much, but time constraints dictated I give the music over to the volume 5 collaborative -right then and there-, so it had to be cut off. Mannequin’s really great, though, you should give it a listen. http://www.mediafire.com/?dyh1az3tzgz
  334.  
  335. Also, as a sidenote, my like for Beck is rather shown in this piece, as is evidenced by my direct attempt to semi-recreate main beat in Replica to transition between the two sections. #MUSICSECRETSSSSSSSS
  336.  
  337.  
  338. - Medical Emergency - Alexander Rosetti (MIDI by Toby Radiation Fox)
  339.  
  340. Radiation gave me a MIDI of Savior of the Waking World to remix shortly before he figured out how to do it himself. It's based on a prototype of that song and goes in a completely different direction, complete with a cheesy electric guitar synth. I think the opening ended up sounding really cool, but the rest of it just sounds kind of dumb in its execution, not that the material itself isn't good.
  341.  
  342.  
  343. - Skain Shuffle -Andrew Huo
  344.  
  345. Skaian Skuffle was made with the intent of turning Skies of Skaia into a battle theme. The bass progression matches Skies of Skaia's, with more bounce to it, and the melody of Skies of Skaia was quantified/simplified into a repeating motif. It was mostly composed by feel the rest of the way. I actually had writer's block for a while after I reached about 1:02, and it never really got resolved, which is why 1:21 onwards feels kinda awkward and not so great. I kinda wish I could go back and redo it so it sounds better. But what Radiation did with it turning it into Skaian Skirmish worked really well. There was some vague artistic direction from the Big Man that helped with this a little bit. If I remember correctly, it was something along the lines of "okay, maybe you can bring it down a bit in the middle, then ramp it up for the big finish." So I tried to do that using a new bassline, using wandering skips of third and fourth rather than downwise step in an attempt to mirror Skies of Skaia's original melody, as well as scrambling the repeating sixteenth note motif based on the original melody. Like I said, though, I would say it worked out awkwardly rather than well. It does create a certain mood, which, like I said, Radiation capitalized on. Whoops, I just repeated myself, but in more detail the second time. What's that called in literary device terms? Amplification? Yeah, let's go with that.
  346.  
  347.  
  348. - Throwdown - Steve Everson
  349.  
  350. Man, this track goes way back. I’m talking years. One of my really early midi compositions. It sounded like the coolest shit when I was 14. It’s practically unchanged besides being synthesised with non-midi voices. Same instruments and all.
  351. It’s got a bit more of an… ironic appeal to it now. Still sounds pretty cool though
  352.  
  353.  
  354. -Light - Erik "jit" Scheefe
  355.  
  356. This one, man. Not really as well-known as the other three, I don’t think, but I’m still happy with various aspects of it. Not really any specific inspiration, I just started out with the thought of wanting to make a contrasting piece to Black. Especially with the opening piano line, but overall, something more pure and light. Of course, by the time I got around to finishing it, Radiation had already stolen the title “White”, so I called mine “Light” instead.
  357.  
  358. About the middle section, I think that needs a bit of talk about it. I’d just been talking with a friend about Homestuck, telling him about the numerical motif 413, and telling him various examples, and he went and said “Yeah, that could be a chord progression too”, and I was like “whooooooooooooooooah”. So I used it as a chord progression. For the first while, though, I had this dual guitar line instead of Showtime, and it was sorta eeeeenh and I didn’t know where to go from there. It sat for a while, then suddenly one day in church I was like “oh holy shit showtime would work so well in there”. It was like suddenly remembering you left a cake in the oven on 500 degrees for the last two nights, that sort of realization. So it went in, and it worked much better than the stupid two-guitar thing.
  359.  
  360. 413 as a motif, I’ve used it in various ways. Not saying anything, though, not even sure about spoiling its use in Light. If you ever analyze various bits of music, though, you might notice it popping up, or other little fun bits. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  361.  
  362.  
  363. - Ecstasy - Steve Everson
  364.  
  365. Probably remains my favourite of my pieces, while also being one of the ones with the least real thought put into it. The whole thing was written more or less on the fly. The chord pattern is one that I’d liked for several months, possibly even a year or two, without ever having come up with something good enough to write to it. Then, one evening while I was in the shower (all of my best ideas come from the shower) my mind pulled together a half-remembered bassline from an obscure-ish Sonic the Hedgehog game and a brief snippet from an old quiz show called Catchphrase, and strung them into the main harmonies of the piece. From there I just lay an improvised piano melody on top.
  366. When I presented it to the music team it was pretty well-received, and with some of their guidance the whole piece ended up pretty polished.
  367.  
  368.  
  369. - Plague Doctor - Steve Everson
  370.  
  371. I’m sure you all know the story behind the Doctor remixes. During the Intermission Andrew wanted a remix of that to use for LOWAS and everyone jumped at the chance. This was my contribution. It’s a pretty straight transcription to different instruments. Nowadays I find that a little disappointing. I started writing a new version not long ago; maybe one day I’ll finish it and post it here.
  372.  
  373.  
  374. - Homestuck - Mark Hadley
  375.  
  376. Plazmataz came up with a melody to use as an anthem for Homestuck, which he then used in Homestuck Anthem. While that was a very driving melody, I opted to come up with something that might be more suitable for credits (opening or end) or a title screen. I really like how this came out; it sounds a bit moody, but still optimistic, which is what I was aiming for.
  377.  
  378.  
  379. ------------------------------------------------------------
  380.  
  381. Squiddles!
  382.  
  383. - Squiddles in Paradise - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  384.  
  385. Haha, oh man.
  386.  
  387. My vocal debut, and what is it? Me mocking the music kids shows. It’s an adorable song, though.
  388.  
  389. Okay, so this one actually has a bit of history, quite a long time before Homestuck. I’ve been at this music thing for over 9 years after all.
  390.  
  391. Originally I was interested in writing a sort of uplifting and mellow hip hop song, and the first thing I did was make an organ synth with a swung version of one of the melodies you hear in Squiddles in Paradise. I was actually working with AndrewNeo (him again!) on the song.
  392.  
  393. Of course, that never panned out, but when I finally felt like I should contribute to the Squiddles album (I was among the last to actually start something) all those years later, I remembered that melody.
  394.  
  395. And then Alex told me the whole hip hop feel, even though it was pretty relaxing, just wasn’t gonna work. So I reworked it into a pretty cheesy and stereotypical reggae song and just stopped caring altogether about how it sounded. I mean, come on, it’s a freaking parody album!
  396.  
  397. Eventually Alex recorded some Squiddle vocals for it because I thought it’d be hilarious, and he sang (badly out of tune on purpose) the chorus. I thought it was brilliant and promptly wrote a full set of lyrics.
  398.  
  399. TLDR, the chorus to Squiddles in Paradise was actually made up by Alex Rosetti basically on accident, and the song was originally some hip hop song I did over half a decade ago.
  400.  
  401. (Commentary redux)
  402.  
  403. Well, what do you know, my vocal debut?
  404.  
  405. This song has a remarkably old history to it, elements of it dating back to 2005, not too long after I started using FL Studio. Originally this was a sort of uplifting hip-hop song that I did in collaboration with AndrewNeo, but the song was never finished. I’d share the song with you, but unfortunately I don’t have the plugins I used because back then I didn’t care as much about pirating VSTs and the like.
  406.  
  407. Anyway, while this song is chronologically my second official Homestuck song, it’s also the second song I wrote after joining the team. The first song I wrote after joining will be discussed next time. Hehe.
  408.  
  409. Nonetheless, do have a little snippet of what I did with that hip-hop song when the Squiddles album was starting up, which is not too different from the original, aside from a more interesting beat and bassline. http://www.solatrus.com/static/music/misc/Squiddlesofsomesort.mp3
  410.  
  411. I sent it over to Alex Rosetti, but we ended up agreeing that going with the hip-hop style. Even though it was a pretty relaxing song, it wasn’t going to be a good fit for what Alex had in mind for the album.
  412.  
  413. Thus, I scrapped it and started to work on other songs before coming back to it almost a month later.
  414.  
  415. It hit me one day that I should try rewriting the song in a really ridiculous, cheesy, and cliche reggae style, and completely not care. So I did.
  416.  
  417. I again sent this to Alex and he really liked it, and he quickly recorded some Squiddles very horribly singing what eventually became the chorus. I thought it was brilliant and was immediately inspired to write lyrics for the entire song, which really helped flesh out everything. It also let me use Radiation’s hilarious Skipper Plumbthroat voice briefly, though that went uncredited in the song, hah!
  418.  
  419. And after some work, I arrived to the final song that’s on the Squiddles album.
  420.  
  421. Other Thoughts
  422. Michael Bowman once mentioned that Squiddles in Paradise is one of the few songs on the album that really balances the act between a legitimate song and a downright silly song. I was pretty flattered when both said this and when he recommended this song, among others from the album, to a fan.
  423.  
  424. I actually have to agree with Bowman after looking back at it almost two years later. Despite how little effort I feel that I put into this song, it was a really fun and silly song to write… about kid-friendly horrorterrors… in paradise.
  425.  
  426.  
  427. - Ocean Stars - Mark Hadley
  428.  
  429. Everyone writing songs for the Squiddles album opted for happy-go-lucky and crazy-sounding things, but in an effort to make a variety, I aimed instead for something more calm and serene, picturing a calm ocean at night lit only by the full moon and stars. Admittedly, it's just 12 bars that repeat over and over, each time adding in an additional instrument track. Still, it's one of the most relaxing things I've ever written.
  430.  
  431.  
  432.  
  433. -------------------------------------------------
  434.  
  435. Homestuck Vol. 6
  436.  
  437. - Frost - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  438.  
  439. Anyway, man, where to begin on this one? My most famous song, one of the proudest moments of my musical career, etc. etc. I could go on.
  440.  
  441. But I’ll start with the roots.
  442.  
  443. Frost didn’t start off as the theme for the Land of Frost and Frogs. It started off as the theme for the Land of Thought and Flow. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post on this song, you really need to look at this image to understand what went through my head.
  444.  
  445. http://www.mspaintadventures.com/storyfiles/hs2/02522.gif
  446.  
  447. Remember that image? Yeah. Okay. Now then, go listen to the first 30 seconds of Frost while staring at that image.
  448.  
  449. Got it?
  450.  
  451. Good.
  452.  
  453. That’s how it started.
  454.  
  455. And then Andrew asked me to use it in the animation and it got renamed. But, considering half of the song no longer fit the new theme, I rewrote the second half to include a lot more percussive instruments to give that icy feeling.
  456.  
  457. Frankly, I’m not sure what’s more well known, the really ethereal arpeggio that opens the song, or the industrial drums that drive it.
  458.  
  459.  
  460. (Commentary redux) I can’t really make a post about this song without mentioning the above flash animation and the following image:
  461.  
  462. http://www.mspaintadventures.com/storyfiles/hs2/02522.gif
  463.  
  464. Because, really, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be explaining a significant amount of the story behind this song.
  465.  
  466. This image of Terezi standing in the Land of Thought and Flow is what inspired the opening arpeggio for Frost. The whole Land’s environment is fascinating to me, and I simply had to write a theme for that medium world. As I have probably mentioned, my preference in writing music is for settings, which gives me my really ambient sound, contrary to other musicians on the team who prefer to write melodical songs describing emotions and people.
  467.  
  468. I ended up realizing an industrial kit would work extremely well for an unusual drum beat, particularly to contrast the incredibly ethereal sound I had already established. Hell, this song is so ambient people have a hard time telling what the melody is… and no, it’s not the french horn. :D
  469.  
  470. Eventually the arping bassline comes in and all is good.
  471.  
  472. Anyway, I was really hoping that Terezi’s land would be explored more, but that never happened. I ended up getting contacted by Andrew to feature this in the comic, and I was really ecstatic. My music went from a few dozen people listening to it regularly, before I joined the team, to probably a few thousand after Volume 5. And then with this feature, I jumped to having hundreds of thousands of people listening to one of my songs. And it’s grown since then.
  473.  
  474. That was a really mind blowing, and really awesome. I’ve had very few proud moments in my life more worthy than this one.
  475.  
  476. After the feature, though, I scrambled to improve the song’s quality. I changed around a few things in the first half (most notably making the whole mix a bit quieter), and pushed the melody a bit more forward. The second half, I basically swapped out this very strange sounding piano improvisation I did with the percussion (vibes, glockenspiel) instruments and a saw pad for lead. The replacements work incredibly well for trying to give an icy sound, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.
  477.  
  478. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to doing songs that are this ambient and minimalist, because my composing skills have progressed significantly since then, and I require much more complexity in my work. Also, now that this song is actually over two years old (for me), I’ve noticed how flawed it is.
  479.  
  480. But nonetheless, this is probably one of my best songs, and it’s well loved by the Homestuck fandom. That’s good enough for me.
  481.  
  482.  
  483. - Squidissension - Mark Hadley
  484.  
  485. Not a lot to say here aside from it being a combination of the Squiddles Theme and Dissension. I always enjoy finding ways to combine two themes together, and this worked better than I had hoped. I did have to move the Squiddles to a minor key for it to work though.
  486.  
  487.  
  488. - Blackest Heart - Mark Hadley
  489.  
  490. It's extremely subtle, but the cello tremolos are playing a very slow version of the theme from the beginning of Liquid Negrocity (and Black). I wrote this just after Jack Noir retreated from John and the rabbit. I didn't know what he'd be doing at the time, nor what his motivation would be, so I imagined him retreating to some castle and brooding as he contemplated his next move. Later on, Blackest Heart would be applied (rather effectively) to Gamzee instead.
  491.  
  492.  
  493. - Crystalanthology - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  494.  
  495. It’s a chill drum and bass song, and one of my best productions for Homestuck. It was also my first remix since I made that Skaia remix.
  496.  
  497. Have I mentioned that Alex Rosetti’s compositions are pretty incredible? They are. You should go give him some love.
  498.  
  499. (Commentary Redux) Woo, my first official remix since my Skaia remix on Volume 5!
  500.  
  501. So as I’ve probably mentioned, I’m a huge fan of Alex Rosetti’s work, and this song is absolutely no exception. I had been wanting to do something with Crystalanthemums since first listening to it. Coincidentally, it immediately proceeded my Skaia remix.
  502.  
  503. At the time, I really had no idea on who anyone was on the team, so it never really sunk in that I should do that remix until December of 2010.
  504.  
  505. Obviously at this point I had gained an interest in drum and bass music, which explains the sound, yet I still had a very soft and ethereal sound reminiscent of the original song.
  506.  
  507. Of course, I really pushed the energy up, which made it a lot of fun. I jokingly said to Alex after Volume 6 came out that while is his song was at the top of the echeladder, my remix was god tier, in part due to Vriska in her God Tier outfit being there. :D
  508.  
  509. Anyway, on to the song.
  510.  
  511. So the song opens with a really interesting sounding ostinato, which is actually the same notes that open Crystalanthemums: E, D, B, A, E, D, B, D.
  512.  
  513. However, I really gated the length of the note to make it become such a short blip that the sound barely registers. On top of that I gave it a delay and combined with the gate it sounds nothing like the original motif.
  514.  
  515. And then when I open the gate on the note length you hear the ostinato faaaaar better.
  516.  
  517. A lot of people missed this, actually. :D
  518.  
  519. I have to say I really love the chord progression Alex went with in Crystalanthemums, and it was incredibly fun to make that bassline, which is actually a layered bass, but not a note-for-note bass. This is actually a pretty common thing to do, with the lower bass just playing simple sustained notes, and the higher bass is more animated.
  520.  
  521. Though I’ve definitely grown to prefer warm sawtooth basslines, this bass has a really nice quality that’s almost a square. The filter based attack is pretty sweet sounding, too.
  522.  
  523. I really was happy with how the drum beats layered in at 2:16, though honestly, I was really out of practice of doing any sort of breakbeat stuff.
  524.  
  525. Fun fact, this was the first song I used Gross Beat on. What’s Gross Beat? It’s something a Time Lord of Gallifrey would approve of in music. :D If you listen to the stutter effects heard in the song, mostly in the latter half, that’s where I start using Gross Beat to do some crazy time shifting stuff.
  526.  
  527. Man, I really love what I did on this song.
  528.  
  529. …I need to do another Homestuck remix, don’t I?
  530.  
  531. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  532.  
  533. Strife! - Joren "Tensei" de Bruin
  534.  
  535. - Time on my Side
  536.  
  537. With the Strife album, I deliberately left a lot of the background to the songs very ambiguous. There are no direct, obvious references as to what song corresponds to which character, though there are quite a few indications: each song uses an instrument that is typically associated with one of the kids in a pretty prominent way: whether it’s the piano lead in Heir Conditioning, the solo violin in Dance of Thorns, the bass and flute (shakuhachi, actually) in Atomic Bonsai, and of course the sampled beats and scratches in Time on my Side. I suppose the titles count as somewhat vague references to the characters as well.
  538.  
  539. With that said, I’m still not going to explicitly say “This song is actually a strife theme for Dave” or something like that. If Andrew chooses to interpret it as a good backdrop for a fight between Dirk and Jake, I am totally fine with that. Hell, I can totally see it working (And in fact it DID work, since the flash turned out pretty damn awesome)
  540.  
  541. I always felt like this song was a bit of the odd man out on the album. While I definitely think Dance of Thorns and Atomic Bonsai were awesome in their own right, they also feel a lot more ‘conventional’ compared to this song.
  542.  
  543. In a lot of ways, this song is actually very minimalistic. The droning bassline and guitar chugs stay on the same chord for almost a full minute while the buildup is mostly done through sound effects and overlayed orchestral sounds.
  544.  
  545. IMO, this results in giving the :53 point, where the chords finally start switching up, a much bigger impact (though the full Beatdown motif coming in probably helps too).
  546.  
  547. Something similar happens at 2:04 where after 30 seconds of the Black motif remaining on the same chord again, you get another switch, and everything just sounds huuuuuuge.
  548.  
  549. Appropriately to the title, this song has a lot of weird time-shit going on. Disc scratching in and of itself can actually be treated as a nice metaphor for time manipulation (the comic itself definitely makes grateful use of it), so it’s no wonder that it’s almost omnipresent here.
  550.  
  551. By far the neatest thing, in my opinion, is 2:35 though. The effect you hear there is actually the ENTIRE SONG up until that point, played in reverse, and sped up so it fits in a couple of seconds. The idea is literally that it ‘scratches’ and resets the song, much in the same way as happens to the entire universe in the comic, so it can lay down a wicked wah-guitar solo over the ‘scratched’ version of the song.
  552.  
  553. So yes, this song travels back in time in order to make itself awesomer.
  554.  
  555. Joking aside, this song, like most other ones I make, does also have some sneaky hidden references.
  556.  
  557. The guitar riff at 3:18, for example, is cribbed pretty much note for note from the Metallica song Master of Puppets (maybe this is a Dirk song after all?). The background strings at :37 have a very similar ascending chromatic pattern the intro to the James Bond theme. The high staccato strings at 1:50 are supposed to be reminiscent of the theme from Psycho, or really every slasher flick ever. (Black is associated with Jack Noir, Jack Noir likes to show people his stabs, etc.)
  558.  
  559. The original inspiration for this song probably comes from the least likely source imaginable. It’s not The Prodigy or Goldeneye 64 music, but actually the original score to the movie Space Jam. You probably don’t even know or remember it, but a lot of the songs have a very distinct looped hiphop beat, guitars, and orchestral stabs all over the place, much like a large portion of this song.
  560.  
  561. Seriously, listen to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBenCP-51Qw from about 0:50 onward and you should hear the resemblance.
  562.  
  563. That aside, obviously stuff from The Prodigy’s Fat of the Land album bears some resemblance as well, especially with the cheesy bassline. I know that a few Prodigy songs have been used in the otherwise kinda shitty Charlie’s Angels movies whenever shit was about to go down, and that’s really the kind of vibe I was going for as well.
  564.  
  565. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
  566.  
  567. Modius Trip & Hadron Kaleido - Micheal Guy Bowman
  568.  
  569. - Lies With The sea
  570.  
  571. “Lies With the Sea” is one of two songs based on sketches from dreams that I put on Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido - the other, aptly enough, is “Dawn of Man”.
  572.  
  573. During the time I was initially formulating a concept for a fake band during the summer of 2010, I thought it would be interesting to do something with a nautical theme. One night as I was falling asleep, I very vividly imagined a melody and accompanying refrain “my heart so full of love”, which I sketched and eventually transformed into “my heart lies with the sea” to fit the concept. Ultimately I ditched the nautical theme for the band after Squiddles! Sing-along came out and resolved to develop the concept that became Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido with Tavia. However, the song was already well-developed by that point and I opted to keep it around.
  574.  
  575. My first sketch for that piece was actually a lot heavier - I produced a version over that summer as a demo for Andrew that featured a slow, dirge-like drum beat and an incredibly loud guitar riff that somewhat resembled the song “Grease” from the way-overrated musical of the same name. Perhaps later I’ll do some touch-ups to this “heavy” version of the song and share it, but until then I’d rather keep it to myself, being so primitively produced.
  576.  
  577. One thing it has in common with the quicker, more lightly-produced version of the track I put out in May was a fairly strong inspiration from modern electronic acts. I drew farily heavily from the sensibilities of Gorillaz in chosing synthesizer sounds on tracks like “Rhinestone Eyes” and “El Mañana” and also pretty closely studied the mix on Daft Punk’s “Something About Us”, a down tempo track I greatly admire.
  578.  
  579. The thing that most strongly made me feel comfortable using this track on Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido was its inspiration from dreams and the sense that it generally echoed the thought of being swept away in a wave as mentioned in “Dawn of Man” earlier on the album. Originally I even recorded an alternate lyric to the melody of “Sburban Jungle” to open the second verse which I ditched that went as follows:
  580.  
  581. “Down, down far below, somewhere safe/ Lost in the wave once again.”
  582.  
  583.  
  584.  
  585.  
  586.  
  587. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  588.  
  589. The Felt
  590.  
  591. - Swing of the Clock - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  592.  
  593.  
  594. (Original commentary) Ah, yes, Swing of the Clock. One of my better songs. Also the first song I wrote after joining the team!
  595.  
  596. If you didn’t know, Swing of the Clock was heavily inspired off of both Clark Powell’s Three in the Morning and various Philip Glass musical compositions. It was my first attempt at doing something with a lot of orchestral instruments, though definitely far from my best orchestral composition.
  597.  
  598. In retrospect, it’s a bit of a boring song with its chord progression, but I’d be damned if I didn’t say something about the shift from Philip Glass style clarinets to swung synth rock. I was very proud of that contrast.
  599.  
  600. Also a lesser known fact: It was actually considered for a flash animation, in a similar vein to Alex Rosetti’s Squiddles song. But, due to the difficulties in organizing a full song animation, especially one that was twice as long as Squiddles, it was just impossible to do realistically.
  601.  
  602. (Commentary redux) Ah, this song. The memories. Not really any pre-song history so I’ll just get right into how it was created and why I took this song in this direction.
  603.  
  604. Swing of the Clock, henceforth shortened to SotC (not to be confused with Shadow of the Colossus! It’s just a hilarious coincidence) was the first song I started writing after joining the team. Multiple fake band albums were in progress (The Felt and Squiddles), but at the time I had no idea how to even approach Squiddles (see last week’s post for details).
  605.  
  606. So, I decided I’d try to do something orchestral. I went with a few ideas, but for some reason I kept wanting to write a song with a swing feel in it, though that’s more Midnight Crew than Felt, yet at the same time I wanted to do something that was clearly Philip Glass influenced. The small scraps I started before finally settling on a starting point (none of them were saved, sorry!) all shared two major common pieces: a ticking clock, and an arpeggio piano inspired off of Clark Powell’s Three in the Morning.
  607.  
  608. Both are still in the song, though amusingly many people didn’t notice the piano. It’s there. In reverse. :D
  609.  
  610. While I was messing around with the early ideas for SotC, I managed to create a nice sounding bass synth, but I ended up replacing the sound with a couple of clarinets to keep the focus on orchestral instruments instead.
  611.  
  612. I knew early on I wanted to write a song with a very slow progression, very gradual and subtle shifts between sections. However, I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it until Beatfox made a suggestion on the forums about mastering and production as a whole. Before this song I tended to have a bad habit of improperly using compressors and limiters, though I definitely knew better than to use FL Studio’s stock setting for the Fruity Limiter. (Not saying the Limiter is bad, it’s just really horrible in what the default project template gives you.)
  613.  
  614. While SotC isn’t the first song I put a significant amount of effort into controlling the mix, it was the first I really managed to succeed in understanding what I was doing in that area of production.
  615.  
