Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dragon Fire

Another original composition by me!


At the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in the Summer of 2013, future legend of animation Annie Wong (http://anniewongart.tumblr.com/) was busy creating a super fun stop motion animated movie called "Dragon Fire" wherein a knight and dragon involve themselves in an epic struggle of sorts.  She asked that I provide music and sound for this student project which was pretty exciting since that's why I chose to attend the same school in the first place. 

I was given free reign to work in whatever direction I chose and these variations on a traditional theme were the result.  The music was created in Logic Pro 9 using stock and Jam Pack instruments and the sound effects were recorded at home with a Logitech Rock Band microphone.  The kazoo was performed by me and the ukulele by Annie.

"Dragon Fire" has since been presented at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival and in the living rooms of several family members.  I can't say which is more satisfying.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Life Under A Rock

Another original composition by me!


Musical musings from the downtrodden and insects alike, this song was written very quickly for my better half, the magnificent Annie Wong (headexplodie.com), who in 2001 asked for my help with an art project. A graphic design student at the time, she was creating CD artwork and liner notes for class based on the theme "Entomophobia" and wanted to include an actual CD with relevant music recorded onto it. I wrote my lyrics, put together some chords, and recorded it in the rather primitive Cakewalk Home Studio 7. I don't remember her grade and she since changed majors (and schools), but I liked the song and decided to record it properly one day.

One day came 11 years and 8 months later following a semester in Travis Kasperbauer's Pro Tools class at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Better 140 months later than never, I always say.

The beautiful acoustic guitar you hear sparkling in the rhythm was performed by my friend and in-class rival, the unstoppable Erik Jennings (www.youtube.com/user/kissingforeignfishes). Without his having joined in on the fun, I'm not sure this song would have come out a quarter as well as it has.

Monday, April 15, 2013

180 NM

Another original composition by me!


The music here was created as an entry to a Spring 2013 video scoring contest at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.  I took on this project in my first semester as a student of the Music Production and Sound Design department before I knew anything about scoring or editing sound for video at all (I spent forever trying to figure out how to export the video with the sound properly!), but sometimes it’s best to learn to do something by just jumping right in!  I ended up quite happy with the piece although, to my knowledge, no use ever came from my entry or anyone else's.
 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Semkotronic

Another original composition by me!


Another assignment from Lenny Kiser's Logic 9 class (see my "Rhapsody in A minor"), the aim here was to take the work of a fellow fledgling student and manipulate it beyond all recognition. The chords and piano motifs at the beginning came from the mind of classmate Charles Semko whereas the production and arrangement are my own. It was a great experience being asked to mutilate the work of another student because I'm sure I would have been much more precious with my own material and perhaps not come up with something quite as interesting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rhapsody in A minor

Another original composition by me!


This rhapsody for piano and violin was inspired by an Itzhak Perlman concert my Dad took me to in the late 1990s. Until then, I'd only heard people describe how emotionally expressive a violin could be but never fully appreciated the instrument's full potential until that performance. In recordings, the best performers are certainly captured getting the job done, but it is only when one has the opportunity to be there in person that the full effect can be felt. After experiencing Perlman's masterful playing accompanied by his tremendously talented pianist whose name I wish I knew, my mind was set then and there on trying somehow to approximate that beauty in my own way. Well, as it turns out, Itzhak Perlman performances aren't created from scratch overnight, and at this point, I am still trying to reach that goal.

The recording here is not of a violin and piano but, rather, an oboe and piano. Being without access to any skilled violinist, I used an oboe patch from Logic instead because there was no way to create a virtual violin performance in a DAW full of all the expression and articulation that I wanted. This is not to say that I settled on the oboe as if oboes are by default less expressive or beautiful, but they are certainly easier to manage in a virtual musical environment than a violin.

