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Ticket to Earth

04.24.17

Ticket to Earth (TTE), developed by Robot Circus, was a wonderful opportunity for us to express our creative ability as not only a compositional studio, but also as a sound design house.

Robot circus first approached us back in July 2016 to see if we could create some original pieces of music for their futuristic turn-based game. That initial collaboration was so successful that we all agreed samplify should provide all the music, audio and sound effects for the game.

The project ended up being quite a large showcase for us, with the scope eventually reaching around 10 original battle music cues, 7 map ambience music cues, 15 in-level background sound ambiences, and thousands of action-specific sound effects.

We worked very closely with Robot Circus and their middleware implementation at each stage of production, to help them realise their vision for TTE.

Our biggest challenge was creating a cohesive audio profile for the game as a whole. TTE is set in a futuristic, yet realistic, environment, and creating a mix of both these elements within the sound profile was paramount to the feel of the game, both musically and in the sound design.

This in turn was also the greatest challenge from the sound design perspective. With such a wide variety of sounds to be crafted from scratch, it demanded a lot of forward thinking and planning.

The music we created for the game exemplifies samplify as a studio, fitting comfortably in our repertoire and showing a confluence of our musical abilities. With a heavy background in electronic music, a focus on orchestral composition in recent times, and our work composing for film, it all came together to enable us to create the ideal music score for TTE. The music cues include styles of techno, drum and bass, ambient, and funky breaks. While individually quite different, they all fit appropriately within the game. The distinct and original music cues help strengthen the immersive nature of the audio package we delivered as well as emphasising the game’s sonic identity.

Our considered aim was to create futuristic sounds with organic, real world influences. We used recordings of real world sounds and layered them in subtly with synthesised, created-from-scratch sounds, to give everything a touch of that real world feel. Each sound in the game, from dialog through to footsteps, was treated individually and as a whole, allowing us to make distinctions between different characters whilst retaining a connection to the overall feel of the game. One of the tools we relied on heavily for the treatment of the SFX was Logic’s Space Designer. Space Designer is a meticulous convolution reverb that offers a limitless amount of potential. From pure room treatment through to weird, evolving spaces, it was the go-to audio processor for our sounds.

The dialog was another challenge. Each of the characters has their own personal flair and attitude, and with each vocal response to game play we needed to support and illustrate that diversity. We enlisted the help of several talented voice artists to achieve the individual character personalities, and set about recording them yelling, grunting, wincing and grimacing into our microphones. After we had the dry recordings tracked into Logic we then went about editing and processing them.

Whilst the artists were critical in conveying the various personalities of the many characters, the way in which we processed the dry audio was also important. We gave each character his/her own sonic identity to help reinforce the specific persona, while keeping in mind the realistic nature of the game. The end result is a nice mix of strong vocal performances and subtle, albeit effective, sound design.

It is one thing to create brief-specific sounds in isolation but quite another to make sure it all works well in context.

To achieve cohesion, many developer builds were shared with us along the production process from Robot Circus, so we could hear our audio in context as the game evolved. We then made note of what was and wasn’t working.

 

With such a variety of sounds, ambiences and musical elements, often all happening at once, it was paramount they all worked together to create the immersion needed.

It needs to be noted that all of the work was done inside Logic Pro X with heavy use of the logic plug-ins. We find that Logic is set up in a very intuitive way for editing and writing for gaming. This allows us to focus more on the creative aspects of getting the audio right – Logic has some of the best native plug-ins for creative sound design.

Ticket to Earth is a beautifully made game that is addictive and fun to play. It was a pleasure to create the audio and then test it in-game as we progressed. The end result of our work is an audio profile that is descriptive and immersive, bringing a clear, specific flavor to the game.

With lush ambiences, futuristic weapons, cool drum and bass and a range of other audio goodies, we feel this was a job well done.

The game was very well received last year at PAX and GDC and was released in April of this year. Upon it’s release it spent a number of weeks featured on the Apple app store’s front page. Check out some of the footage and reviews below.

Quotes from reviews:

https://www.okgames.com.au/pax/pax-aus-2016-ticket-to-earth/

“fantastic music.”

https://appadvice.com/review/ticket-to-earth

“the music and sounds are amazing”

10/10

http://www.pockettactics.com/reviews/review-ticket-to-earth/

“The pounding music is also terrific and really drives the game forwards.”

