Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Miscellaneous #3 - Say Something

This one is definitely more of an official project - but I am just now allowed to post it.

My friend, James Harris, is an incredible singer. We've known each other for years, and have just now got around to teaming up. He came over one morning, we sat down, and decided to do a cover of Say Something, by A Great Big World. That was back in May. Now, months later, after finalizing the track, mixing and mastering, getting the album artwork, getting the rights, etc., I can post it. Here it is:


The epic influence is definitely in there. But man - it was fun to do. What do you think?

The track is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Miscellaneous #2

I freaking love birthdays. They are a great excuse to give a gift to someone you love. And I love giving gifts. Therefore, I love birthdays.

One of my good friends had her birthday coming up - but not only was it her birthday, she was also graduating from college. And not also was she graduating, she was moving to New Orleans to go to seminary. I knew I wanted to do something special. I had to do a "happy birthday"-"happy graduation"-"happy going away" kind of sort of gift.

She loves music. So I took two of her favorite songs and mashed them up. They are It's Time by Imagine Dragons (which everyone and their brother knows) and Wild I Am by The Vocal Few (definitely not as popular, but still good). Singing is definitely not my forte, but hey - it was fun.


Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Miscellaneous #1

For August, I want to post several pieces that I have done over the course of this year that don't fit into any category.

This first piece doesn't have a name - it's just an electronic piece that was played at my senior recital. Here it is:



The voice that says "Ladies and gentlemen..." is usually played at every recital, right before the concert is going to start. I was at a recital in the fall, the lights dimmed, the voice started playing, and suddenly the idea hit me - what if the recording were to just stop and break down? What would everyone do? That's what sparked the idea of taking that voice recording and remixing it (kind of). It was really fun to do. At my recital though, it kind of confused everyone, because no one was expecting it. But hey, try something new, right?

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Back in 2011, on my 18th birthday, one of my good friends gave me the present of a lifetime. It just occurred to me to post about it.

Essentially, she sent out letters to ten of my favorite film composers. (I can't remember who they were then... my top ten are always changing.) I'm pretty sure this list included James Newton Howard, John Debney, Hans Zimmer, John Powell, Andrew Lockington, Harry Gregson-Williams, Christophe Beck, etc. She sent them envelopes with two postcard-sized movie posters and a letter saying that (basically) - my friend, Jon, wants to be a film composer too, and it would be awesome if you could sign the pictures to Jon, and send them back to me in the self addressed envelope. Thanks! Two composers replied.

The first was Christophe Beck. I was introduced to his work through The Seeker (2007) way back in the day and RED (2010). Throughout the years, it'd been super cool to watch him score major films, some being Due Date, The Muppets, Pitch Perfect, The Hangover (I, II, and III), Edge of Tomorrow (great score, by the way), and Frozen. So yeah, definitely a big name in Hollywood now. He sent back these two:





Beck even wrote on the letter back saying something along the lines of "sorry you can't really see the signatures, best of luck!"

The other composer was John Powell. Need I introduce him? No. Here's the two he sent back:






So yeah. That's my story. Maybe I'll tell it at parties.

What it makes me think about is this: there is so much emphasis on being a better musician that  being a person can get lost. I really think that life isn't about doing, it's about being. I'm reading a book about the lives of "great composers" right now - some of them were incredible musicians - they did great things! But man - some of them were terrible people. Getting this gift from them really means a lot to me - and the gift says a lot about Beck and Powell as people. Final thought: be a great musician, but be an even better person. (And to the other composers' defense, life is busy - so not replying to fan mail doesn't make you a terrible person. Just felt like I needed to put that, in case Hans Zimmer reads this. Cause that's going to happen.)

For August, I will be posting miscellaneous projects that I have worked on over the course of this year. They are unlike anything else I've done before - so definitely check back for them!

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Galaxies - A Visual Listening Guide

Galaxies is officially out. (Funny story, it came out last week, but the price was completely wrong. So I wanted to wait till they got that right). It's on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. It's also available to listen to on Spotify and on my website. If you want to buy it, I suggest either CDBaby ($13) or iTunes ($14). On Amazon it is $18 and on Google it is $19. Don't know why.

