Saturday, November 9, 2013

BRAAAM 101


Three years after Mind Heist appeared in a trailer for the movie Inception, people still seem to be thoroughly confused with respect to "who created the BRAAAM".  A slew of forums and various online publications regularly seem to discuss and debate this issue.  So let's take a moment and clear this up.

BRAAAMs have been around long before Mind Heist and Inception, and they will be around long after.  What is a BRAAAM?  It's when a note (usually a low note) is performed by a large number of instruments very intensely.  Technically, you could call it a fortissimo in unison.  Non-technically, it's popularly referred to as a BRAAAM.

What differentiates one BRAAAM from another BRAAAM has to do with the nature of its construction and the context in which it occurs.  The BRAAAMs in Mind Heist and the other incarnations that have occurred in symphonic / film / trailer / electronic music are each comprised of various ensembles.  Some of the elements that make up the ensemble may be commonly used (e.g. brass), while other elements may be more unique (e.g. unicorn howling).  It's how these elements get blended together that gives each BRAAAM an identity.  Kind of like snowflakes.

But the most important distinguishing factor is context.  If Mind Heist were comprised of just the BRAAAM by itself, it would have been musical sound design rather than music.  But alas, Mind Heist is a song that has BRAAAMs, rather than a song of  BRAAAMs.  And if the song itself was not compelling, the BRAAAMs would not have mattered.  This is to say, the song's composition and production (melody, harmony, rhythm, orchestration, mixing, mastering) is what makes it compelling - the BRAAAMs were simply one feature, albeit a prominent one.  Kind of like when someone meets a wonderful woman, but only talks about her boobs.  Sure, Mind Heist has big boobs, but she's also got an amazing personality.  Hey, eyes up here.

Interestingly, the "breasts of Mind Heist" (I smell a remix) were made more prominent within the Inception trailer, partly as a result of trailer producers / editors / mixers that skillfully paired the visual and audio components, and partly due to the general 2 minute length of the theatrical trailer format.  While much library music conforms to that length, most songs exceed it.  This means that most of the songs that get used in trailers (including Mind Heist) get edited down by necessity, and thus, the Mind Heist used in Inception's trailer is actually an abridged version of a larger work (see Mind Heist: Evolution).

Now as for another commonly held misunderstanding regarding Mind Heist … I've never met, spoken to, corresponded, snorkeled, canoed, parachuted, finger-painted, or otherwise collaborated with the composer or director of the film Inception.

So what have we learned today?  That a BRAAAM is a musical device, used since time immemorial.  This musical device was utilized within Mind Heist and the Inception trailers / film, and although largely popularized as a result, was not invented therein.  There is no "creator" of BRAAAM.  There are only users of BRAAAM.  And some even say we are all made of BRAAAM and one with BRAAAM.  Deep.

Class dismissed!

bum, bum, bum, bum, ba da bum, bum, bum….BRAAAM


8 comments:

  1. I attribute the effectiveness of 'BRAAAM' to the accompanying 'BING': The 'BOOM' of the percussion + the 'TING' of the anvil.

    In other words, X = (BRAAAM[BOOM + TING])/Y, where Y is a product of Hans Hemsey and Zack Zimmer.

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    1. No, no, no. You failed to account for WHOOF and THUMP in your calculations!

      Where WHOOF = SWOOSH minus SMACK and THUMP = BANG / RUMBLE.

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    2. You're beginning to delve into a little too much astrophysics for my understanding. No wonder this 2.5 minute equation blew my mind.

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  2. Very interesting. Did not actually know that they (the Brams) were comprised of one single note. Love the harmonies in that piece and how they really support the Brams and really make them what they are. Harmony is everything!

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  3. I don't know where else to post, so I guess I'll do it here. I just wanted to let you know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for creating music that's spoken to my soul more than most musicians can. Don't ever let anything stop you from exercising your creative spirit, because it can really change lives. Thank you.

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    1. You are most welcome Branson. I suppose this was a bit odd of a place to post that comment, but nonetheless, I'm honored that the music has had such an impact on you.

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  4. No new blog posts for a while :(

    I never really comment but love reading your blog.

    I have a question: Do the instrumentals ever differ from the music in the original songs?

    I think Ronin shed more light on your political and ideological leanings than any of your previous stuff, a blog post on this would be very interesting indeed!

    And any news on new material in the future?

    Keep up the amazing work :)

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    1. The instrumentals are 100% identical to the music within the original song...only the vocals get removed.

      Regarding a blog post on my political / ideological leanings, that might be a little too pretentious for me :)

      As for new material, unfortunately I have no news for you. Making music is less of an intellectual decision for me, and more of an intuitive compulsion...a compulsion that ebbs and flows. I intend to make another album - but I have no idea when it will get completed.

      FYI though - I did just post a new article on this blog!

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