The piece of music featured in this episode is called Rupture. It’s a heavy and dissonant horror-inspired action soundtrack that I wrote for the choose-your-own-adventure audio drama The Culling, a story about a research intern who discovers some disturbing experiments happening at a remote space colony. My name is Randy Greer. I’m an audio drama writer and composer and this is How I Make Music.
IN THIS EPISODE
01:12 I played in a metal band for years, and I’m pretty sure I lost some hearing. My influences include cinematic horror, specifically Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky (1867), The Deadspace 2 soundtrack by Jason Graves and Joseph Bishara’s soundtrack for Insidious.
02:35 Rupture is a soundtrack for the audio drama The Culling. The aim is to convey chaos breaking out at a research facility when they learn about the outbreak of a viral contagion. It accompanies a crowd stampede sequence. I wanted people to imagine what music would be playing if they had to run for their lives. The main character in the series is a character called Harker. She flown out to a quarantined remote planet. The accompanying music is textural and primal.
04:38 Atonality is when the music has neither discernible ‘home base’ note. Rupture begins as an atonal sequence. As the action of the scene develops, the music gains coherence and clarity and takes on more structure, mirroring the events in the story unraveling. Rupture begins with an atonal choir hum.
05:39 There’s a transition which I wanted to feel like passing through a membrane. Up until this point, there’s been no rhythm or meter. I wanted the listener to feel like there was nothing to hold on to. The greater the tension, the greater the ultimate resolution.
06:18 A rhythmic pulse emerges. I used distortion to play C, B and C#. It’s a chromatic motif that appears throughout the whole series.
06:51 One of my favorite instruments is called Mysteria, a choral instrument with an XY axis that allows you to drift between vocal articulations.
07:42 Synthesizers are associated with science fiction. I find them vital for carrying a sci-fi atmosphere into the score. To create a raw and primitive sound, I rely on percussion. A percussive rhythm is introduced which gives the listener some traction. The choir begins to sound almost like a swarm of bees.
09:15 To further reflect unpredictability, I use a 5/4 pattern. It feels wrong, almost as if you can’t quite get your footing.
09:50 Throughout Rupture, I use a bowed software instrument called Frendo. It’s a long, hollow wooden surface with metal strings and a lead pipe which can be freehanded to create wild, creepy and even bizarre sounds that suit the horror genre. Magma Synth is a sound design element I used to create the feel of something hatching from a fleshy membrane
11:03 Col legno bowing is where string players use the wood of the bow instead of the hair to create an aggressive snapping sound. To me, it communicates a sense that the events in the story have already snapped. The horn clusters sound wild.
* Modest Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain
* Jason Graves – Deadspace 2 soundtrack
* Joseph Bishara – The Insidious Plane
ABOUT THIS SHOW
How I Make Music is where behind-the-scenes musicians tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and investigate the insights into how it was made.
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