  616. I ended up automating everything in the song, and I realized how much easier it was to fulfill my original idea plus improve on my overall production. Sadly, the song was still very much on the loud side compared to the rest of the album, so there were some problems with how it was mastered in the end.
  617.  
  618. Going back on track with the swing feel I originally intended… As you can tell, the song is in a 6/8 time signature. It’s one of my favorites. It’s not a true swing, but it was close enough to get where I wanted.
  619.  
  620. A true swing is lazy 6/8. Sort of.
  621.  
  622. Anyway, so while the first third of the song is pretty strictly 6/8, the drum beat comes in that’s definitely swing influenced. And during that section, there’s the tuba part. Well! That originally was actually a stand up bass part, but there’s really no way to mimic a stand up bass with sample libraries, so I experimented with a bunch of sounds until I settled on the tuba.
  623.  
  624. It was passable, but only after I shifted it to actually play slightly early. The attack was so slow. It was a little frustrating.
  625.  
  626. After that, as you know, it goes into the heavier synth rock section. Oh, hey, remember that bassline I said I scrapped in favor of the clarinets? There it is. Back in its glory.
  627.  
  628. The fun big moment, and then the song fades away.
  629.  
  630. Still one of my best songs in the Homestuck canon. I felt like I had set a new standard far higher than I’d ever be able to reach, but being on the team has pushed me further than I ever expected.
  631.  
  632. Now For Some Trivia!
  633. Swing of the Clock was the second to last of a very long stretch of original songs I did in the key of F minor. It’s my favorite key to write music in, but I’ve barely touched it since Chartreuse Rewind. (Which is next week..! Er.. I guess this week, since I was late on this. Oops.) Why? Well, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
  634.  
  635. Secondly, Lexxy really dug this song and it made me flip the fuck out when I found out she liked it, because she’s an amazing person!
  636.  
  637.  
  638.  
  639. - Clockwork Reversal - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  640.  
  641. Clockwork Reversal was my second contribution to the Felt. I love the melody of Endless Climb. I loved the music box-esque remixes on Volume 5 even more. Before I got on the team, I had written Clockwork Apocalypse, an orchestrated version of Clockwork Melody. After realizing Audacity could reverse music, I started experimenting.
  642.  
  643. Since the Endless Climb melody was so memorable and it had served as good sort of interlude tracks on Volume 5, I decided to try to make something in a similar vein. Oddly enough, I think the reversed version of the Clockwork Reversal sounds even better than both Clockwork Reversal and Clockwork Apocalypse.
  644.  
  645.  
  646. - Chartreuse Rewind - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  647.  
  648. I was honest to God surprised that Chartreuse Rewind made the cut for the Felt. It’s not nearly as strong of a song as Swing of the Clock, but it still has its interesting moments.
  649.  
  650. Originally it was a song called Ascension that I was writing outside of Homestuck. Amusingly, it was inspired off of the work from the Felt, but it was a little too electronic to really fit the album’s overall atmosphere.
  651.  
  652. Long story short, I remixed Ascension into Charteuse Rewind and, out of hilarity, Ascension itself was scrapped. So, the remix of one of my songs survived and the original did not.
  653.  
  654.  
  655. (commentary redux) Chartreuse Rewind
  656. To start off, I did not expect this song to make it on to The Felt.
  657.  
  658. Why? Well, it’s not nearly as good as Swing of the Clock. I didn’t think I deserved two songs on the album (versus other pieces that didn’t make it), but nonetheless, that’s what happened.
  659.  
  660. So, where did this song start? Well, it started as inspiration off of The Felt but also from my interest in drum and bass music. Yeah. This song sounded very different at one point. As in, in my head, as a concept.
  661.  
  662. I never actually did make the version I originally set out to create, instead I made something that kind of sounded like the final version, except a bit more focused on the electronic stuff (e.g. the second half of the official release).
  663.  
  664. This song’s name came out of a subtitle I was using, because this was the remix, not the original. The original was called Ascension, but it ended up getting scrapped. The other peeps on the team started to reference this song as Chartreuse Rewind alone instead of Ascension (Chartreuse Rewind), and the name stuck.
  665.  
  666. What else… oh, I really love bass clarinet. Before I met Mark Nabors he told me he really liked to play the bass clarinet part. And he actually has played the part for me. Not like it’s difficult.
  667.  
  668. All of my work repeated itself way too friggin’ much back then.
  669.  
  670. There are pieces here and there that are in reverse, yet forward in the chord progression (the xylo, for example, though it ends up flipping turnways in wibbly wobbly time near the end).
  671.  
  672. Is it a bad song? Oh, no. I’ve made worse. Far worse. But it isn’t particularly an amazing song, to me, anyway. I guess a lot of you liked it, though, and that’s all that matters. :D
  673.  
  674.  
  675. - Trails - Mark Hadley
  676.  
  677. At its heart, Trails is basically a fugue, with a melodic line being repeated and played over the previous one. Trace and Fin follow past and future trails, so I made the first melody in the first half hollow and somewhat indistinct, since it is a "future trail" for the second melody that will come in a few bars later. In the second half I reverse this and have the indistinct melody come afterwards, a "past trail" of the melody that just played.
  678.  
  679.  
  680. - Omelette Sandwich - Mark Hadley
  681.  
  682. I imagined this song being played by Eggs and Biscuits. Shortly after the melody plays, it stops and rewinds back to the beginning, adding more instruments and speeding up the song slightly. This repeats until it is barely the same song anymore, fast and furious instead of the simple cello and viola duet that it starts with. After all the parts are in place, the parts start dropping out one by one until it goes back to the simple start. I went with the abrupt sound of a tape recorder instead of something more subtle, because Eggs and Biscuits aren't know for their subtlety.
  683.  
  684.  
  685. - Time Paradox - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  686.  
  687. This was the first piece I submitted for an album once I got on the team. Basically what happened was: I am visiting somewhere in Chicago with only my phone’s connection to the internet, check the MSPA forums and find a message notification waiting for me. Radiation congratulates me on getting on the team. After some moments of sputtering disbelief, I read on. He says if I want to get started on something, the Squiddles was being finished up and the Felt was on the table. So, for the next couple hours I was invigorated, consumed wholly during the car ride and time in the hotel before I finally fell asleep with working on a track for the Felt. Time Paradox was made.
  688.  
  689. Originally, I made it imagining the recruitment of the Felt, picturing Doc Scratch warping across time and space, assembling the green goons from who knows where, and then witnessing the construction of the Felt manor.
  690.  
  691. It’s a fun track, more energetic than a lot of things I had worked on and definitely influenced by Radiation’s style. The last two sections are still some of my favorite phrases that I’ve written.
  692.  
  693. --------------------------------------------------
  694.  
  695. Homestuck Vol. 7: At the Price of Oblivion
  696.  
  697.  
  698. - Black Rose / Green Sun - Malcolm Brown
  699.  
  700. So it's the music forum discussion, and there's talk about albums representing each of the kids and discussions on what the styles would be. Some are obvious (like say, Dave) and some are offering a bit more discussion. It comes to Rose and there's a degree of uncertainty, and I suggest that it'd be veering into classical, offering up Saint-Saëns "Dance Macabre" as an example of the sort of thing I'd expect, and then set out to whip something up.
  701.  
  702. And at this point in the story Rose's set on flying her dream self with the tumor into the green sun to destroy it (Ah remember those days). In a tried and true effort of "trying to predict where Hussie will take the story and make music for it" BR/GS was scribed as a "very sad, yet hopeful, song about Rose's eventual sacrifice" - Hence why it all builds up to a big creshendo and then fades away (and why it's called Black Rose / Green Sun , although there's another reason for that as explained below)
  703.  
  704. The whole thing is based on yet another piece I made years ago and drafted it out of retirement and made it into something new and useful. The music box was one of the key elements, representing a kind of creepy childlike innocence, and then Rose's signature instrument (the violin, although the sample used is actually a viola and the notes it plays are closer to a cello) begins to kind of build up. Eventually we see the majesty of the green sun, and the rest of the song builds up to the tumors destruction. (All of which never happened even remotely in this way but that's what the song was supposed to be about anyway ) . The overall style is a kind of very sinister attempt at representing something small vs something huge - Original inspiration was taken from the style of music from Xenogears (Yasunori Mitsuda, being very celtic and awesome).
  705.  
  706. The scratchy-sfx were my attempt at auralising the green sun's "scrach" effect. I'm not 100% convinced they work but Andrew kept 'em in so whatever
  707.  
  708. When Andrew asked to use it, it was going to be for a walkaround, so I needed to make some adjustments to make it loopable for the flash. For the album, I added a second section with a keytar solo (I was mucking about with it at the time) to make it a bit more interesting. Ultimatly it ended up being used for something completely different than originally intended, and oddly the name ("Black Rose") became oddly apt once she went all grimdark and tried to fight Jack ("").
  709.  
  710. The name was also a reference to a Sonata Arctica song, similarly titled involving colours, except it was called "White Pearl, Black Oceans"
  711.  
  712.  
  713. - At The Price Of Oblivion - Malcolm Brown
  714.  
  715. The name comes from a line of Rose's during Act 5 while discussing her options of survival with Doc Scratch:
  716.  
  717. "TT: But it's a little disheartening to learn I'm now faced with not one, but two suicide missions at once.
  718. TT: One to destroy Jack's power source and defend all of existence, and another to ensure our cosmic progeny at the price of oblivion"
  719.  
  720. As soon (like, not a minute after) as I saw Rose go grimdark, I decided to wrote some hilariously ANGRY AND KICKASS BATTLE MUSIC for her (presumbed inevitable) battle with Jack. The original sort of concept was something like the music of Guilty Gear - All guitars and organs and the like. It took several attempts to try and tone it into something useful, but in the end I decided to dig up Chorale for Jaspers - A previous bit of music used for representing the death of Rose's cat (The main themes here being the death of Rose's mother and the anger she feels afterwords)
  721.  
  722. So that's where we start, with a kind of messed up, creepy violin rendition of Chorale for Jaspers, before we start to build up and then kick into the main part of the song. Around 1:00 we here the music box chords from Black Rose/ return, then at 1:20 it's another Keytar Solo from me (I'd just bought it and was feeling cocky ). The rhythm guitar and guitar solo at the end was also me and also something I was terrified to do since I don't normally do "Live" playing (Everything is usually sequenced). In this case, a lot of it was so difficult to do (Because I can barely play guitar. At all) at this speed most of it was played at a slower tempo and then sped up digitally (HAX! )
  723.  
  724. The drums were easily the funnest thing to sequence in this thing, mainly all the awesome fills and the double bass step at the end. The final guitar solo is an attempt to reference Rose's original "Strife" theme - Aggrieve. It's very loosely there, and I reckon needs to come back in some fashion since it's actually kind of awesome
  725.  
  726. when Andrew told me he was going to use this one for a fight scene I was looking heavily forward to it. Imagine my surprise when just as it's about to kick off... John gets himself stabbed.
  727.  
  728.  
  729. - Trial and Execution - Malcolm Brown
  730.  
  731. Not a huge amount to say on this one... The scene inspiring it was obviously Terezi's ancestor Redglare vs Vriska's ancestor Mindfang during the sort of mock-trial that ended in Mindfang mind-controlling the crowd and hanging Redglare. Felt like a nice scene to try some musical accompaniment, so I did.
  732.  
  733. So a combination of liking Terezi's theme and getting my hands on some new samples and voices, I decided to whip this together. The idea was a very tribal, savage kind of military march (and chanting) to represent the lower class masses baying for blood. It starts off using Lemonsnout Turnabout for Terezi, but then quickly changes to Crystalanthemums -- Specifically for the reference to "Make Her Pay" and Crystamanthequins as a kind of "Vriska vs Somebody" theme. Ideally it would've just evolved into Vriska's theme, but I find that one a bit tricky to work with
  734.  
  735. Finally it throws in a string glissando as tension mounts, and then snap! Dead! (The snapping is some kind of double bass string snap)
  736.  
  737. The little eerie female vocalist thing didn't really work and is a bit cliched, but I kinda like the rest of the track. Always nice to give character deaths a little celebration
  738.  
  739. The name's fairly obvious - I was trying to work in some kind of "Trial and Error" gag but I guess this works.
  740.  
  741.  
  742. - Spider8reath - John "Tensei" Bruin
  743.  
  744. Alright, as requested, I’ll do some indepth commentary on already released Homestuck songs, starting off with Spider8reath.
  745.  
  746. Now, you may have heard this from me before, but Vriska is HANDS DOWN the most fun character to write music for. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint the reason for this, but something about her character just invites badass pentatonic blues riffs, squealing guitars and shrill horns all over the place.
  747.  
  748. Really, when you pick it apart, this song is actually very simple at its basis, containing a pretty typical blues progression, and the constantly repeated guitar/bass riff which is introduced right at the start and then just keeps on going ( dadada DA dada DA dada dada dadadada, it’s really fun to sing along actually!)
  749.  
  750. The horn section actually adds the bulk of the songs ‘gravy’, providing lots of switch-ups, sometimes playing in unison with the main riff, sometimes splitting up and providing countermelodies or underlining the harmonized guitars. It was also by far the hardest part to write because I had literally no previous experience with brass writing, but I got some great feedback from other music team members.
  751.  
  752. Actually part of the reason that it was so hard to implement is probably because the song was already more or less ‘done’ before I thought of putting in a few brass stabs here and there. Then as I was writing the brass became more and more of a foreground element, and that’s how Spider8reath became the screamy shrill funfest that it is now.
  753.  
  754. People who said that the exposed guitar solo at the start reminded them of Van Halen were totally right, because the song ‘Eruption’ was more or less a direct inspiration for it. I think it turned out really well, and it serves as a great intro to the song!
  755.  
  756. Really though, the main inspiration for this song simply comes from building on the previous Vriska songs that Radiation did. While the brass was a new, spur-of-the-moment addition, the guitar riffs and melodies were always supposed to be reminiscent of stuff like Spider’s Claw, Killed by Br8k Spider and MeGaLoVaNia. People definitely seem to associate this song with Vriska too now, so mission accomplished I guess?
  757.  
  758.  
  759. - lifdoff - Malcolm Brown
  760.  
  761. Name's fairly obviously a reference to SB&HJ And also the bit where John's car takes off, as the song is a reference to.
  762.  
  763. Another music team discussion got onto the stereotypical "Airship" themes you get in JRPGs. Homestuck didn't have one, so off I went to fix that!
  764.  
  765. The original plan was "Showtime in the style of a soaring, brass-filled JRPG Airship theme (ala Highwind, Ragnarawk takes to the skies, Wings etc.) and that's where the first bits come from. Around about 0:56 I wanted to try some cool chord progression as a kind of extension of John's theme (Something I've used in future i.e. Do You Remem8er me?). Someone's recently since pointed out this sounds like the theme of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which is kind of annoying, since I'd never heard that before and it completely does Still, I stand by it.
  766.  
  767.  
  768. - Havoc to be Wrought - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  769.  
  770. Havoc to be Wrought was spawned from an idea for a short story I had in my mind about a man climbing the old bell tower of an abandoned church investigating strange sounds that had plagued a small town, only to be forced into a confrontation with the “King of Owls” once he reaches the top, and ending with the KoO cutting the bell rope that the man clung to and screeching in the night.
  771.  
  772. Things changed though.
  773.  
  774. Once I had actually started writing and refining it, I decided to change its message, from a mad owl thing to the mysterious demon in the troll’s session which had been recently mentioned in the comic (I wrote this sometime in Fall 2010). Also, yes, that is why there is distorted owl screeches at the end, although they were more meant to evoke the horrorterrors crying out in pain than owls by the time it was finished.
  775.  
  776. Contains some very powerful organ and some great chord progressions, but also some structural choices I am not completely proud of, which remained in the piece until its release months and months later because the original Finale file crashed on me before I had a chance to save it. So, rather than attempt reconstructing it, I went with what I had, and it stuck.
  777.  
  778.  
  779. - Saviour of the Dreaming Dead - Malcolm Brown
  780.  
  781. Ok, so this one. First main goal was some kind of Doctor remix, on the ground that I never actually did one (Took my hiatus around the time of Vol 5.) so this was partially a jokey attempt to "Join in the fun" . Secondary goal was mainly a combination of liking the track this is mostly based on (Waking World) and the concept of Godhood ascension (Didn't have a particular character in mind at the time). There's also a little bit of wanting to try some new instrument samples (Namely choir and guitar) so there was a bit of experimentation in this one too.
  782.  
  783. The working title for this one was "Doctor on the Bridge", because the choir instrumentation at the start reminded me a bit of "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm" (the bit after Gandalf dies in the LOTR movie). The final product aimed at being a bit closer to the original SotWW so I gave it a kind of darker twist - "Dreaming Dead" worked quite well as a title and Homestuck concept (And kept the alliteration). The ending I like, it channels a bit of danger and kickass before ending rather uncertainly. I wasn't fully 100% on this one to begin with - There were parts I liked and parts I didn't - And it's not as faithful a 'Doctor/Waking World' homage as it could be... The mastering also isn't brilliant - Quite bass heavy in places.
  784.  
  785. But. After it was used in Cascade, particularly with Rad's additions to the ending and generally going along to the animation of Jade Being Awesome and Universes Being Destroyed it's hard for me not to like it now - Particularly when the end cuts hit and everything's starting to head towards disaster. I don't think it's one of my best, and I would love to go back and try making it better, but I'm happy enough that it was used at one of the biggest moments in the comic, and still stands as a fairly harmless, simple and straightforward bit of music.
  786.  
  787.  
  788. - Sburban Reversal - Mark Hadley
  789.  
  790. Not long after I made Sburban Countdown, I made a version that rewinds back to the beginning again and called it 'Sburban Reversal', just in case it might be useful someday. Andrew ended up using part of it in act 2 except for the actual reversing part, but still credited it as 'Sburban Reversal', which had people asking me constantly after that if it's a real song. It wasn't really anything except for the reversing, so I eventually decided to extend it out to a full song. Since it was never actually fully in the comic, I recommended it as a bonus track.
  791.  
  792. ----------------------------------------
  793.  
  794. The Wanderers
  795.  
  796. - Gilded Sands - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri and Nick Smalley
  797.  
  798. (Solatrus) That was an episode of shenanigans with me and Mr. Nick Smalley.
  799.  
  800. We’re both huge Majora’s Mask fans (obviously we were inspired from Stone Tower Temple), and we think Wayward Vagabond is rad, so we wanted to make a walkabout inspired theme for him.
  801.  
  802. That’s really about it.
  803.  
  804. Lots of time shifting shenanigans, too, especially on the drums and the digeridoo.
  805.  
  806. And Nick’s chiptunes went through some crazy filtering after I got my Oxygen 88 MIDI controller.
  807.  
  808. (Smalley) Take one night goofing off with Jeremy; add FamiTracker, Jeremy’s newfound love for Grossbeat, and Majora’s Mask, and you pretty much have Gilded Sands.
  809.  
  810. Seriously.
  811.  
  812.  
  813. - We Walk - Steve Everson
  814.  
  815. My most recent contribution to Homestuck’s music, and another of my favourites. This piece is actually pretty old, going back to before Volume 5, where it was much simpler (playing out more like a round) and with poorer sound quality in general. Like most of my music it was inspired by a similar piece from somewhere else - in this case, the original Bionicle flash adventure game that used to be on the Lego website way back. If you’ve played it, you might notice the similarity, at least as far as instrumentation goes. It had been many years since I’d last even seen the game, long after it fell off the site, so I couldn’t recognise what I liked about the piece and so the imitation I’d made was pretty poor!
  816. Fast forward a year or two. Some discussion with internet friends had led me to find that old flash game again, and I heard my old favourite tune in all its glory (significantly less glorious than I remembered; nostalgia does that to you). Still, it showed me the main place I was going wrong, which was that I’d neglected harmony. All of the three or four lines of music that piece had were monophonic, making a really drab sound, while what I needed where chords. A stupid mistake? Sure, it was, but then, I wasn’t that good a musician when I first wrote the piece. I started over, applying all the experience I’d got both from writing music and simply listening to it with a critical ear to get my main contribution to the Wanderers album, and something I could be proud of.
  817.  
  818.  
  819. - Requiem for an Exile - Tyler Dever prod. Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  820.  
  821.  
  822. (Solatrus) I made Tyler’s great composition sound, well, better. Imagine it without the panning, without the reverb, etc.
  823.  
  824. I’d be a bit flat sounding!
  825.  
  826.  
  827. -Litrichean Rioghail - Malcolm Brown
  828.  
  829. Aaah this one. This caused me a bit of unexpected grief, but we'll get to that.
  830.  
  831. Basically, I wanted to do some kind of Parcel Mistress/PM theme. Representing her transition from postal worker, to warrior, to queen. We start off quite desolate, and we gradually build up to a kind of royal, celtic march.
  832.  
  833. The instrumentation is a bit all over the place (bagpipes, panpipes, probably an Oud somewhere as well). Most of it was attempting to channel various stereotypical "World Music" concepts into one track (We're dealing with the remnants of Earth as a setting, so one idea is a kind of combination of different cultural styles - It doesn't fully work, since it's mostly just the instrumentation applied to a fairly simple layout and melody).
  834.  
  835. As for the melody itself, I quite like it - It's very playful and jumpy, yet brings a sense of duty, which fits quite well. Explore also makes an appearance during the kind of transitional "Wandering" segment. Also because I really like Explore
  836.  
  837. The name, and it's worth mentioning I've done incorrect translations before (see Rex Duodecim Latinus ), is supposed to be "Royal Mail" in Scots Gaelic. It's a bit of a strange pun on PM as a character...
  838.  
  839. Now onto controversy!
  840.  
  841. As a few people pointed out when they first heard it, that the notes starting from 0:20 onwards by the sitar are viciously close if not identical to the start of Schala's theme from Chrono Trigger. And yes, yes they are. There is a subtle difference but the majority of the phrase matches. Depending on who you ask this ranges from either an atrocity or an inevitability given the limited nature of conventions and structure of music.
  842.  
  843. Personally, the reference was unintentional. Let's get this straight also, I'm a ludicrously huge Yasunori Mitsuda fanboy . I'm not fully ruling out that at some level I was remembering ST when making LR, but I honestly could not recall the song until someone linked a video, and even afterwards I don't recall the song from the game. There are tonnes of tracks from CT that I recall fondly but ST just isn't one of them. This all said, there was no malevolence nor deceit intended when writing LR and I apologise to anyone offended by it.
  844.  
  845. That's really all I have to say on the matter
  846.  
  847.  
  848. - What a Daring Dream - Alexander Rosetti
  849.  
  850. The Wanderers is my favorite Homestuck album. Its focused premise, interesting takes on a theme, and general aesthetic all appeal to me. Not to mention the fact that it contains some of the best songs in the Homestuck discography. This song is not one of those.
  851.  
  852. I don’t mean to sell myself short, but What a Daring Dream is hard to appreciate on its own as music, and this was intentional. As a matter of fact, I wrote it to underscore WV’s dream sequence, which is one of my favorite parts of Homestuck. And even then, my approach wasn’t as programmatic as Malcom’s, as he had the same idea with his track, Nightmare. Funny enough, we even ended up giving our pieces the same title, but he was generous enough to change his so that I could keep mine. Of course, because of this the two songs compliment each other very well, and make for a great double-closer to the album.
  853.  
  854. I composed What a Daring Dream long before we officially started production on The Wanderers. I actually made the first version of it very shortly after that update came out, it being one of those quick flashes of inspiration. In terms of musical influence, there are a few musical cues from Neon Genesis Evangelion that sounded like the direction I wanted to take. All the ones I listened to had this sort of “stuck in your own head” sort of approach to them, which of course is very suited to their subject matter, and that was the reason I thought this sort of music would be perfect for my piece.
  855.  
  856. I wanted the music to be very hazy and meditative, very much like a dream (naturally). Unclear sounds fading in and out, soft messages you’re not quite sure you’re hearing. The use of Morse code was an obvious choice, though I did not have the patience to translate every single line of code in that sequence. I just used the same sample repeatedly, altered it a bit, and panned the two versions of it to each side of the mix. I did, however, think it would be worth my time to whisper the English translation of the Morse code, so throughout the piece you hear my voice narrating ever so slightly in the background, even up to Vriska’s dialogue.
  857.  
  858. The instrumentation was a lucky coincidence since I modeled parts of it off the Evangelion score, and those happened to fit the very broad “Eastern music” theme we were going for for the most part. So the piece turned out to be a great candidate for the album and I worked on it a lot more before submitting it to be on there. Overall it was one of the most fun songs I’ve had the pleasure of making for Homestuck, and the fact that it spooked some people is an added bonus.
