Movie Music: Point/Counterpoint

This post is actually two videos: one is a video from Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting talking about why you can’t remember Marvel film music. The next video would be Dan Golding’s response to the points made by Tony.

The key points I was able to derive:

  • Musical scoring is largely unoriginal
  • The music used in the Marvel films are safe and inoffensive
  • Using a full orchestra is expensive
  • Directors often use temp music to score a film then bring them to composers to produce something similar; this practice is systemic
  • Technology (computers and synths) has helped make the creation of musical scores to be more involved and customizable, but this in turn has also limited the variety of sound you could produce
  • Hans Zimmer was the keyboard guy in black in the “Video Killed the Radio Star” music video
  • The Star Wars theme is actually a remix (see first bullet)

The Marvel Symphonic Universe (Tony Zhou)

A Theory of Film Music (Dan Golding)

I somehow see a parallelism with the current music industry, but I’ll save that for a future post.


GoT Start Notebook by Moleskin

My girlfriend actually gave me two gifts, both what I would consider as enablers as they serve creative outlets. One is a GoT Stark-themed Moleskine notebook which I love so much will be home to my doodles, notes and sketches. The other gift was a complete surprise and is more like a personal challenge. I’m excited and anxious at the same time. 🙂

I also had new shirts courtesy of my mother and niece. I realized I need new shirts so I’m very grateful.

This whole headphone jack thing

A good piece by John Paczkowski of BuzzFeed regarding Apple’s removal of the headphone jack.

An exerpt form the article:

Schiller thinks it’s a silly argument. “The idea that there’s some ulterior motive behind this move, or that it will usher in some new form of content management, it simply isn’t true,” he says. “We are removing the audio jack because we have developed a better way to deliver audio. It has nothing to do with content management or DRM — that’s pure, paranoid conspiracy theory.”

While I love my Audio Technica and Bose headphones and use an LG G4 I have for most of the past year been using a pair of Bluetooth headsets. It’s just convenient. At home where it is a better place to listen to my audio collection I just connect it to either my Bluetooth speaker or to my TDK Boombox which has a USB connector for my iPhone 5, which conveniently charges it too.

Different facets to the argument. When I eventually go back to the iPhone (hopefully next year) I won’t be using the lightning connector headset as much if at all.

On Queue: “Trip Switch” by Nothing But Thieves

NothingButThievesAlbum.jps_Image Source: Wikipedia

I have been listening to this band for the last two weeks. Connor Mason sounds like Matt Bellamy but without the whining. If you want to try them out, start with Trip Switch, then follow up with Wake Up Call. You can search for their live performances at YouTube, they just performed at the Reading and Leads festivals.

Listen to “Trip Switch” from Nothing But Thieves (Deluxe) by Nothing but Thieves on Apple Music.

On Concerts


Usually I do not prefer going to concerts. I don’t like the loud music because it hurts my ears, the unequal sound distribution because you didn’t get seats in an ideal location, and then finding someone has already taken your seat and refuses to move by using the lamest reason that happens to be true: the seat numbers were messed up. Not to mention that to get there we had to go through EDSA traffic and be priced gouged by a taxi driver who was expressing voter’s remorse. Lastly, the screaming. Oh the screaming at every move the front man does. He’s just drinking water for crying out loud.
I usually enjoy listening to music by myself with my favorite pair of headphones in a quiet place or my BT headset while I’m commuting to work. My experience with music has always been a personal one, on how the songs relates to my experiences or feelings or just enjoying the details of a band’s instrumentation or a singers voice.

But this year I have gone to a couple of music festivals already. One was last February at the Goodvybes Festival where I got to watch Stars and Chvrches amongst other bands like Oh Wonder and Passion Pit, and just recently In the Mix where I came to see Panic! at the Disco along with Third Eye Blind, The 1975 and James Bay. I’ve also been going to Pete’s Place more frequently albeit largely to play roadie and number one fan to Tetel when she gets invited to play. I owe this to missing Bombay Bicycle Club and Mutemath when they visited last 2014. I don’t want to miss my favorite bands when they perform live as much as possible. Ever. Again.

So while I was just trying to enjoy the rest of the experience I focused my attention on other details of the performances. I was paying attention to how the band members interact amongst themselves, their crew and the engineers at the control booths. They have those little signals with their hands if they need something turned up or down; the eye contact and light nod to signal the next rift. I saw a crew member calmly swoop in to take a guitar deftly twirl it to untangle it from a mic stand and then walk out, all in about six seconds. How the different crews coordinate to haul, unload, pull then pack gear in between performances. It’s part ninja, part ballet. It makes one appreciate the scope and complexity of having to arrange a performance.

That’s beside the fact that the bands themselves have to figure out set lists and rehearse. Rehearsals take a lot of hours and they have to coordinate set lists to the crew and control booths which take care of the acoustics and lighting for every song and every performance.

Side note: bands get a large part of their earnings through touring than selling records. Over the past couple of years and with the rise in popularity of music streaming services, major record labels seeing a decline in profits in record sales. Festivals are becoming the thing to be in, as there’s less overhead for the band and provides a bigger audience. It’s also the best place to sell official merch, which again helps them get additional revenue.

So as I was enjoying the show and paying attention to whatever details and thinking about the enormity of this whole operation I’ve come to realize the difference between hearing performers in your record players to watching them on a concert stage. A concert is a shared musical experience in contrast to listening to music on your music player. It’s not about seeing your favorite band play their songs and sound like they do on their records, it’s about showing your love and appreciation for them along with everyone else around you; raising your hands and clapping, jumping, howling and screaming their lyrics that you almost can’t hear the vocalist sing at all, and with it giving them the energy to perform and validating all the effort they have put forth to give you a great show.

And that’s being a good fan.


My Music Manifesto

Note: This will be an evolving post as I try and put all my thoughts to words. I think long and write slow unfortunately.

To begin here are a few points that I consider as truths:

Music is an artform.

Musical preferences are personal. Each song speaks differently to each person as they evoke experiences and feelings.

On the other hand, preferences can also be influenced. They are influenced by the delivery systems like radio, television and your favourite streaming service. We are also influenced by the people we know and admire (friends and music idols) as well as those who are annoying af (like your neighbor’s videoke sessions).

Musical preferences change over time. I’m currently digging indie alternative, but I listen to other genres as well. I grew up exposed to a variety of genres and I’ll probably write about them too.

There is no denying a song’s power. Songs can move people and influence opinion. How many times has a song moved you to tears, anger or joy? How many times has it made you buy a product you don’t necessarily need?

There is almost nothing original in terms of “sound” today (if at all). Rock music grew from blues, country, and rhythm and blues. Indietronica followed synthpop. Musicians are influenced by what they listen to and they generally manifest in the songs they write/play/sing.

Musicians play, singers sing, songwriters write lyrics. You can be one or any combination. I will not use the label ‘recording artist’ unless it’s referenced somewhere.

Dissing a band, singer, song or genre is a manifestation of that person’s bias. Bias is natural, but we should still be respectful and constructive in criticism.

I don’t expect musicians to stick to the same “sound.” Like the Pokemon we collect they evolve too. Those who sound the same over every album I think have stopped trying.

I do expect them to improve in skill.

This being new I’m sure I’m going to be coming back to this post to add, edit or elaborate on some of the points I mentioned. I like to keep an open mind; music is such a broad field, there’s a lot to talk about, and music to discover. I hope this proves to be illuminating for you as it is for me.