Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Login Screen

DISCLAIMER: As July 9th 2014, I have released the song on my Soundcloud- account. Listen it here!

You know, I´ve always wanted to do a cinematic montage myself.
Like the stuff which you hear on movies´ end credits, combinging the themes while hopping through different keys, tempos and feelings.

Or....ehm, that stuff you hear in an online game´s login screen. I wonder what game we could possibly talk about here?

So, one day at work I actually decided to go all nuts and started to improvise a bit with the themes, riffs and melodies of our upcoming album. And suddenly, I was having a blast...I had so much fun to do whatever I wished, playing "Kyyppari"´s main guitar riff with staccato strings and whatever I could just imagine of.
One thing lead into another, and suddenly I was having a 6- minute classical arrangement of the album´s various themes. Using only basic strings, I could easily mimick everything roughly to make some guidelines what to do.

The fact that I still had my template left from the movie score I was doing last autumn helped me a lot. So I basically had all the instrument tracks and samples mapped already and was ready to start orchestrating right away. Which I did. Using EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Gold (Seriously, I wonder if you could actually get a longer name for a piece of software? :D ) as the basic palette with some additional stuff from Native Instruments (Kontakt II library), Garritan (Personal Orchestra + Jazz& Big Band libraries) and Quantum Leap (RA library) it took me a couple of days to orchestrate the whole palette.

After I had carefully orchestrated the whole stuff with midi, I exported every instrument separately out from Cubase as wave file and opened my movie score´s mix template. As I was using the same sounds, I could just import the wave files to their own tracks and all the EQ´s, compressors and reverbs were right there.

[studio jargon]
Clearing all the previous automations, I was ready to start from scratch to give the volumes and pannings the treatment they should have. For you geeks out there, the final secret of creating real- sounding stuff is dynamics. In order to have room for compression for the sound in the final mix and master, you have to have dynamics so wide- ranged it sounds almost stupid. I´m using first a modulation wheel for articulating the sound to match the realism (as in, the sound changes depending on how hard you bow/ blow/ hit the instrument) and then I use volume automation as well to emphasize the crescendos and diminuendos even more. And then, when I import stuff to Cubase, I compress a bit each track separately and then do even MORE audio automation to the volumes. Then when the final master compression is set, it will even out nicely stuff without taking the dynamics away.
[/studio jargon] 

If you look closely, you may spot my mixing references on the last two tracks. :D Every track you see contains quite a load of "hidden" data, which is used for automating volumes, reverbs and even stereo panning, which is very important in mixing. On the top of this orchestral mix, there will be quite a load of more synthetic sounds, real percussion, real singing and some instruments as well, so we´re still quite far from the actual finalized product.

I was thinking of doubling all the choirs myself, using some clever technology even to do the female choirs (no, not harmonizer, thank you :D ) but then my good friend Jakke from Crimfall exploded my mind by hinting on this one new choir sample- package which is now out. And after listening the samples, I was already writing an email to my boss, giving him good reasons why we should definitely buy this package to my work tools arsenal.
Then I realized that it needs the newest version of Kontakt sampler, and I was lagging two versions behind. :( Luckily, I noticed that the upgrade from my version to the latest was only 100 € ("only" is really "only", as these things tend to cost close to 500 € normally...not very cheap hobby this is, hehe) so I bought it myself right away. Thank the Gods for Mastercard!

I should be getting my upgrade package next week (43 GB of samples, not bad ^^) and as the Gods were on my side, my boss just agreed on buying the choir package, which should arrive at that point as well.  I can´tlet this one go finished without those MASSIVELY SUPER- SOUNDING choirs.
And no, I wasn´t paid for advertising. :D
I´ll keep you two readers updated on this little project. You WILL hear it at some point. If nothing else, I´ll upload it to Youtube or something. Even I have my ego to boost sometimes. :D




  1. So eager to hear the album and this crazy arrangement :D These choir-samples better bring mountains! Trollhorn,WILL THERE BE MOUNTAINS!?

  2. Say, is there a chance to hear the movie/game scores you're making? Cause I guess that's done for Finnish audience mostly and not intended much for abroad.

  3. Maybe you could put this arrangement on a Limited Edition version of your album as a bonus track :D

  4. Glad to hear you'll let us in on this one later. Wouldn't be the first time I was teased by a Trollhorn band about songs I'll never hear. =P

    Knowing as much as you do about producing I would have guessed that you produce for other people more often, but your Metal Archives page only shows an album every few years or so (except for the ones that are your own band). Is that just because of how busy you are? Or is there another reason you don't play overproducer for other bands that often?

  5. Aw man XD More things I'm excited for, but have to wait!

  6. Defs can't wait to hear this!

  7. Wait....NOW I have! It only took me a year due to some different opinions within the band, which is completely another story. :P

  8. Trollhorn, I fucking love you! <3

    I too use EastWest stuffs (I might have to look up those other libraries you mentioned!) and always wanted to do something as big and as mental as this!

    Glad to see you lay your stuff out the same way I do, haha!

    Cheers from a MASSIVE Finntroll and Russell Brower/Jason Hayes fan!

  9. Oh yeah I love this, I was playing WoW just now, and I started listening to this on Sound Cloud but forgot for a moment, I thought I didn't exit the game properly. This is great

  10. It's too long for a tweet so I post it here and hope you'll see it.
    Finally listened to it! For someone like me lacking musical culture I want to say the Dany Elfman influence sounded strong to my hears very Beetlejuicy around 1.00-1.30 ^__^ If I manage to write that fantasy novel I'm working on and Hollywood makes a movie of it, the OST is for you ;D (don't quit your job!! It's not happening soon!!)

  11. Studio jargon was in very small print. I think there are others interested to hear more of it. Maybe even as much as video or two about the subject?
    I walked past you at Hämeenlinnan keskiaika markkinoilla. I hope you had an awesome day there!

  12. Press enter, roll your mouse wheel up....and suddenly, the text becomes bigger! ^^

    A video of this would had been cool indeed, but unfortunately it is too late by now. However, point taken! For what it comes to the Hämeenlinna- thing, I don´t think I´ve ever had such fun there as this year (and this was the 9th year in a row!) on friday, as we were there first time alone with my wife dressed up in the ye old style, haha!

  13. Yeah it was great this year but I kind of missed Rohan Stables. People dressing in accordance with the theme is one of the best thing at such fairs!

    Maybe video some other time then?