  859. Speaking of bonuses, Noot did the art we used for this track. It was one of a few pieces of track art that weren’t commissioned. I happened to be looking around for artists and saw this, and I already knew it was perfect.
  860.  
  861.  
  862. - Nightmare - Malcom Brown
  863.  
  864.  
  865. This one was a bit weird, and went through several revisions trying to figure out what to do. It's loosely designed to be a bit of music for WV's dream in which he effectively turns into Bec Noir and starts killing everything before Vriska turns up disguised as Serenity and makes the whole sequence even weirder.
  866.  
  867. Firstly, the concept - It starts of quite dreamlike, then as we get to 1:40 the transformation starts, then there's some more preamble up to around 2:45 onewards, which is the "Red Miles" section where everything starts to go haywire. In betwixt there's lots of creepy choirs, weird noises and distorted barking all set to a kind of pseudo Egyptian theme (One working title was 'Anubis')
  868.  
  869. Hidden around 0:25 onwards is a kind of very subtle reference to Black and an even subtler reference to RDA. After that it's mostly original.
  870.  
  871. There are various samples hidden around the place, like wolf barks and jackal howling. Also all sorts of bizarre human laughter/screaming/conversation that's been reversed and distorted. Then we get to 2:45 and I attempt to kick it into a kind of bizarre Trailer-music affair with a ridiculous amount of percussion and a lot of staccato strings. Oh and those big brass drones everyone loves these days
  872.  
  873. The ending (3:50 odd) attempts to mimic the beginning of Carapacian Dominion, to act as a kind of bookend for the album. It doesn't do it perfectly, but that's my fault :P
  874.  
  875. I quite like this one. I'm not fully sold on the odd sound effects since they're always a bit gimmicky, but the overall theme kinda works. The name was fairly obvious - I did attempt to call it "What a daring Nightmare" but Alexander Rosetti beat me to it
  876.  
  877. Also hey, 4:13. Love it when that happens.
  878.  
  879.  
  880. - Tomahawk Head - Joren "Tensei" de Bruin
  881.  
  882. I always felt like this song was in a bit of an unfortunate position, being a bonus song on the Wanderers album, which basically meant that only people who bought the album or those who specifically scoured youtube for it would get to hear it.
  883.  
  884. So I’m gonna bring it to your attention and hopefully someone will be hearing it for the first time!
  885.  
  886. Tomahawk Head was pretty much a full-on collaborative effort between me and Radiation. We had already done some stuff together with the full version of MeGaLoVaNia, but this song was a much more even split IMO. Radiation basically wrote most of the composition in midi form, and I had the task of unleashing my samples and live guitar on it. I also did some minor rewrites, like fleshing out the acoustic middle-section as well as adding the guitar solo section.
  887.  
  888. This song was intended as ARs theme, and uses a lot of (stereotypically) Native American instrumentation. In that sense, it kinda reminds me of a lot of Jade/Bec themes, where there’s an obvious eastern Asian vibe, even though thematically there’s no real canonical connection between Jade and eastern Asian culture.
  889.  
  890. I actually consider this a really cool use of ethnic instrumentation. It’s not even the fact that it deliberately tries to go against a stereotype to make a point, but rather that it treats the ethnic instruments as any other: it makes use of the characteristics of the sounds to underline a particular situation or character, and ignores any cultural connotations of the instrument.
  891.  
  892. When you think about it, it’s pretty silly to assume that Jade has to be Asian because some songs associated with her use ethnic instrumentation. In that sense, I might as well claim that Rose has to be Italian, because hey, that’s where violins originally came from!
  893.  
  894. At the end of the movie Kill Bill, there’s a final showdown between The Bride and O-ren Ishii. They’re both wielding katanas and the setting is a very stereotypical, snow-covered japanese garden. You would THINK that you’d at least get some taiko drums as a backing, but nope. The song that plays is “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda, which can best be described as a flamenco/disco hybrid. And it fits PERFECTLY.
  895.  
  896. In that sense, I think that this song too fits AR very well, even though his character has fuck-all to do with Native American culture.
  897.  
  898. ------------------------------------------------
  899.  
  900.  
  901. Prospit & Derse - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  902.  
  903. *Propsit And Derse 1 year Anniversary Commentary*
  904.  
  905. It’s really insane that it’s been one year since this album came out. And what’s even more remarkable is how much I’ve improved as a musician since then. But let’s turn the clock back and I’ll tell you the story of how it all started.
  906.  
  907. This whole thing is going to be done in the order of how I created the album, which was Derse and then Prospit, but not precisely in that order.
  908.  
  909. - Where It All Began
  910.  
  911. It wasn’t too long after Volume 6 was released that I started debating a solo album. I knew that I enjoyed contrasts, but I really loved ethereal sounds. I had actually considered doing a Medium album, but Clark beat me to it. However, Prospit & Derse had already been started before Medium was out.
  912.  
  913. So where did the album’s concept come from? Well, a conversation I had with Lexxy, actually! We were brainstorming ideas and we got into talking about the moons, and then the idea sunk in for me to do a solo album, which was actually called Derse/Prospit (yes, slash included).
  914.  
  915. Pretty cool, huh? And Lexxy helped with the album cover, which is really great.
  916.  
  917. But anyway, I eventually started working on some of the music. I knew Prospit was going to be a struggle for me, because I had never written any proper orchestral music at the time. And the first song I created was this http://soundcloud.com/solatrus/apathy-empathy-wip-2 , albeit it was in drum and bass and not nearly as polished sounding http://soundcloud.com/solatrus/apathy-empathy-wip .
  918.  
  919. But I really didn’t like the direction, so I ended up scrapping it and trying to figure out how to start over. And then Medium was released and I was incredibly inspired and remembered how great atmospheric music is. Clark Powell single-handedly saved this album from being killed before it even got anywhere.
  920.  
  921. And that’s when I created Darkened Streets.
  922.  
  923.  
  924. - - Hallowed Halls
  925.  
  926. (original )Hm, I haven’t thought much about Prospit & Derse since its release, actually, but, here goes.
  927.  
  928. As you can probably tell, the two halves of the album have some parallels, especially in the first two songs: e.g., Hallowed Halls is to Darkened Streets as Golden Towers is to Obsidian Towers. I originally wrote Darkened Streets, but I really wanted to take the melody and progression used in it and apply it to a brassy fanfare. That’s ultimately what Hallowed Halls came to be. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Mark helping me name the song, I probably wouldn’t’ve had the right image in my head for the new arrangement.
  929.  
  930. And Nick Smalley helped me out with those french horns, making them sound halfway decent.
  931.  
  932. Not really much else other than this song and Core of Darkness are without a doubt the best two on the album.
  933.  
  934. (redux) The opener for Prospit & Derse, at least, in the album’s final lineup. This was actually track #5 for the longest period of time, but I realized just before release that Prospit had a stronger opening track and Derse had a stronger closing track.
  935.  
  936. This was a really fun song to create, and definitely helped set the example of how I wanted to approach Prospit for awhile. Hilariously, if you listen to how the album’s set up, there’s actually 4 sets of songs. Hallowed Halls and The Golden Towers have a lot of similar instruments, and are both designed as parallels to Darkened Streets and The Obsidian Towers, which also have a similar set of instruments. I ended up veering off into totally unique territory for each half’s Dreamers, and ended up continuing in those new directions for the 4th tracks.
  937.  
  938. A big thanks to Nick and Mark for helping me get this particular track started. Mark gave me some good ideas (as well as naming this song) for how to put together some of the melodic lines. Nick came along and pointed out how I should use the French Horns. So this track is almost completely why the two of them have special thanks credits on this album.
  939.  
  940. In retrospect, the song feels like it’s a bit empty. For being what’s supposed to be the Royal Palace of Prospit, the impact just isn’t there, neither melodically nor atmospherically. It’s not a bad song, but it just barely misses the mark that it deserved to hit.
  941.  
  942. However, I absolutely adored the art Bea did for this piece, and, well, .. hey wait the art up there is different than it used to be! Yup. Bea decided to update the art for Hallowed Halls, and she did and even better job than before. Oh, and here’s the fun part on this: I had no idea she actually was doing this until a few days ago, and she forgot that the anniversary was yesterday! Anyway, here’s what she had to say:
  943.  
  944. "contributing to homestuck, a webcomic thats given me so many opportunities, friends and good memories is a great honor, especially to be involved in an album as conceptually compelling and well executed as the prospit and derse album. i thank solatrus for the opportunity to be a part of his creation and everyone who helped me give back to something that has influenced my life immensely."
  945.  
  946. Thanks for helping me out, Bea. And keep up the good work.
  947.  
  948. I have to say I’m pleased overall with this song, but, like any artist, it’s difficult to look back at my works. They never seem completed. Especially the Prospit half for me.
  949.  
  950.  
  951. - - The Golden Towers
  952.  
  953. Oh boy. …What to say on this one…
  954.  
  955. That probably frightens you a little, doesn’t it? Yeah. Well, putting it simply this song tried too hard to be The Obsidian Towers. I really wanted to do that parallel idea with this song and its Derse counterpart more than any of the others, but I ended up trying too hard to pull off that effect. And this song suffered greatly for it.
  956.  
  957. To be fair, it’s got a pretty cool twist on everything compared to Obsidian Towers, but the biggest problem with this song is that I didn’t try to let it be itself. You have no idea how badly I want to redo this song. There’s so much potential behind this song that, at the time, I really just didn’t understand. Of course, I’ve learned a remarkable amount since then, and one day, hopefully soon, I will rewrite this song.
  958.  
  959. Haha, I sound like I’m really tearing into my work here, don’t I? Well, it used to be Prospit Dreamers that I didn’t like, but more on that a little later.
  960.  
  961. As I mentioned with The Obsidian Towers, both songs suffer from being really boring compositions. While Obsidian managed to get away with it because of my production skill, this song couldn’t hide behind ill beats and a deliciously dark atmosphere. So, the very inexperienced composer in me tried his best to piece together a song based on The Obsidian Towers.
  962.  
  963. Is it horrible? Eh, I’ll leave that judgment up to you. I know there are fans out there who really dig this song. My opinion is that it’s my weakest song related to Homestuck, but really, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever done.
  964.  
  965. I’m quite pleased with what Pride did for the art, though. It worked out really well for the song.
  966.  
  967. As an additional note, it’s been pointed out to me by this fan http://kicking-christ-in-a-dirty-diaper.tumblr.com/ that this song sounds like it has Mark Hadley’s Problem Sleuth theme in it, at least in part. It’s a coincidence in the exact same reason that Frost gets the same comment: slow melodies, probably the same key. Really nothing else to it. I’ve listened to Hadley’s PS theme probably twice ever. Oops. Said fan also wondered if I jokingly thought that gentlemen of Team Sleuth are Prospit’s agents much like our chums in the Midnight Crew are Derse’s. I didn’t, but that’s an awesome comparison and now I’m all for it.
  968.  
  969.  
  970. - Propsit Dreamers
  971.  
  972. (original commentary)Oh boy.
  973.  
  974. Yeah.
  975.  
  976. I really don’t know what I was thinking on this one. It was rushed, and it’s, sadly, my least favorite work I’ve ever done. I had some interesting ideas, going with a bit of a swing flavor to it, but frankly the song sounds like I was going through ADD.
  977.  
  978. It probably doesn’t help that I basically a small, but significant, part of the song and set it aside for a few months before adding in the piano and bass parts and finishing it.
  979.  
  980. And by rushed I mean I was actually adding to this song days before the album came out. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing that ever.
  981.  
  982. Still, people seem to like the song, and to be fair, there’s a few really neat parts in it. It’s just, well, weak overall. I’ve done a lot better, and this song’s ‘failure,’ so to speak, taught me a lot of valuable lessons.
  983.  
  984. Sorry if you were expecting something more positive!
  985.  
  986. (redux) - This song is freaking weird.
  987.  
  988. Now why do I say that? Well, it doesn’t really know what it wants to be. A 6/8 piece somewhat reminiscent of something from the Legend of Zelda? A 4/4 piece? A swung piece? It’s… well it’s all of those.
  989.  
  990. Prospit Dreamers is without a doubt the most ambitious song I wrote for Prospit & Derse. I did a lot of really awkward things that worked out really well, but I had absolutely no idea why any of it worked. And so I ended up really hating the song because I thought it was too random!
  991.  
  992. Come a year later and I now I understand my composing style better, so when I listen to this I find it to be a pretty dang fascinating piece. A lot of individual parts making a very interesting greater whole.
  993.  
  994. If you think about the early part, it sounds like the Prospitians had created this really mellow 6/8 piece, but then John and Jade show up and mix it up with their (my headcanon) love of swing music.
  995.  
  996. I’m especially pleased with how I managed to fit Frost and Doctor together into this song, along with a little bit of Penumbral Phantasm, and still make the song stand on its own. It’s a lot cooler sounding than what I did in Derse Dreamers, honestly!
  997.  
  998. My personal favorite part is the time signature switch when the clarinets come in and play an arrangement of that familiar motif from Penumbral Phantasm, and then the strong french horns playing the same line they played in Frost behind the trumpets playing Doctor’s melody.
  999.  
  1000. It’s really hilarious how I used to not appreciate this song, but now I do. I actually enjoy it more than most of the album, and I’m really glad that my opinion changed, and I am also really glad I asked Zoey to do the art for this song, because her art is amazing, and her interpretation of John and Jade is the best. THE BEST. Speaking of, she informed me to tell you all the following:
  1001.  
  1002. "Butts"
  1003.  
  1004. Butts indeed.
  1005.  
  1006.  
  1007. - - Center of Brilliance
  1008.  
  1009. Expecting a different song, were you? B)
  1010.  
  1011. While this song was started pretty late into production, it was actually one of the first in the entire album to be completed. Both Hallowed Halls and Center of Brilliance were started around the same time, and I really don’t remember which came first. It’s been awhile, okay?
  1012.  
  1013. Anyway, if it wasn’t one of the first to be completed, it was definitely the first. I’m actually pretty pleased with this song, because it helped me figure out the other direction I wanted to go in for Prospit.
  1014.  
  1015. The best part about this song is, without a doubt, the trumpet lines in the middle and near the end. While it’s totally synthetic and sampled, I’m very pleased with how it sounds! I really love the section very close to the end where it’s just a single trumpet and the clarinet section. It’s one of the better motifs I’ve written, in my opinion, and I’m quite pleased with it.
  1016.  
  1017. That’s not to say this song is perfect. The piano timing is a little too off and a little too noticeably cut-and-paste repeated. It’s a really tiny nitpick, but I didn’t even really notice it until earlier this week.
  1018.  
  1019. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, this song was originally Prospit Dreamers. Why did I change my mind on it? Well, I couldn’t figure out how to fit in Doctor (and by extension Penumbral Phantasm) and Frost into such a happy sounding song. It just wasn’t really working for me, nor was the time signature.
  1020.  
  1021. But I definitely felt like the song was a great closer to this half of the album, and Shelby’s art for the piece fit perfectly.
  1022.  
  1023.  
  1024. - - Darkened Streets
  1025.  
  1026. This was definitely the song that started everything off. It’s dark, dreary, but still majestic like the very moon it describes. The music takes on you a flight. You’re one of the Derse Dreamers, the wind rushing across your face as you approach the moon’s surface. Carapaces scurrying about, too afraid to be caught after curfew, wary of Jack Noir and his gang.
  1027.  
  1028. My original goal was to make this song set the example of how I perceive Derse. Dark, but not evil. Fitting for the Dreamers we know and love there.
  1029.  
  1030. I definitely tried to go into some new territory with this song. While I’ve always loved the Metroid Prime Trilogy soundtrack, this was my first real attempt at trying to imitate many quality’s of that trilogy’s music.
  1031.  
  1032. The violin that comes in pretty early on was actually added in near the end of the album’s production, and the idea to really strongly associate every song with the kids didn’t occur to me until part of the way into doing Prospit’s half, but I’ll get to that later.
  1033.  
  1034. I really have to say I like the the bass I chose for this song. It has a sort of heart beat quality to it. Very simple, very deep. But it really cuts through. Of course, I did get to do my favorite high pass/bitcrushed beats again, but this time I did a spin on it: Gross Beat. I mentioned it with Crystalanthology, but I used Gross Beat far more extensively in Derse.
  1035.  
  1036. When I was initially creating this song, Prospit & Derse was a concept album. You, the listener, would have been guided along a journey, first to Derse, going through the Darkened Streets, up the Obsidian Towers to where the Derse Dreamers were jamming out, before heading deep into the Core of Darkness, until you were suddenly transported to Prospit, appearing in the Hallowed Halls before repeating the journey with Prospit’s counterparts. Honestly, if you listen to the album as Derse & Prospit instead, you still can kind of get that vibe!
  1037.  
  1038. You can definitely hear the idea of that in how it goes into The Obsidian Towers, but I ended up removing the more seemless transitions in favor of just having two somewhat parallel albums, and stuck with the parallel idea for awhile. This is the most obvious in the first two songs of each half. Hallowed Halls is based on Darkened Streets, and The Golden Towers is based on The Obsidian Towers.
  1039.  
  1040. In a side note, I’d love to link you to the artist who did the song cover art for Darkened Streets, but I’ve lost contact with them! If anyone knows where I can get in contact again, please let me know!
  1041.  
  1042.  
  1043. - - The Obsidian Towers
  1044.  
  1045. I started to shift styles for this one a bit. I wanted something that was more majestic sounding, but still as dark as Darkened Streets. Ultimately, I decided to feature the choir section more in the intro. It actually was probably the first synth I put in this song. Everything basically followed.
  1046.  
  1047. I had a bit more fun with the bassline in this song, though it’s not particularly complex. The focus definitely on the time shifting beats, a la Dave. Hell, Dave is the main reason I decided to use Gross Beat heavily. I wonder if Dave feels like a Time Lord as the Knight of Time?
  1048.  
  1049. The Obsidian Towers was actually one of the last songs I finished composing for the album, because I got totally stuck on it without having the string section in there.
  1050.  
  1051. Anyway, I think this song definitely describes the Towers well enough, though, I feel like I could have gone for something a bit more powerful in sound. Something more looming, more… ominous. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20, yeah? To be fair, The Golden Towers suffers from this issue as well, so it was probably also a composition problem. Woosp!
  1052.  
  1053. Nonetheless, the string section in this song, especially right at the end, is one of the cooler sounding harmonies I’ve thrown together.
  1054.  
  1055. I really have always loved the architecture Andrew picked for the moons, though personally I feel it fits Derse far better than Prospit.
  1056.  
  1057.  
  1058.  
  1059. - Derse Dreamers
  1060.  
  1061. (original commentary) Well, this is the most popular song from Prospit & Derse. Not surprised it eventually would show up. :>
  1062.  
  1063. This song, along with Core of Darkness, captures the very core idea I had in mind for the Prospit & Derse album: writing music about the settings, but showing that the mere existence of the kids on those moons influences the music as well.
  1064.  
  1065. Derse Dreamers was the first to actually reach that goal, and was actually the first song to be fully completed on the entire album.
  1066.  
  1067. Of course, this song being retroactively tossed into the Shut Up and Jam page helped with its popularity quite a bit.
  1068.  
  1069. Retroactively gaining an additional featured song.. from a page that existed before my first real feature. How’s that for weird time shit?
  1070.  
  1071. (redux) The fan favorite. Without a freaking doubt. This one compares to Frost in popularity, and I’m willing to bet is probably even more popular thanks to horizon’s vocal cover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9SQjvPLAWs .
  1072.  
  1073. What’s that? You hear Iron Man in it? Yeah, so do I. Oops. That string section is kind of hilariously similar. It’s a huge coincidence, though, because I really don’t listen to Black Sabbath whatsoever.
  1074.  
  1075. When I started this song, I knew I wanted two things: Rose playing violin, and Dave being a bad-ass with time-shifted beats. I ended up making the opening motif and let it repeat for most of the song. People seemed to really like the strong focus on Rose and Dave, but I think even more so people enjoyed the callbacks to their respective Medium world themes (Endless Climb and Atomyk Ebonpyre, respectively).
  1076.  
  1077. Though, maybe it was the name? Maybe it was the amazing art Mixt did? Speaking of, here’s what she had to say:
  1078.  
  1079. "I recall the idea was to draw Rose and Dave jamming on Derse, but the piece itself made me think of space, so they ended up jamming in the space between Derse and its moon instead. Rose’s bowhand unfortunately reflects my own terrible grip when playing violin.
  1080.  
  1081. Also, I laughed when it was discovered that Derse Dreamers made it into [S] Rose and Dave: Shut up and jam just prior to the album’s release. Fandom, you never cease to amaze me."
  1082.  
  1083. I agree with her there. I was very amused when people noticed the change to that page even before I had the chance to mention it to anyone. Crazy fandom ninjas!
  1084.  
  1085. Yeah, that’s pretty much all there is to this song. It was remarkably straightforward. I didn’t do anything particularly surprising for myself on this one. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I did it.
  1086.  
  1087. More importantly, however, I’m thrilled this song is enjoyed by so many people, and I’ve been blown away how people have have been using this song in their own derivative works. It’s just really heartwarming as an artist to see my work out there having a life of its own.
  1088.  
  1089.  
  1090. - - Core of Darkness
  1091.  
  1092. (original commentary) Best song on Prospit & Derse. Period.
  1093.  
  1094. This was the song that made me realize my production had legitimately hit a professional level and wasn’t ever going to go back.
  1095.  
  1096. This was the only Derse song that was written in response to a Prospit song. I wrote Center of Brilliance before Core of Darkness, and I really wanted to try to counter the very.. bright and circular (I guess?) feel I had with CoB.
  1097.  
  1098. Out of all of my production work, Core of Darkness has the most movie soundtrack sound to it, and that’s pretty awesome. Fantastic way to close out the album.
  1099.  
  1100. It’s also a nice precursor to my current interest in trip hop music.
  1101.  
  1102. (redux) My favorite. While you all have a soft spot for Derse Dreamers, I have one for Core of Darkness. This is the song that made me actually say out loud, “Whoa, when did my music start sounding professional?”
  1103.  
  1104. Yeah. This one. I had more fun working on this song than any other song on this album. And it still stands out to me as being one of, if not, my best electronic/downbeat songs. I wasn’t really sure what I was going with when I picked the name Core of Darkness. This song doesn’t particularly have a “round” feel to it, amusingly. But I wanted to just grasp the raw essence, the core, if you will, of what Derse is, and continue with the idea that the kids influence the way the music sounds on the moons just as they affect many of the characters in the game through prototyping.
  1105.  
  1106. I’m very pleased with the string sections I did, though it’s not really a complex melody. Lots of repetition, just like the rest of this half of the album. But the atmosphere is pretty damn awesome, and without a doubt set the tone for some of my future works. I wasn’t aware that I actually really liked trip-hop at the time, but Nick introduced me to the genre, and it completely clarified why I enjoyed doing this half of the album so much.
  1107.  
  1108. I’m also very impressed with the art that Shad did, though it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. However, I preferred to let the artists have some free reign, so this actually turned out better than what I was thinking! Here’s what she had to say on her piece and the rest of the album:
  1109.  
  1110. "When I was first asked about doing album art, it was really, really exciting!! Those who know me, know that I’m all about the carapace and everything in general, and having an album based on the kingdoms was really exciting and it was an honor to be confronted about it at all!
  1111.  
  1112. I’ve always dreamed to do things for Homestuck, just because of how it has affected me. I’m always up to doing things, and it’s always greatwhen I’m allowed, and when it’s something that I feel passionate about.
  1113.  
  1114. I did the album art to Core of Darkness, which honestly is one of my favorite songs and I can’t tell if I’m being biased or not because it’s my art.
  1115.  
  1116. I took the chance to do something new, and I wanted to go above and beyond what quality work that I normally do. I wanted this to be something I could be proud of, and something that would showcase just how good I thought it was!
  1117.  
  1118. Solatrus sent me a sample of the unfinished song, which I listened to on repeat the whole time I was working. I ended up doing the wholething in one sitting, and I just worked on it all night long because I was just.reallyinto it. I wanted to do somethingreally extreme and fun to look at. The angel being. like.. you were in the core, a la the title of the music.
  1119.  
  1120. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just give up andscrap it, because it was hard and something I hadn’t done - the perspective, along with the lineless-like style.
  1121.  
  1122. But I’m really happy with it even a year later.
  1123.  
  1124. The music itself was just.really really great. I loved itnot just because I worked on it, which was a great plus, but all the art, allof it, was really great. The music was awesome, and I loved the whole thingbehind it. Using the kids’ instruments and styles to create the music for each kingdom. And just??? It seemed really fitting, what with how much I like thecarapace and all.
  1125.  
  1126. It was really an honor to work on it, and I still listen to the album every now and again, even a year later. I’m really proud of everyone who worked on it and thankful for the album and the art."