Quick trivia about the album:

  • two discs, twelve tracks on each disc. The first disc is the twelve major keys, the second disc is the twelve minor keys.
  • each track averages around eleven minutes, which brings the album to 4 hours, 38 minutes, and 34 seconds.
  • each disc is the same length.
  • I started composing is in April, but didn't really get started till May. I finished it late June.
  • the hardest part about the album was having the ability to stay awake while composing. It's like one of those, "I'm sitting here listening to ambient music, and all I want to do is fall asleep." I started taking B12 supplements. No joke.
  • the tracks go around the circle of fifths. (So "AM 0644-741" is in C Major, "M31" is in F Major, "ESO 540-31" is in Bb Major, etc. Same follows for the minor disc.) This is so you can listen to it in the original track order and it have a smooth flow from one track to the next.

Here is a visual listening guide so you can see what inspired me on each of the tracks.

DISC 1:

1.) AM 0644-741


2.) M31


3.) ESO 540-31


4.) IC 342


5.) Zw II 28


6.) NGC 2841


7.) NGC 6946


8.) M101


9.) M106


10.) M82


11.) NGC 4911


12.) NGC 1313


DISC 2:

1.) M81


2.) M51a


3.) I Zwicky 18


4.) NGC 5128


5.) Arp 244


6.) C3 321


7.) NGC 524


8.) NGC 1309


9.) NGC 1316


10.) UDFj-39546284


11.) NGC 4449


12.) IC 10



Here are samples from the album:

Disc 1:

 

Disc 2:


Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

M101 & M81

There have been some "complications" in releasing Galaxies. Hopefully the issues will be resolved soon. But in the mean time...

Here are two more tracks. These are the more lyrical of most of the tracks. Let me know what you think!

A track from Disc #1:
   

A track from Disc #2:



Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Process

I used to sit down and try to write music, hoping that some masterpiece would magically flow out of my head and onto paper. But the more I did that, the more frustrated I became. I would sit down and for an hours and hours, I would get literally no where. It was painful.

So I began a new tactic - I started to plan out everything before I ever sat down to write. A small example of this is Epic Music II - all the first letters of each of the tracks line up to say TO THE GREAT I AM. That didn't just "happen" - that was planned about a year and a half before the album was released. I knew what I was going to do before I did it.

Before I even put ink to the page, before I even insert those MIDI notes, I now know what my goal is. No, I don't know what the final product will be exactly - but I have a pretty strong idea. I go in knowing what I want - I go in knowing what I want to achieve. Remember, if you want to build a building, the first thing you have to do is lay a foundation. You have to begin with the end in mind - if you don't, you'll never finish.

This played a huge part in Galaxies - I physically worked on the album for about three and a half months, but before I ever started working, I mentally prepared the album for about six months. While I was commuting to school, while I was out surfing, while I was doing whatever, I would think and plan; and then when I would sit down to write, I would know exactly what I wanted before I even started. I had this chart on my wall to keep me focused and organized:


I knew there would be two discs; I knew each would have twelve tracks (twelve major keys, twelve minor keys); I knew I wanted each track to be named after a galaxy; I knew I wanted each track to have it's own unique sound. It took a couple of months to fully develop the idea, but when it came time to write, it was a lot easier. But here's the catch - the hardest part about composing music (or any art medium, for that matter) is just sitting down and doing it. Whether we will admit it or not, art is work. But it's worth it.

I had an idea for what I wanted for the album artwork. It was a small idea, but I knew it was (very roughly) what I wanted. Here was my first sketch:


After long and detailed talks with my brother, Michael, and some brain storming sessions, we  designed this as the final album cover:


So check that off the list.

The album should either release July 15th or July 22nd. I'll make sure to post when it does.

