Hailing from the capital of Philippines, electronic underground artist Van Reeves is now an active independent Video Game musician affiliated with the Higher Eclectic Network for gaming talent.
With his specialities lying in the genres of digitally synthesised Outrun/Synthwave/Retrowave and Heavy-Metal driven soundtrack-styled music, sound design and Foley, Reeves’ modus operandi demands that he function on a donation basis only.
The reasoning behind this aspect of his Video Game themed music production is two fold; one, the musician yearns for creative room and hence prefers to develop concepts, compositions and whole songs under non-restrictive time conditions.
This coupled with the tentative nature of his routine as an ‘on-call’ musician employed by Clubs, Bars and other Productions at least thrice a week leads him to avoid setting fixed rates for collaborations with Game developers and the like altogether.
‘Being an amateur independent solo performer and producer, I have come to the conclusion that through the donations of patrons and fans, all without outside interference, will preserve the integrity of design and vision of my works and sustain my frugal lifestyle,’ he states. Also preferred by the Filipino is that all potential collaborators bring to him only underdeveloped concepts and themes, letting him conjure his own unique musical rendition of them that is satisfactory to both parties.
‘Give me the basic gist of a given composition, (e.g: Its a sad song for a sad scene) — Done,’ he adds in explanation of the same. ‘I would then go through the notions of building versions among versions of a sad song that I could come up with and then present and allow the client to choose from them.’
‘If a full concept was already presented to me — complete with specific time signatures, strict tempos changes and specified Instruments used — it would be of great difficulty to assert myself into it and create an interpretation I could call my own.’
Reeves works within the domain of Digital Audio Workstation Ableton Live, software such as Dune 2, Addictive Drums and Dark Zebra, along within that of hardware as standard as non-industry speakers and over-ear headphones.
Calculating that quality compositions take him anywhere between hours to days to conjure, he bears no hesitation in scrapping entire creations if they linger far from the degree of comfort and confidence he finds necessary to harbour before providing clients with a finished musical piece.
When not working on collaborations or at real-world gigs, Mr.Reeves is also a regular producer of music via his Soundcloud profile. All of his showcased tracks are also freely available for use — with the musician welcoming requests for their corresponding music files via E-mail while also demanding that their use be explicitly credited. Donations towards showcased tracks are also actively welcomed.
All of this then makes him the perfect musical collaborator to those yearning for original music to accompany their non-commercial and/or hobby work.
Reeves states that while those will certainly be his primary choice of clients, he also continues to stay open to opportunities from those looking to earn a profit from their creations. This however is not without a caveat.
‘Having a form of synergy between partners is essential — I prefer quality over quantity to put it simply. I would like to get to know the client first, if ever,’ he explores. ‘Communicate, build a familiarity before talking business because if we get lost in translation or any sort of miscommunication happens, it breeds difficulty.’
‘I could work genres outside of Synthwave — sound design and Foley, short clips, long droning sounds. button press on main menus, alert tones — you name it, I can do it. The ‘No time limit’ condition is my only constant; if they are comfortable with that, then yes, we can talk business.’
Mr. Reeves’ contributions towards your gaming projects can now be availed of by getting in touch with the musician via his Higher Eclectic Space. Also functioning as a portfolio of his work here on the Network, said Space will showcase a plethora of his Soundcloud creations — all of which can be made use of by leaving the artist a comment therein.
From the 6th till the 20th of May ran this year’s Adventure Jam, a Cassie Benter & Stacy Davidson co-organized GameJam that invited avid game developers to create and showcase their best adventure themed creations on popular game sharing platform, GameJolt.
Its extended voting period, one that lasted between the 20th of May and the 1st of July, brought news earlier today that Luminy Studios’ submission of The Mystic Journey of Atriom secured an overall ranking of 36 amid 163 other adventure game entries. Contributing to this grade is its ranking of 14 within the Best Visuals category and that of 15 within the Best Music Category.
The game’s Best Music ranking bears special relevance to Higher Eclectic Ground by means of Network member Sam Oz; a France based musician proficient in a multitude of classical and modern genres, who had helmed the original soundtrack for the game under the request of its developer and friend Juanjo Barcelo Molina. Oz had first introduced the Network to The Mystic Journey on the 1st of June, wherein he described how the onus of developing up to three tracks, each of three variations, within a span of but a single week was picked up by him.
In doing so he debuted the game’s Main Menu theme on his Network Space — followed by variations of its gameplay and ending music on the 19th and 28th of June respectively — also describing their significance and his frustrations with them in the process. ‘As I was leaving on vacation at the time, I had to compose The Mystic Journey’s music without knowing anything about the game; I just knew it had to be Fantasy themed — I think it turned out satisfactory’, he had mentioned in conversation with Higher Eclectic Ground during the same time.
The Mystic Journey of Atriom fosters exploration and spirituality as its primary themes, narrating the tale of a young boy whose tribe demands that maturity be achieved only by making a Sacred journey to reconcile one’s soul with that of the Great Spirit. To this end, players are tasked with exploring the Sacred Forest in search of 10 Sacred Stones as the young boy — Atriom — amid inherent features such as hand-painted environments and day/night cycles.
‘I’m very happy with the result because is my first game with this aesthetics (handpainted textures), for me this JAM has been an experiment with a happy end!’, stated developer Molina who operates under the Luminy Studios moniker, when reached out to earlier today. ‘Working with Sam Oz has been a real pleasure, in one week he was able to create several themes perfectly synchronized with the history and atmosphere of the game; Sam is a great professional and a person with a lot of talent!’
In announcement of the rankings on The Mystic Journey’s GameJolt page however, Molina revealed that the game would unfortunately never be built upon due to him losing the game’s Unity files to hardware issues. ‘The only thing I can do is start over, but now I’m too immersed in important projects and do not have enough time to start from scratch’, he wrote. The game’s soundtrack meanwhile survives on both Oz’s YouTube channel and his Bandcamp, where from the entire album can be bought for a customer stated fee.
A member since February this year, musician Sam Oz has had the trailers of popular titles such as Valiant Hearts, Child of Light and The Division listed on his portfolio as an original music composer for Ubisoft. The years after his parting from the game development/publishing giant circa 2013 have seen him devote his energy towards conjuring the soundtracks of several independent game projects (Gadan Games’ My Last Friday, Simon Mesnard’s The Black Cube), when not devoting time to his ongoing musical tribute to Studio Ghibli and other personal ventures that is.
Adept at both traditional and computer based instruments, he continues to promote his independent services as a musician of extremely flexible rates via the Higher Eclectic Network, while also being open to revenue share agreements provided a game piques his interest. One can freely observe a brief portfolio of his work thus far, his contributions to Atriom’s OST and even get in touch with him at any instance of time with their own commissions via his Higher Eclectic Space.
Don’t forget to download and play The Mystic Journey of Atriom only via GameJolt.