  1127.  
  1128. Aw, thanks Shad! I really appreciate that you enjoy the album so much.
  1129.  
  1130.  
  1131. ------------------------
  1132.  
  1133. Homestuck Vol. 8
  1134.  
  1135. - Calamity - Micheal Guy Bowman
  1136.  
  1137. “Calamity” was inspired by the very same update that inspired the Pantskat craze - the image of Gamzee returning, Warhammer of Zillyhoo in hand is translated into two sonic elements, ie honks and chanting. What I’ve enjoyed really intensely about Andrew’s sense of humor in Homestuck and his other adventures is his gradual elevation of silly details onto the pedestals of utter drama, and with this track I tried to recreate that. You laughed at the honks and the chanting before - now your heart races (at least I hope).
  1138.  
  1139. There was a certain difficulty in making “Calamity” really work for me. I had a couple of different sounds I was attempting all at once, each working on their own but sort of fighting for control when mashed together. The introduction and conclusion of the song using a theme from “Walk-Stab-Walk” needed to be really punchy, while I really needed the middle of the song to glide, and the connecting bits with the chanting needed to build and build in tension. There are a lot of different sounds in the song’s palette, the most difficult of which to utilize was the enormous saw synth that dominates the middle. Getting that thing to be grand without utterly overpowering the rest of the song was incredibly difficult.
  1140.  
  1141. Overall I was really satisfied with how much excitement there is in this song. It’s got a big simple melody but it doesn’t outstay its welcome. As the album opener, it sets up the stakes and excitement of Homestuck without sort of beating the point into you by lasting too long. I think of it as a cousin to “Sburban Jungle” or at least another song approached in that dramatic, electronic way.
  1142.  
  1143. The countdown sample is from a NASA recording, I believe it’s the launch of Apollo 11.
  1144.  
  1145.  
  1146. - Do You Remem8er Me? - Malcolm Brown
  1147.  
  1148. (original commentary) Alas poor Vriska. This scene stood out quite a bit from the Scrapbook Near-end-of-act Scratch-a-thon as being yet more humility to Vriska as a character - first hinted at during John's talk with her around the whole 'lifdoff' time (which is also why most of the song is taken from lifdoff.)
  1149.  
  1150. The idea was to create something vaguely romantic and a bit tragic for the whole 'd8' thing. I used lifdoff as a starting point because that's become my sort of unofficial 'John' theme - It's quite light and goofy but reasonably heroic and fantastical. Showtime shows up at around 2:17, shortly followed by a slightly modified lift from Death of the Lusii (as mentioned previously in this topic). After that it slides into an additionally modified version of Ruins/Awakening for reasons that are hopefully obvious and also because I like that tune
  1151.  
  1152. The main reason I made this is because Vriska's had a but few moments when she wasn't terrorizing everybody and generally acting the huge bitch. Add to this the whole 'fat vriska' thing, and the very bombastic music she's had thus far... It was nice to give her last bit of humility a soundtrack.
  1153.  
  1154. And the reason Vriska's actual theme doesn't show up anywhere is because I find it difficult to work with as it's kinda crazy /excuse.
  1155.  
  1156. It took me about half a day to get the tambourines sounding decent and they still don't sound like what I imagined they would...
  1157.  
  1158. Also I was trying to channel some of the style from the music of the Little Big Adventure games. The soundtrack for thems' awesome and ya'll should go listen to it!
  1159.  
  1160. (Tumblr Version)
  1161.  
  1162. “DYRM” was essentially cre8ed as a sort of 8acking track to the John and Vriska ‘date’ sequence (around about here). The idea was to do a sort of schlocky romantic 8allad that combined elements of Johns goofiness but with the tragedy that hey - Vriska’s dead. Over the course of it, we travel through John and Vriska’s memories, and she’s trying to get him to remem8er something important, so there’s that element too. It’s kinda sad, 8ut in a way it’s also a 8it of a cele8ration of Vriska - She’s surprisingly polarizing with a lot of the fan8ase, as the 8est characters often are… :p
  1163.  
  1164. THE NAME
  1165. I can’t immedi8ly recall if the phrase “Do You Remem8er Me?” is said by Vriska…….. I think it was, 8ut it’s a faff trying to navigate around that 8it of the comic (I often like na88ing song titles out of the dialogue itself - That’s where At The Price Of O8livion came from and of course Sea Hitler’s Water Apocalypse. If not, well it felt like as good a title as any. :p The ‘8’ helps immediately recognise the subject matter.
  1166.  
  1167. THE TRACK
  1168. It’s primarily “lifdoff”, which I started using a sort of personal theme of John. Other slight inspirations for this track are “Anthem Part 2” from The Truman Show and a little 8it of the music of Little 8ig Adventure (primarily the use of woodwinds/percussion).
  1169.  
  1170. It starts off with a simple lightened lifdoff, which carries it for a while. The percussion at 1:09 was fun to sequence - It’s mostly just a collection of taiko samples from the EWQL play library that are quite fun to work with, particularly some the articulation (The ‘roll’ you hear is one of ‘em). What I think works quite well is the power of the Taikos with the lightness of the woodwinds - Gives it quite an emotional punch.
  1171. 1:33 is almost directly L8A inspired (The layering of the woodwind melody on 8rass I’m sure I got from there). At this point we’re 8uilding up to play the ‘Death of the Lusii/Awakening’ 8it with a sort of alternate chord progression, but we sneak in a Showtime reference around 2:16.
  1172. 2:26 is meant to directly correlated to These Two panels and is a reference to this track.
  1173. Then it 8uilds up to the main section of Awakening at around 3:30. Given that the main theme is a sort of dreamlike afterlife, it felt appropri8 ::::p
  1174. And we end! Uncertain cadences all round!
  1175.  
  1176. Overall there’s quite a 8it I like about this one. The Percussion doesn’t vary much, which lets it down I think (It’s 8asically just the same loop for most of the song, something I’m hilariously guilty of in most everything I make :p) but it did the jo8 in giving Vriska a good sendoff.
  1177.  
  1178. Oh yeah - The reason it doesn’t use any of Vriska’s theme is because I find that theme a 8it…….. All over the place ::::p Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool 8it of music, 8ut I don’t find it as easy to play a8out with than other tracks. 8lame my laziness!
  1179.  
  1180. I also fully suspect I missed some ‘8’s somewhere…….. This stuff’s harder than it looks. God help me if I try to commentary another gorram Terezi track ::::p
  1181.  
  1182.  
  1183. - Galactic Cancer - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  1184.  
  1185. What started off as me meandering about with slightly odd chord progressions became a rather meandering piece in general. Originally labeled Nether, at least as the piece began to formulate, the first part quickly developed in what I hoped would be a style reminiscent of Russell Brower’s music for Outland in World of Warcraft, primarily the Outland Suite and Netherstorm (what the first name referenced).
  1186.  
  1187. I completed most of the piece without drums or effects at first, but felt something was missing. After messing around with some different bits of drum samples, I found beats that were suitable for what I was going for, and those helped give more definition to the meter of the piece as much of it was long chords that made it hard to distinguish at times, then added some occasional filter effects to increase the overall spacey feel.
  1188.  
  1189. After everything was in place, I listened through it multiple times and just began to imagine Karkat’s monologue about how everything was his fault and the phrase “Galactic Cancer” stuck.
  1190.  
  1191.  
  1192. - Ocean Stars Falling - Micheal Guy Bowman
  1193.  
  1194. The Squiddles album gets no love. There, I said it. I’ve mentioned before how awesome it is and how dramatically it has undersold compared to the rest of our material, but apparently everyone is too terrified of its My Little Pony meets Cthulu approach to give it a shot. Trust me, you’ll like it more than you think you will.
  1195.  
  1196. Anyway, one of the most surprising tracks on that particular album is “Ocean Stars”, a peaceful, mysterious little ditty imagined by Mark with a nautical theme in mind. I thought it had a beautiful little structure, and I guess the song must have stuck with me because at some point I found myself playing its chords over and over on my keyboard faster and faster until I was sure it would make for a great little indie rock inspired track. So I did just that.
  1197.  
  1198. This song takes its cues most heavily from “Regatta de Blanc” by the Police and “Life in Technicolor” by Coldplay - the meditatively simple rock backup is accompanied by a huge chorus of wordless vocals provided by countless overdubs of Tavia and myself. These middle voices are bookended by the twinkling bell sounds in the high range and the rumbling drums and guitar in the low range to make for a very full mix that really surprised me with its depth. I threw in some slowed-down bubble sounds (the same samples from “Mister Bowman Tells You About the Squiddles”) to create the ocean ambiance, something I’d really gotten the chance to hear on a scuba dive I’d done over the summer.
  1199.  
  1200. This is another example of a song that has the “just right” feeling about its length. I could probably have easily repeated the vocals endlessly as though I was attempting to induce transcendental meditation - it would probably have had the same effect as “Hey Jude” or any number of other great songs. Owing though to my sense that this album was going to be a long one (my contributions alone come out to more than 20 minutes of music) I decided to capitalize on having achieved the harmony and just let it end when its thought was fully expressed, not unlike the original composition by Mark.
  1201.  
  1202.  
  1203. - Escape Pod - Micheal Guy Bowman
  1204.  
  1205. Before going into a description of this track, I must make a long-overdue rebuttal to the factors that overshadowed its reception. Yes, I know this song and its track art pertain to the Wayward Vagabond. Yes, I know it’s sad that Andrew “killed off” the Wayward Vagabond on the same day that this album was released. No, I had no idea that would happen nor do I care how incongruous the song’s mood seems in relation to that particular plot point.
  1206.  
  1207. Anyway, now that I finally said my keep on that, “Escape Pod” was a really really fun track to do. It’s a rock track with a feelgood video game attitude - I’ve heard it described as Sonic music a lot, though to be fair my main reference were Nintendo games, particularly Earthbound from which I borrowed the deliberately fake brass. It also shares some similarities with the Mario sound, kind of really owing to the competitive games such as Mario Kart and Mario Party.
  1208.  
  1209. The track also pulls a lot from actual rock music - the Roxy Music track “Street Life” was a big cue here, and the start-stop structure on the second chorus was really inspired by Tally Hall’s track “Greener” of which the effect can only be described in exotic dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sV1EOJQTEI&feature=youtu.be). I really wanted to pull out the stops on this one and make it catchy as hell, but apparently the two tracks book-ending it on Volume 8 steal its thunder.
  1210.  
  1211. What more can be said about it? This is about as totally poppy (or perhaps J-poppy) as I get. Compared to stuff like “Greenhouse” and “Squiddle Samba” this track is right up my alley. It in contrast with some of the other stuff that I’ve made appearing on the very same album (the minimalist piece “Gust of Heir” which I collaborated on with Tyler Dever comes to mind) you’ll see that I can go just as far in the saccharine direction as I can into the abstract. For me range has always been an asset I’ve felt was important to nurture, so with Volume 8 I set the pace for my work ethic on Ithaca in terms of never settling to have “found my sound” no matter how well any one idea works.
  1212.  
  1213.  
  1214. - Frog Hunt - Micheal Guy Bowman
  1215.  
  1216. Uh oh, Jit and I showed up to the album with the same song idea. That’s like two girls showing up the party in the same dress. Awkward! Good thing for Jit and I that, like the two girls in that famous scenario, we each have our own swagga and wear those dresses like the hot young messes we are. Wow, don’t quote me on that. (Too late - DPF)
  1217.  
  1218. Anyway, while “Frog Forager” is almost immediate in its “aw man, yeah, it’s THIS kind of tune” factor for avid listeners of Homestuck music, my ditty “Frog Hunt” seems to hit a lot of people out of left field. Maybe it’s because I was busy surprising myself with this one as well.
  1219.  
  1220. I’ve mentioned Weather Report a few times as an influence, and while I can’t bring even a fraction of that band’s musicianship to my work, I really attempted to bring their sense of atmosphere to the piece. There’s a lot of elements thrown in there - the wacky time signature (17/8 if I recall correctly), the meandering syncopated piano, the funk breaks, all that latin percussion, plus a pile of odd sound effects. I threw in some frog ambiance using some really odd synthesizers and a toy accordion as well.
  1221.  
  1222. The point of this song was to kind of put the action, the drama, and all that teenage chemistry on hold so I could focus on a moment in the story that might be just a little bit more peaceful. Going on a safari for frogs on a newly-awakened alien forest world seems to beckon a very different angle than the heated stakes typically associated with Homestuck. Plus, I’ve always felt that the environment of Homestuck deserves a little more attention given that nearly 99% of all art generated by the fans are homages to their favorite characters and not the fantastic places imagined by Andrew.
  1223.  
  1224.  
  1225. - Terraform - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  1226.  
  1227. That’s a remix of Terra and (obviously) Frost.
  1228.  
  1229. Why? Well, I wanted Terra to be in Homestuck and sound more like a video game rock or metal song.
  1230.  
  1231. And because the fight of Dave and Jade vs. Jack was an interesting event, so that’s how the song came to be.
  1232.  
  1233.  
  1234. - Unite Synchronization - Malcolm Brown
  1235.  
  1236. (Original) This was an idea borne of two things. Firstly the Dave & Jade vs Noir battle in the banner (Original title was 'Redshift'), and secondly a post-scratch Dave trying to regroup with all the kids (hence - 'Unite' - keeping to the kind of single-world direction thing HS has going for it i.e. Descend, Ascend, Cascade, etc).
  1237.  
  1238. The main premise was to have quite a hefty beat (Dave), bass - including a slap bass solo (Jade), piano (John) and violin (Rose). The premise being as the song continues each part contributes until the end, where all 4 play in sync (hence... er... 'Synchronization').
  1239.  
  1240. There's the tiniest influence from Showtime (again). It was also my first attempt at some vague chiptuniness in a while, which may or may not have worked... You decide!
  1241.  
  1242. The breakbeat drum thing was also fun to do.
  1243.  
  1244.  
  1245. (Commentary Redux) Concept:
  1246.  
  1247. The idea behind this guy was something similar to the traditional idea of some HS songs being about movement (“Descend”, “Ascend”, “Upward Movement”), so in this case it’s 4 things moving, together as one. It was becoming reasonably clear that post-scratch, we’d be separating The beta kids up a bit, and ideally, once the dust settled, they would all meet up again - This track’s effectively the kids overcoming whatever barriers in their way to unite.
  1248.  
  1249. That was the original idea, anyway.
  1250.  
  1251. It was primarily Dave centered, because in my personal interpretation of Dave I’ve always seen him as a bit of Roadie - always working behind the scenes to help people out in a lateral manner - as opposed to facing shit head on. He’s also (and again this is personal interpretation) occasionally presented as the least capable of the 4. Part of it presumably stems from the contrast between Bro, who is so frighteningly capable it hurts, and living in that shadow while trying to emulate him but not quite reaching it is quite a defining trait of Dave.
  1252.  
  1253. That’s not to say he’s useless, I mean he’s died less than John, and he’s also not afraid to think laterally about problems and cheat (“Shenanigans”), but there’s been a few bits where you get the feeling he wishes he was a bit more of the hero his kin are.
  1254.  
  1255. Unite Synchronization is essentially a chance for a Strider to shine, to get the band back together and to prepare an ass kicking.
  1256.  
  1257. Details time!
  1258.  
  1259. The Track:
  1260.  
  1261. We start with a moment of contemplation, or at least an establishing shot of somewhere. Then bam - We’re moving. The main hook of this piece is the C - G# - D# - G# pattern, which is probably primarily influenced from Sonata Arctica’s “The Cage” (Though The Cage is a different key and pattern, but the progression is similar and just has a really nice epic feel).
  1262.  
  1263. At 0:29 we get the main theme of US played on piano - We’re representing John here. Throughout the song I pull in the associated kids instruments but make sure to constantly have the drums going - As if Dave’s grabbing each one individually and playing alongside them. The bass is supposed to be in a constant “running” kind of theme throughout the track. An unbelievably cliched dance-y snare drum fill leads us out into the beginning of the middle section.
  1264.  
  1265. The guitar’s actually the same guitar sample I used in just about everything these days, but gated - I haven’t done any gating for yonks and figured for the sort of dance-y nature of the track it’s probably not a bad choice.
  1266.  
  1267. At 1:09, we get the alternate-Showtime (The first few notes are the main melody of Showtime), then at 1:24 we’re back into US main melody. This is all done of Violin, which is of course Rose’s signature instrument. I also like the harmony on this one…
  1268.  
  1269. 1:40’s where I try my hand at some breakbeats. These are actually quite difficult, and since the original slicing sounded a bit odd I also overlap a standard drum loop on top of it - The result is a ridiculous amount of percussion for a solo and a bit of funky panning for good measure.
  1270. The break is essential. Even Striders’ needs to pause for breath.
  1271.  
  1272. With the bass coming in we’re in Jade territory at 1:56. The bass solo here is kinda pulled out of anywhere, but has a kind of Sonic-the-Hedgehog feel to it.
  1273.  
  1274. 2:20 we bring the percussion back in (A bar late, I love the delay there) and the violin’s brought more harmony with it. Now here the sensible thing to do to keep up the original metaphor is to have the Piano, Slap Bass AND violin playing (Geddit? At this point all the Kids are together and rocking out) but for some reason I went with a bunch of other voices. I guess there’s still bass…. And the choir could maybe be John singing along? I’m not sure… Potentially missed a good opportunity there… But I’m still happy with it.
  1275.  
  1276. And that’s US in a nutshell!
  1277.  
  1278. The Flash
  1279. So despite it not being the exact context original thought of, the 2-part Flash actually manages to fit the original theme albeit with different kids. Plus it’s Strider centric, so that’s another plus, and once again I get to dramatically cut to silence while someone dies :D
  1280.  
  1281. But then everyone’s alive by the end of it, so that’s got to be a record turnaround!
  1282.  
  1283. It is remarkably disturbing how seriously on the ball Dirk is. Not only does he paradox up his own reincarnation with a bucket and his own head, he manages to resurrect two ladies and get them and himself time-warped to Jake.
  1284.  
  1285. This after his little presentation on Derse with Hearts’ head.
  1286.  
  1287. I’d like to see Dave match that. :p
  1288.  
  1289.  
  1290. - Homefree - Hilary "Pie" Troiano
  1291.  
  1292. http://jaydeis.tumblr.com/post/19609363685/someone-sent-me-a-pm-asking-for-some-commentary
  1293.  
  1294.  
  1295. - Galaxy Hearts - Mark Hadley
  1296.  
  1297. I made the theme for this a long time ago for an RPG a friend was making, but then cancelled. I still really liked the theme, so I modified it slightly and repurposed it for Homestuck. Out of everything I've done for Homestuck, it's still one of my favorites.
  1298.  
  1299.  
  1300. - Gust of Heir - Tyler Dever & Michael Guy Bowman
  1301.  
  1302. (Bowman) Two of the tracks I put on Volume 8 were collaborations with other Homestuck musicians, something I’ve been meaning to do more of because two heads are usually better than one. The first of the two was “Gust of Heir”, a track that Tyler Dever wrote and for which I did the production.
  1303.  
  1304. Tyler and I are both fans of minimalism, specifically the work of Philip Glass. An eerie-looking autographed program from the Philip on Film tour graces the wall of my room, and the primary piece of music that got me interested in composition is Einstein on the Beach, a five-hour opera consisting largely of slowly-evolving repeated figures using chanted numbers and solfege. Those otherwise unfamiliar might know his music better from the many movies he’s scored including Secret Window, The Truman Show, and The Hours.
  1305.  
  1306. Anyway, I knew right away where Tyler was coming from when he sent me a midi demo of “Gust of Heir” though originally it was arranged as a piano solo. Without access to a pro recording situation as on the Sburb piano suite, we knew there would have to be an alternate solution, hence the electronic approach. I played pretty heavily with a set of new sounds, specifically the soundfonts of Ethan Winer, an audio professional whose work was recommended by Radiation a good while back.
  1307.  
  1308. As I have on many occasions I took cues from Oblique Strategies (http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/) to get some ideas for the arrangement. Part of the intrigue in producing this piece was that it was fully written, meaning that in some ways I was boxed-in to a complete journey for the song to take musically yet in others free to really explore and discover a unique sound for the song. I really played toggling a slew of effects until this tune became rendering hell for my computer. I stepped a bit outside my own range of comfort and got some drum loops from Clark Powell to really polish off the piece, adding a touch that otherwise would probably have eluded me.
  1309.  
  1310.  
  1311. - Bargaining with the Beast - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  1312.  
  1313. Bargaining With the Beast was a doozy. With little conscious attempts at maintaining structure (other than the section after the intro, which appears a few times to hold things together), it can come off as a wild ride through a bunch of interesting ideas just sort of strung together like a glass mobile made with craft glue and shiny twine. And that is a pretty accurate description.
  1314.  
  1315. The piece was sort of an experiment for me, filled with a lot of concepts that might even have needed a separate piece to flesh them out properly, but I made this piece with the Volume 8 submissions deadline looming over head (I think it was a little under a week until final decisions on tracks were supposed to be).
  1316.  
  1317. This is also an example of a piece where I set out with a clear mindset for what I wanted. Seeing there was no piece based on Echidna and Jade’s encounters (Radiation didn’t show us his tracks until around when the order was being decided hehe), I wanted something majestic and regal, something befitting of a monstrous queen in ancient stone halls of a frozen world. Eventually it developed into a sort of audio tour of Echidna’s palace and highlighted the conversation, never fully revealed, that took place between Jade and Echidna as they struck a deal.
  1318.  
  1319.  
  1320. - Questant's Lament - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  1321.  
  1322. Questant’s Lament is one of my favorite tracks that I’ve made. Originally for The Wanderers, because there weren’t any WQ tracks and I liked her portrayal in the comic, I wanted something regal, almost stoic, but also forlorn.
  1323.  
  1324. With the beginning, I imagined her away from the others in their camp, sitting alone on some stone at night and listening to an old music box, one of few possessions that she could have salvaged from Prospit. From there she reminisces, from her perspective, on the progression of the session and her foresight of and departure from the impending devastation of Prospit.
  1325.  
  1326. In the end, she closes the trinket, accepts her new fate, and returns to her fellow exiles.
  1327.  
  1328.  
  1329. - Hussie Hunt - Malcolm Brown
  1330.  
  1331. Hah! If 'Sneaking music' was a genre, here's another one to the mix.
  1332.  
  1333. Basically, heavily influenced by the Pink Panther theme (You know the one). While making this all I could imagine was a bizarre Andrew Hussie Elmer Fudd hunting 'Scwatches'...
  1334.  
  1335. More or less my first attempt to do something in this style. Also, surprisingly, most of it was played live on keyboard into the sequencer (not something I normally do) and then heavily quantized to fix my wonky playing . It gives it a *slightly* more organic feel, most noticeable on the chords during the 'Explore' section at the end (Which may also owe a little bit to the Monkey Island soundtrack)
  1336.  
  1337. Basically a bit of music for Andrew's huntin' of Scratch shortly before the end of act. Included is the "AAAAAHHH FUCKING WOLF!!" moment for good measure (That was added after the first draft to Rad's suggestion). There was even talk of getting some grumbly vocals from the man 'imself, but alas...
  1338.  
  1339. Had quite a bit of fun doin' this one. Also quite proud of the name Even if I do have to occasionally explain it to people who don't read the comic...
  1340.  
  1341.  
  1342. - Havoc - Svix
  1343.  
  1344. Havoc began as an intro section for another song I made a while back but I quite liked the melody and decided to make a separate track out of it. I submitted it to Homestuck as I felt the chiptune nature of the piece fit in with the comic's style and I'd been wanting to write a 'Strife' type tune for some time.
  1345.  
  1346. The track itself has a lot of C64 elements in the percussion and synths that blend into more powerful sounds for a more Drum and Bass style which is something I quite like to do with my music.
  1347.  
  1348.  
  1349. - Drift into the Sun - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  1350.  
  1351. Drift Into the Sun started off as me trying to emulate the opening choir track of a black metal EP (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pv2LgRzvKg). Soon some big drums and some spacey guitars found their way into the mix (in my attempts to make something on the line of ambient black or doom metal). Finally, I added Dave’s “blast off” to help Rose with a metal-ified version of Atomyk Ebonpyre (which people keep requesting a full version of… maybe).
  1352.  
  1353. This was another track that I had a clear design for, following as best as I could the events surrounding Rose and Dave’s chat on Derse before creating the Green Sun, focusing more on the atmosphere surrounding the debacle than what they talked about.
  1354.  
  1355. After putting the original version up for the team to see, Plazmataz offered to spruce things up. And he did. And it was awesome. And then Radiation said he could make some crazy drums for the last section. And he did. And it was awesome too.
