As promised — the ad music!

A few weeks ago, I posted about a great opportunity I got here in Albuquerque to create the music for a new ad campaign by the New Mexico Lottery, celebrating their contribution of $500M to allow students statewide to attend any of our state universities tuition-free (given a minimum GPA).

A still from one of the six ads in the campaign.

I promised that once the ads were finalized, up and running, I’d post some of the music so you could hear a little of how the process worked (I got permission to do this written into my license agreements).

So here you go (192kbps mp3s): This is a collage of four of the five drafts I did, taking anywhere from 3 to 6 hours each to produce — not quite broadcast ready but offering different possible directions. The basic guidance I’d gotten was no straightforward guitar or piano, an organic/natural sound, an uncluttered arrangement (just a few instruments), and something cool and edgy.

Of the drafts in that collage, the ad agency and Lottery commission chose the last one. You might remember from that earlier post that I liked the last one best, but neither the production house nor I expected the ad agency and the client to go for it. Backward ukulele, sampled ukulele, and backward piano over a mellow but swaggering hip-hop beat. Who knew!

Over that foundation, I then created five different melodies in different voices; they chose one using kalimba (an African thumb piano). Awesome. Then I did two choices of endings for them. In short, I worked hard to provide something they’d like.

Here is the final version of the music, and here’s an example of the videos (beautifully shot/produced by halflife* digital). The excellent ad agency supervising the entire thing was Kilmer | Kilmer | Marshall | Duran.

What a great way to wrap up 2011 and begin 2012! Oh, and I got paid for a Breaking Bad webisode placement this week, too. Very cool. Not every week will be quite this much fun, but weeks like this make the hard work worth it.

About CK Barlow

I'm a composer and music-technology instructor. In the summer of 2011, I decided it was time to give full-time music-making a shot, so I left my corporate job (I've always had one). That's part of what inspired Composing Kitchen, the blog I publish with my incredible spouse, Karen Milling. View all posts by CK Barlow

2 responses to “As promised — the ad music!

  • Kevin Pike

    CK very cool track! How you thought of putting Ukulele backwards is beyond me. Great job!


    • CK Barlow

      Hey, Kevin – thanks so much! It really was a matter — once I had some “safe” drafts — of letting myself go a little, you know, creatively. There are a couple of ukulele samples, and they both come from the first prototype that you hear in the collage. I took some of the strums from that draft to create the backward sound that you hear at the beginning of the track. And then the more percussive hits are from taking another bit of the first draft’s ukulele track and dropping it into Ultrabeat, which is Logic’s sampler. Then it was a matter of playing it from the keyboard.

      I *really* appreciate you taking time to listen and comment. Thanks much!

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