Here's another track from Disc 1:



Here's another track from Disc 2:



I've already started my next album. Maybe I'll post about it soon.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Idea

I am always surprised by the number of people who tell me, "Hey Jon, I totally listen to your music while I study...or run...or read...or write..." Or whatever. It always catches me off guard - and it always makes me smile.

But it also got me thinking - I wanted to create something that people can use specifically for those things - studying, writing, exercising, reading, sleeping... for life, I guess you could say. For whatever you, as the listener, wants.

So I created Galaxies.

Galaxies is unlike anything I have ever done before. For the past two or three years, I've been in this epic-music/in-your-face/the-world-is-totally-coming-to-an-end kind of style. It's fun music to compose - but I wanted to try break away from that for just a bit.

If Galaxies could be described in one word, it would be ambient. But to go further - it's music that is meant to enhance (not distract) you from what you are doing. It's meant to act as a musical white noise - you can just pop in your headphones or turn on your speakers, and block out the world around you and do what you need to do - without being distracted by what you are listening to.

It's a two disc album. The first disc has twelve tracks in the twelve major keys, and the second disc has twelve tracks in the twelve minor keys.

Each track is named after a galaxy. When writing the tracks, I would stare at pictures of galaxies and write what I saw. Maybe I have synesthesia. Who knows. The music is closely tied to the pictures of the galaxies.

Each track averages at around eleven minutes, bringing the album to about 4.5 hours. (4 hours, 37 minutes, and 34 seconds to be exact.) Plenty of music to choose from.

Here's a track from Disc 1:



Here's a track from Disc 2:



I just finished last week, and it's currently being processed for release. I'm expecting a late July release, fingers crossed. I'll make sure to post when it is.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Annabel Lee

Back in February, I had my senior recital. One of the pieces on the program was Annabel Lee, a piece for bass-baritone and piano, based off the poem Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe.

Here's the audio.



Here's the poem.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wing├Ęd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.



It's definitely different from what I usually post here. Let me know what you think!

Also, an announcement - I am working on a new album right now called Galaxies. I'm hoping to have it released by the end of July. I'll post a preview soon.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Favorite 2013 Soundtracks

Recently, I've been haunted by the saying, "You are what you eat." I think it's totally true. But - I think it applies to more than food. I think it also applies to music - you are what you listen to. I strive to be a music omnivore, to listen to anything and everything, so that the music I write can be influenced by a wide variety of sound and color. But I used to not be this way. I used to only listen to soundtracks. Only soundtracks. I was adamant. And what I didn't realize was that I was hurting myself by not branching out. Now, I listen to classical, jazz, pop, rock, world, rap... anything. New things are great. But I still, and always will, have a sweet tooth for soundtracks.

Here are some of my favorite desserts from 2013.

Man of Steel  by Hans Zimmer. 


I'm not the biggest Hans Zimmer fan in the world. I guess I'm hipster like that and try to shoot for more non mainstream film composers. But with this soundtrack, Hans Zimmer literally redeemed himself in my eyes. It's simple, it's exciting... it's everything a superhero soundtrack should be. One of my favorite tracks from this soundtrack is Tornado.



Oblivion by M83 (and Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese)


This movie came out and seemed to disappear. I don't know why - I personally loved it. And even though the soundtrack is a little generic (TRON meets [put generic epic movie soundtrack here]) it's still totally worth the listen. I love to listen to this soundtrack when reading.




Now You See Me by Brian Tyler and a bunch of electronic music people.


I have been a Brian Tyler fan from the beginning. Everyone knows him now for all of his recent work - Thor 2, Iron Man 3, Fast Five... I know him for Timeline, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Eagle Eye... all of his older soundtracks. And now this soundtrack - Now You See Me - showed me a new side of Tyler. It's fun, fast, catchy... totally perfect for the movie.




Elysium by Ryan Amon.


I recommend this movie with reservation - if you're not one for violence and language, then stay away. But if you can grit through it - I thought this movie totally rocked. The soundtrack though is what did me in. If you get a chance, read this article about Ryan Amon and how he got this job. He is a cool dude. One of my most favorite tracks from the movie (You Have No Idea) is below. I really like to listen to this soundtrack while running.