  1356.  
  1357. And that was how Virginia was founded!
  1358.  
  1359.  
  1360. - Infinity Mechanism - Thomas "EidolonOrpheus" Ferkol
  1361.  
  1362. Then we’ve got Infinity Mechanism. I am not sure what to say about it. I played live guitar and cello on it. It was one of the first full guitar based things I wrote for MSPA and the first that I used my computer to record rather than a Tascam mixing board + studio that I had used on my very old works.
  1363.  
  1364. Its mechanical sound and return to the beginning at its end reminded me of Beat Mesa, and it kind of became my own sort of theme music for The Scratch. Also it is now the first track written by me to be used in an animation and it is amazing.
  1365.  
  1366.  
  1367.  
  1368. - Revered Return - Nick Smalley & Michael Guy Bowman
  1369.  
  1370. Bowman: “Revered Return” began as a track called “Dirgeish”, a .pxtone composition that Nick had completed some time ago but never managed to squeeze into an album. Because as a chip tune it had been long overlooked, I decided to take a whack at producing it in a different style for inclusion on Volume 8. I had been looking for a piece that would work as a rock tune, and “Dirgeish” really struck me because of the heavy involvement of drums, its steady pace, and dynamic structure.
  1371.  
  1372. The unique challenge of arranging “Revered Return” was pinning down exactly what was what - “Dirgeish” had maximized use of its resources as an electronic composition, shifting instrumentation several times in ways that wouldn’t translate to a rock context. I found myself in a very subjective position, kind of picking and choosing what things would stay in and what things would be changed, while overall trying to maintain the original structure of the song.
  1373.  
  1374. The structure I think might be the most unique part of “Revered Return” - it doesn’t waste time by really repeating itself a lot. Nine out of ten times I work on a song I find myself writing or arranging something that moves in a very basic structure like ABAB or AABA or other variants, etc. “Dirgeish” gave me the challenge of establishing coherency in a piece that seemed to move almost completely linearly, and I made sure to preserve its sort of ABCDEFGBA-type structure in arranging “Revered Return” for Volume 8.
  1375.  
  1376.  
  1377. Smalley: Remember that thing about ORGMaker? Yeah, this song, too. Except add me asking Andrew Huo to help finish it and Bowman to ramp it up, and you’ve got Revered Return. :3
  1378.  
  1379.  
  1380. - Black Hole/Green Sun - Malcolm Brown
  1381.  
  1382. Not much to say on this really except the title is kind of an ode to Soundgarden.
  1383.  
  1384.  
  1385. - How Do I Live (D8 Night Version) - Micheal Guy Bowman
  1386.  
  1387. So, like it or not, my signature song seems to be the country ballad made famous by a movie about how Nicolas Cage and John Cusack screw up absolutely everything and destroy the Las Vegas strip. Hence, for Volume 8, I decided to do a more serious version of “How Do I Live” that doesn’t mortify me entirely.
  1388.  
  1389. I always had thought of “How Do I Live” as a breakup song, so as an anthem of dependency between generic 90’s lovers I was underwhelmed. However, in Con Air it’s meant to be the love theme of a woman whose husband serves in the military, giving the song a very different meaning. The stakes are not whether the singer’s lover will stay or leave but whether they will live or die, a thought that is instantly more resonant for anyone who has been in love I think.
  1390.  
  1391. The trick to this one for me was cutting out all the bullshit really - the ridiculous key change is removed and the drums are minimal to the extent of sounding like a funeral march. Rather than starting off with chipper little electric organs and keyboards, this version takes a cue from “Purple Rain” and uses only electric guitar and vocals for the first minute. The vocals start off sounding a million miles away and are subtly brought closer and closer until the other instruments join in on the second verse.
  1392.  
  1393. I added a new bridge section in so that EidolonOrpheus could have a chance to play some real guitar in this one, and of course he showed his colors as a metal guitarist, sending me a duet between harmonized voices. David Ko also appears on this track as the gently-spoken backup vocalist.
  1394.  
  1395.  
  1396. - Carefree Action - Mark Hadley
  1397.  
  1398. Back when we knew Jade as just GG, I wrote the first part of Carefree Action as a possible upbeat strife theme for her. It never ended up getting used, but other people liked it, and eventually a remix of it (Carefree Victory) made it into the comic. The original was pretty short, so I lengthened it so that I could eventually get it onto an album. Like Sburban Reversal, I recommended it as a bonus track.
  1399.  
  1400. -----------------------------
  1401.  
  1402. coloUrs and mayhem: Universe A
  1403.  
  1404. - Rust Servant - William Ascenzo
  1405.  
  1406. If Violet Mariner was the elder child and Teal Hunter the middle child, then Rust Servant is the youngest child onto which I poured all my love and affection. This was one of my favorite pieces to work on and even today I’m still pretty pleased with how it turned out, from the striking staccato and col legno strings opening the song to the frantic violins, melancholic chromatic percussion, deep brass, and fast-paced drum grooves. I wanted the song to be big, epic, a little scary. If I may be so immodest, I think I succeeded.
  1407.  
  1408. Rust Servant was the only one of my three contest submissions to remain allocated to the character I had in mind while writing it, Aradia’s tragic ancestor and Lord English’s dreadful Handmaid (although the name was changed from the terribly uncreative Handmaid of Death to something more apt for the naming scheme of the album).
  1409.  
  1410. When I wrote this song, I had just taken an Intro to Hinduism class the previous fall and had written a short research paper on Kali, the Hindu goddess of time and death (more remembered for being related to death—those of you who have seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom must be familiar with the Thuggees, a cult of Kali-worshipers infamous for conducting human sacrifices—and, apparently, ripping people’s hearts out and setting them on fire as well). And, of course, because I am A SHAMELESS HOMESTUCK NERD, I immediately thought, “Time? Death? THAT REMINDS ME OF ONE OF THE TROLLS” (no I didn’t write my paper on that, i’m not that terrible). It doesn’t come through much in the song itself, but that’s where I got the inspiration from. And the moral of this story is, take a theology class (or two, or three) on a religion you know nothing about. It’ll give you all sorts of new ideas for Homestuck fanart
  1411.  
  1412. Also when the album came out and this song was the first song on the album after Radiation’s intro I was all “HOLY SHIT RADIATION LIKED THIS SONG SO MUCH HE MADE IT THE FIRST SONG” and started pelvic-thrusting across my dorm room. Then I realized that it was only first due to all the tracks being organized from lowest to highest by the blood color of the troll they represented. I continued pelvic-thrusting across my dorm room anyway.
  1413.  
  1414. And to wrap things up, milkmanner’s art for the track is just perfect.
  1415.  
  1416.  
  1417. - Bronze Rebel - Yan "Nucleose" Rodriguez
  1418.  
  1419. This track is one I sure as hell put a ton of effort into, as it was my big chance to finally do something with my music. I was at a pretty good time of my life and I was able to work on this thing day in and day out, and so I did, but first I put a lot of though into what I wanted to actually do. I’m a bit of a contrarian when it comes to making music, always trying to figure out what everyone else does so that I could do something different, and so I wanted to make a theme for Tavros that looked at his character from a more serious perspective about what he was and what he wanted to do. It’s original title, “If I were like Rufio,” reflected the melancholy desire to be something or be in a world where he was great, where he was a hero but in reality he couldn’t really amount to much, and it was his own fault.
  1420.  
  1421. For the style of the song I ended up falling back on one of my main styles, which I called “orchestral cinematic/game with a hint of latin rhythms and harmonies.” I don’t really know what it might actually be called. Unfortunately, while this made the song accomplish what I wanted it to, it can be a bit hard to listen to at times, for being too dependent on situation and scenery.
  1422.  
  1423. However I’m very proud of it! I got to practice a lot of new and old things and combine them into what’s currently my longest song! Well, longest I’m not ashamed of. It ended up being allocated to the Summoner, and I had a feeling it would. I’d say close enough, but it feels a bit weird to say that! I wouldn’t change much about it, but I think it’s a bit bland, and I’ve learned a lot from that.
  1424.  
  1425.  
  1426. - Jade Mother - Nathan "EbonHawk7x" H.
  1427.  
  1428. (Originally: The Real Heroes) - Inspiration for this piece came after listening to a segment of Hans Zimmer's "Attack" from the Pearl Harbor Soundtrack. I intended for the song to have a 'majestic' tone, but initially couldn't think of a character to set this theme to, so I chose the four beta kids. However, after being reassigned characters I think the piece fits equally well if not better with the Dolorosa.
  1429.  
  1430.  
  1431.  
  1432. - Teal Hunter - William Ascenzo
  1433.  
  1434. Teal Hunter was sort of the middle child of my three Homestuck music contest submissions. Even now it’s still my least favorite of the three songs I submitted. Why Radiation picked it along with my other two, I’ll never know. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be chosen. With over a thousand submissions I’m sure there was no shortage of Redglare songs for him to choose from. Maybe the $20 I slipped him when I submitted my songs had something to do with it But his ways are not our ways.
  1435.  
  1436. When Volume 9 came out, a lot of people looked at Radiation’s arrangement of Stress by George Buzinaki and started noting similarities between it and Teal Hunter. Radiation wrote about why the two songs sound similar in his commentary for Stress. If we’re going to talk about “what sounds like what”, then I’ll lay my cards on the table and state that Teal Hunter was begun as pretty much a direct reference to 00 Gundam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt_0Lg4-RkE from the Gundam 00 soundtrack (if you can’t tell by now, I really like Gundams). When I started the piece, the first draft was more or less a low-rent version of that song, in the same way a cartoon that wants to parody Indiana Jones would get a song that sounds close to John Williams’ Raiders March without being close enough to qualify as plagiarism. So I just kept fiddling with it until the two melodies sounded different. By the time I got to the final product and had added the buildup in the beginning, the two had nothing but their rhythm and syncopation in common.
  1437.  
  1438. Teal Hunter’s original title was Bête Blanche, a play on bête noire, a French phrase literally meaning “black beast” that the fan name “Bec Noir” is most likely a reference to. As evident, the song was originally allocated to PM, the one Exile powerful enough to battle Jack Noir to a stalemate.
  1439.  
  1440.  
  1441. - Cobalt Corsair - Max "Imbrog" Wright
  1442.  
  1443. For those of you who didn’t know, Cobalt Corsair was originally a theme for Hussie. The song being given to Mindfang, while some find it hilariously ironic, I find to be a lot more fitting. I do have a tendency to write piratey sounding orchestral songs; this time it just happened to be accidental! For this commentary, I’m going to be dividing the song up both by sections and instrument groups.
  1444. SECTION I - REGAL
  1445.  
  1446. I always wanted the piece to sound dominating and over-important, at least for this part. It begins with a solo flugelhorn playing its melody, providing an entrance for the rest of the orchestral. After not too long, the trumpets blasting out their fanfare in perfect 4th intervals, the lower brass backing them up with a strong chordal harmony - the brass works to create a very regal sound. Though Hussie as a character isn’t anywhere near this serious, I felt that it wouldn’t hurt to portray him in such a way - the way his character sees himself. The whole thing reeks of overlording and power, which, as it turns out, seems to fit the pirate idea nicely.
  1447. SECTION II - BROODING
  1448. This is where the piece changes from 12/8 to 4/4, and the solo flugelhorn returns to introduce the new section. I imagined this to be the other side of Hussie, calculating, always working, creating his world. The whole section is just a build up of instruments, as the lower string ostinato loops itself over. There isn’t really much to say about this section, but it certainly works as a contrast for the rest of the piece.
  1449.  
  1450. SECTION III - EXECUTION
  1451. This is the final minute of the piece, just after the moment of silence. It explodes into a wall of sound, seeking to bring back the power of the first section in a more open way. I actually wrote part of this section before working on the rest of the piece, so naturally, it’s what set the general tone. My favourite melody is introduced in this section (played most obviously by the flutes), and I regret not being able to flesh the idea out more. The piccolo part rising above the rest is interesting - it fits perfectly in with the whole pirate theme, despite me never considering this to be a pirate song. I suppose I consider this section the execution of various plans, to a successful conclusion.
  1452.  
  1453. INSTRUMENT GROUPS
  1454. Now, as you can probably tell from listening, Cobalt Corsair is very dense texturally. To give you a visual idea, here’s a post from a little while ago showing the layout of the sequencer. http://imbrog.tumblr.com/post/23713453688/did-i-ever-mention-just-how-long-cobalt-corsair It’s big.
  1455. So, I’ve decided to chop the piece up in terms of the instrument groups, for anyone who wanted to understand what the hell is going on underneath all that sound.
  1456. BRASS https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8300848/Music/Projects/HSAlbum/Cobalt%20Corsair%20Brass.mp3 | STRINGS https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8300848/Music/Projects/HSAlbum/Cobalt%20Corsair%20Strings.mp3 | WOODWIND https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8300848/Music/Projects/HSAlbum/Cobalt%20Corsair%20Woodwind.mp3 | PERCUSSION AND MISCELLANEOUS https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8300848/Music/Projects/HSAlbum/Cobalt%20Corsair%20Perc%20and%20Misc.mp3
  1457.  
  1458.  
  1459.  
  1460.  
  1461. - Violet Mariner - William Ascenzo
  1462.  
  1463. Let’s talk about Violet Mariner.
  1464. I tend to listen to the kind of music I like to compose and compose the kind of music I like to listen to. Before I started composing this song I listened to a shit-ton of battle music from Koh Otani’s Shadow of the Colossus soundtrack, and it shows. Oh, boy, does it show, especially from 0:49 onward with the rhythm and percussion of the piece.
  1465.  
  1466. Violet Mariner was the first song I started working on for the Homestuck music contest that eventually became the coloUrs and mayhem dual album. It’s a song about Dualscar—but it wasn’t always a song about Dualscar. No, it started out as a song about John. This explains the harp/piano section, which plays with the opening melody to Showtime, vaguely darting near it without ever actually producing the exact notes from Malcolm Brown’s original song. I intended it to be more of a hint of John’s original strife theme than a direct reference. In hindsight, keeping the references to existing Homestuck leitmotifs subtle was a smart idea. If I’d been more overt in my references and just made it a straight-up Doctor remix or an explicit arrangement of Showtime, it would have been really hard to reallocate it to a different character. And I’m happy that Violet Mariner is a Dualscar song. Dualscar needs more songs. And also it gave Radiation an excuse to almost name it “Violet Seaman” http://fwugradiation.tumblr.com/post/20398408526/how-did-the-names-for-the-hemospectrum-colors-in-the . And besides, it means I still technically haven’t used the original title, Heirstrike, yet.
  1467.  
  1468.  
  1469. - Fuchsia Ruler - Sinister Psyche
  1470.  
  1471. Obviously with a name like Witc)(ing )(our, this song is for the condesce/batterwitch/etc. I always figured a sexy psychotic space empress bent on universal domination needed an over-the-top evil, but also dance-able track. I’d actually been planning to do a song like this for her for quite a while since she’s one of—if not my favorite—characters. Every 30 seconds or so represents a time in the Condesce’s life as we know it up to now and, while the song is almost wholly original, I did pull a few minor, but very recognizable things from songs like liquid negrocity and Twoard2 the Heaven2 to help really nail the connection.
  1472.  
  1473.  
  1474. - Rust Maid - Plumegeist
  1475.  
  1476. Around mid-2011 I was at a Nippon Ichi binge. Disgaea 4 was my most anticipated title of yesteryear and I ended up clocking roughly 300 hours in it. Playing it was essentially what finally made me look at the bigger picture when it came to how Disgaea structured it’s entire universe, and if you know me, I love fictional universes with established rules and boundaries that are cleverly told.
  1477.  
  1478. During the time I was playing the game I had roughly three or four pipe-projects when it came to comics or visual stories in general, some of which I will delve into soon enough, but generally I come up with ideas for storytelling around one basic principle and I keep them in an idea bucket for whenever I plan on working on them. The projects are things I hope to blend audio and visual presentations to, and as such I often tend to compose music with these projects in mind. Playing Disgaea as such gave me a new idea for a story I since abandoned, and was basically a story of a witch traveling worlds. I decided eventually to experiment a bit with creating some music for a scenario I had in mind, and the only thing I would eventually get out of it was a clarinet melody. The original inspiration was to be Tenpei Sato’s compositions but I never really got to finish it since my laptop had a meltdown.
  1479.  
  1480. In 2012 I got my laptop back and had backups of all my music files at bay, and noticed that MSPA was having a music competition. The limit was three tracks, and as such I wanted to compose three original pieces just to have a shot at getting in. While I got to composing two however, I was stuck at figuring out where I was going to go with the third one, and I realized that I still had a completely unattributed, unfinished track at hand with this work in progress. After recovering the file, rearranging a bit and ultimately rendering it, I decided I’d send it to the contest since I wasn’t going to really get anywhere with the track. I figured the character it fit the most was Aradia, so I put it under her name and finished it.
  1481.  
  1482. The idea was to have it be a bit of a grim little insidious melody for a title character, but somehow it ended up being slightly more Grant Kirkhope-ish during the N64 era in retrospect, which is something I have to say I’m kind of proud of since he’s a massive inspiration. I eventually got the call back from Radiation during late February and was told that it won a spot. I was in shock and awe at that point, as it meant that I finally got somewhere substantial with my work. Immediately I re-rendered Rust Maid; then titled Apocalypse Maid, and Orange Hat, and sent it along What Pumpkin’s way.
  1483.  
  1484. Here’s a fun fact though. When Radiation contacted me, he told me that the song was to be retitled “Rust Servant”, and was to be the Handmaid’s theme. This was something I was okay with, but he immediately contacted me a while afterwards and reassigned the character to it’s original intended character. Between a few e-mails exchanged by me and him, we still referred to the actual track as “Rust Servant”, until I got my contract which had it titled “Rust Maid”. I thought this was a contract mistake of some sort, but imagine my surprise when I saw the first track on the album thinking it was mine and not realizing it was adhering to a color scheme. Rust Servant was fucking awesome though.
  1485.  
  1486. Another fun fact - there’s a cowbell right at the start that wasn’t supposed to be there. I don’t even know how it got there. The original sound file was a reverse cymbal. It happened sometime after I recovered the file and I didn’t notice it until after I listened to the remastered version again.
  1487.  
  1488.  
  1489. - Superego - Yan "Nucleose" Rodriguez
  1490.  
  1491. Boy do I love this song. The situation I made was pretty much the opposite of the one for Bronze Rebel. I felt pretty good about Bronze Rebel, and I had a feeling I was only going to get one track on anyway I didn’t have high hopes for this one. In fact this one was the “let’s make something I don’t think others will like as much” song. And it might be true, I can’t really tell!
  1492.  
  1493. I had to fight myself to get this song done, since I wasn’t feeling good and I still wanted to put out something quality. I had really wanted to make something for Vriska, but I didn’t have great sounds to do it, but Solatrus convinced me to try a hand at it anyway, to see if I could do something different with Vriska. Unfortunately, what I had in mind still ended up being like what a lot of people already ended up having as “Vriska” ingrained in their mind from previous official homestuck music. I was a little disappointed about that, but after having spent days staring at the ceiling trying to figure out what I should do, I realized I just needed to make something.
  1494.  
  1495. The drums were the first thing I had in my mind that I knew I needed to make a certain way, and the way I made the guitar do 9th intervals was initially an accident that worked out for the best. I’m also pretty happy with this one, I only wish I had better samples or actual guitar instead of the weird twangy and low impact stuff I currently do.
  1496.  
  1497.  
  1498. ---------------------------------
  1499.  
  1500. coloUrs and mayhem: Universe B
  1501.  
  1502. - Green Ghost - Monobrow
  1503.  
  1504. So my song, Cosmic Surgeon? People told me to enter a contest that came up right around the time I finished it. It was for the Homestuck Fan Album, which actually turned out to be 2 albums lol. So yup, I entered, and I was one of the winners, in fact it’s actually the first track (track 1 is an opener)… I’m kinda astonished by that today, but I guess it fits!
  1505. About the song, I called it Cosmic Surgeon because of John and that big drill thing he did… And the whole cancer thing… So I guess the song did kinda cater as a theme for him already. What a coincidence that as soon as I make a remix, I can enter it into a contest right away and it actually wins. When I wrote it, I just really wanted to capture how the entire comic made me feel at the time, especially after watching Cascade. It’s a theme for John, but I also think of it as kind of a real “Homestuck” theme for the entire thing, I guess, as a lot of people kinda obsess over Doctor…
  1506. Anyway, I remastered this version of the song, and added a few other elements, and instrument balance, per a couple suggestions by Radiation Fox… So you can think of this as more of a Cosmic Surgen v. 0.1…
  1507.  
  1508.  
  1509. - Red Disc - Nathan "EbonHawk7x" H.
  1510.  
  1511. (Originally: Ebonyk Attyre) - This was the first entry I made for the contest, and likely the one that took me the longest to complete; probably because I was running into walls during transitions while trying to keep whole song congruent. Nonetheless, I think it turned out great. I had a battle between Hephaestus and Dave in mind as I wrote the piece, and took inspiration for it from the first few boss fights in the game Dark Souls.
  1512.  
  1513.  
  1514. - Blue Atom - A Lunatic's Daydream
  1515.  
  1516. When I started writing the pieces for the contest I knew I wanted one of them to be based around a theme that already existed. Running through a few ideas I landed on doing a kind of jazzy shuffle piece around the main theme from ‘The Beginning of Something Really Excellent’. As soon as I hit the first chord with the Rhodes piano it became smooth. The writing process was really quick and the piece was almost completely sketched out on the keyboard in one go. As the piece was intended for Jade - given the use of the earlier theme - I added in a little bass solo.
  1517.  
  1518. Technical note: Sometimes when I think I’ve finished writing something I’ll find that it’s a bit too long and something needs to change, this was one of those times. The sound you hear at 3:53 is the sound of me finding a way to avoid playing an extra intro/verse and tightening up the song a bit. Using almost the same build up heard earlier in the piece and changing the resolution at the end has the added advantage of (hopefully) making you think it’s heading back towards the intro riff until the key shifts in the last bar and the song jumps straight to the final chorus.
  1519.  
  1520.  
  1521. - Cyan Beast - A Lunatic's Daydream
  1522.  
  1523. This piece started as an offshoot of a song that was very loosely based on John and Jade’s three year voyage between the two windows. I felt that the theme that became the chorus to this piece needed to be at a higher tempo than the rest of that song so I took it out and based this tune around it instead. It was originally titled ‘Heir of the Dog’ as I was still thinking it could be either a Jade or a John piece at the time and wasn’t certain who I’d end up submitting it for (also because terrible puns).
  1524.  
  1525. Technical note: Although the piece features keyboard and guitar solos the bass was actually the hardest part to play, in particular during the chorus and the part behind the guitar solo.
  1526.  
  1527. Extra: This is no longer true since I recorded the video. For the original recording the two handed parts in the verses and the outro were originally done as 2 separate takes for each one. It wasn’t until I started the video that I thought ‘I could turn these into single parts’ and made things really difficult for myself.
  1528.  
  1529.  
  1530.  
  1531. - Pink Cat - Ryan Ames (Nachturne)
  1532.  
  1533. I don’t want to clog up the audio post so I figured I’d make a separate post for my reasoning behind the different parts of the song!
  1534. First off, the song itself was inspired by the mental image of Roxy jumping through fenestrated planes to get to a bunch of different places (hence the name Void Hopper). I tried capturing various aspects of her interests and personality through the different sections so it’s less of a Theme For Roxy than it is a Song About Roxy. There is still a particular melody that can be heard throughout all three major sections, so I suppose could be the MAIN THEME?
  1535. ANYWAY…… ==>
  1536. Section 1. [0:00-0:56]
  1537. This section is meant to represent her childish and playful side. Roxy always seemed to have this child-at-heart quality about her, what with her infatuation with cutesy wizards and her bedroom in the beta session.
  1538. The beginning is an obvious nod to Harry Potter. She’s totally into wizards so I felt it was appropriate. It then turns into a waltz rendition of Jasper’s theme because she is also totally into cats. Then we have a neato transition that I guess could be her travelling through a window or something? I put a spacey sounding pad there to emphasize the VOIDINESS of it.
  1539. Section 2. [0:56-2:24]
  1540. After the transition, it picks up speed and has a variety of computer-y and sci-fi effects to hopefully capture her HACKER attribute. The bassline to Aggrievance can also be heard here as a callback to the STRIFE! between Mom and Rose. After that, we have the main theme again, this time accompanied by a busy slap bassline because I love slap bass. This and the following parts were an attempt to convey her get-shit-done attitude and her assertiveness with what she believes in. It could also be a cool action sequence. I imagine her rushing to reach a destination in time by jumping through windows and stuff all badass-like and it’s a pretty fitting mental image for her I think!