As for the music itself, the motifs were created on the piano in the Loftin Student Center at San Antonio College in the Fall of 1999 during my first try at higher learning. I wasn't much of a piano player then (nor now), but the ideas were satisfying and I held onto them while waiting for the chance to record them properly. Something of this chance came in the Spring of 2013 during a much more recent college stint at San Francisco's Academy of Art University. In a class on using Logic 9 taught by the inspiring Dean of Dopeness known as Lenny Kiser (lennykiser.com), I was tasked early on in the semester to play with Logic's MIDI recording and arranging capabilities in order to get a feel for how it worked. With a no-pain-no-gain attitude in mind, I decided to give this old Rhapsody in A minor a shot figuring if I could make it sound good in Logic straight out of the gate (this was following only the second day of class), I could use Logic for anything. It was quite the challenge but I did learn a lot about the software and ended up, at last, with something that sounded fairly close to what I'd wanted to create back in 1999. One day, perhaps, I will finally have the violin/piano arrangement I've been longing for but, until then, I'm very happy with how this turned out. Also, I think I got an A so that was cool.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Movie Medley

Featuring themes by Klaus Doldinger, Jerry Goldsmith, Queen, and Brad Fiedel from The NeverEnding Story, Alien, Flash Gordon, and The Terminator respectively.


Here’s a neat one for the movie lover. I had the idea to round up some of my favorite “haunting” movie themes, toss them up along with some magic beans, ray guns, and polished glass, and see what came down. Strangely enough, of the thirteen I had thought to give my own treatment, only six made it into the final recording. I’m thinking maybe the rest will come together in a sequel to this one. Who knows?

In the meantime, enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mi Sueño Feliz

Another original composition by me!


If I’d had a genuine mariachi band at my disposal, I might’ve had this music recorded back in 2004 when it was composed. Alas, it took many years to figure out how exactly I should achieve the sound I wanted without a mariachi band at my beck and call. Luckily, good things come to those who wait and/or look hard enough for the answers. In this case, the answers involved buying and learning new software, happening upon the famous and anonymously constructed “trumpet3” soundfont, and generally getting extra creative in the production department. But, at last, this music is now published for the world to hear seven years later in 2011.

As troublesome as recording this music has been, the creative process was a dream; literally! I dreamt of imagery featuring a bright and sunny bedroom with a large candy-cane standing beside a big blue bed and a pink haired Norfin Troll slowly ascending and revolving around the candy-cane along its red spiraling stripe. There was a kind of grace to the way it moved, and this bizarre scene was set to the main tune of this song. The arrangement is difficult to remember, but I believe it was somewhere between classical chamber orchestra and Brian Eno soundscape. Somehow, the combination of this music and the calm, cheerful visuals was enough to help the dream to remain in my memory as so many dreams don’t. When I woke up, I immediately began humming the tune to ensure I didn’t forget it and then made my way to the keyboard and began to play. I came up with the intro music later and that, thankfully, came easily enough. The two parts really wrote themselves. Thanks, brain!

I’d always wanted to write music for a mariachi band since I enjoy the sound, and I thought this particular tune would lend itself well to the style. I won’t lie, I love how this song ended up. And if I ever have the opportunity to hear it performed by a real mariachi band in whatever configuration, I will be an extremely happy man.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Number One

composed by Michael V. Flores, Jerry Goldsmith, and feat. David Tristan Birkin and Jonathan Frakes

This jokety joke of a "song" was created as a companion piece to Headexplodie's blog post as well as to make her laugh. Maybe you'll laugh?


Sunday, April 18, 2010

El Paso Drive

Another original composition by me!


Equal parts soft and abrasive. The music here was mostly thought up something like fourteen years ago (1996ish), and only recently elaborated on and finished. Never throw out those ideas, folks! Also, the title comes from a somewhat visceral set of memories from even further back in my life to 1988 when I went on a road trip with my family from San Antonio, Texas, to Disneyland, California. Along the way, we passed through El Paso approaching dusk. Somehow, something in this music brings the view of the desert and sky through those van windows back into my brain. This happened when I first came up with the music those years ago, and happens still. Familiar smells can abruptly hurtle a person back to another point in their life, and I suppose music composed nearly a decade after an event can, without the intent to even do so, link one's mind in the same way, too. I wish I understood how that works. But, hey, it's a neat way to remember something that I have no photos of so that's nice.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Quiet Spot

Another original composition by me!


