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Ruins (With Strings)

track cover

By Erik Scheele ( Bandcamp , SoundCloud , Twitter , Tumblr ) and Michael Guy Bowman ( Bandcamp , YouTube , Twitter , External ( ).
Cover art by ghostpressure ( Tumblr ).
Released 6/13/2010.
Art released 4/13/2017.
Duration: 3:09.

Listen on Bandcamp or YouTube.

Download sheet music files.
Download MIDI/project files.
Read artist commentary.

Tracks that Ruins (With Strings) references:

Tracks that reference Ruins (With Strings):

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Tracks that sample Ruins (With Strings):

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Print or download sheet music files:

Piano score by Erik Scheele (original composer)
Sheet music by EuniverseCat

Download MIDI/project files:

MIDI by Kieros (piano)

Artist commentary:

Erik Scheele:

This one is really hardly me, honest, it's all Bowman. Ruins was this piano recording I'd put up back when I still hardly knew how to record anything, and then Bowman just went and added magic to it. And the piano track, that's just another one of those "improvisations out of nowhere", no real purpose or theory-thinking beforehand to delegate anything to it. Especially the descending-thirds, no way I could have just thought about that and been like "Yes that is a good thing to be doing", it was just spur of the moment thinking.

(Ruins was one of the first things I contributed to the music forum after getting on the team, a small improvisation based around descending seconds which was made back when I still had no idea how to record things properly. Since Earth was kind of a gigantic wasteland planet at that point (and it still is, today), I conceptually tied my recording in with that, and called it Ruins.

Of course, I really doubt that Ruins would have gotten anywhere if it wasn't for Bowman, who pretty much surprised me sometime before Volume 5 with an updated version of my recording, which made the piano sound better and added a lot of other instruments to it, really adding a lot of depth and atmosphere to an otherwise-shoddy recording. And then, when Volume 5 came around, it was released as "Ruins (With Strings)", which is what you just heard in the update!

I know I've got a better recording of Ruins kicking around here somewhere, I'll have to see if something can be done with it.)

Michael Guy Bowman:

Really it's the "(With Strings)" part that is my doing. When Jit was first inducted to the team, he did not have access at the time to a proper recording environment or midi controller that he could apply a high-quality piano sound to, so he had recorded his piano demo for "Ruins" on what I'm guessing is an on-board laptop microphone. I thought the composition was really great but knew that it would sound too unpolished to make the cut onto a Homestuck album, so I resolved to write a string accompaniment around his composition.

By applying an incredibly enormous amount of reverb to the piano part, I hid the low fidelity of the original recording and made it sound as though it was hauntingly played to the listener from the other end of a cave. Given my lack of any truly convincing string samples, I chose instead to use deliberately mechanical strings, gently de-tuning them to sound a bit reminiscent of early string synthesizers, somewhat inspired by "Crystal Japan", a creepy instrumental by David Bowie.

Some of the other elements of the ambiance (the wind, the really high notes that echo for a long time) I drew from the soundtrack to World of Goo, specifically the track "Jelly" which I noticed bore a strong resemblance tonally to Jit's composition. To seal the melancholy, I doubled the piano melody on guitar using a very cool, muted sound with a lot of echoes and pitch bends. I signed the tune by adding a cadence from "Sburban Jungle" at the very end.

Really, the track should probably be listed simply as "Ruins" if not for the fact that there is not official piano rendition of the piece. I think it would be really cool to hear such a version of the tune if Jit ever found himself recording material in a studio again (as he did for James's piano suite Sburb).

View original file ( kB MB). (Heads up! If you're on a mobile plan, this is a large download.)