  1541. Anyway, after this, it all ends with a booze snooze. The song slows down and gets kind of tipsy sounding before glitching out into white noise.
  1542. Section 3. [2:25-END]
  1543. Roxy is asleep and we are now on Derse. This last section is meant to represent her sleepwalking around the void. We have a little sad sounding ocarina melody which then makes way for the main theme to play one last time on violin. The song finally ends on an ominous and spooky note as Roxy drifts further and further into the void.
  1544.  
  1545. Wow I did not expect to type this much. Anyway this song was a blast to make and even if it’s not accepted, I still learned a whole lot! I hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it!
  1546.  
  1547.  
  1548. - Emerald Terror - Elisa "Moony" McCabe
  1549.  
  1550. First of all I have this unreasonably intense love of Jake that I can’t really entirely explain. Uh. So I definitely wanted to do a song for him. The main idea I started out with was that I’d do a song with two parts, the first part representing Grandpa Harley, then I’d have it morph into the second part, which would be for post-scratch Jake. I first thought of having a literal record scratch but man that sounded dumb :] I referred to the first part, to myself, as Grandpa Harley, and the second part as Hellmurder Island.
  1551. For the Grandpa Harley part, I spent about half an hour listening to/watching ragtime piano and vaudeville acts on youtube, to refresh myself on the types of intervals and suchlike that they used. Then I just made it up.
  1552. I wanted to make Hellmurder Island really dramatic. I had some (not particularly complicated) scenes of Jake running around on his island that I was making it a soundtrack for. Like…the first section is just…running around in the jungle. Then there’s him standing at the top of this huge waterfall, and some birds take off, and the last part is him fighting something or being about to enter the SBURB session. Whatever shit is about to get real for him. :3
  1553. The song is mainly influenced by ELO’s ‘Jungle’, haha. Mainly in the way it goes, “duh DUH, duh DUH!” I love how that sounds. I tried to do more jungley percussion but it didn’t end up sounding that good. I made the drum track in this app, which I pretty much use for all my drum tracks cuz it’s awesome.
  1554. I did everything except the guitar - which was my bandmate playing - in Garageband using my midi keyboard and various soundfonts. I’m so in love with the one that does the main melody. It’s a flugelhorn. It just sounded so much like Jake to me!
  1555.  
  1556.  
  1557. - Squiddle Song - Maya Kern
  1558.  
  1559. Well i really love the squiddles? and the squiddles album is one of my favorite albums.
  1560.  
  1561. but i think a lot of it is because i’m not super great at writing music on demand? like, i write music all the time, but only when inspiration hits. and since there was a deadline, i didn’t quite have that option. i had tried writing a very different song before that with… not great results. i mean, it’s not a bad song, but it’s very unspecific and was not a good homestuck song.
  1562.  
  1563. so then i just decided i would write something silly and the squiddle song came out! because silly, i can do
  1564.  
  1565.  
  1566. - Dapper Dueling - Max "Imbrog" Wright
  1567.  
  1568. Dapper Dueling was inspired originally by a Steampunk band named The Cog is Dead - after listening to the song I just linked, I tried to take down the general feel and basic instrumentation, and then work on my own from there. Instruments used in the piece are:
  1569.  
  1570. - Acoustic Guitars
  1571. - Accordion
  1572. - Whistle Synth (fun fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the same one as used in Horchestra)
  1573. - Banjo
  1574. - Harmonica (1:14, panned left)
  1575. - Violin/Fiddle
  1576. - Full string section (1:28)
  1577. - Maracas, castanets, very very faint snare (you can hear it at 0:10, under the whistle), constant bass drum beat
  1578. - bang bang wink
  1579. I also gave the original Showtime strife mix a few listens for the purpose of structuring my piece - after all, it’s meant to be a Strife theme. However, pretty much all sources of inspiration were only used in the parts before the banjo solo; the rest was just me having fun with music.
  1580. Let me also point out that it made me extremely happy to see in canon that Jake bounces from side to side before he is about to fight; it was the exact image of him I was hoping for.
  1581. Also, while composing, I imagined Dapper Dueling to fit a fight scene similar to this, from Sherlock Holmes (2009). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGCMfprPJoA
  1582.  
  1583.  
  1584. Dord Waltz - Elaine "OJ" Wang
  1585.  
  1586. Fun facts:
  1587.  
  1588. “Dord” is a rather amusing typographical error that occured back in 1934 when someone in the Merriam-Webster editing staff misread “D or d”, intended as abbreviations for density, as “Dord” and… made up a pronunciation for it. (Whoops.)
  1589.  
  1590. Given Roxy Lalonde’s penchant for drunk typing^W^W lexicographical creativity, I thought it was appropriate. The accidentals, at least as much so. As for the waltz part of it… well, I have no idea either.
  1591.  
  1592. It was written as a Roxy song. It will now be a Roxy song until the end of the Internet.
  1593. I came up with the title first and the music second. The accidentals were there the first time I put down the notes. (They are going to stay there.)
  1594. The above is not normal for me. I have more recently taken to using random word generators to title my music, because I often struggle with that.
  1595. I am told that the song has some similarities to Endless Climb. That part is most definitely not deliberate. Not going to rule out subconscious influences though.
  1596. The album art is by merrigo. She (?) does cool work. Go look at her tumblr too.
  1597. “Dord” is a real thing that happened in the Merriam-Webster in the 1934 edition. Read the article for more information.
  1598. A dord is also a kind of instrument. There’s none of them in the song, just so’s you know.
  1599. Although if you’re willing to play Dord on a dord I can send you sheet music.
  1600. Full disclosure: I’m not actually finished with the Dord sheet music. Remind me in two weeks and I’ll probably have something.
  1601. The above two points also apply even if you aren’t going to play Dord on a dord. (I have no idea what the range of that instrument is, so whatever.
  1602.  
  1603.  
  1604. - Pipeorgankind - James "soselfimportant" Roach
  1605.  
  1606. As a lot of you know, my track Pipeorgankind was featured in last nights Flash! I used melodies and themes from several talented musicians to create this track, and orchestrated/arranged them for fun! I never thought it would become anything!
  1607.  
  1608. I thought it might be fun to show you all the nods and themes I used in the track! (though unless otherwise stated its Showtime, throughout)
  1609.  
  1610. 0:00 Showtime (Original Mix)
  1611.  
  1612. 0:35 Warhammer of Zillyhoo
  1613.  
  1614. 1:05 Explore
  1615.  
  1616. 1:24 Black
  1617.  
  1618. 1:47 Doctor
  1619.  
  1620. 2:04 Lifdoff
  1621.  
  1622. 2:17 Harlequin / Toccata and Fugue in D minor
  1623.  
  1624. 2:29 Toccata line turns into Warhammer of Zillyhoo
  1625.  
  1626. 3:27 Doctor line again
  1627.  
  1628. 3:32 Harlequin
  1629.  
  1630. 3:43 Zillyhoo/Toccata line
  1631.  
  1632. 3:56 I wrote in a Breath, (or whats called a Grand Pause!) since John was the Heir of Breath!
  1633.  
  1634. Thanks for all the overwhelming encouragement and support! I wouldn’t be here without you guys!
  1635.  
  1636. ----------------------------------------------
  1637.  
  1638. Homestuck Vol. 9
  1639.  
  1640.  
  1641. - Crystalmethquins - Clark Plazmataz Powell and Astrokid
  1642.  
  1643. (Plaz) Let me tell you of this song’s origins, for I saw it unfold with mine own eyes.
  1644.  
  1645. After our South by Southwest showcase concert, Astro Kid and I both found ourselves back at his apartment. Still in our stage costumes we opened our cans of Dr. B and casually sat around his bedroom. Computers were turned on, subwoofers were turned up. And so it began that we started remixing.
  1646.  
  1647. Nearly two months later we sat in the back of a van amongst instruments and gear on our way to play another concert, this time at a Houston anime convention. Computers were turned on, headphones were turned up. It was here that Crystalmethequins, begun so many weeks earlier, was finally completed.
  1648.  
  1649. After deciding that the track art would not be a hastily photoshopped image of troll Bryan Cranston, I came to someone I trusted. Richard Gung is unarguably the master, and his track art was well worth the cost he took from me in that dark alley.
  1650.  
  1651. The song was chosen from among its peers to open Volume 9. There it stands proudly to this day.
  1652.  
  1653.  
  1654. - Anbroids V2.0 - Malcolm Brown
  1655.  
  1656. DAVE: we are in the shit now
  1657. DAVE: we are motherfuckin entrenched in this bitch
  1658. That’s right! It’s time to talk about Anbroids 2.0! Hands up everyone who thought “Brobots” would’ve been a better name? Yeah that’s what I thought… Still! Here we are so let’s commence the proceedings:
  1659.  
  1660. THE CONCEPT
  1661.  
  1662. So much of the inspiration here comes directly from Davesprite , which I remember thinking “Oh god damn if that Yamaha YM2612 Genesis/Mega Driveness doesn’t fit Dave quite well!”. Enter Dirk Strider and his robotic creations! Suddenly a synthy, retro chiptune doesn’t sound so out of place:
  1663.  
  1664. I idea was formed fairly early on after we’d learned a bit of his pastime. I came up with the idea of having a kind of “Workshop” theme where Dirk would put some music on and get to work constructing some brobot or other. From here there was a number of prerequisites:
  1665.  
  1666. Must be kinda funky. Dude’s a Strider after all. So we’re looking at a bit of a groove with the beat.
  1667. Must have square waves, which is sort of the national instrument of Robonia.
  1668. Solos!
  1669. All this in mind, I nabbed a general purpose Genesis soundfont (Which seems to be comprised of voices mainly nabbed from Sonic, certainly the percussion is - You should be able to recognize the snare from the opening riff of Sonic the Hedgehog). And got to work:
  1670.  
  1671. NAME
  1672.  
  1673. Yeah, so I thought “Brobots” would’ve been a better name, especially because that became their canon name in the comic, but by then Hussie had used it in the comic under the name Anbroids, so it stuck :p I apended a 2.0 on it because the versions became fairly different. I also figured some people might want the original version 1.0 used in the comic after the album came out.
  1674.  
  1675. Speaking of which…
  1676.  
  1677. VERSION ONE
  1678.  
  1679. DOWNLOAD IT HERE! https://dl.dropbox.com/u/40648888/biscuits/Anbroids.mp3
  1680.  
  1681. This was an in progress version that Hussie nabbed early on before I’d made changes to create the newer version. I’ll go into why it changed in a bit, but here’s a good place to discuss the track at large:
  1682.  
  1683. The main theme is there, but a bit… “Lazier” - It doesn’t have a lot of the swing it’d later develop. It also opens with just a percussive riff, which is probably most influenced by the likes of Toejam ‘n Earl. Overall I reckon this version lacked energy, so it needed a bit of a rework before I reckoned it was cool enough to be a Strider song…
  1684.  
  1685. VERSION TWO
  1686.  
  1687. The percussive intro was removed in favor of a “Booting up” thing (Just a pitch bended squave), followed by a not-so-subtle parody of the original Game Boy bootup noise. The main “guitar” riff came back with a bit of stereo (Which I tried to use a bit more of).
  1688.  
  1689. At 0:23 we jump into the first of various solos. One of the tricky parts of chiptune music is, yes you have limited channels, voices and often no polyphony (multiple notes on the same track at the same time) so if you want to make it sound realistically retro you need to abide by these laws, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play with pitch, modulation, stereo etc - The solos were effectively a lesson in mucking about with these to create something that sounded fairly dynamic for a sequenced solo.
  1690.  
  1691. At 0:40, just before the main melody kicks in, we have the first “boot error” sound - Just a flat bass note on the square. There’s one at the end as well - The main concept was while he’s building these brobots, occasionally something’ll go wrong - It’ll fail to start or it’ll start going haywire - and so he has to unplug and start again trying something else.
  1692.  
  1693. 0:43 has the main melody. It’s similar to the original Version 1 but it’s been funked up a bit - Mainly to avoid it sounded like other stuff (I’m looking at you, Lady Gaga’s Alejandro). Again, bit of pitch wobbliness to give an air of a kind of hectic, technological mess.
  1694.  
  1695. The second solo changes the key, and here the idea is Dirk’s moved on to working on something else. As the solo continues, it gets more and more hectic until it’s just splattering notes everywhere, like the brobot’s gone completely off the rails and it’s flailing around the room - At 1:35 it’s promptly shutdown and we bridge back into the main melody again (This bridge was removed from V1, but brought back in by, well, Rad’s request :p I liked it too though, has a Sonic-y feel to it).
  1696.  
  1697. Bit of harmonizing later (partially indicating that the Brobot Dirk’s working on has started to play ball and is synchronizing with his personality). One last “Perfected” solo (1:58) which is actually a modified version of the original solo that’s basically a lot “wilder”, to show we’ve finally perfected the upgrade and ready to ship.
  1698.  
  1699. So with that, everything’s shut down, and the song ends.
  1700.  
  1701. Granted, I probably didn’t manage to get this little ‘story’ across with everybody, but this was the general thought process when I was making the thing. Hopefully if you listen to it now you’ll get some of the ideas I was going for. If not? Well… enjoy it however you like :p Or even come up with your own interpretation that’s better than mine :p
  1702.  
  1703. Johnathan Griffiths was the track art man of the hour - There’s even a mega drive controller there! And how are those shades staying on? All round awesome :)
  1704.  
  1705.  
  1706. - Firefly - George Buzinkai
  1707.  
  1708. Firefly is a special song. I was walking through a small lot to my apartment in the summertime, and fireflies were all around me. And I just thought of the -perfect- theme for it, and I rushed in to my apartment as fast as I could to get it down. It's the only song that's come to me like that.
  1709.  
  1710.  
  1711. - Pumpkin Party in Sea Hitler's Water Apocalypse - Malcolm Brown
  1712.  
  1713. Aaah Pumpkin Party in Sea Hitler’s Water Apocalypse. Or Pumpkin Party in Colony 413 or whatever I was calling it before I decided to go nuts. The original working title was just “Pumpkin Party”, so at the very least we started somewhere sensible.
  1714. So let’s have a chat about where this one came from.
  1715.  
  1716. THE CONCEPT
  1717.  
  1718. So around about THIS PANEL http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=006752 during Dirk’s history lesson of the future, we got a glimpse as to what Roxy was up to - Helping the locals out in the post apocalyptic hell-future. Some bizarre idea came about that herself and the Carapacians would get together and have a little underground party away from the watchful gaze of the Condensce and her drones and the like. Gotta find some way to keep your spirits up, right? So with that incredibly vague concept the idea was born to come up with some small light of goodness and happiness in, well, “Sea Hitler’s Water Apocalypse”.
  1719.  
  1720. THE NAME
  1721.  
  1722. As mentioned this changed a few times, but this line sums up pretty much everything you need to know about the future:
  1723. GT: Like what is even your day to day business like in sea hitlers water apocalypse??
  1724.  
  1725. THE TRACK
  1726. As I recall, with this one it was mainly the instruments chosen that defined it. The Banjo just struck the right kind of sound, and from there an accordion to give it a bit of a polka feel. A lot of the crafting of this one was trying desperately not to have it ending up too much like the Ievan Polkka (Which thanks to a month of Project Diva on PSP is firmly embedded in my brain…).
  1727.  
  1728. The idea of mixing Chiptune samples and real instruments is something I was playing with a lot this album (Encore does it as well, as did the dropped ‘Mother’) - I felt this was a kind of neat “This is where we were, and this is where we are now” concept. HS is still about a game, and it’s neat to embed some of the more obvious gamey elements now and then. Plus it might just be me, but accordions and square waves go really well together :D
  1729.  
  1730. The “Ooh!” “Ahh!” chants were added just to give it a bit more of a folk appeal, and the air-raid sirens were added last to build up the scene of this party going on while the world’s gone to hell outside - perhaps some other colony’s getting obliterated for whatever reason. Either way, it bookends the song quite nicely, coming back now and then and returning at the end to signify the dance is over.
  1731.  
  1732. My favorite bit of the whole thing is the solo at 1:56 - It’s just so gosh darn happy!
  1733. Overall though? It’s a bit of a zany, dance-party track. Completely juxtapositions the hell-nightmare outside, and in the end that’s the point! Of course things get worse, but “Red Miles In Sea Hitler’s Water Apocalypse” will have to wait…
  1734.  
  1735. Damn, I just realized I should’ve added some meows. I’ve got like two cats sitting here ready for a vocal performance as well… Ah well, the road not taken,
  1736.  
  1737. Once again the art is very spiffy so many thanks to Marina! Look at that dude in the corner? That pumpkin is so nom’d! :D
  1738.  
  1739.  
  1740. - Skaianet - Mark Hadley
  1741.  
  1742. I don't have a lot to say about this one, other than that it resembles my earlier pre-Homestuck work more than anything else (i.e., faced-paced and a little repetitive). I still kind of like it though
  1743.  
  1744.  
  1745. - Another Jungle - Michael guy Bowman
  1746.  
  1747. Before this track was used in Homestuck along with Beatfox’s “A Taste for Adventure”, it was actually made for a nearly 3-year-old defunct fan project. Housetrapped was a story about an alternate Sburb session and “Another Jungle” was a the-same-but-different theme for the loading screen of that universe’s Sburb client. Sound familiar?
  1748.  
  1749. When we shifted into gear to create new Homestuck music following the start of Act 6, I was asked to refurbish the forgotten 40-second theme I’d written as the theme to Sburb Alpha. “Another Jungle” is thus the alpha equivalent of “Sburban Jungle” which I had written back when Homestuck began - structurally both songs are very similar, but each with their own melodies and sound choices.
  1750.  
  1751. “Another Jungle” has the benefit of years of experience with production I did not have when Homestuck began, and to me the fidelity difference really shows. Since writing “Sburban Jungle” I’d become far more familiar with automation, recording, eq, mixing, mastering, and all the techniques that polish a music project. “Another Jungle” is far more dynamic than its predecessor, with each subsequent section of the song having its own unique way of using the instruments and sounds in the project.
  1752.  
  1753. My favorite touches to this one are all the very mellow sounds that contrast with the brisk pacing of the track - the various pads, the wah-wah guitar, the echoing melody, all of it underlined by drums and brute synth loops. The sudden change in energy when the guitars duck out in the middle and the melody of “Showtime” whispers in is a favorite moment of mine. The very pop ending with its retro house sound was another choice I wouldn’t have seen myself making three years back. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.
  1754.  
  1755. The art for this track is by Richard Gung.
  1756.  
  1757.  
  1758. - GameGrl (Original 1993 mix) - Michael guy Bowman feat. Jit and Tavia Morra
  1759.  
  1760. Originally we’d planned on doing a Homestuck album that was devoted entirely to the Sburb Alpha kids and their session, all of us doing tracks that would parallel earlier tracks in a same-but-different fashion. While this album became Homestuck Vol. 9, a lot of analogous tracks remained from the original concept, including this track as an alternative to “GameBro (Original 1990 Mix)” from Homestuck Vol. 6: Heir Transparent.
  1761.  
  1762. While we can only imagine what the set-decorating GameGrl magazine from Jane Crocker’s bedroom might actually be like, it’s pretty easy for me as a child of the 90’s to imagine how the magazine might have looked in the era of the Burger King Kid’s Club and Lisa Frank. With GameGrl I attempted to capture a lot of the basic messages perpetuated to girls by children’s advertising in the 90’s:
  1763.  
  1764. Boys are gross and need to have their butts kicked
  1765. Girls are cool and should pretend to understand pop culture
  1766. Clubs must be started in tree-houses and couch forts to keep boys out
  1767. Parents suck and will never understand
  1768. You can trust corporate America
  1769.  
  1770. The music was a hodge-podge of a lot of things - the production style of early 90’s house music (Deee-Lite and Cathy Dennis were my main references) was coupled with the intentionally insipid rap vocals in a time in which many game commercials had awful raps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7FN5B02YEo . The lead vocals are performed by Tavia Morra, whose voice I discovered sounds scarily childlike when sped up slightly. We played the backup track at about 75% speed and had her rap over it to create the vocal comp before speeding it back up to create the cringe-worthy little girl voice. I did a digital process to lower my voice to create the Pokérap-style breakdown towards the middle of the track and then asked Erik Scheele to play a painfully retro midi guitar solo.
  1771.  
  1772. For the track art (lovingly created and posed for by Tavia) among our many references were Alex Mack and The Olson Twins. The big deal-breaker for us was getting a pair of overalls, a garment seemingly synonymous with the 90’s. We spent nearly three hours hunting for a pair in Austin coming up short at Wal-Mart, Academy, Sheplers, Cavender’s Boot City, Goodwill, a costume store, a paint store, and a plumbing store before finally finding a wearable piece 17 miles out of town at a farm supply store. Apparently humanity had the good sense to wipe that fucking hideous fashion travesty off the face of the earth at the end of the decade (I knew the y2k bug must have done something!) and now only people who actually need them wear them.
  1773. We took our pictures at the Japanese-style game center Arcade UFO. Outtakes can be found here. http://seeyoutmorra.tumblr.com/page/2#24983253249
  1774.  
  1775.  
  1776. - Austin, Atlantis - Clark Plazmataz Powell
  1777.  
  1778. Nothing inspires me more than spaces, regardless of whether they are real or virtual. Examples include cities, mountains, buildings, individual rooms, even entire planets (see Medium).
  1779.  
  1780. Austin is currently my real world home, and to imagine it flooded and empty is a fascinating thing. Should Dirk ever decide to explore beyond Houston, what forgotten worlds would he find in the other lost Texan fortresses?
  1781.  
  1782. The whole song was written to musically explore this sunken Austin, and to deliver a strong atmosphere and sense of place. The parts I used to piece together this portrait are the constituent Homestuck tunes, each of which I chose because of thematic applicability; they include Beatdown, Explore, Flare, and even Atomyk Ebonpyre.
  1783.  
  1784. To capture the same essence visually in the track art, I knew I could trust Tynic. She is an incredible background artist with an uncanny sense for colors and composition! I am so proud of her work here; the song just wouldn’t be the same without the accompanying artwork.
  1785.  
  1786. Additional fun fact: the entire song is played off key, detuned into the spaces between quartertones. The piano itself is significantly flat. This surprised me in how far it went toward making the song sound “sunken.”
  1787.  
  1788.  
  1789. - Despot - Erik "Jit" Scheele
  1790.  
  1791. Started as a sequel to Upward Movement, before Hussie skipped over that entire sequence, which made me try to build it into a general Dirk theme. Sort of like a rise to power, from princehood to kinghood, or sommat. Maybe even a character theme, though I can’t really make those calls.
  1792.  
  1793.  
  1794. - Stress - Toby "Radiation" Fox
  1795.  
  1796. art by P-RO at nomorepros.tumblr.com. P-RO always does a maximally amazing job so why I asked her to draw the art is a non-question.
  1797.  
  1798. Stress is actually a pretty faithful arrangement of an original track by George Buzinkai "http://buzinkai.net/PXTone/54stress.mp3". Buzinkai has been responsible for several HS-important melodies like Doctor, Endless Climb, and Explore and his work, for me, has always established a certain “essence” of what Homestuck is. My goal for this piece was actually to create a classic strife theme for Dirk with the core feeling of earlier pieces like Showtime or Doctor, so basing the piece off of something with that “essence” was important.*
  1799.  
  1800. I can’t say why Buzinkai wrote this piece the way he did, so I’ll instead highlight the differences between the original and my arrangement.
  1801.  
  1802. - Updated the instrumentation. Buzinkai’s usage of PXTONE is indeed charming and nostalgic-sounding, but I wanted to push things bit further. One major difference is the arrangement of the strings - Buzinkai’s PXTONE strings have an sharp attack to them, while mine come on a bit softer but are thicker. My strings then sound more “lush” but less “urgent.”
  1803.  
  1804. - I added a section between the original A section and B section with lower intensity. This was because the song got a bit too repetitive and static simply repeating like Buzinkai’s. Oddly, the repeats didn’t bother me in his track. I think this is partially because MY loop point, unlike Buzinkai’s, lowers the intensity a LOT more by removing a bunch of instruments where his simply flows into a repeat. I need to think about that more.
  1805.  
  1806. - Added an introduction and a true ending to make it more of a proper start-to-finish song.
  1807.  
  1808. About the similarity to Teal Hunter and a fun syncopation lesson
  1809.  
  1810. - This was unintentional - I not only started my arrangement of this song before the contest was conceived, Buzinkai made the original song back in 2010. THOUGH as soon as I heard Teal Hunter I KNEW people would call out the similarities because, surprise, there are plenty of them! Here’s the big one:
  1811.  
