“Sound is Magic” – Insights for the Game Music Composer

Cool stuff!

Composer Winifred Phillips


From May 19th to the 20th of this year, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Research and Development department presented a two-day conference to explore the future of immersive sound.  Called “Sound: Now and Next,” the event featured a distinguished speaker list that included accomplished audio engineers, producers, educators, inventors, researchers, musicians and composers.  The event offered a wealth of fascinating presentations on the future of audio, and I recommend visiting the site and checking out the awesome video resources from the event, which include complete session videos made freely available for streaming from the site.

For game composers and sound designers, one of the best sessions was presented by Nick Ryan, an award-winning audio engineer/composer/audio consultant who is best known in the game industry for his sound design work on the Papa Sangre, Papa Sangre II and The Nightjar audio games for iOS.  These three games utilize binaural sound…

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Sky Pilot #5: The Tet Offensive + Sky Pilot = Popularity?

I was saving this last post as a clenching segment detailing various chaplains who did not go with their soldiers; sadly, I have not found anything.  It leaves something to be desired in my paper, but I will have to make do, it appears.

So, for now, I shall give details about the Tet Offensive.

The reason why the Tet Offensive of 1968 is important is because it is chronologically linked with the Animals’ “Sky Pilot.”

Johnson said that we were winning the war prompting Americans to breathe a slight sigh of relief.  Ah, how many times leaders have said that, including Hitler during his regime’s final moments (heck, his own final moments).

Ho Chi Minh had us right where he wanted us.  The Viet Cong amassed a huge spearhead of Vietnamese who were thought to be pro-South.  These VC led a counterattack that lasted virtually the whole year of 1968, starting in January on the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Tet.  It was assumingly a period of cease-fire (as even occurred during Mogadishu in 1993).  VC overran everything and everyone.

The event was particularly important in the scheme of things due to its close coverage on American TV.  Even Walter Cronkite personally visited Vietnam during to witness the results of the Tet Offensive, later saying: “What seems now more certain than ever is that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.”

The first stage of the Tet Offensive began in January 1968, the month that Sky Pilot is released in the UK.  Stage two began in May, the month Sky Pilot is released in the States.  By this time, quite a bit of damage had been done.

The VC had broken into the American Embassy in Saigon.  This was supposed to be the safest place in South Vietnam.  They also annihilated Khe Sahn, which was virtually a replay of Dien Bien Phu.

Slowly but surely, American forces successfully repelled the attack.  However, it cost many lives and resources, making us look weak and vulnerable to defeat.  The damage hit hard in America, as the parents and children saw what could happen to them and theirs.  In fact, most of the Animals’ demographic tuned into the song “Sky Pilot,” no doubt, increasing its popularity (#14 on American Pop Charts).

Word Count: 382

“Goodnight Saigon” – “Stolen Valor”

Stolen Valor HIST

Stolen Valor, written by B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, was written to describe, “How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heros and its History.” Burkett came from a military family and always planned on joining the military. Burkett served in Vietnam in 1968, and separates this book into four parts: “The Image”, “Trauma of War”, “Stolen Valor”, and “Victims and Heros”.

In the section titled “The Image” Burkett shares some of his experiences upon returning home from the war. One of the prominent experiences Burkett had was in graduate school at the University of Tennessee. Burkett’s teacher required that the students call upon their past experiences to illustrate how they were required to preform business management type activities, but the teacher banned the use of the Vietnam War as a past experience. Burkett writes, “I had managed large groups of men and organized a complex system of ordnance inventory under very difficult and changing conditions, but in the eyes of this arrogant professor, that counted for nothing.” (Burkett, 36) This instance shows how wide spread the anti-war movement was. It was not only hippies parading the streets, but the hated for the war spread to academics and altered professor’s assignments. This instance also showed how a soldier did not have to be spat on to feel angry and disconnected with the American society.

Burkett then counters this experience with his experience with organizations that favored Vietnam Vets over civilians. Burkett interviewed with a company named Electronic Data Systems, owned by a US Naval Academy graduate, where Burkett was criticized for not being “Enough of a Vietnam Vet” because many of the other employees served longer tours, and the company was run like the military. (Burkett, 39) Burkett also pointed out that airline companies such as American and Southwest airlines. “When you boarded a Southwest Airlines plane in the seventies, the pilot likely had been making bombing runs on North Vietnam two years before.” (Burkett, 39)

Burkett, B. G., and Glenna Whitley. Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History. Dallas: Verity Press, 1998.

Travelin’ Soldier – Post 5

So let us do a recap of all we have discussed thus far, shall we?

In March 2003 the Dixie Chicks go onto a London stage and make the most unpatriotic statement about the United States and its President. Natalie Maines was quoted saying: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas”

After the concert and the statement traveled across the nation, Maines and the Dixie Chicks were discredited and given the “boot” in many country radio stations. People refused to listen to the music, stations refused to play it, some stores refused to sell the cds.