5/5

http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/Ticket+to+Earth/feature.asp?c=73338

“Combined with a good story, nice graphics, and an awesome soundtrack, this game feels special.”

http://www.imore.com/ticket-earth-review

“The soundtrack is certainly impressive in its own right. It does an excellent job of pacing the game. When Ticket to Earth wants you to pay extra attention to a line of dialogue or to something happening on the screen, the music will soften. When it wants you to enjoy the fast-paced combat the music will start pumping louder and louder given you a perfect soundscape to bash in some skulls.”

5/5

http://checkpointgaming.net/features/2016/11/pax-aus-indies-2016-ticket-earth/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLVapmYRpVc

Lincoln Continental

01.27.17

One of the most rewarding jobs of last year was a product launch for the automotive powerhouse Lincoln, in Beijing. The event was a huge spectacle, with on stage performances, stunning visuals and vibrant sound. It was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase quality and versatility as a professional audio house.

Being such a large-scale project, with numerous production studios collaborating to realise the completed show, creative direction was essential, and well executed by Alastair Wilson of Imagination. We have worked under his direction on large projects for over five years now, and have always found his creative briefs to be inspirational and always challenging us to go beyond what we believe we can achieve. On this occasion, given the iconic nature of the Lincoln Continental, and its significant re-launch on the Chinese market, Alastair wanted something unique and memorable to reflect the significance of the occasion.

The overall brief for the project was to create an environment that had a sense of grandeur, like a modern opera house, whilst also embracing the audience; to create the sensation of attending an opening night, not a corporate event.

The show was set on a large stage, flanked either side by massive LED screens, and featured a drop down Kabuki projection screen that was released halfway through the show. The projection capabilities were groundbreaking, and enabled lavish visuals to be utilized on the both screens and the stage floor, creating a uniquely interactive landscape that enhanced the choreography throughout the event. This technology was used extensively in the piece titled Category of One.

Category of One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category of One was a finely crafted piece of music with strong emphasis on sound design. As inspiration for the music we looked to the qualities of the Continental; building a sense of gliding, of sanctuary, and of beauty. We based the score around a grand piano, gradually introducing cinematic strings, then finally the grandeur of an orchestra. While we are of course proud of our work on the music, the true centrepiece of this act was the lone dancer, interacting with floor projections on stage. Each of these interactions was enhanced with sound design in order to emotionally connect the audience with the performer – As the performer journeys into a galaxy of stars the song begins and the performer is increasingly active. With each eloquent swipe of his arm and graceful spin, sound effects compliment his actions, placing him sonically within the environment. The sound design incorporates lots of swooshes, subtle hits and a select few powerful sub movements, to punctuate the rapid materialisation of the iconic Continental outline in the nebula.

Continental Reveal

When it came time to bring the iconic automobile on stage, a statement needed to be made. The moment had to be bold and powerful, with a shroud of mystery during the build up. To capture this we featured an edgy, modern electro-rock song with a heavy feature on cinematic sound design. It opened with an epic crash and an ominous horn coming from the darkness, the horn wrapping around the audience, signalling the start of an event. This led to further tension-building sound effects and a lone sustained string before building into the main track and the moment of arrival. The main track featured bold female lyrics extending an invitation to another life, to “live like kings”. While sonically expansive, the vocal performance has a feeling of intimacy, as if the singer is asking you personally to join her journey.

Kabuki Drop (Summary Film)

 

 

With the Continental now on stage, the Kabuki drop was the climactic moment to reveal the prices of each model. A large screen unfurled from above the stage, heralded by a massive sub bass boom.

The price reveal is a meticulous piece of composition and sound design, featuring orchestral influences and dubstep-electronica, intermittently punctuated with breaths of sophisticated breaks. It is a combination of strong, bold statements and opulent luxury, carrying cinematic tension until the final price-reveal, which is major-key and uplifting. The piece was written to reflect the evolving nature of the market for Lincoln Continental. Classic and traditional, yet modern and sophisticated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFL Women’s Brand Launch

09.19.16

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samplify have been honoured to have composed the music for this awesome launch of the AFL Women’s league. samplify worked closely with Push Collective to create a soundtrack that was modern, emotional and connected the audience with the thrill and passion of the AFL women’s competition.

