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Excalibur's Music Lead, Johannes Klatt, explains the work, software and inspirations behind the project's muscial score.

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Excalibur's Music Lead, Johannes Klatt, explains the work, software and inspirations behind the project's muscial score.

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Hello, my name is Johannes but everyone calls me "Yogi". I am 27 years old and from Germany. I am the Music Lead for Star Trek: Excalibur. I first got into music composition as a side-trade when I was active as a sound designer and voice producer in the FreeSpace 2 modding community. I just played around with sequencers and that eventually got me hooked. Since then I have contributed to a number of mostly non-commercial projects. My "instrument" is a Terratec MIDI Master USB keyboard. It is actually a beginner’s keyboard with quite a few shortcomings, but it is very reliable. Additionally I have a t.bone SCT-700 microphone which I use to record live solo instruments and voices. As for software I use Cakewalk Sonar 6.2 for sequencing and the EastWest QuantumLeap Symphonic Orchestra as my primary sample library. I plan to do some extensive upgrading after Christmas.

I usually stick to orchestral game music, but sometimes I work with other types like Jazz or Pop. My wife and I once wrote a musical for a university course. Hell of a lot of work, but it was totally worth the effort.

Excalibur will feature a fully dynamic music system based on some very unique and cutting-edge software. It will generate ambient music according to the current status of the gameplay which is put together by tiny music segments. We’re going to see tranquil journeys, intense space battles and much in between and the music is going to reflect that. Further information on this tech will make an appearance by the end of the year. Personally I hope that by the release of Excalibur we will have composed and recorded around two to three hours of music. We already have themes laid out for the major locations, characters and events of the game. And of course the Excalibur needs her own theme! Composing it was actually my probationary task that got me into the Excalibur team, so that one has already been recorded in a preview version for a while now. We’ll most likely re-record it later with newer libraries.

You unavoidably run into composer's block on occasion. It helps to have a wide range of music to listen to. But a good portion of composing is not just inspiration but the actual craftsmanship. Putting all the pieces together, making them work as a whole. That also involves orchestration and a lot to tweaking get the sound right. And that’s a thing you have to learn by experience - just like programming, drawing or modelling.

My personal all-time Star Trek composer is James Horner. In my opinion he nailed Star Trek the best. I especially liked his fast movements in Star Trek II and III. Since the game takes place in our beloved TNG timeline an important source of inspiration is, of course, Jerry Goldsmith. He musically shaped a big portion of Star Trek and we refer to his themes here and there. They somehow have a canonical quality. The dark score of Star Trek VI by Cliff Eidelmann was surely also an important factor in the franchise since it showed that slightly different music works quite well. Another source of inspiration is Danny Pelfrey who created a bunch of fantastic scores for numerous Star Trek video games. I am probably causing some disturbance in the force, but Michael Giacchino is also an inspiration. Some people say that his score for Star Trek (2009) isn't suitable at all, but I believe he wrote the best Star Trek theme ever. And I've got to give him credit for the creepy parts of the Excalibur's score, because he pretty much demonstrated in Lost how to do it!

You can listen to a sneak-peek of a track from Star Trek: Excalibur by clicking here.

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HeadClot
HeadClot

Pure EPIC!

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