Category Archives: My compositions

An Ill Presence~To Arms! (orchestral and rock mix)

Hello, everybody!

My latest video is a combined version of two of my compositions – An Ill Presence (orchestrated) and To Arms! (rock version). Anyone familiar with my piano album will be used to hearing them as one track, and they were written as a pair. When I was working on the orchestrated and rock versions, I made and released them one at a time, and while I think they can stand alone, I also thought it would be good to recombine them as originally intended.

A big thanks to Ainsley Stones, of Girl Gone Bad, for the guitar solo in To Arms!. Please check out their music: https://www.youtube.com/c/GirlGoneBad

Many thanks also to Thomas Slimm for writing and programming the drums.

The artwork is by my wife, Iryna Zastavna.

An Ill Presence (orchestrated)

Hi, everybody!

This week I have an orchestrated version of one of my previous compositions, An Ill Presence. I was working on it before I had to flee Kyiv and finished it recently. Rather than posting a video of my recording software playing through the track, I asked my wife to draw an image for it – a tree that has unnatural colours. I think what she produced looks really good!

New performance and composition – A Moment of Safety

Hello, everybody!

This week I have a performance of my latest composition, titled “A Moment of Safety”. It’s inspired by the safe room themes of the Resident Evil games, which provide a few safe areas in the games. The music reflects this but simultaneously creates a sense of tension, a small dread that you’ll have to go back out into the danger eventually. That’s what I’ve tried to capture with this composition.

The chords used are Am11 and Gm11 – they don’t relate to each other, but being so extended softens the contrast between them as they actually share a lot of notes. I chose them for this reason, as together they sound pretty relaxed.

The sense of unease comes from the rhythm between the hands – only occasionally do they sync up. While they aren’t actually playing in different time signatures (although the left hand sounds like it moves between 6/8 and 3/4), there are enough stressed notes falling apart from each other that some rhythmic dissonance is created, in my opinion. Let me know whether you agree or not!

Clockwork Sanctuary (orchestrated – variation 1)

I have a third new video this week! Another orchestration, this time of my piano piece Clockwork Sanctuary.

This is a location theme for the game that I’m making. As the player moves deeper into the level, the piece will change, with more instruments and sounds related to clocks and industry getting added in. This is just the first version that will play upon entering the area.

It took me a while to settle on instrumentation for this version – I had a rough sketch of it recorded about a year ago but wasn’t happy with my choice of instruments at the time, or with my ability to make them sound good. I’m much happier with this version, especially with the string quartet at the end of it. All of the instruments are physically modelled and thus can be played in a very expressive manner (they’re the Audio Modelling SWAM Solo Strings and the SWAM Flute, Oboe and Bassoon, for those interested in specifics).

Here’s the original piano version for comparison. Please let me know what you think of each version! If you enjoy my music, please consider subscribing to my channel!

Innocence – orchestrated (variation 1)

I decided to release a second video this week – something I’ve been working on and was too excited to fit into my usual schedule of one video per week!

I’ve been working on orchestrating some of my piano music recently (the first ones were Theme of Oppression and To Arms!, though the latter is a rock arrangement rather than an orchestration. I’ve got a few compositions in progress and have been figuring out what works when it comes to combining instruments and learning a little about how they’re played as I go along. I’ll make a more thorough study of orchestration when I’ve experimented more by myself, as I’m a firm believer in having some practical knowledge to stick the theory to.

The video this week is an wind and strings version of ‘Innocence’. I say version, as I believe that it’s worth making multiple versions of the same piece of music to explore the many different ways that a melody or harmonic progression can go.

This is done often in soundtracks, to give a sense of coherency to the story and characters and is particularly effective in video games. I remember Jak II adding an extra layer of rhythmic elements over the existing music whenever you drew a weapon and finding that really raised the tension. More recently A Hat in Time impressed me with just how many versions of every piece of music it has – as you move around the levels and encounter different characters, the instrumentation changes to reflect the mood.

I’ll link the original piano version of this composition, so you can easily compare the two. I’d be glad to hear what people think works in each version, ad whether people have a preference for one or the other. If you use YouTube, please consider subscribing, and let me know what you think in the comments.