“The launch of AFL Women’s is a milestone in Australia’s sporting history. Our team was determined to create a brand identity that expressed a new perspective on the game and its traditions – an identity that encapsulates both the familiar and the progressive nature of the elite women’s style of play. We are thrilled to be a part of creating new history for the players and fans who are driving AFL Women’s, and helping to inspire future generations who no longer have to wonder whether it’s possible for women to play at the elite level,” said Ken Shadbolt, executive creative director of PUSH Collective.

http://www.adnews.com.au/news/afl-women-s-league-launches-w-logo

Best Music for an Advertisement

10.12.15

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 15.11.39
samplify are excited to announce their nomination for ‘Best Music for an Advertisement’ at the 2015 APRA Screen and Music Awards

Composers Davide Carbone and Josh Abrahams of s:amplify have been nominated
for an APRA Screen Music Award in the category of best music for an advertisement,
for their work on the rebranding campaign by FutureBrand for client Tahiti Tourisme.

The client felt that their brand was being viewed as too exclusive, and wanted to present a more
broad-spectrum, friendly appeal, incorporating luxury, adventure, and a welcoming local culture.

samplify took all that on board and worked closely with local Tahitian composers to source authentic
native-language vocals and percussion, while injecting their own ukulele based sense of tropical fun,
blended with a high production value feeling of luxury and relaxation.

The job started as a relatively low exposure piece for trade fairs but was viewed as so successful by the client that they worked with samplify to develop it into music for a series of ads for international cinema and internet usage, as well as deriving part of it as a sonic logo.

The winner will be announced on November the 12th at the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Carbon Electra Synthesiser

10.12.15

620-X-320-PIB-CARBONELECTRA copy 2

It’s been over four years in development at samplify and now it’s officially out. Designed by Davide Carbone, software synthesiser Carbon Electra has been receiving amazing reviews in the world’s most respected music publications, and several world famous artists are using it in their music.

in 2010 Davide began designing a four oscillator virtual analog synth for use in his own productions. Simplicity, modernity and power were his objectives; something that was easy to program, offered live programming updates and featured a fully flexible stepper and modulator. After building it in Reaktor Davide introduced the concept to Josh, who loved the idea. Together they continued to develop it and refine it before approaching Plugin Boutique in the UK to act as a publisher.

After three further years in programming development, Josh and Davide created over 600 factory presets to demonstrate it’s capability, while a select handful of big named producers in the electronic music world got involved, adding their own sound sets to the vast preset library.

Immediately upon release Carbon Electra was awarded ‘Editors Choice’ in MusicTech Magazine. Glowing reviews and user feedback has followed alongside several planned updates. We at samplify have loved seeing this labor or love come to fruition and watching artists and producers across the world share our enthusiasm for this product.

Carbon Electra is available here:

Plugin Boutique

Reviews:

http://computermusicacademy.com/blog/2015/07/playing-with-carbon-electra-by-plugin-boutique/

http://www.producerspot.com/review-carbon-electra-vst-synth-plugin-by-plugin-boutique

https://ask.audio/articles/review-plugin-boutique-carbon-electra

http://xssracademy.com/ru/blog/articles/carbon-electra.html

http://bedroomproducersblog.com/2015/08/16/carbon-electra-review/

Music Tech

http://soundbytesmag.net/carbon-electra-by-pluginboutique/

And some quotes from the reviews:

a very powerful synth with character of its own, the envelope step sequencer is one of the most clever additions I’ve seen.

Producer Spot

a digital beast perfect easy to approach, yet complex for your sound design needs. A focused instrument geared for the modern producer.

Ask Audio Mag

Carbon Electra has a sonic richness, the raw oscillators are fat, buzzy and especially delicious in the lower octaves. The precision and clarity of modern VA synthesizers with the wild aggressive nature of an analog beast.

Bedroom Producers Blog

the synth’s sounds definitely cut through mixes. Basses really bring the bottom end of mixes to life and some of the leads and incidental effects add angles to tracks I can only dream of.

Music Tech

An easy to use synth with stunning visuals and incredible sound.

Computer Music Academy

Directly from a future: a modern aggressive sound with best step sequencer ever and lots of presets from star producers.

Sound Bytes Mag

Here’s the promo video: