The very first set of notes that I learnt from my grandfather were G,A,G,E – the start of Silent Night. Thinking back to my childhood, maybe I should have taken his wise words about learning to play an instrument more seriously.
Today, I would consider myself “tone-deaf”, but technology and musical production and experience is still a big part of my life. In fact, my inner geek is music.
My relationship with music first started while listening to classic rock and roll with my parents. Soon after, I purchased my first instrument – a bass guitar (second left in the photo, above). I also had a stint with drums; unfortunately this did not continue (much to the relief of those around me).
Increasingly, I started to recognise music used within games and film. I even listened for the squeaky sound of the IBM PC speaker, the one that took forever to get working (having a sound card at this point was considered a luxury, MIDI music was a gift from the heavens when you got IRQ ports right). A particular soundtrack stood out for me – Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I would listen to this soundtrack for hours on end (both in game and out), to the point that even now I can hum the tunes in the correct order down to the individual note.
With film (or more anime in this case), the soundtrack to Eureka SeveN was a favourite of mine. After being suckered in to the storyline – I literally watched all 50 episodes in one and a half sittings – I noticed how the music formed perfectly with the actions portrayed on the screen.
I find myself writing (or should I say “imagining”) music whilst watching films or shows, muting the sound, and hearing my own version of how the score should follow the action on screen. In fact, I've written many of my own instrumental tracks as accompaniment, some more beautiful than others.
I continue my imagining and visualization even while doing my job at NVIDIA. I look at how a programming function works and visualise the proceeding execution. I guess that’s why I program better when listening to complex classical music than simple rock riffs (though when you’re hammering something out nothing beats the angry thrash of overdriven guitars). Throw on a headset, play a nice 60 minute symphony, and at the end you… well… sometimes get a bit of code!
I am James ‘Bazil’ Scott, and I am a geek musician.
I don’t always know where to start or how I will end, but I love every minute of the journey. As a special treat for the readers of the blog, I am exposing my bare soul with a track that was inspired while writing this post, called South to the Coast. I've only been playing the piano for a little over two weeks, but I hope you'll like it. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Click to Play: South To The Coast – Lovers Gliding Past (Scratch Demo)