DOOM: Behind the Music

GDC: In this 2017 session, Doom composer Mick Gordon provides a detailed look into the compositional process, production techniques and creative philosophies behind the hell-raising soundtrack to the 4th installment of the seminal first-person shooter franchise, Doom.

This is one of the best talks I’ve seen on the GDC YouTube channel! In addition to the new Doom game, Mick Gordon has composed music for the new Wolfenstein games and Prey. In his talk Gordon covers a lot of ground, including how he approached the brief, making satisfying bass come across on unsatisfactory equipment, hiding subliminal messages and courage vs. confidence.

See also

  • A history of DoomIf you had a PC — you had to have Doom.
  • The art of FirewatchA recreation of Jane Ng’s talk from Game Developers Conference 2015.
  • Black MIDIHave you ever been listening to a normal song and thought, “I really wish this normal song had 280 million notes and took up 1.1 terabytes of data and was literally unplayable on any computer?”

I was also reminded of these two recent Vox videos on Shepard tones and gated reverb that I would have posted had I not been taking a little break from this blog…

The sound illusion that makes Dunkirk so intense

Vox: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a nerve-wracking movie. Three separate storylines tell the tale of the famed World War II evacuation in a intense two hours of film. A lot of that feeling has to do with how the film’s score uses Shepard tones — layered sound waves that simulate a constant ascent in tone — to create a sensation of building tension. They’re a personal favorite trick of Nolan’s: he’s based sound effects and entire soundtracks with other composers on the auditory illusion. In Dunkirk, composer Hans Zimmer crafted his soundtrack around the effect — and it’s an auditory masterpiece.


How a recording-studio mishap shaped ’80s music

Vox: Over the past few years a general nostalgia for the 1980s has infiltrated music, film, and television. I deeply love those gated reverb drums of the ’80s – you know that punchy percussive sound popularized by Phil Collins and Prince? So for my second episode of Vox Pop’s Earworm I spoke with two Berklee College of Music professors, Susan Rogers and Prince Charles Alexander, to figure out just how that sound came to be, what makes it so damn punchy, and why it’s back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s