Continuing along on the minimalism track, this is music which to me is very sweet and personal. While both playing and listening, I’m reminded of the important moments in my life when I have enjoyed a pleasant meal with someone I care very much about. An afternoon in the park here, a morning out back in the yard there, or just some time on the couch all made a hundred times more satisfying when kicked up to the next level with friendship. The sentimentality is overwhelming, I know, so here’s a side-note to bring us back down. The working title for this piece was “nostrils.”



4-18-10 Update!
For your added pleasure, two more versions! One entirely piano arrangement, and the other having a bit of Gershon Kingsley thrown in for good measure.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Haiku

Another original composition by me!


This newest bit of music is an original in which I play as honestly and simply as possible. Though there’s little to count in this piece that corresponds with the famous rules of haiku writing, I think the changes in intensity of how and when the music flows and its symmetrical qualities resemble the form quite well enough. Submitted for your approval are two versions to satisfy different tastes.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

More than a paint job

With many thanks to Headexplodie, she whose numerous talents thankfully include webmasterizering for me, I present to the world a newer, fresher, sleeker, and friendlier repository of my, Michael V. Flores’s, music. It’s a new format for a new URL and I hope all of this newness is welcomed and enjoyed by all. And though the look may have changed, be assured, dear reader, that I shall post new music with the same furious frequency as ever (map it out on a calendar if you’d like). Please update your bookmarks and/or RSS feeds while I continue to work out new ideas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simply Supernova

Another original composition by me!


This was an experiment in form since, normally, my music tends to be sort of without form. Erik Satie was accused of composing mostly formless and thus "pointless" music for most of his life, and he responded to his critics by writing his “Mouvements En Forme De Poire” or “Movements In the Form of a Pear.” But then he also took this criticism to heart and enrolled in music school as an old man to learn once and for all how to write “proper” music. Likewise, although I haven’t (for the most part) considered form to be very important in my own music, I am not completely disinterested in it.

Simply Supernova is made up of a few old ideas I had never been able to do much with. I thought the main bit, the relaxing arpeggiated stuff, might one day be developed into something long and carefully crafted with many changes and clever parts, but I never could hear in my imagination what those parts would sound like. Eventually, I decided that even being short and simple, it was still good enough to me not to waste so I plugged it into a formula resembling rounded binary form and filled in the rest. That works out to something like Intro>A>A2>Bridge>B>B2>Bridge>B3>1/2A>Outro

One of my favorite songs ever, “Innuendo” by Queen, uses something like that to string all of its crazy parts together. I thought such a thing could be a great tool for stringing together my own strange ideas. So, this song is essentially to “Innuendo” what Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” is to the Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” if you follow my meaning. Fun stuff.

The "guitar" 'part is the explosion in an otherwise vast, empty space. I couldn’t just have created such a place without something happening within it. It’s the supernova, that part, followed by a great miracle of creation. That idea is familiar to the Sim Earth song and lots of old religious music from centuries ago.

Ultimately, it was great fun to do and provided an opportunity to try all kinds of new things.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Check Mii Out

Originally from Nintendo's Check Mii Out Channel on the Nintendo Wii.


This cover is probably the one I’ve done which is the least changed from the original. I heard it for the first time on the Wii, thought that it rocked, and figured I’d make it rock harder. That was the simplistic thinking there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Big Brilliant Cluster

Originally composed by Yu Miyake from Katamari Damacy for the Sony Playstation 2.


Katamari Damacy is a game which looks very angular, geometric, and mathy but also extremely cartoony so that’s what I set out to do here. The blocky geometry and mathiness translated into low-fi synthesizer sounds, and the cartoon aspect became the bouncy, dance-like quality heard throughout.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Great Experiment

Originally composed by Takane Okubo from Sim Earth for the Super NES.