Gravity by Steven Price


This soundtrack was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar, and took the Oscar home. Which is more than deserved. This soundtrack is literally mind blowing and unlike anything ever made. (And if you haven't seen the movie... the same follows for it. Go see it as soon as you can.) I can't really choose a favorite track for this soundtrack, because they are all so great. But the last track gives me goosebumps every time, so I'll post that. Also, I love to run to this soundtrack too.



You have any favorite desserts? Comment, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 2014

I just got my new website up and running which you should totally check out here. You can listen to Epic Music and Epic Music II there. Let me know what you think!

Also, I placed silver in the Karol Close/Hal Leonard Composition Competition. They posted the results here. I was very honored - wasn't expecting it.

And here is Mutations, the last piece on Epic Music II.



I wrap up with school these next couple of weeks, and then I am going on a writing Sabbatical. More to come on that.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Few Updates...

Just a couple of updates:

1.) I just had my senior recital. I haven't gotten the recordings yet, but as soon as I do, I will post them. It went very well, super thankful.

2.) I am working on a project called Off THA Couch, a really cool idea from some new friends of mine at Georgia State. Check it out here. I did the music for the video on their site, and I'll be doing the music for their documentary.

3.) I wrote a piano piece entitled Snow (which was on my recital), which I just entered into the Hal Leonard/Carol Klose Composition Competition. It's going to eventually be a part of a series of solo piano pieces about water in nature (so like rain, mist, oceans, etc.) And I'll be honest, I had the hardest time with that intro to the video... try saying "composition competition" five times fast and you'll understand why.



4.) I just entered into the Bleeding Fingers competition, which was so much fun to do. Make sure you read about it here first before you listen to my entry.




And that about sums it all up. Right now I am developing my next two albums and composing a series of band pieces. And will start learning cello in my free time. Fun days ahead.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And It's Out...

So today's the big day. The album is officially released on Amazon, iTunes (which was a surprise), and CDBaby. I think it will be on Spotify sometime soon... [UPDATE: it is on Spotify.]


If you get a chance, would love to know what you think.

Here's a track from it.

[UPDATE: POSTED THAT FEELING OF FALLING, TAKEN DOWN.]

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Epic Music II

And it's pretty much official. Epic Music II is going to be out on Amazon this Tuesday. (As for iTunes, I'm not sure, but I'll post when it does.) A year and a half ago, I released Epic Music.

Here are the track listings:

1.   The Greatest Story Never Told
2.   Organ Donor
3.   Thirteenth Hour
4.   Hope in Our Midst
5.   Extra Celestial
6.   Gun Control
7.   Rhythm
8.   Earth Forgotten
9.   After Earth
10. That Feeling of Falling
11. Into Battle
12. Anger Management
13. Mutations

And... I've been waiting to post about this album for years now. I can say years, because God gave me this idea back in 2012. I don't even know where to start...

So basically, God is awesome. Like, really awesome. Like, the kind of awesome that is more than any words could ever describe kind of awesome. I feel like I don't give Him the credit He deserves. All this music stuff, my life, everything I do... it's kind of His. Actually, not kind of. It is His.

This album is for Him. I feel like it's a feeble attempt to glorify God... my music isn't the best. It's not the most beautiful or the most epic. (No, I'm not saying my music is terrible. In fact, I know it's good; and I don't mean that in a prideful way or anything, don't get me wrong. It's a gift God has given me, and I'm trying to use it to glorify Him.) But I can't help but feel like a little kid giving my Dad a crayon drawing. No, it's no Mona Lisa, or anything from the Sistine Chapel... but I know that He loves it. And if heaven had refrigerators, it would be on His.

Take the beginning letter of each track. Put them together. TO THE GREAT I AM. It's all for Him.

And that's that. Epic Music II is done. If you get around to listening it, I would love to hear what you think.

Epic Music III? No. Not any time soon. I am working on... well... I'll tell you about that later.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

PS - here's the link to the MIDI recording and the official orchestral recording of A True Western.