July 21, 2016

Are You A Yankee Doodle Boy? (Or Girl?

Looking at Patriotic Music

When you think about traditional patriotic music, the songs of George M. Cohan may immediately come to mind. Those rousing numbers that became the toast of Broadway in the early part of the 20th century can only be eclipsed by Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which he wrote while in the Army in 1918.

But let’s face it: those songs are pretty old school. At CSS Music we’re cognizant of your need for music with a rousing patriotic feel that can be conveyed strictly through a melody. The best way to hear our selection of Patriotic music is to choose “Patriotic” from the Keyword Alpha list. You’ll find a song like “The Patriot” from Super Themes Volume 33 will give you that pride to be an American with it’s inspirational melody and orchestral arrangement. But if you just need something stock that will immediately evoke patriotism, give Digital Ditties, Volume 1 a listen. You’ll find a swingin’ version “America,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Or for a selection of all American music, audition America’s Tracks for some creative arrangements of tried and true American classics.

We pride ourselves on offering you guys a wealth of patriotic music that you’ll find just right for your next show. Whether you need a traditional arrangement of America’s time-honored tunes, a more creative approach to these songs or something that just suggests patriotism, CSS Music has you covered.

July 13, 2016

Working With Soundscape

Is It Music or Sound Design?

Call it ethereal, call it electronica, call it New Age or call it music for sound design, the search for those music tracks that create a mood without a necessarily defined music style can give your shows a very unique sound. CSS Music has two volumes entitled Soundscapes that create ambiances using various instrumentation and unusual grooves.

A track like “Metherial” (Soundscapes Volume 1) can work wonders for scenes requiring a little mystery or wonder. It could even be used in an underwater scene with it’s “bubbling” clave part.  Or a track like “Rings of Saturn” (Soundscapes Volume 2) offers a quiet journey through space with a simple electric piano that evokes a peaceful futuristic mood.

Or you might try our Multiple Word Keyword Search a/k/a Redi-Trax and type in “soundscape” and any other criteria you seek. You’ll find more selections that fill the bill from our Super Themes® and Repro-file™ Plus libraries.  A track like “Bleak Winter” (Repro-file™ Plus Volume 28) paints a chilly picture using a simple repetitive motif and a wind-like synthesizer wash. Or “Migrating North” (from the same disc) embodies the spirit of a herd of gazelle on the move--very picturesque!

How do these tracks work with dialog? Beautifully! Because they are primarily mood setters, there is (typically) no melody to interfere with the spoken word.  And you may find tracks with longer pauses to work around or to edit for time. Soundscape music truly is a cross between music and sound design. The moods created vary from ethereal to mysterious to downright spooky! We hope you find uses for this special music in your next show.

July 07, 2016

When Is It Too Much?

When Is It Too Much?
Working With Alternate Mix-Outs

We’ve talked before about cutting between a track’s full mix and alternate mix. Quite frequently, the alternate mix will sit much better under dialog since there’s less instrumentation fighting the dialog. At CSS Music we started delivering these alternate mixes as far back as 1988 with our PowerTrax® library and now we offer these mixes with our latest Project Platinum® updates.

So, have you tried underscoring an entire scene with one of these stripped down mixes? If you have an extended emotional scene where you really don’t want the music to develop, something like the acoustic guitars only mix from “A Road Trip Quietly,” (PowerTrax volume 33) could provide the ideal feel for the scene. There are also the full mix and mix sans drums of this track if you decide later to provide more momentum.

Even going back to earlier PowerTrax® like volume 20…a rhythm mix from a track like “Concrete Rider” will give you an upbeat hip-hop groove that could work under a number of adrenaline fueled scenes where there’s a lot of dialog. Or if you need more emotion: “I Wanted More” (PowerTrax® volume 25) has an excellent rhythm mix that will work great with dialog.

While we’re extremely proud of what our composers bring to the CSS Music library, we know you guys need mixes that will best support your shows—it’s just the “reality” of television production today. And if you find a particular style of music where you’d like more, with these alternate mix-outs, let us know! We will endeavor to add them to future updates in the next few months.

June 21, 2016

Be A Good Sport(s)

Be A Good Sport(s)
Lights, Camera and Lots of Action

For you guys/gals in the trenches who are really trying to up your game by underscoring sports or action scenes with contemporary music, here are a couple ideas you may have not yet explored. Sure, a hard driving rock track may be your de facto choice, but perhaps a little extra effort will reap accolades from your director and producer on your sports oriented show.

What if (for example) you take that shot of a fishing line being cast into the water and apply the slo-mo effect? Under that shot you use a pastoral music track like “Twilight Textures” from Super Themes. Suddenly, what was a ho-hum stock shot becomes a magical, wistful moment. When you edit the fish striking the line, cut to a music track like “Swamp Dirt Twistin’” from Project Platinum. This driving hick hop track married to the battle of landing the fish will reinforce that outdoor ambiance while giving the scene a hip vibe.

