EVE Music - Getting Inside RealX
For Quantum Rise I wrote ten new tracks to accompany the 57 that are already in the game. Since this is an addition to a proven design, the main inspiration for them was the previous tracks, and the inspiration for those was always the artwork and the feel of EVE. Special mad props go to Ásgeir Jón Ásgeirsson former concept artist and now Art Director for EVE and the former Art Director Reynir Harðarson. These new tracks are however different from the others for mainly two reasons:
Firstly, all the old tracks were written almost completely on hardware machines, Korg Triton, Novation Nova, Roland JP8080 and a few other synths, recorded with Digidesign Pro Tools adding a pointless DAC>ADC conversion since all my synths are/were digital with analog outputs. The tracks added post launch up until now were made with both my hardware synths as well as a softsynth suite called Reason from Propellerhead Software. These ten new tracks were written entirely using Reason, and mixed in Pro Tools. Back when I had samplers and external synths I would have to remember to save to ZIP drives on all my synths/samplers but now I only need to hit CTRL-S. This means that I haven't lost a days work, which used to happen occasionally with the power going out, or me forgetting to save everything on each machine, and so on. Now I have a CTRL-S reflex, one program to rule them all. (actually I use two of them, Reason and ProToolsHD)
The second thing that was different with these tracks is that in the mixing process I mixed both stereo and 5.1 surround at the same time. 5.1 you might ask, Eve music isn't in 5.1 why would I mix these new tracks in 5.1. Well, as of now all the music in the jukebox in EVE has been mixed in 5.1 and will soon be available as a premium music download just like with the premium graphics pack.
This has been a great experience, adding a whole new dimension (pun intended) to the mixes, bringing out elements hidden within the tracks. I fully used the 5.1 format, using all the channels and even added additional bass material where needed for the sub channel. I have my 5.1 setup according to the Dolby specification where the the sub is mixed +6.0db over the other five channels. Most of the tracks were left unchanged, but I must admit that I did add some elements to some songs. I tried to make use of the panning as a compositional element, making swells and sweeps come up from behind and sweep past the listener. I'm also a big fan of using long reverbs and delays, both of which sound so much better in 5.0 (I don't use reverbs or delays on the sub channel)
But we must look to the future. What does the future hold for music in EVE? I guess that many would like to maintain the status quo, but what doesn't grow must wither and die. We have begun to think about what the future holds for the music in EVE. The technology now allows us to do so much more than the simple jukebox we did back in 2003. Not many people know this, but since launch all the music in the jukebox is played by a sequencer and the tracks are always crossfaded on n*8th bar which makes it possible to overlay other musical elements on top of the underlying tracks so it makes sense from a musical perspective. That was possible then, but much greater things are possible now: a totally adaptive soundtrack made up of musical elements which would weave up an interesting sound universe, changing to what is happening around you.
We are also working on a overhaul of all the sound in EVE as it has gotten less love than it perhaps should have in the last 5 years. We are working with a whole new technology now which gives us much more creative freedom. Stay tuned for a special blog for the sound overhaul in the weeks to come.