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Composing ~ Inspiration, Part 2.

This approach is the process of paying attention to the interplay between Sound and Video as inspiration. This is best described with specific examples:

Tuk Tuk (music below) was initially inspired by part of a video on the YouTube Channel Sailing SV Delos, one of my favourite sailing channels. The original inspiration was from one of the songs in Episode 109, shot on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The beautifully edited footage features the salty sailing crew of Sailing Vessel Delos frolicking around in a hidden island waterfall oasis with some chill electronic music in the background. This was the first spark of inspiration: I started to work out some basic chill Drum and Bass ideas hoping to capture that vibe. But it didn't stop there...

I ended up watching other videos created by the editor of the Delos video (Kiril Dobrev) while working on my newly inspired piece, specifically I was watching his video titled BEAUTIFUL BANGKOK | Thailand. and found that there was some interesting interaction taking place between his video and my music. My music would highlight elements of the video in ways that I hadn't previously noticed, and I also recognized that his video hinted at possible accents and changes that I might incorporate into the music. To clarify, I'm not talking about me observing the original soundtrack to the video... rather, how the video interacted with my music. The entire compositional process became like a dance, 2 different pieces of art communicating while I simply observed and created. I then started doing this against another one of Kiril's videos INDIA - THE CHAOS & BEAUTY, which is why I eventually settled on the name Tuk Tuk. Though it really was that video of Thailand that made me aware of the interaction, and inspired the development of this piece.

My piece ended up as a guitar oriented, somewhat bluesy track; nothing like to the electronic/chill vibe of the first inspiration, and it certainly bares no resemblance to the soundtracks on Kiril's videos (which are excellent soundtracks btw), yet my piece would not exist without these inspirations, especially the video footage.

In the second example, a similar process was used, but the results were not what I expected. The Video is of DJ ANNA spinning a full vinyl Techno set. This video and the music within it lead to the creation of my track, and yet my piece, inspired by the same music and even at the same tempo, never quite seemed to match up or work together with the original video. This creation process was actually quite frustrating, and I kept working on the music while viewing the video, trying to get the right "feel". Finally, I gave up trying to force the association and found that on it's own, away from the video, I was happy with the music. Just before writing this I cued my music to the video again, along with some crowd sound effects, and I timed the play back so that rhythmic elements in the video (strobing lights and bouncing bodies) matched perfectly with the tempo of my track. Suddenly I found that it worked perfectly. Go figure!

So, while the processes employed for composing both pieces below were very similar, the experience was not. One was seemingly magical, while the other was somewhat miserable. Yet in the end, I like both pieces. Now, there was also a difference in the amount of time and energy spent on each piece. Tuk Tuk was a much more involved piece, I worked on it over several months and some of the guitar lines come from a place of sorrow and need for expression. Pulsing Acid on the other hand was not an emotional process, and was put together over a fairly short period of time. However, this difference in experience (and genre as well) just seems to highlight that the approach of working with video as inspiration is a worthwhile process.


Music created using this approach.

1.Tuk Tuk

Details on the creation of Tuk Tuk are provided above. Tuk Tuk is also included on my 2018 release Nectarine. I'll be talking about the title track from that in the next Article.

2. Pulsing Acid Electronic

This piece is much more obvious in it's inspiration, in as much as both my piece and the inspiration are clearly electronic. The source video is a live DJ set by DJ ANNA on the YouTube channel Cercle, playing some seriously high quality Techno (In my opinion). In this case the inspiration video is 1 hour and 20 minutes of a continuously evolving vinyl soundscape. As with Tuk Tuk the creation of this piece was directly linked with the process of observing my music as soundtrack to video.

Links to material mentioned in this article:

1. An Introduction to SV Delos (Pure Inspiration) INDIAN OCEAN SAILING - The SV Delos Story
2. SV Delos, Episode #109 We Found Hikers Paradise in La Reunion! Sailing Vessel Delos Ep. 109
3. Kiril Dobrev's Videos: BEAUTIFUL BANGKOK | Thailand, INDIA - THE CHAOS & BEAUTY
4. DJ ANNA - 1 Hour and 20 minutes of Techno. ANNA vinyl DJ set @ Les Pavillons des Etangs for Cercle.

>> Continue on to Approach 3. Personal Challenges.

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Cory (Daniel) Todd is a Canadian Artist and Musician. | Listen: Spotify and iTunes. | Watch: youTube | Visit for more info.
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