Or if you’re working on a motorsports show, apply the same principal. For example: edit the pit crew prepping the car for takeoff—lifting the rear end, changing tires, filling the tank, adjusting the spoiler, etc.—into a very fast montage. Then apply the slo-mo effect with the same type of pastoral music. Just as the car is about to go, break into a hard driving track like “Dark Swamp Adventure Part 2” from Powertrax AV. Suddenly the danger of the track and what the driver is about to face comes to life.

We here at CSS Music know adding such touches requires a little extra time. But we believe you’ll love the process of trying these tricks and your end results will be well worth the effort.

June 18, 2016

Industrial Is Still Cool

Overcoming the Stigma of Music Genre Names

For years, Industrial music—NOT Industrial Rock--was thought of as music for corporate presentations only. Maybe words like stodgy, buttoned-up or un-cool come to mind. But if you go back through the CSS Music library with an open mind and give a listen to some of the tracks we’ve designated as “Industrial,” we think you’ll find some pleasant surprises.

If you audition any of the Power Trax industrial CD’s you’ll find Rhythm Mixes of every track. And the grooves from these tracks are perfect for underscoring contemporary reality television. After all, you’re after music that supports and propels your scenes, right? And the generally upbeat tempos of industrial tracks can work great with action, travel or energy-infused scenes. By the way: there are some very cool grooves on Power Trax Volume 12, “Industrial Rhythms.”

Listening to a Super Themes disc like Big Corporate IV you’ll find a wealth of different moods from brassy fanfares to lighter fare to high-energy sports tracks that can work in many situations. Super Themes has a number of “Industrial” discs that definitely are worth a listen.

With a disk like New Marketplace from Target Trax, you’ll find a plethora of moods and styles that might be described as Neo-Industrial. While the overall vibe of New Marketplace has elements of old school industrial, the freshness and variety of moods could find a place in your next show.

So don’t let the moniker “Industrial” immediately freeze out your music audition. We believe you’ll find some very usable tracks in the CSS Music library.

June 15, 2016

Making The Mood Magic

Capturing the Perfect Emotion With Music

When you have scenes that demand something more than non-intrusive underscore music, CSS Music has you covered. From joyful discovery to the darkest moments to a whimsical reflection, we’ve labeled our tracks with more information than just music style and orchestration.

For example, if you first use our Multiple Keyword Search found at the bottom of our Search page and (for example) enter “Ethereal” and “Wistful” you’ll find a perfect track from our MaxTrax library entitled “Ocean of the Mind” on our Redi-Trax search page.

But you can even delve deeper into your search.  Entering “Sad, Emotional, Film” will immediately produce “Listen to My Story” from Target Trax and “English Patients” from Repro-file® plus.

You can build a bigger playlist by simplifying your search using something like “film, dramatic.”  Not only will you be rewarded with many pages that include film composer David Wurst’s cinematic music, but a wide selection from other CSS Music tracks.

Using our current keywords will give you best results. By using (again, for example) “dramatic, heartfelt” your search will yield our cream of the crop tracks. Another search with “heartfelt, acoustic” will give the softer side of heartfelt.

If you’re searching for something more contemporary, combining “contemporary” with keywords like “powerful” or “warm” or “emotional” will get you that much closer to finding the perfect CSS Music track to capture the emotion your show demands.

June 07, 2016

Around The World

Re-thinking Ethnic Music

So you have a scene where people are dining at a Mexican restaurant. You do a search choosing “Latin” from the handy CSS Music search engine. “South of the Border” from V-Trax has a nice bouncy traditional “La Bamba” feel. Or “Fire of Desire” with it’s Flamenco-style guitar from Super Themes could underscore your scene. But is the right mood for your show and your demographics?

Latin music (and many other ethnic music genres) has grown and expanded from the traditional sounds of only a decade ago. There’s now Latin Trap, Latin Hip Hop, Latin Dance, etc. etc. And the mood of these styles vary substantially from earlier styles like Tex-Mex, Bossa Nova, Cha Cha et al.

 Instead of something traditional for that Mexican restaurant scene, perhaps a tune with a more contemporary feel like “Low Rider” or “Slick Chica” from Super Themes or “Latin Lamb Stew” from Project Platinum will give you a whole new vibe.

Or if you want to create your own modernized take of a traditional World track, try this. Start with a track from Super Themes Volume 56 Drumscapes.  There are a number of modern drum grooves that will work as your foundation.

Then experiment with one of the many CSS Music World tracks. Using your time stretching software, get the World track to tempo match your chosen Drumscape. Once the beats match, you can then create your own contemporary take on an ethnic genre. Oftentimes you only need a short 4 bar loop from the World track dropped in judiciously to give you a super cool mash-up modernized track!

At CSS Music we’re always listening to you and listening to the latest genres of music. Be looking for new releases coming soon!