  1812. - Both pieces are in 5/4 (5 beats per measure, try counting to 5 over and over on the beat) and use the SAME syncopation (syncopation = the division of notes into smaller off-beat rhythms within the measure) throughout the track. Actually, many many many pieces in 5/4 use this syncopation. See: Hollow Bastion "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nlCNVewMjA". Why do composers keep doing this? Two reasons: One, because it sounds awesome. Second, because the main way to compose in odd time signatures like 5/4 or 13/4** is actually to cut things into smaller units of 3, 2, or 4. Though each measure is comprised of 5 total beats, each measure in these songs is cut into 10 notes of half the length going 123-123-12-12. 3! 3! 2! 2!
  1813.  
  1814. Wow, that was a very poor explanation. But please go to that Hollow Bastion video I linked and count “one-two-three-one-two-three-one-two-one-two” very quickly along with each note the harp plays. You’ll get it. (And I’m just making things more confusing, but isn’t it awesome how the syncopation switches at the end of the 4-measure phrase to “1234 12 12 12?” The little bit of contrast makes it feel complete.)
  1815.  
  1816. So, why don’t people just cut things up differently? like 3 2 2 3? it’s definitely possible! Here’s my theory about why people favor the syncopation they do: It seems like ending a measure with a shorter note ON the beat leads into the next measure more naturally. It even sounds like a leadin: dun-DUN! This is supported by the fact that one of the most popular syncopations in existence is the one in 4/4 that goes 3 3 2. This is probably the same principle.
  1817.  
  1818. 3 3 2: ON OFF ON
  1819. 3 3 2 2: ON OFF ON ON
  1820.  
  1821. - Besides the fact that the syncopation is identical, the chords and melody are similar and the way the strings are used are basically the same. I have no explanation for this other than… great minds think alike???
  1822.  
  1823. RANDOM FUN FACT: Awakening is also in 5/4, go to 1:40 and sing the melody to Stress. Hell, I’ll do it for you "http://tobyfox.net/randomshit/stresscombo.mp3". It fits!!! The main melody of awakening also starts with a similar rhythm as Stress. it’s the curse of the 123 123 12 12’s.
  1824.  
  1825. Wow, I really got off track here. But I hope you learned something today.
  1826.  
  1827. *Yes, Bill Bolin also started an arrangement of this piece before he left the team. I think we were both attracted to the same “essence” present in Buzinkai’s piece.
  1828.  
  1829. ** Bonus challenge: See if you can count out how I divided the measures in this song! If you can do this, you can easily understand how to compose in time signatures like this. It’s actually VERY simple and derived directly from the other breakdowns I did.
  1830.  
  1831.  
  1832. - Minihoof's Adventure - Michael Guy Bowman feat. Tavia Morra
  1833.  
  1834. I get the feeling that down the line there will be an explanation for why exactly there’s a tiny Maplehoof on Dirk Strider’s desk and it will be one of the biggest plot revelations in all of Homestuck. For me it was a cue that there needed to be a Sburb Alpha universe paralell for the song “Maplehoof’s Adventure”, which in itself was a spiritual sequel to “Pony Chorale”. It’s sort of a reality check to realize that I have written not one, not two, but three songs for cartoon ponies now - I guess that’s part of this disease we call the Internet.
  1835.  
  1836. As with the previous installments, I used a sample of Tavia Morra saying “neigh” to punctuate phrases, this time sped up to about double speed to have that chipmunk-esque effect. Everything about this song is a bit faster-paced and squeakier to reflect the stature of the tiny horse. The orchestration was largely inspired by my last trip to Disneyland - the whistles are arranged to sound a bit like the teapots from Alice in Wonderland, and the horn synths were selected because of their resemblance to a merry-go-round organ.
  1837.  
  1838. Along with recent tracks like “Another Jungle” and “Elephant Gun”, this song represents one of my attempts to stick less closely to a predictable song form. The key signature moves up a whole step around 32 seconds in and never comes back down, and the main repeated refrain that ties the song together is the little cadence that shows up at the end of each section. I stuck to my guns as a high school music theory student on this one, mostly drawing from Mozart and Sousa - it’s an overstimulating mess of counterpoint, and my main goal was to see if it would annoy composition major Erik Scheele (it worked).
  1839.  
  1840. Out of all the tracks for Volume 9 I worked on, this one was a real breeze. I was on such a roll that I considered making it ten minutes long just to piss off everyone, but I knew that I’d most likely be asked to cut it down if I’d gone to that kind of excess, and I had other tracks to work on.
  1841.  
  1842. The track art was done by Tavia Morra.
  1843.  
  1844.  
  1845. - Encore - Malcolm Brown
  1846.  
  1847. Let’s talk about Encore! Or “Showtime 2: Encore”.
  1848.  
  1849. THE CONCEPT.
  1850.  
  1851. So back in the early days of Volume 9, the idea was “The New Session”. The further idea was to take the tracks ‘n themes of Volume 1/Act 1 and ‘re-scratch’ em to come up with a parallel for the new session and the new kids. Where this idea started to fall to bits was expecting the act to play similarly to Act 1, which it quickly didn’t :)
  1852. Still, by this point we had a decent collision of re imagined classic tracks and Strife/character themes for the new kids, so on with the show.
  1853.  
  1854. Encore was a straight-up “Let’s bring Showtime kicking and screaming into the new session, but a little bit mixed, yet still recognizable”.
  1855.  
  1856. THE NAME.
  1857.  
  1858. Should be obvious. “Showtime” -> “Encore”.
  1859.  
  1860. THE TRACK.
  1861.  
  1862. Making Showtime orchestral wasn’t too hard. The idea of a very pomp-y, brass, adventure-y/combat affair was formed fairly early on - I think the main channeling came from a Power Stone/Smash Brothers-esque “Zany combat” idea.
  1863.  
  1864. Most of the voices come from EWQL’s Symphonic Orchestra, with a bit of soundfonts for the later Showtime segment.
  1865.  
  1866. The section at 0:22 has a bit of history - It was originally a straight up Lifdoff arrangement, but I pulled it back and made it considerably less obvious (I’ve became hesitant of Lifdoff since someone pointed out it sounds like the Bruce Lee story theme :p) - I *did* leave the little brass phrases that punctuated it, which unintentionally/subconsciously might be referencing Earthsea Borealis. This wasn’t intended, but it’s probably close enough for it not just to be a coincidence, and enough people seem to be picking up on this accidental reference so what the hell :p
  1867.  
  1868. Next it returns to the alternate Showtime and adds on Unite Synchronization. Does a floaty little bridge afterwards, and then we get into the original Showtime.
  1869.  
  1870. I pondered adding this for a while, since it felt a bit “Yes, we get it, this is a Showtime thing, y’don’t need to actually add the thing in”, but eventually I liked the idea of it smashing in, completely brazen with its NES-y soundfont and blaring the original track in the last section of the song. We then wind down with the fast-paced percussion and the starting brass arrangement, just enough time for a post-battle ass-kicking pose, and then “Boom”.
  1871.  
  1872. I think writing tracks for characters like John/Jake’s quite fun in that they’ve got this bottomless optimism and carefree attitude, plus they do silly things. Silly things are quite fun to score…
  1873. And that’s Encore! Hope ya’ll enjoyed that little trip back down memory lane!
  1874.  
  1875.  
  1876. - Expedition - Mark Hadley
  1877.  
  1878. As I've mentioned before, I really like finding ways to combine themes. In this case, I combined 'Explore' and 'English' in a style inspired by the sailing theme from 'Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker'. (It's easy to miss the theme from 'English', since it's a lot more upbeat and in a major key.) I don't use brass a lot when I write, but I think it came out well here.
  1879.  
  1880.  
  1881. - elephant Gun - Michael guy Bowman
  1882.  
  1883. This is pure Jake strife music - I started this project with the definite goal in mind to make something that sounded purely like video game music for a battle. Jake English is sort of the archetypal Roosevelt-type swashbuckler with all the bravado of a turn-of-the-century primitivist. For him, the palette of sounds is instantaneous: heavy percussion rumbling at a breakneck pace. I threw in chimes, timpani, xylophone, glockenspiel, cymbal crashes, and an uncompromising drum machine to get the atmosphere I wanted.
  1884.  
  1885. I had a nice, retro-sounding portamento synth as a lead, a quick little intro, and a couple of smart little themes going on right at the beginning, and I was all set for this to be one of those simple, memorable themes not unlike one of the previous Strife themes (“Beatdown”, “Showtime”). Then, at 44 seconds in, something snapped - I suddenly decided that what I was writing was boring and that nothing could be normal from that point on. Inspired by a few listens to “Rollo Interior”, I wrote a rhythmically unconventional breakdown followed by the whole song shifting into “Zappa chords” for a little while.
  1886.  
  1887. What was excellent about working on this track is it’s one of the first instances in a while where I had really freed myself from any preconceived goals for the song’s form and just decided to write a track from start to finish and see what felt right. I ended up at sort of the golden length - the song begins to loop at 2:15, making it still functional as video game music, and fades out by 2:39. Tavia pointed out to me that pop songs that run a bit short of 3 minutes tend to be incredibly satisfying, especially for a first time listener, as they ask for your attention for an amount of time that doesn’t wear you down. Out of all my tracks for Vol. 9, this is the one I find the easiest to listen to on a loop.
  1888.  
  1889. The track art is by 8bitkitten
  1890.  
  1891.  
  1892. - Jane Dargason - Clark Plazmataz Powell and Robert J! Lake
  1893.  
  1894. (Plaz) It may be a little late by now, but I wanted to give one more of my songs from Volume 9 a post of its own.
  1895.  
  1896. First let me say that RJ Lake is a joy to work with. We sent Jane Dargason back and forth between us, remixing each other’s remixes until the track was in its final state. For reference:
  1897.  
  1898. The original sketch put together by RJ sounded like this. http://spellmynamewithabang.tumblr.com/post/24511601535/volume-9-is-upon-us-soon-we-will-be-swimming-in
  1899. By the end of the process, things had evolved quite a bit. http://homestuck.bandcamp.com/track/jane-dargason
  1900. I also want to take a moment to say that my good friend Dawn did a spectacular job on the track art! She has a wondrous way with colors, and her drawings of the Homestuck kids have a childlike optimism about them. Nothing could have been a more perfect match for a track like this one!
  1901.  
  1902.  
  1903. - Busting Makes Me Feel Good - Michael Guy Bowman
  1904.  
  1905. This track was an attempt to try something in the same vain as the soundtrack to Jet Set Radio Future which was recommended to me by friends Erik Scheele and Richard Gung. Composer Hideki Naganuma has created some of the most intricate and engaging pieces of dance music I’ve ever heard - his signature approach is his construction of entire songs around only a handful of samples (check out “Funky Dealer” for a good example).
  1906.  
  1907. Going off of the notion that there aught to be some music dedicated to the 3 years that John, Jade, and Davesprite spend by killing time in Ghostbusters 2 MMORPG, I recorded myself singing the famous exclamation uttered by Ray Parker Jr partway through the legendary 1984 single. What is the deal with that line, really? Apparently chasing ghosts isn’t just a public service for Mr. Parker - it gets him off.
  1908.  
  1909. The majority of the track is driven by drum and crowd samples with some very funky but intentionally primitive synths on top. I liked the idea of building up to some big climactic house beat, and the climax of the song is sort of an homage to Kalibration and his EDM project Screamcatcher (albeit missing all the cool).
  1910.  
  1911. The art is by Victoria Grace Elliott.
  1912.  
  1913.  
  1914. - iRRRRRRRRECONCILA8LE - Michael Guy Bowman
  1915.  
  1916. Before there was 20+ hours of music in the Homestuck catalog, the music team’s task was to create new themes at a moment’s notice for new elements of the story. When Tavrisprite appeared in the comic, I challenged myself to make a suitable theme at the same pace I might once have cobbled something together back in 2009. I posted the resulting demo track on my Soundcloud the same day as the character made its debut.
  1917.  
  1918. My demo fused the Spanish sounds associated with Tavros and the electric lead guitar associated with Vriska. The result was just over a minute of power-flamenco silliness which I planned to expand upon heavily until suddenly Tavrisprite exploded less than an hour after I uploaded the demo. I decided the song aught to be short and sweet as well, so I asked Thomas Ferkol to play some additional metal guitar at the end before dropping in an explosion effect and a distantly echoing “honk” from a certain codpiece-wearing merchant.
  1919.  
  1920. The track art is by 8bitkitten.
  1921.  
  1922.  
  1923. - I’m a Member of the Midnight Crew (Post-Punk Version) - Jit and Mark Nabors
  1924.  
  1925. One of the things I’d always felt was curious about our re-appropriation of the hundred-year-old vaudeville track by Eddie Morton was the complete contrast between its cheerful mood and the sinister nature of the characters it represents. The Midnight Crew, while fashion-savvy, are cold-blooded murderers, and I’d been curious as to what a darker version of their signature song might sound like.
  1926.  
  1927. The inspiration for this “post-punk” arrangement comes specifically from the Iggy Pop track “Nightclubbing”, which was produced by David Bowie during their stay in Berlin in 1977. The Iggy Pop and Eddie Morton tracks are very different takes on a night on the town, and I was utterly fascinated by the thought of injecting the old ragtime track with the same seedy atmosphere of Iggy’s sardonic croon.
  1928.  
  1929. I’d been playing this particular arrangement live at live shows for a while, and for this recorded version I brought in bandmates Erik Scheele and Mark Nabors to record their respective parts. Erik delivers the excellent jazz piano, while Mark added some amazing textures by playing theremin and accordion. I made full use of the wah pedal on my guitar to deliver the very textured guitar performance, and copied Iggy’s beloved drum machine loop for the main percussion.
  1930.  
  1931. The track art is by Cari Garafalo.
  1932.  
  1933.  
  1934. - three in the Morning - Erik "Jit" Scheele
  1935.  
  1936. I don’t remember how long ago it was that Plaz asked me to do an improvisation around his Three In The Morning, but I did it, and here it is!
  1937.  
  1938. - Portrait - Jeremy "Solatrus" Iamurri
  1939.  
  1940. (semi commentary, ask for more) Honestly, on all three, it was a lot of going with my gut because I hadn’t quite gained the understanding of writing percussion that I now have. Though, having a good instinct for interesting rhythms definitely is why I seem to be so notorious for percussion/drum beats.
  1941.  
  1942. That said, Portrait is a funny case in particular, and its weirdness is quite a bit more deliberate than the other two, simply because I was more experienced by the time of its release.
  1943.  
  1944. The song is in mixed meter. Now, you certainly can hash it out to 14/4 and be happy with it, because it works out that way, but the song is actually written in alternating measures of 15/8 and 13/8. Or was it 13/8 and 15/8? It’s been awhile. Either way, the song itself never sits still and shifts its pulse back and forth the entire way, and ends up making the later breakbeat/drum and bass part all the more crazy.
  1945.  
  1946. And yet it still seemed to work!
  1947.  
  1948. As for everything since Portrait, any weird percussion I do has been completely deliberate and thought out, because, as I said before, I understand my instincts on it. More importantly, I understand why those instincts work.
  1949. TL;DR; In a past life, I was probably a drummer.
  1950.  
  1951. :D
  1952.  
  1953. - Red Miles - Tyler Dever
  1954.  
  1955. History
  1956. Igor Stravinsky has been a gigantic inspiration for me for a long time. My favorite piece of all time is his Firebird Suite, and not far behind is his other ballet the Rite of Spring. The latter is the main inspiration behind this track!
  1957.  
  1958. I listened to the Rite of Spring quite a bit throughout last year and I really was compelled to write something inspired by it. When the End of Act 5 flash came out, Andrew also revealed the now memetic Red Miles attack. I thought of no better way to elude to two of my favorite things than combining them this way! I set out on the concept of making a Rite of Spring-esque movement to fit the devastating attack.
  1959.  
  1960. The Music
  1961. The direct segment I was trying to parallel is thesecond section. Staccato unbowed strings playing eighth notes on a single chord with an accent pattern. The difference here is that as crazy as that segment may get, Stravinsky wrote the whole thing in 2/4. Red Miles I just had fun and it alternates between 2/4, 7/8, 5/8 and whatever the hell I felt like/8. I had a whole lot of fun with time signatures is what I mean.
  1962.  
  1963. The accent pattern I use has a bit of history behind it as well. I’m a band geek if no one had noticed yet, and was heavily into marching band during high school. Being a percussionist, I kind of had a love/hate relationship with drumline warmups. One in particular we played waaaaay too much was the accent to tap exercise. For people who don’t know too much about drumline, it’s just an exercise that warms up the extremes of playing. Most notes are steady pulse beats but then an accent pattern is introduced to differentiate height, sound and velocity between taps (normal strokes) and accents. Ours was called “Cinco de Mayo” because it was mostly in 5/8. I took the same pulse (12 123 12 123 123 12 123 12 12 - accents on 1) and applied it to the strings.
  1964.  
  1965. I tried to fully orchestrate it, so the next section introduces an English Horn (oh man english horn I could go on for days about) and a bassoon (also could go on forever fuck yeah double reeds) trading off a little melody between accent patterns akin to Rite of Spring. Then I gave the accent to two timpani (yeah the piece would require two timpanist or an inhuman player) because it’s my favorite instrument and I don’t incorporate enough percussion into my pieces for a percussionist. The next section introduces the first real theme. I originally wrote these melodies messing around with four mallets on a marimba. I was intending on making something primitive like RoS (hence unmoving bassline) and then translated it to piano then full score. It alternates between d minor and D Major just by tweaking around with the F sharp. Fun stuff.
  1966.  
  1967. Samm Neiland influenced me in two ways in this piece. The first being the continuation of the accent pattern through the middle sections. I personally really enjoy the piece more because of it. It makes it really interesting because it brings so many different time signatures against each other. The melody is sporadically flipping between 7/8 and 2/4 while the accent pattern is mostly in 5/8. They don’t quite match up either but I fix the problem with a few filler measures with the pulse.
  1968.  
  1969. After the middle themes are presented it returns back to the beginning with just the solid accent pattern and the return of the simple trading melody (this time with oboe and bass clarinet). The timpani returns triumphantly afterwards. This time, however, I change it up by immediately jumping back into the strings having the pattern. At this point, the brass and woodwinds are given simple versions of the accent pattern. They all come in at different times creating a really uneven spread. Eventually the upper lines start to contort the line and break into competing dotted rhythms to give a feel of chase. It builds more and more through the ending section up until a sudden cut off.
  1970.  
  1971. The final addition by Samm was the diminuendo final chord to ease the listener out of the piece!
  1972.  
  1973. Concept
  1974. As stated earlier, the whole concept is suppose to be giving the terrible fear inducing attack “Red Miles” a soundtrack. The attack is devastating and annihilates all in its way. As we all have heard countless times: you can’t escape the miles. Originally, there was to be a whole lot more to the piece (multiple movements!). I didn’t have anything else in other movements concrete at the time for finalization of Volume 9 so I released the abridged version you have now! Therefore, I like to think of this version as the Diamonds Droog version of the attack. Smaller scale but not any less deudley.
  1975.  
  1976. I originally wanted to name it Red Miles (Abridged) but that ended up falling through. It sounds perfectly fine as is anyways. Eventually though, I would love to completely finish the whole work (I’m talking 5-6 movements, all inspired by RoS).
  1977.  
  1978. The last section that I described as sounding almost like a chase is purposeful. The concept is that Diamond Droog is releasing the miles upon the universe and the different musical sections are the different scenes of destruction. The final scene where everything becomes hectic is suppose to be Dirk flying through crumbling towers and crazy red death tentacles trying to escape a painful death. The sudden cut off was suppose to be kind of a cliffhanger like “where did he go???” but then the final resolution was supposed to sound similar to a big sigh of relief as he narrowly avoids doom.
  1979.  
  1980. Art!
  1981. Originally, the art was to be done by everyone’s favorite person. Because of silly reasons (really silly, the silliest) it didn’t end up happening though. I freaking loved the art too. Instead though, we have a panel from the comic. It just so happens to be the panel where the miles are about to wreck shit at the abode of my favorite Alpha character. I didn’t know this at the time otherwise I’d never make a reference to such a horrible event :P
  1982.  
  1983. - Requited - Clark "Plazmataz" Powell
  1984.  
  1985. Back on Volume 8 I wrote a song called Serenade; the track art for it explains well what the song is about. In a great many ways it was an important song for me. For one, it was the first song I’ve ever written, by which I mean a short, lyrical work written in a structure including verses and choruses. On top of that the music and the melodies came unusually naturally to me, and it all felt organic and expressive of my situation in life at the time of writing. Serenade is by far the closest emotional connection I have to Homestuck.
  1986.  
  1987. Naturally I wanted to do things properly if I was going to revisit a tune so personally significant. As part of a larger project I was tentatively calling “cellostuck” I decided to tackle Serenade and record a version with live cello parts, hopefully bringing rich textures and lyricism to the song to reflect the musical and personal progress I had made since writing the original. It came out beautifully, much more so than the other experiments I had tried with other songs. I called the final mix Requited, implying that the song can be seen from the opposite side.
  1988.  
  1989. Consider Requited the pre-Scratch counterpart to Serenade.
  1990.  
  1991. For the artwork on this track I asked my chum Dodostad to draw something up. Her style of whimsical, faded character art seemed the perfect match for the song, and she did a magnificent job.
  1992.  
  1993.  
  1994. - Candles and Clockwork (Alpha Version) - Tyler Dever
  1995.  
  1996. History
  1997. Throughout the last year I’ve been more active on Skype with fellow Homestuck readers and contributors, especially since February when I was added to the (in?)famous Stupid O’ Clock chat. What I found out from a lot of them was that quite a lot more people enjoyed my first ever Homestuck track than I expected. Candles and Clockwork was actually pretty popular and multiple people came to me at different times saying I should work on it again with the better programs and talents I’ve acquired since.
  1998.  
  1999. The outcome was the remake I posted on my Tumblr a few days before the album came out. I posted this in the Volume 9 thread we had, and Albatross Soup offered to work on the track. The outcome is this final version of Candles and Clockwork!
  2000.  
  2001. The Music
  2002. I put a whole lot of subtle nuances into this piece. The biggest one being something that occurs throughout the piece and in almost every track of Sburb: hemiolas. For non-music folk, a hemiola is when a rhythm does not fit into the measure of music it is in. They are very similar and often function as polyrhythms, another favorite tactic of mine. In this track specifically, you can notice that the piano ostinato is clearly in 4/4. The clarinet and harp however, are in 3/4. Because of this, these lines only ever match up ever three measures for the piano and every four measures for the other instruments. Since the phrases don’t fit that pattern either, the actual lines never quite sync back up and repeat themselves. The melody line above it is for the most part in 4/4 but kind of sways the line between the two time signatures. This is also how I was able to adapt the melody into straight 3/4 for Chronicles (from Sburb) since that version does not have the 4/4 ostinato until the second section!
  2003.  
  2004. For this version, Albatross reorchestrated the parts and added his own distinct flare to the piece. The original version had a dulcimer and harp generating the two ostinati in an attempt to generate a similar feel to the Kingdom of Zeal theme Corridors of Time from the video game Chrono Trigger. The remake I made changed the dulcimer for a harpsichord to change up the timbre slightly. The biggest change was moving the melodies first instance to cello. Albatross took this concept and took it further! The harpsichord became a piano line reminiscent of Chronicles and Candles and Merry Gentlemen (a bonus track from the Holiday album). The harp stays, but the lower voice doubling the part now became a clarinet. A flute is added at the vocal breakdown midway through the piece and then takes over the cello for the recap of the main melody! The ending also became a general diminuendo much like the original! I absolutely adore his take on the song.
  2005.  
  2006. Concept
  2007. The original song was written at first in an attempt to go along with Doctor and Endless Climb as a calm and atmospheric song aimed at being a land theme for Dave. At the time we knew him as a knight and WV’s painting showed his planet with a large gear and fire. I figured from this that his land would involve something knightly/fire based and something involving gears. From that I guessed it’d be the Land of Candles and Clockwork. Little did I know that Andrew was going to break the chain and pick a vastly different song with Atomyk Ebonpyre.
  2008.  
  2009. Ever since I’ve considered the song to be a Strider anthem. Dave and Dirk have a whole lot of songs about them, but all of them are either derivatives of his instrument (inspiring hip hop beats etc) or just really intense. They both are actually really chill and collected for the most part, so I liked the idea of them having a calm song.
  2010.  
  2011. As for this name in particular, it should be obvious that it’s the post scratch version of the song (so aimed more at Dirk and Alpha Dave). The working title was also Candles and Clockwork (with the a’s replaced with lower case alpha symbols). Sadly, it doesn’t really differentiate itself from the original. The symbols aren’t separate enough to make it easy to tell the two versions apart.
