Tortured Piano Remix Competition Results

What a great response! Since it launched there have been over 2,500 downloads and in the following four weeks 79 people have uploaded a remix to soundcloud. It has been so much fun getting up each morning & having a listen to a couple of new remixes every day! That such a diverse range of works has been created from that small set of 45 sounds is a hugely positive affirmation of creativity. So the first result of the competition is that everyone who uploaded a remix is a winner!
I didn’t want to announce this before the competition finished, as it could have become an incentive to upload anything, but all of the entries have been so fascinating to listen to that I’ve created a Tortured Piano MID sample set (24bit 48k) which I am happy to give to every person who entered the competition. At times teh internetz can seem somewhat cynical, where the anonymous haters, whiners & complainers speak with the loudest voices. But actions speak louder than words and it’s been great to see so many people engage & create new works! Action deserves reward so congrats everyone, I’ll send each of you a download link after the weekend…

So without further ado, here are the winners! There are eight simply because I narrowed the 79 down to eight that I liked and then decided I didn’t want to reduce them any further, as they cover such a diverse range of approaches…. So (drum roll) here are the winners:


– architectspider (Michael Cacioppo Belantara)
– Oscar Rydelius
– James Dean
– Gervais Andrew Harry
– John Grzinich
– Varun Nair
– Aaron Jasinski
– Vulture


I’ve already sent download links for the full Tortured Piano library to these eight and with permission (& their generosity) I’ve also compiled the eight tracks into an EP form & have released it as a free download, which you can download here (320k MP3s 41MB). Below are each of the tracks (in the order they appear on the EP) along with some comments from each person on their creative process…



1. Your Tortured Piano Caught In My Delicate Web
by architectspider (Michael Cacioppo Belantara) – Manchester, UK
Your Tortured Piano Caught In My Delicate Web by architectspider

Links: (film, music, things that combine – with my partner Amanda Belantara) (music production/composing syndicate with Spencer Blair aka gunslunglow) (technical support mushroom for this sonic art collective) (certified ProTools MediaComposer FinalCutStudio LogicStudio Trainer)

Comments: “I love that the death of a musical instrument can lead to the birth of musical moments. The material was so interesting – full of creepy decays, thick timbre, lingering harmonics. I wanted to hear every sound at the same time both forward and in reverse to see if there were any interesting impacts or results from the combination of all the sources. I could not seem to steer this in any direction other than dark. I experimented with pitch and speed changes within Logic 9′ s feature set as well as plugins from Izotope and Camel Audio. I’ve attached a screenshot of the arrangement to give a little insight – link to larger screenshot here





2. Tortured Piano (Oscar Rydelius Remix)
by Oscar Rydelius – Gothenburg, Sweden
Tortured Piano (Oscar Rydelius Remix) by Soundproof OR


Comments:“I started off with the intention to make something rhythmic and fun. I layered down all the different sounds and took out peaces i found interesting to build a beat. The whole song was composed and mixed in Logic 9. The function “flex time” in logic is a personal favorite. It´s like a beat detective that allows you to grid for examples drums. Using it on sounds thats not traditional instruments is so much fun! When I had a beat I started off with the melodies and tones. I used logics space designer to get out some tones out of the samples. Using melodyne I pitched around the sample to get some melodies. The bass and some of the other melodies was created using Kontakt. I time stretched some of the sounds to get the right length. To get the rhythm section right I did a lot of cutting, pasting and slowdowns.”




3. Green Tea
by James Dean – Pennsylvania, USA
Green Tea – Tortured Piano by James Dean Music

Links: soundcloud and twitter

Comments: “The source material was fantastic to work with and instantly offered a lot rhythmic, and tonal options. I particularly loved the organic quality of the metal and wood textures, the scrapes, and dense impacts. Since the piano had been sacrificed once already I decided to completely morph all material into something new yet again.
I created a Reaktor sample map and proceeded to process it via Twisted Tools Scapes ensemble. This process was pretty much live using Reaktor’s built in recorder to record passes of me controlling Scapes via Konkreet Performer on the iPad. I focused on creating new rhythmic elements and one-shots first, before trying to find melodic ideas. The main theme came from one of the wood scrape samples, which when passed through Scape’s Delay lines created a tuned comb filter effect (via modulated delay times quantized to a pentatonic scale). The main theme throughout the track was born from this one sample, which gave me the idea of starting with the original sound and slowly morphing it into the track before morphing back again. I recorded this morphing live, plus a number of variations on the theme, then imported and sequenced the end result.”




4. Everything is Going To Be Fine In The End
by Gervais Andrew Harry – Ontario, Canada
Everything is Going To Be Fine In The End by g.a.harry

Links: and blog and twitter and soundcloud

Comments: “My creative process generally consists of me fighting with a bunch of samples for about 8 hours, hating everything I make. Then, about 3 sessions later I’ll make a sound that I actually like, and it kind of just goes from there. The first sound dictates how the rest of the track is going to go – I rarely have any idea what I’m going to do until I’m doing it – so I guess it’s appropriate that it takes so long to get ahold of it. Oh, and I did the whole track in Pro Tools using only the stock BombFactory and AIR plugins.”




