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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: score

Disquiet Junto Project 0361: Zork Diaries

The Assignment: Score a classic interactive fiction.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, December 3, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, November 29, 2018.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0361: Zork Diaries
The Assignment: Score a classic interactive fiction.

Step 1: Zork is the title of one of the earliest interactive text adventure games. The complete text of a spoiler-laden full run of the game is at the following URL, housed at Georgia Tech, or the Georgia Institute of Technology:

http://bitly.com/junto-zork

Step 2: If you’re not familiar with Zork and/or with interactive text adventures, consider reading up. Otherwise, just think of the script as exactly that: the bare-bones narrative of a story.

Step 3: Compose a score (along with, if possible, sound effects) for the first page or so of Zork. It is suggested that you begin with the fifth line of provided text (“West of House”) and end about a page down, where it reads “The door reluctantly opens to reveal a rickety staircase descending into darkness.”

Bonus Alternates: (A) You can, of course, end sooner or later. (B) You can, of course, play the game yourself and score the moves you make. (C) You can, of course, sort out a means to record alternate, forking versions, based on various potential outcomes of different decisions when playing the game. (D) You might open with a brief opening-credits theme.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0361” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0361” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0361-zork-diaries/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, December 3, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, November 29, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0361” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Context: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 361st weekly Disquiet Junto project — Zork Diaries / The Assignment: Score a classic interactive fiction — at:

https://disquiet.com/0361/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0361-zork-diaries/

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet to join in.

Image adapted (cropped, text added, etc.) from a Wikipedia photo by Marcin Wichary, thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zork_photo.jpg

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

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Clint Mansell Says, “Shhhhh!”

What appears to be the score from Mute

Just three days ago, soundtrack composer Clint Mansell posted these 17 tracks under the collective title Shhhhh!, combined with a “Shushing Face” emoji, to his SoundCloud account. A commenter on the opening track, “Don’t Say a Word,” asks if it’s the score to Ghost in the Shell. However, a quick check of the titles seems to confirm what the collection’s title, in retrospect, suggests — that this is the music from Mute, the film by Dunan Jones that debuted on Netflix earlier this year. There’s a snippet of what is said to be the Mute end-credits score on YouTube from back in February, and it is identical to the “I Would Drive All Night(Slight Reprise)” track here (the final one, number 17). Another clue: the penultimate track includes the name “Leo,” the Mute lead character, played by Alexander Skarsgard (except in flashbacks to him as a young boy). The set was originally posted at soundcloud.com/clint-mansell. He announced it, coyly, on Twitter, and though someone there guessed it as the Mute score, Mansell hasn’t replied as of this writing.

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Rimbaud Scores Ryman

Music by Scanner for radio science fiction drama about the future of gender

As mentioned here back in early February, upon the death of Denise Duval, the electronic musician Scanner is an especially apt choice for scoring radio dramas. Much of his early electronic music involved lending scores to real-life conversations plucked — well, sampled, really — from the ether. Commissioned scores allow him to apply that experience and those techniques to more formalized narratives. That February entry was about Scanner’s take on the Cocteau play La Voix Humaine, the opera of which starred Duval in its first incarnation. More recently, Scanner provided the score to a BBC Radio 4 story by science fiction author Geoff Ryman. The Ryman story, “No Point Talking,” isn’t currently online (bbc.co.uk), but Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) has posted nearly 11 minutes of the score, a cooly atmospheric outing, with plenty of echoing synthesizers, though the main thread is a sequence of what sounds like electric guitar. Around the seven-minute mark, unintelligible voices intrude, passing as if by the window of the studio where Scanner is recording. The voices play an interesting third-party role. They are neither speaking parts from Ryman’s story, nor are they score. They are human presence as score, voices as sound design. And after they fade, the guitar proceeds forward, bending until it comes to resemble another voice of sorts: the call of seagulls.

Here’s the BBC’s description of Ryman’s tale:

Award-winning sci-fi writer Geoff Ryman’s new story for the BBC, imagining a future world where California has been split in two, each half with very different political outlooks.

His conservative hero finds himself in a place he doesn’t like or understand, where everything he holds dear is challenged: relations between men and women, and even the very definitions of ‘he’ and ‘her’.

This story was written as Geoff was investigating the portrayal of gender in utopian science fiction, as part of BBC Radio 4’s Utopia season. That documentary which accompanies ‘No Point Talking’ is called ‘Herland’.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/scanner. More from Scanner, who is based in London, at scannerdot.com.

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A Broker Tour of Clint Mansell’s High-Rise Score

One track in advance of the J.G. Ballard adaptation

highrise-xlarge

“The night passed noisily, with constant movement through the corridors, the sounds of shouts and breaking glass in the elevator shafts, the blare of music falling across the dark air.” —J.G. Ballard’s High Rise

Among the many promising aspects of the forthcoming wide-screen adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic novel High-Rise is that it’s set as a period piece. The film unfolds in the fabulous, wide-collar, garishly colored 1970s, the same era during which the book, a 1975 publication, was released. That is unlike recent filmed versions of, say, Planet of the Apes, or The Fantastic Four, or Jason Statham’s take on one of Richard Stark’s Parker novels, just to list a few examples, all of which original works were endemic to the era in which they were produced, and then yanked into the future when filmed.

With the new High-Rise, there’s no adjusting to today’s surveillance-media reality, no evocation of how 9/11 rewired America’s brain, no consumer-grade Internet, and no smartphones — all of which could easily lend themselves to Ballard’s urban fable of consumer convenience. The book is a characteristically harrowing Ballardian story in which the violence that humans do to each other, this time in a concrete and steel vertical manifestation of class differences, somehow manages to mask an even darker and deeper potential for violence. The more we play dress up, the more the animal in us, the animal that we are, comes alive.

Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Stoker, Requiem for a Dream) has provided the score to the adaptation, directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Hiddleston, and judging by the first public track, “Cine-Camera Cinema,”it may be a willfully anachronistic act of underscoring — or maybe not. (One of the characters, played here by Luke Evans, is a documentary filmmaker, and “cine-camera” is the term in the novel for his equipment.) The piece is deeply subdued, chanting heard behind an enticing scrim of undulating drones. It has none of the symphonic grandeur of 1970s movie scores, nor the swagger of rock music at the time, though what sound like whistling does bring to mind Ennio Morricone’s westerns. Then again, the post of the track on SoundCloud quotes the Hollywood Reporter’s description: “a lustrous retro-classical score.” So, perhaps the music will be as era-specific as Tom Hiddleston’s lapel. Either way, this excellent first taste of Mansell’s work sets expectations high.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/silvascreen.

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A Taste of The Revenant

Music by Sakamoto, Noto, and Dessner

Certainly, gauging by the initial promotional track, “Killing Hawk,” Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and Bryce Dessner’s music for The Revenant will be enthralling, just as gravitas-laden and epic as the forthcoming film looks to be. “Killing Hawk” balances an extended, slow-mo orchestral string section with what appears to be a digitally stretched version of the same audio, the backdrop a horizon’s-edge figment of generalized noise. It’s stunning, especially when a kind of ferrite pixie stick scatter appears, perhaps paralleling rampant birds in flight on screen. We won’t know until the film debuts, in about a week (December 25). Sadly, according to factmag.com, the score won’t be eligible for an Oscar (Sakamoto won for The Last Emperor back in 1987), because three composers are involved.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/milanrecords.

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