  2012.  
  2013. Art!
  2014. The art was done by the fantastic Worthikids who I only just recently discovered! They actually made it a while ago for the original Volume 5 version. I messaged them about using it for this version. Go check him out!
  2015.  
  2016.  
  2017. - Coursing - Alexander Rosetti
  2018.  
  2019. I wrote it to be the “alpha” version of Courser, another piece by myself and Beatfox. Where Courser is a theme for Bec, Coursing can be thought of as a theme for GCat, though in my mind it encompasses the idea of any First Guardian. It is not a “remix” or even an arrangement of Courser, but it is based off Courser’s material and of course heavily references it and quotes it. I hope you enjoy! The track art is by the amazing Zilleniose. Thanks Zoey!
  2020.  
  2021.  
  2022. - Noirscape - A Lunatic's Daydream
  2023.  
  2024. This tune got some pretty cool art from kendle bentley b! at electroluxx.tumblr.com. I don’t really know anything other than ‘wow, that’s really cool’.
  2025.  
  2026. So let’s talk about the track. I said a little bit about it when I posted it but I thought I’d expand a little.
  2027.  
  2028. The piece is written for the Alpha kids’ version of Jack Noir, in particular his attempted jailbreak. Unsurprisingly then every guitar stab is supposed to represent Jack stabbing something. In the original version there were actually more stabs at the start that got cut fairly late in the process because while more stabbing probably suits the character it made the intro feel too long.
  2029.  
  2030. As the tune is for a Jack I thought his piece should be based on the Black theme. I’d been thinking about doing a take on it for a while but hadn’t figured out how I would do it until the jailbreak scene started. At the same time I’d been struggling to write the verse for the Jane song (I have that bit now but I’m still working on the song) so taking a break from that to play a lot of angry distorted guitars also seemed like a good idea.
  2031.  
  2032. The guitar solo is really hard to play.
  2033.  
  2034. Originally it was just going to be a fairly loose guitar jam over the chords from Upward Movement but while that was a lot of fun for me to play it turned out it wasn’t that much fun to listen to so I figured it was going to need some more backings. This led to the inclusion of a number of themes from Descend building up and then a little interplay in the strings at the end. Unfortunately this meant a loose jam style solo wasn’t going to cut it anymore so I sat and wrote out the solo you hear now. I threw in a quintuplet and a 5:6 tuplet because apparently I hate writing things I can play.
  2035.  
  2036. When it was all done I uploaded it, blogged it and then tried to sleep while my phone kept going off until I turned off alerts. I didn’t really expect anyone to pick it up but it surprised me by being the most popular thing I’ve ever posted by a long way (thanks Radiation!).
  2037.  
  2038. The next day I got a message from Radiation saying he’d like to include it on the album (which turned out to be volume 9). So I went back and tweaked the mix a bit (mainly turning down the gain on the guitars and bringing out the strings in the descend section) and sent him the final wav which is what’s on the album. I’m really grateful to be included on the album and I’m glad people seem to like the track.
  2039.  
  2040. Bonus Files (for any guitarists who want to have a go at it): Guitar solo PDF http://dl.dropbox.com/u/36441311/homestuckfiles/noirscapesolo.pdf , Descend section without the solo. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/36441311/homestuckfiles/noirscapebackings.mp3
  2041.  
  2042. Fun if somewhat nerdy fact: The power down sound that leads into the guitar solo section is actually the sound made when the Hammond organ is switched off while holding down the last chord. The tonewheels inside the organ that generate the pitches start to slow down before the amplifier cuts out so you can hear the pitch lower before the sound stops.
  2043.  
  2044. After I posted Noirscape it got added to the tracklist for LOFAM2 and straightfacedgriff had actually started doing art for it before I had the chance to quietly let them know that it wasn’t going to be on the album. The art pretty much sums up the scene the music was meant to be describing at the start though (assuming jack has a few more knives up his sleeve for the other guards) so I thought I’d include it here.
  2045.  
  2046. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5ilxvk8IC1r8no98o1_1280.png
  2047.  
  2048.  
  2049. - Another Countdown - Michael Guy Bowman
  2050.  
  2051. I’ve mentioned a few times that Homestuck Vol. 9, in its early planning stages, was conceived as an album that would be dedicated to the new session of Homestuck, and most of the tracks would mimic older songs re-imagined in the new universe presented in Act 6. “Another Countdown” was thus the sister song of “Sburban Countdown” - both are brief arrangements of their parent songs (“Another Jungle” and “Sburban Jungle” respectively) meant to crescendo towards a major climax.
  2052.  
  2053. “Another Countdown” was retooled from its parent track to be far mellower at first - the bass and drum comping is a bit latin in flavor, and much of the song’s first half is almost completely quiet until the explosion that finishes off the track. When the concept of the record was changed, it was decided that this relatively short song would be included as a bonus when you purchase the full album.
  2054.  
  2055. The track art is by Emery Ferguson.
  2056.  
  2057. -----------------------------------------
  2058.  
  2059. Genesis Frog - Alexander Rosetti
  2060.  
  2061.  
  2062.  
  2063. I’m uploading the commentary for Genesis Frog as text for those of you who could not buy my album but were interested in a composer’s thoughts and detailed descriptions on its concept and execution. This is Part 1 of 4. If you like the album I encourage you to purchase it if you are able, as it helps support me and it will be that much easier to bring you more music in the future!
  2064.  
  2065.  
  2066. I, Alexander Rosetti, intend to make this a pleasurable experience for those of you looking for additional insight on the long-winded and self-absorbed music of this album. I assure you the commentary will encapsulate those qualities as well, perhaps even more so!
  2067. So, what’s this all about?
  2068.  
  2069.  
  2070.  
  2071. Genesis Frog is an album about the eponymous amphibian’s journey from paradox slime to universe. Specifically, it is about the frog Jade Harley attempts to breed and grow so that He may reach His pond in Skaia and fulfill His role as the next universe created by SBURB. Some themes of the album also address the Genesis Frog that Earth already inhabits, while still other themes could be applied to any Genesis Frog in paradox space. In more general terms, it is an album about Sburb’s mythology, which is both and remarkable and hilariously ridiculous in its ability to tailor fit itself into each unique session it is in.
  2072.  
  2073. When I first envisioned Genesis Frog, I did not imagine the album’s focus would be on a single entity from Homestuck. In fact, my first idea was to create a sort of “Homestuck Bestiary” soundtrack, giving themes to all the creatures and citizens of Sburb. The seeds of the album’s current form were planted when I decided I wanted to make a “Frogs” theme at the beginning and transform it into “Bilious Slick’s Theme” by the end of the album, thus symbolizing the overarching purpose of Sburb. I gradually fell more in love with the concept while more information on the Genesis Frog was covered in the story such as frog breeding, the Prospitians’ and Consorts’ worship of the deity, and Derse’s detestation of it.
  2074.  
  2075. I began to realize how important the Genesis Frog was to Homestuck’s big picture: the goal of Sburb is creation, and the main conflict in the story is preventing destruction. The most intensely cinematic End of Act as of this writing involved the assassination of two of these frogs as the result of a beautifully intricate plot and pushing the story towards its climax. One of my favorite aspects of Homestuck is its world-building (in some cases world-destroying), and I thought it would be fun to compose an album about an entity that quite literally contains its worlds.
  2076.  
  2077. Alright already, I get it, but what about the music?
  2078.  
  2079.  
  2080.  
  2081. From the very beginning I decided I wanted Genesis Frog to have its own unified sound, even back when it was “Homestuck Bestiary”. To accomplish this, I treated the album as a sort of orchestral suite, and it could certainly be referred to as such. Of course, getting a real orchestra to record this music is well beyond my means as an amateur composer, but I think the samples used in the album are high-fidelity and well-sequenced enough to be enjoyable.
  2082.  
  2083. There is a lot of continuity between tracks on the album, which lends itself well to the idea that it is an orchestral suite. Genesis Frog is really a singular work rather than a collection of somewhat related songs—I paid very special attention to the order of tracks and when certain recurring themes appear. The album has three main recurring musical motifs: the “Pondsquatter” theme (the main theme of the album and most frequently used), the “Divine” theme (which first shows up in Our Glorious Speaker), and the “Folklore” theme (which first shows up in Prospitian Folklore).
  2084.  
  2085. There are also a handful of musical devices and ostinati that find their way into various nooks and crannies that help contribute a sense of unity and are certainly fun to spot if you pay attention. I like to think all these snippets of musical material are treated the same way that repeated dialogue, situations and every other kind of callback are in Homestuck. If you recognize them you will enjoy the experience that much more, though the callbacks in the album are not that difficult to spot in my opinion, so it shouldn’t take as much effort as noticing Colonel Sassacre’s Daunting Text of Magical Frivolity and Practical Japery was heavy enough to kill a cat, and then finally doing so several thousand pages later.
  2086.  
  2087. While the album does deviate somewhat from the orchestral sound in a few small instances, the instrumental ensemble remains relatively constant through each track, with the exception of percussion instruments that come and go and a short appearance by an electric guitar and bass, as well some much more eccentric instruments than those.
  2088.  
  2089. Prelude
  2090. Track art by Marina
  2091.  
  2092. This is an album about growth, so I wanted it to start very quiet and exposed. The piece opens with a quartal chord in the harp, and after the atmosphere is established a solo clarinet introduces the main theme of the album. A portion of the orchestra comes in after that and there’s a small swell before tapering off into a cello solo. The ensemble is pretty scarce in this one due to its subdued nature. There’s not a lot going on in this track overall, but it does its job both as the prelude to Pondsquatter and the album as a whole.
  2093.  
  2094. Pondsquatter
  2095. Track art by Marina
  2096.  
  2097. If Genesis Frog were a game, this would play at the title screen. It is a full realization of the album’s main theme, this time with the entire orchestra in tow and plenty of thematic development. I sort of have a love-hate relationship with this track. For one thing, it is the first piece I composed for the album and its melodic material served as its main groundwork, so it’s really important in that respect. But at the same time I had the least experience while initially composing it as compared the album’s other tracks, so I had to spend a lot of extra time fine-tuning it and developing it more (the original was barely under two minutes long). Still, considering the amount of work I had to put into it, it was one of the more rewarding tracks to work on.
  2098.  
  2099. The combination of Prelude and Pondsquatter to open the album with is something I thought about a lot, and in many ways they are one piece split into two parts. Consider this Movement II. Pondsquatter flows right out of Prelude and gradually adds to the orchestration. After a brief celesta interlude, the theme gets going in full. This piece has a sense of emerging, particularly out of the empty space of Prelude. There are plenty of woodwind trills and harp runs; I wanted them to feel like they were bursting out of the texture, and the openness of the quartal harmonies was eventually replaced by more triadic chords. Quartal chords retain some significance through the album, however, though they are certainly not prominent. I aimed to make the climax of this piece very satisfying, with the gong practically screaming “we’ve arrived!” but I was afraid of having too much of a sense of finality so I didn’t give the piece a proper ending. Instead it goes straight into the next track without only a hint at a cadence.
  2100.  
  2101.  
  2102. Our Glorious Speaker
  2103. Track art by Rikuru
  2104.  
  2105. Much like Pondsquatter, the concept for this piece was conceived very early on in the album’s life before it became Genesis Frog. It was supposed to be a theme for the Prospitians, and it still mostly is, but now the piece focuses more on their devotion to the Speaker than the citizens themselves. The chess-people of Prospit are referenced a few times in Homestuck as worshipping the Genesis Frog, and it is through perusing their lore in various updates (mostly Seer: Descend) that I got inspiration for several tracks on the album, including this one.
  2106.  
  2107. The music was representing devotion, so I wanted it to have the warmest, most tranquil tone it could. There are two chorale-like sections, the first being the passage the strings play in the beginning, and then later in the brass when the rest of the orchestra drops out for a while. The style of this piece was inspired by Taku Iwasaki’s scores, which often feature very beautiful and lush string textures. I actually don’t think I captured that very well, and in fact strayed from that idea as the piece went on. But the core of the inspiration remains and I think one can tell if they are familiar with his style. Of note is the last third of the piece which is a self-indulgent, overly-romanticized arrangement of Erik Scheele’s Sarabande. It’s such a beautiful piece and I knew from the day I started working on this that I wanted to include it, no matter how schmaltzy I made it sound. Give me a break, it was fun, okay?
  2108.  
  2109. - Prospitian Folklore
  2110. Track art by Rikuru
  2111. “Though we adore Him we shall never enjoy His beauteous Croak. We spill our blood on acres of black and white so they may cross the yellow yard. At last in Skaia’s reflection through broken glass He may find the pond in which He’s meant to squat.” – Book in Prospit Library (from Seer: Descend)
  2112.  
  2113. This piece is a musical retelling of the above passage. If you read it while listening to the music, the tone should match for the most part (as long as you are reading very, very slowly). This track’s melody appears several more times throughout the album, and represents the “folk tale” and more legendary aspects of the Genesis Frog as seen through His followers. Because of this I tried to make it sound like a genuine folk tune, and ended up with something vaguely resembling a tune out of Eastern Europe. It’s a melancholic sort of melody, which suits the grim tone of the text it is based on. It is passed through several instruments: first a solo oboe, then the violins, a soprano recorder, and a trumpet.
  2114.  
  2115. After the main section is over, the piece shifts into a short woodwind chorale, and then into what I can only call a cadenza made up of tense suspended figures in the strings with an out-of-meter pulse underneath. I kind of wrote this last section accidentally, since it somehow started flowing out of the chorale and I just went with it. It seemed to have an air of urgency and importance to me, so I kept it in to represent “Skaia’s reflection through broken glass”, which is such a fascinating image. Broken glass has been a recurring motif in Homestuck and seems to hold important consequences every time it occurs, and the text implies it will be significant in the Genesis Frog’s final destination. So the atmosphere of this final section felt significant and fitting to me.
  2116.  
  2117. ----------------------------------------------------------
  2118.  
  2119. Cherubim
  2120.  
  2121. - Reverie - Alexander Rosetti
  2122.  
  2123. i made this song its abou tcallpope shes the girl troll on the web cartonn ‘homsockers’ an she lives on the moon with her brother cazzbiborn baggin of rivendale were they play chess she isnt as good as it as cazbio l and he beats her this song is about when she was before he bit her le g fof
  2124.  
  2125.  
  2126. he is such a good goadlie and im tryhing to anticipate where hes going next i’m perfectly fine where i am im like where where wheere s your move tell me why im wrong
  2127.  
  2128. - Carne Vale - Malcolm Brown
  2129.  
  2130. The Concept
  2131.  
  2132. So with Cherubim, we tried something a little different to reflect the duality of the character/s in question. The album would be split into an even number of tracks grouped in pairs, and then finish off with Eternity Served Cold, to represent Caliborn’s dominance and unchaining. The pairs would represent a similar track done in two distinct styles for Calliope and Caliborn - Calliopes tracks would be considerably mellow, light, friendly, while Caliborn’s versions would be chaotic and angry.
  2133.  
  2134. Carne Vale mirrors RJ’s “Stellarum Salve" though only vaguely - I probably could’ve done a better job, but hopefully there’s enough recognizable lapses into SS that I treat as Calliope’s personality sorta coming back into the fray. The noticable sections are 0:00 and 1:58. Outside of that, anything pretty much went - The original ideas thrown about were a kind of crazy, OTT DnB. I ended up combining that with quite a bit of angry metal guitar, and a few spoonfuls of English (And Eternity, just for a bit of foreshadowing).
  2135.  
  2136. Originally I was looking into the Saw theme for inspiration, since there’s quite a lot of decent connections to be had there (Not least because of Caliborn’s escape sequence and the whole Lil’ Cal thing) - in the end I didn’t really use much of this, which is a shame because it’d probably work quite well…
  2137.  
  2138. The Name
  2139.  
  2140. The name for this guy actually has more backstory than most. The working title was “Caliburninate”. Afterwards I thought “uNCHAINED” might make a nice name, since the progression of the song made it seem an almost alternative version of Caliborn’s freedom/leg-sawing. adventure. Trouble was, Eternity Served Cold already provided the background to that, and it’d make more sense to rename EsC to “uNCHAINED” than this one (as pointed out by Toby). So that idea was dropped and still no name.
  2141.  
  2142. (Also, while I considered renaming EsC to ‘uNCHAINED’, I figured that guy’d been renamed enough and people were already referring to it via the ‘Eternity’ name, so I figured just leave it).
  2143.  
  2144. Finally I looked to the whole ICP/Juggalo angle. Latched on to the name “Carnival”, but that on its own was a bit flat, so went looking into the etymology of the word. Dug up “Carne Vale" (lit. ‘Farewell Meat’) and that was that.
  2145.  
  2146. It bizarrely managed to be a sort of weird mirror of “Stellarum Salve”, and be almost appropriate to the whole leg-slicing shenanighens.
  2147.  
  2148. The Track
  2149.  
  2150. Now, there was quite a lot of DmC being played while I was making this, so a lot of of inspiration came from both the new Devil May Cry and the original ones.
  2151.  
  2152. We start off with a minor-ised version of a sequence from Stellarum Salve, before bursting into the rising power-chord section. This is you’re typical “transformation” section where Caliborn’s personality is beginning to take over. Of note for this song is the usage of Shreddage, which I’ve been fiddling about with after Toby posted about it a while back. My setup for using it isn’t brilliant, but the Amp sim it comes with is decent enough and the recorded strings and general setup (i.e. easy support for double tracking and the like) are probably better than anything I could do with a real guitar.
  2153.  
  2154. At 0:45 we bring in a direct reference to Eternity/English. (The melody is English, the music box in the background is referencing the beginning of Eternity). Can’t quiet remember what I was doing for the synthy-bass in the background, but I do remember it was fairly distorted. The laughing here I’ll talk about a bit later…
  2155.  
  2156. 1:10, and Shreddage is paying for itself with a meaty bit of rhythm guitar. Probably could’ve done a bit more variation around these sections, but it was doing a good enough job.
  2157.  
  2158. 1:57 gives us the second Stellarum Salve reference, sort’ve mashed two bits together. Here we have a brief reprieve from the chaos as Calliope’s personality resurfaces. Then however, we get to the noisiest bit of the whole song.
  2159.  
  2160. 2:27 and we get ready to go into full rave mode. Once the beat gets going, I decided to try a more complex riff for shreddage, a mix of power chords and lead. The synth bass also gets a bit more to do, adding a bit of panning and the then pitching it up to play a crazy arpeggiation. This bit was basically just “do something crazy”. Originally I had some laughter here too, but took it out since it was being drowned out by everything else.
  2161.  
  2162. 3:02 and we return to a bit of sanity. The guitar solo here is again provided by shreddage and sequenced - It’s actually fairly
  2163. simplistic, but adding a few articulations helps fool it into sounding a bit more believable.
  2164.  
  2165. 3:26 and we bring our old friend Fruity Slicer back into the fray. He’s simply slicing the beat that was used throughout the song previously, while the rest of the song calms back down to another reference to English. Once that’s done, we bookend the whole thing with another reference to Stellarum Salve - Caliborn’s off back to sleep and we’re returning to Calliope again.
  2166.  
  2167. Now, a few other interesting things about this track (That a few people have already spotted) - firstly, it actually uses quite a few samples that come with FL Studio. Namely the percussion and the laughter. The percussion was pretty much the only example I had for the kind of drumline I was after, so it was fine.
  2168.  
  2169. The laughter was an interesting example - It’s from one of those collections of samples of voice that are usually terrible and added to 90s dance tracks (Shouting something random if its a male voice, like “CHECK THIS BASS!!” or “YEAH!” and moaning something incoherent if it’s female like “Oooahhhawoooahhayeah!”. Pitched up it sounded creepy enough when layered. It’s a bit cliched, but it works.
  2170.  
  2171. And that’s Carne Vale. An angry little shout from a little green, malevolent angel-baby. Grr. Argh.
  2172.  
  2173.  
  2174. - Constant Conquest - Michael Guy Bowman
  2175.  
  2176. I floated the idea for a UU + uu album last year in about June as a concept record divided in half with equal and analogous parts Calliope and Caliborn. While we really wanted to jump in and get to making more Homestuck music following Volume 9, we decided to wait and discover more of the two characters until December when Radiation re-organized the effort. He proposed the Jekyll / Hyde alternating pace of the album culminating in “Eternity Served Cold” and had the group split into pairs, each musician working with a partner on a track with the same themes and motifs.
  2177.  
  2178. I worked with Erik, who sent me the at-the-time unfinished Calliope composition “Constant Confinement" for me to base my Caliborn track around. Erik’s track was so meditative, it was actually difficult to recognize the slow-paced woodwind melody over the course of the piece, which pulses onward without any strict meter. This melody had to be expanded upon a lot to match the pace of "Constant Conquest" - it actually flies by at breakneck pace in the first measure of the piece before settling into its groove.
  2179.  
  2180. Conquest in many ways resembles “Ruins Rising”, another electronic track based around one of Erik’s piano compositions. Like in my approach to “Ruins" I arranged the melody sparsely and created a very dense environment of drums and percussion sounds to convert Erik’s pulse into a groove. Same input, same solution, although this time I went much, much heavier than ever before. I had a handful of different drum kits going all at once, each with unique effects chains, to create more of an ensemble sound than a clean dance beat.
  2181.  
  2182. What really sealed in the atmosphere of this track was the huge slather of pads that adorned the track, most of which were created using analog equipment. I fed the signal from an old Radio Shack keyboard with basic midi patches through a pawn shop guitar pedal to create the many layers of sound that fill the background. Some of the most excellent sounds on the track (especially that snarling synth at 2:57) were created by hammering the mod knobs and wah-wah pedal while playing atonal pitches. The result is distorted synth excellence.
  2183.  
  2184. - Eternity Served Cold - Malcolm Brown
  2185.  
  2186. First of, a thanks to the folk who enjoyed EsC.
  2187.  
  2188. Secondly, the above question’s been asked by enough folk now that’s worth commenting on. Specifically, a) Will I release the original and b) Why is it different.
  2189.  
  2190. So let’s get a) out of the way: Most likely - I won’t release it right now though, as that’d diminish the album release. Somewhere down the line I’ll release the original version with the original mixing, and possibly the cut ending part (Which was cut because it sounded silly :p).
  2191.  
  2192. Now for b):
  2193.  
  2194. Getting the first bit out of the way, I’ve a long way to go with learning mastering properly. What sounds ok on Headphones A might sound too bass heavy on Headphones B, absolutely lightweight on Speakers C and generally terrible on earphones Q. With a bit of effort, understand and the right equipment or software the process can be considerably better (I’m using various Dynamic Range monitors to check loudness, for example). I’m still fairly naff at it.
  2195.  
  2196. Now, Eternity’s one of the more complicated tracks I’ve done - It’s got quite a few opposing voices: a synth orchestra, synth and heavy percussion, rhythm and lead guitar voices, pianos, wooden and metal toned percussion, timpanies, creepy sound effects, various choirs with various articulations and so on. Getting all these noises to sound halfway decent on top of each other might’ve been a bit beyond my current skill.
  2197.  
  2198. When I passed the first version to Rad, he noted it was a bit quiet compared to other tracks. A few variations later (Some bass reduction because a lot of my tracks are a bit bass heavy, I blame my default headphones which have very little bass), then it was a bit anemic. Brought the bass back, tried to bring in some of the voices that were being drowned out (This is the biggest problem people have with the newer version - Some of the strings have been reduced in favour of other voices, notably in the Revelawesome section). Long story short, I didn’t have a decent setup that lets me make any mastering decisions with much confidence.
  2199.  
  2200. There’s also a few notable mistakes in EsC in general - Firstly, there’s simply too much strings. In some sections, there’s a high string melody, with staccato strings, more strings below that, and a cello/double bass strings bit. And a solo violin on top of that. It’s simply too much string section fighting over control of what’s going on - This was the main reason for trying to bring the french horns and oboe back into the fold. Additionally, I’m not convinced I’m using panning to its best, resulting in a very squashed mix that’s very central and doesn’t sound “spacial”, which a bit orchestral track really should.
  2201.  
  2202. Mastering EsC highlights that there’s large gaps in my skill for music production that I need to brush up on. This is good - It’s always good to have targets for self improvement. I’ll say right now that both versions are still considerably better than Rex Duodecim Angelus :p And essentially it’s the same deal - A synth-orchestral romp through a Homestuck medley meant to sound mean and imposing and threatening, so I won’t say I’m not improving :D.
  2203.  
  2204. TL:DR: Yes the old version will be released at a later date. It sounds different because I’m wishy-washy at mastering. (I’m not actually sure if I’m using that term right, I’m basing it off Peanuts)
  2205.  
  2206. Hope that answers ya'lls questions :)
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