5. 88 Stringed Victim
by John Grzinich – Estonia
88 stringed victim (tortured piano mix) by maaheli

Links: personal site and soundcloud and vimeo

Comments:“I’ve composed with piano harmonics and removing the “attack” from piano sounds before so I was interested to try it with Tim’s samples. So I initially created the drone bed using the harmonic tones I found. Then I selected some of the other sounds to compose a soundtrack type atmosphere. To process the sounds I only used EQ, filtering and pitch shifting. I’m not much into sequencing or granular processes. The rest was composition, trying to find a way to create “tension” and “release” in a short piece.”



6. Death
by Varun Nair – Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Death [Tortured Piano Remix] by ntkeep

Links: Blog and twitter and soundcloud

Comments: “I had no idea of what I wanted to do, so I played around with the sounds to see what I could find. My only objective was to create something with emotions and a progression. I started off by creating a textural bed to set the mood and then began to add/subtract elements to create a story – which slowly began to fall into place. I imagine it to be a place where a soul/person enters right after death but before the beginning of an afterlife. It’s a place of pain, regret and happiness which eventually disintegrates into a feeling of nothingness which then leads to the afterlife/next step/next place.
Everything was done in Pro Tools – a lot of audiosuiting and plugins running across channels. The processing primarily included pitch shift, elastic audio (mostly in varispeed mode), automated EQs and filters, some of my own IRs (which are on my blog for download), frequency shift, phasers, chorus, reverbs/delays, granulation and healthy amounts of compression. The free plugins pack from Melda Production came to good use! I think I must have spent a few hours across two days in total.”



7. Weaponized Piano
by Aaron Jasinski – Washington, USA
Weaponized Piano by Jasinski

Links: and bandcamp

Comments: “First, I used Ableton Live drum racks to create ‘drum’ hits using layered samples. Next I took all of the cluster samples (low, mid, high) and put them in a single rack using Simpler to create one big smashing piano sound which is used as the main chord progression through out the track. I love the harmonic richness those samples contain. Then I used a few of the more tonal samples in the set to create the plucky melodic parts.
For the buzzy bass sounds I put one of the “scraping” samples into Sampler and looped just one cycle to emulate an oscillator. I did this to several samples to create a layered, thick bass sound. Filtered, added a touch of distortion and done. After that it was a matter of building layers dropping in some transitions and using as many of the samples as I could. Link to larger screenshot here





8. Thorn Abyss
by Vulture – Bussum, the Netherlands
Thorn abyss (Tortured piano remix) by static soma

Links: blog and albums and drawings

Comments: “I took about 12 sounds from the libary. I slowed them down in Peak. I made about 25 loops from it, processing them with delay, flanger & distortion and I made some tone variations with pitch. Then I recorded them on a minidisk multitracker using the program function of a md player. I mixed the whole thing in garageband.”




Fantastic! Thank you everyone!


8 Responses to Tortured Piano Remix Competition Results

  1. Guy says:

    An incredible origin… incredible sound library, amazing idea, massive response with the entries and 8 greatly varied results… fantastic Tim and entrants… Spectacular sound.


  2. Awesome stuff! Some really creative stuff in the set! Happy to be a part of it — thanks for putting on the compo, Tim!

  3. Nate says:

    Really cool to see these comments and screens. Great work all around and congrats to the top shelf! Thanks Tim for the great samples and event.

  4. Congrats to every one. Good stuff. Very creative!

    Tim thans for the oppurtunity!

    Take Care

  5. loopz says:

    I’ve participated in 10 remix contest these last 7 or 8 months.

    This one is the best and most successful one so far. Or should I say the only one that’s been proper… A lot of great entries, the winning ones are pretty much what I would have chosen too if I were the judge 🙂

    And a Big Plus at the end: 8 awards instead of 3 + a pack for everyone!

    Mr Prebble, you’re a generous and respectable man, thank you very much for making this happen in the first place :]

  6. Wish I had caught on to this when it was happening. Great idea.
    My folks have a Chickering Piano that was built in the 1800’s. The thing hasn’t been tuned or repaired in over 20 years. I asked them not to have it worked on. Being that neither one of them play they obliged. I finally got some decent recordings of it. I don’t have the best set up for field recording ( Rode NTG-2 and a Zoom H4n), nor is the room it’s in ideal, the front hall of their house, which is huge. Being that they live many states away it took me a while (a couple of years) to get down there and do it.
    Either way, wish I had seen this before the contest ended. Would have loved to have gotten a hold of the recordings.

  7. Mondana says:

    very talented!! amazing stuff 🙂

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