The Soundtracks Of Our Lives
This last decade has seen a big rise in interest in soundtrack music and cinematic instrumental music. Here are some personal thoughts on why that might be, and the philosophy behind much of the work you will find here.
The way we enjoy music changed drastically with the introduction of our own private music space, with what I consider to be a proper music revolution - The Walkman.
All of a sudden you were not limited to sitting in your living room or your car to enjoy music, you could be outside walking, bicycling or commuting, and the music you listened to literally became the soundtrack of your life. This changed everything for me. It was huge. And now we all have it. Our phones and music players carry our music or stream it wherever we are.
I noticed that on my travels I wanted to listen to music that set the mood to the scene I was experiencing. I would frequently choose instrumental music over the vocal stuff I would otherwise be listening to when I put on my headphones.
I would allow the music to sink in, and become a part of what I was visualizing and experiencing. Augmenting my other senses, giving me peace to think. Sometimes I would feel like I was the main character in a film. My film. That isn't a bad feeling. I soon found that I was listening more and more to cinematic music.
And this is the music I write whenever I can. Music that I'd like to have in my headphones while traveling or moving around. Music that puts images in my head, that relies on my own fantasy to finish what it starts. It's cinematic, but not always strictly film music, film scores tend to be more subdued and sparse, as they have to set a mood while avoiding to be in the way of dialogue or a herd of stampeding buffalos.
I tend to write repetitive but simple melodies around a buildup, hoping that they will sink in so you don't necessarily have to concentrate on them or on lyrics, it should just be there, setting the mood. I rely heavily on sound design and creative soundscapes to further enhance the cinematic texture of the music and mix styles as much as I can. There are classical influences as well as electronic, but to be honest, I'll use just about any method, style or instrument to get thing to sound like I want them to. Every song should be allowed to become what it wants to.
When I write, I usually compose to a scene in my mind. Sometimes I share these scenes with others, but mostly i prefer people to make up their own images in their minds.
When I released 'Straumur' I mad a really interesting experiment. Instead of naming the song myself, I sent the mix to some friends, asked them to listen to it, and write me a couple of sentences on what they imagined when they listened to it. I find great joy in getting all kinds of personal responses, people connecting my music to things, situations and places from their own lives.
A friend envisioned traveling down a streamy river, thus the name, which the brightest of you may have figured out might mean stream in Icelandic.
The aim of instrumental music is always to become the soundtrack to your life. And when it focuses you, makes your otherwise boring commute more wondrous, or better still - inspires you to create something yourself - that goal is accomplished.