Despite the troubles the band went through, after their tour the girls came home with two Grammy’s.

Three years after the incident, the Iraq war is still going on, the band has a documentary made about them and their efforts to get back on top of their music after the falling out with the public.

And then there is the actual war in Iraq and the people’s views on it. All the thousands of people gathering to protest the declaration of war.

I think we’re all caught up now. Let’s try to move forward now to the present. Where are the Dixie Chicks now? What happened to the girls after the incident?

The band hasn’t put a record together since 2006 and the women haven’t been as connected to one another since then. Natalie Maines said, in an interview, why she thinks the band hasn’t done much since then, “I think it would be really hard with nine kids between the three of us. We live in different states. I know I’m not going to go live in Texas. But I will say I have no desire to make country music at the moment, and that’s definitely because of everything that happened” (Lederman). She also said in an interview the effects of what happened in 2003, “It’s hard to put into words, but I think it happened simultaneously with my kids getting older [they’re now 12 and 9]. I think a lot of people think that going off of the road or not doing music for a while was something about the incident, but really it was just about being a mother. How the incident didchange my life? I’m not as trusting of people any more. I think I just have a good perspective on life and what’s important” (Lederman). Maines has gone onto a solo career in music, having produced an album called Mother in 2013.

The other two women of the group decided to do a side project called “Court Yard Hounds” stating in 2009. It is a duo band of Emily Robison and Martie Maguire. It began when the women wanted to do more projects but Maines was reluctant. The women made and sold their first album in 2010 after signing with Columbia Records (Court).

Though the women still communicate, they live in separate areas (Maines lives in Los Angeles, and the sisters Robison and Maguire live in Texas), so this makes it difficult for them to do much together anymore, especially because they are all raising their own children.

Lederman, Marsha. “The Dixie Chicks: Unrepentant and Back on the Road.” The Globe and Mail. October 25, 2013. Accessed November 9, 2014. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/unrepentant-and-back-on-the-road/article15080277/.

“Court Yard Hounds.” Wikipedia. January 11, 2014. Accessed November 11, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_Yard_Hounds.

Gimme Shelter- Post 5

As I have posted previously Mick Jagger and Keith Richards worked together to write “Gimme Shelter.” Richards wrote the music during a huge storm, which inspired the idea behind taking shelter from an apocalyptic level storm. When asked about that day in question, Richards simply replied “”It was just a terrible f***ing day.” Jagger later wrote the powerful and controversial lyrics. The storm imagery, and the raunchy lyrics serve as a kind of metaphor for the chaos of the recent assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., and President Kennedy as well as the Vietnam War, which was raging in full at the time of the release of the song.   When asked about his friendship with Mick Jagger, Richards said:

“Yeah. It’s a true friendship when you can bash somebody over the head and not be told, “You’re not my friend anymore.” That’s a true friendship. You put up with each other’s b*****ing. People will think we’re having these huge arguments and say, “Oh, will they split up?” But it’s our way of working, you know? He’s my wife. And he’ll say the same thing about me: “Yeah, he’s my wife.””

This quote shows how the two of them worked closely with each other and how they both held the same feelings about the song. Richards didn’t talk about this song in particular at length in any of his articles, but Jagger talked about it a few times in interviews, most recently in 2010. Sadly, this song seems to get overshadowed by “Satisfaction,” which was from the same album, “Let it Bleed”. I think that it is very telling that the day that inspired the song was evidentially a horrible day, and that they broadened this feeling to describe the entire world at that point in time. This shows how the general outlook of the Rolling Stones, and arguably much of the world was very negative.


Post 5- Hendrix

It took only three years for the majority of America to oppose the Vietnam War. There are many ways that the American society’s opposition to the Vietnam War was fueled; president’s lies, the draft, brand new media outlet, music, and no true exit strategy. I plan on discussing all of these reasons in my research paper.

It is important to remember that the Vietnam War was the very first war shown on TV. It is known as the “living room war.” During this time, television is becoming a huge part of American lives. It is said that 48% of Americans trusted the TV more for their news as opposed to newspapers. This new technology had a huge impact on people and how they felt about the Vietnam War. They viewed live combat in their own living rooms and were aware of how many soldiers were dying. America was also aware that the majority of these men were not volunteers, and were forced to fight because of the government. Seeing the news every night gave Americans a better understanding of how brutal war truly was. It is said that television helped fuel the disapproval towards the Vietnam War.

Television wasn’t the only way people may have been influenced to oppose this living room war. The draft powered a lot disapproval. Young men with their whole lives ahead of them were forced to leave home, knowing there is a chance they may not come back, because their government. The first public burning of a draft card in the United States took place on October 15, 1965. It took place in New York by a man named, David Miller. He became the first U.S. war protestor to burn his draft card after a law was passed forbidding it. He was soon arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to two years. Young men weren’t ready to risk their lives, when their lives were just beginning.

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