22
June 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Wizard Ops Tactics”

Last week I highlighted the music of the game Wizard Ops. The followup game Wizard Ops Tactics wasn’t a pure sequel, in that it was a turn-based strategy game rather than pure action. The new music needed to maintain continuity of style and reference the prior game’s theme, but suggest a somewhat different mood.

The opening music for Tactics is urgent rather than frantic. A new theme is introduced at the start, and the reprise of the Wizard Ops melody takes on the character of a militaristic march. To my own set of associations, this was a good match for the “sitting around a battle map” visual of the splash screen.

On a side note, if you missed my interview by the awesome folks over at The Loudmouth Report podcast, you can check it out here!

15
June 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Wizard Ops (Main Theme)”

This week’s cue is the main theme from a visually delightful shooter (or, more accurately, magic-wand-zapper) for iOS and Android. The musical concept was a beat-driven cousin of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, capturing the grumpy supernatural quality of wizardry but adding a frenetic pace appropriate for an action game.

On a side note: I had a great time being interviewed by The Loudmouth Report podcast, and the episode is now online via SoundCloud or iTunes. We discussed film and game music, notation software, and the merits (or lack thereof) of various Star Wars films. Check it out!

01
June 2018
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Cue of the Week: “One Absent Friend”

One joy of the digital music era is being able to go back to old recordings, particularly live recordings, and breathe some new life into them. It’s the composerly equivalent of tinkering with a beloved old car.

I love the musicianship in this bittersweet piano-and-strings cue, but its recording always struck me as a bit thin-sounding, and its stereo spread a bit narrow. Thanks to today’s audio tools, I was able to give the sound more warmth, and width. Enjoy this re-release!

18
May 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Dissent and Steel”

Continuing the music series from Empires Apart, this week’s cue is medium-energy combat score – great for when hostilities have broken out, but haven’t yet reached apocalyptic proportions.

The meter alternates between 4/4 and 5/4, creating an asymmetry that I find useful in characterizing combat. When a flute-and-bassoon melody emerges, it’s lyrical and legato but still has to wend its way around the off-center pulse. As a result, a tune that might have been sad or dirge-like gets a bit of a rhythmic twist, and sense of personality.

11
May 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Spires of Constantinople”

Now that some time has passed, this track has emerged as my favorite from the Empires Apart score. (It may be because I have a yen for more lyrical orchestral writing.)

In contrast to the other mideastern-style theme in the game – which was martial in tone – the Byzantine melody has a quality of nostalgic yearning. The instrumentation blends Eastern and Western influences, reflecting the cross-cultural pedigree of Byzantium itself.

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Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
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