Sim Earth is a Maxis game like most others where you are God and you create the world within a certain scope. You had Sim City, you had Sim Ant, and here’s Sim EARTH which, at the time, was mind blowing because the game tasked the player with developing entire planets. This involved deciding on the size, age, axis orientation, and other factors of your planet along with how the geology of the planet worked and what degree of which processes were found in the atmosphere. You could eventually create water, life, and even watch civilizations rise up or destroy them all with a meteor.

That was if you wanted to start from scratch. Otherwise, you could choose to begin with planets at different timescales such as the dawn of life, or the dawn of technology, or just a planet completely covered in water. Each of these types of worlds had their own music and, having found myself liking a great many of them, thought I should go ahead and cover a few.

I started with what I felt would be a nice sound-of-empty-space sort of music for the beginning as there would be a vast nothing before one started cultivating their world, right? Sort of the ambient soundtrack to a stellar nursery. Next is a very desolate sounding bit for a desolate planet. This is music from an empty random planet mode I believe. Once this all settles into its groove, the sounds of animals like birds and such can be heard and this represents the majestic flourishing of life on the planet. These sounds then usher in the final theme from the game, the song which plays as a significant event changes the planet. It’s a happy end to a great experiment on a planetary level.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Frappe Holidays

Originally composed by Kenta Nagata from Mario Kart 64 for the Nintedo 64.


In the winter of 2007, the idea to form a Metroid Metal members-made Christmas album was thrown around and this was my contribution. It’s the stage music to “Frappe Snowland” from Mario Kart 64 which is an ice level populated by enormous, hostile penguins. So there you go. Frappe Holidays, car engines, and penguin sounds.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Go, Epona, Go!

Originally composed by Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta, and Koji Kondo from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo Wii.


Sometimes I think to myself, “Make it jazz!” I don’t listen to jazz and am not at all proficient as a jazz musician, but I rather like my own impression of what jazz music is and thought this one should be done in that style. I can’t say the flute has ever been my favorite instrument, but it somehow really shines when in the context of a jazz band and that’s the main reason I chose it. Also, I like that it has those old, foresty associations. When I think of flutes, I usually think of hobbits in marching bands anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marshmallow

Originally composed by Rich Vreeland from The Chronicles of Jammage the Jam Mage.


Rich Vreeland is this monster whose music I was introduced to on the Metroid Metal message boards. It was (and still is) music unlike anything else ever, and it’s extremely good and extremely clever and we used to bounce ideas off of each other all the time. The original version of this song is called “Martianmallow Town” from his album, The Chronicles of Jammage the Jam Mage which is the soundtrack to an imaginary game of his. I loved it when I heard it but couldn’t help hearing it differently in my memory and figured I’d might as well record it the way I remembered it. I asked his permission and not only did he give me the go ahead, he sent me his actual song files to play with. I don’t recall expecting an open-source angle into the song, but how generous!

In retrospect, I think I took his unique music and made it more conventional sounding than anything else. I intended to evoke the energy of live musicians. Classic Motown recordings have that quality to them where you can almost hear the room itself and I had a feeling that a sound like that might be right for what I wanted to do. Rich programmed the original instruments himself using his own peculiar methods, and much of this data is what I imported to use as I wished. In essence, this song has been re-produced rather than performed entirely myself, and the personality of the music is still very much his own as a result. It was plenty good to begin with so I honestly didn’t see the need to try and copy what he’d already done. As I said, open source!

Please visit Rich's site: disasterpeace.com !!

Friday, December 2, 2005

Attainment Suite

This is one of my own original concoctions.


My goal was to take a set of motifs and styles through an emotional journey based loosely on the Kübler-Ross model of coping with grief (skipping over the first stage because, musically, “denial” really wouldn’t fit). Many artists prefer to leave their work open to interpretation, but I know that really, everyone wants to know what the artists themselves meant or felt about something they’ve made. So the explanation above is, in my own view, what’s going on. Naturally, I still encourage anyone to make of this work what they will (within the rules outlined by the Creative Commons license of course!).