#094 The Kinesigraph (from Brass) – Amanda Laven – The Kinesigraph

Join Amanda Laven, composer for audio drama Brass in a baroque soundtrack to a steampunk story. An immersive listening experience. Headphones recommended. 



The piece of music we’re listening to in the background is called The Kinesigraph. It’s the solo piano soundtrack from a short film called The Kinesigraph, which is tied into the universe of the audio drama Brass. Today, we’ll break it down and get into why and how it was made. You’re listening to how I make music, where audio drama composers get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song soundtrack or composition and take a trip into how it was made. My name is Amanda Laven. I’m a composer and sound designer from the capital region of New York. And this is how I make music. I’m Amanda Laven, I’m a composer and sound designer living in Schenectady, New York.


I was the composer for The Kinesigraph, which is a short silent film set in an alternate steampunk version of 1885 known as the Brass Universe. The same universe in which the Brass audio drama and several stage plays and short films are set. My work is primarily chamber orchestral and electronic pop stuff for video games and audio dramas and films. I was basically born with a Nintendo Entertainment System controller in my hand. My dad used to be a hardcore gamer so I spent a lot of time playing video games growing up. I played a lot of Mario, played a lot of Legend of Zelda. So Koji Kondo, definitely one of my formative influences, and one of the reasons why I got into playing music and why I wanted to start writing music. And then Yoko Shimamura, as well, very big Kingdom Hearts fan. I played a lot of it growing up, and the music was definitely one of my favorite parts of that game. Yeah, so basically, I grew up listening to classic rock. It’s what my parents listened to. So it’s what I listened to. And then as I got a little bit older, became more of an angsty teenager, I started moving more into heavier stuff, hard rock, punk rock, nu metal. Still listen to it today, I’m still a sucker for nu metal. 


I was specifically asked to write a solo piano score for The Kinesigraph, which was great because I only had about a day to produce the score. The Kinesigraph stars the Brass family, who live in an alternate version of 1885, in which technology has progressed, and King Albert is still alive. They are approached by an inventor who has created a device that produces moving pictures, and he’s looking for an investment from the family. And they agree to invest in his device provided that they get to choose the subject that is filmed. The problem is, none of them can agree on what they should be filming! So I wrote a theme for each of these very different characters. So we have Lord brass who is an inventor and scientist. Lady Brass, a Sherlock Holmes-level detective. Gwendolyn Brass, a grade A con artist and master of disguise. And Cyril, Brass, master of martial arts and weapons. So in the end, we did it all in such a short amount of time. But it was kind of nice the way it worked out because at least it was done. And it was just a matter of finding someone to play it. And the producers did find a very lovely pianist named Jung-Sun Lee. And she was able to turn the score around in a really short amount of time, get us enough recordings that we were able to edit together a really good sounding score. And I was really happy with how it came out. If I recall correctly, it was recorded on an acoustic piano using mics rather than played directly into a DAW. 


We live across the street from three sets of freight train tracks. They cause a lot of disruption they interrupt phone calls. Trying to record anything has to be done around both the trains and the traffic. I’ve got a couple of cats, so when it’s close to mealtime, they’ll start meowing or coming in wanting attention. And my partner plays electric guitar. So sometimes he’ll start playing that while I’m trying to work on something it can be very distracting. And my 10 year old stepson, his bedroom shares a wall with my studio. So he’s very into music, he’s got some electronic keyboards and a flute, and he’ll just start up at any time of the day. So it can get very noisy here makes it hard to find the time and the sonic space to do what I need to do sometimes.

7:18 OUTRO

That’s about it for this week’s episode. We’ll listen to the full track in just a moment. But before we do that, thank you for listening to how I make music. Catch new episodes every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple or wherever else. We’ve been listening to music featured in the short film from the Brass audio drama universe called The Kinesigraph. To hear the full story or to check out my other compositions, follow the links in the show notes. We did a video recording of behind-the-scenes chat for this episode. Check out the full interview at patreon.com/howimakemusic. How I make music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening. Contact John Bartmann via the show notes. Visit HowImakeMusic.com and find out who else has been on the show. And now here’s The Kinesigraph, the solo piano score from the Brass universe short film of the same name in its entirety. My name is Amanda Laven, and thanks for listening to how I make music. Catch you next Wednesday.


Amanda Laven amandalaven.com/
Listen to Brass audio drama battlegroundproductions.org/podcasts/
Watch The Kinesigraph short film vimeo.com/304893209


Amanda Laven – The Kinesigraph
Cream – Strange Brew
Korn  – Here To Stay
Koji Kondo – Super Mario Bros Super Smash Bros Medley
Yoko Shimamura – Dearly Beloved
John Bartmann – Fancy A Stroll


How I Make Music is a dramatically edited sound experience where behind-the-scenes musicians get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we challenge audio drama composers to break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and get into why and how it was made.

* Subscribe to How I Make Music pod.link/howimakemusic
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* How I Make Music howimakemusic.com

How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, visit johnbartmann.com