Action Music Track - "Ridge Runners" Cliff Stanton

Ridge Runner “Ridge Runner”
Youtube link.
By Cliff Stanton @FretsnReeds

Track Description

A mixture of Futuristic suspense with a tribute to wilderness survival tones

My Creative Vision.

Composition Overview

I started out fiddling with the articulations on the Studio Strings (see what I did there) and restricted myself to the chord sequence Dm C Gm Dm It felt right to use the ¾ or 6/8 feel to drive the rhythm. I envisaged a wilderness chase. I actually pushed back the “fiddle Sequence to bar 49 to not peak too soon) I used the animal noises to set the environment. I added human chants and breath tones to explore the presence of menace.

Main Sounds

I wanted to create a build and a drop which I have not really incorporated into a composition before. I also wanted to explore the Sound iron Choir elements which I am new to. All other orchestral sounds are LPX native plugins This piece started out with the violins using the articulations that are in LPX I used some Foley too, and some risers and booms from Ableton 10 Live suite, I crafted them a little and cut them up some to get the feel I wanted. I used Taiko anticipate movementI also used some reversed sounds to help build with the risers. I have used Olympus Elements Choirs to add a touch of power to the overall composition which is arranged around Dm C Gm Dm and uses a 6/8 rhythm I just let my imagination take me through a futuristic chase situated in the wilderness.

1 Like

Hi Cliff,

beautiful piece!
It reminds me to the medieval era. There is god contrast to it and the sounds you are using are well chosen from my perspective. I like the role of the voices in the piece. As an improvable aspect, maybe the motif is too long in the piece, but at the same time, it works well within the piece.



Thanks Jorge, I guess too much hangs on the Motif? As my skills improve I could expand on that! Thanks fro listening!

Hey Cliff,

the song is great, it’s a bit “game-of-throne”-ish, i think.
Well done, nicely arranged. Keep going,


1 Like

Thanks Michael. It is a bit isn’t it. Also it is a bit like the Gael. (The last of the mohicans)! I didn’t deliberately mean it to be. :sunglasses: it started with an LPX fiddle Ostinato where I was exploring the different articulations that the software was capable of. I really like triplet forms and it worked nicely with the idea of running to a goal or from a threat. The choir again was me working out how to trigger the phrase maker (Vowels only) The competition is an opportunity for me to trial a lot of the skills learnt from Mike’s “epic” tutorial. Also to get critique from a very capable group. :+1:t3:

1 Like

Hello Cliff,

Thats a nice piece right here. I like the intro as well. Composition-wise I don’t have much to say about it.

If you allow me to give you some technical producing-tips, I would only say: use more midi CC’s! (like automation, expression). For example the drums from 2:30: I noticed the drum here because it sounds repetitive like the same sample. If you apply different automations or use multiple drum samples, there will immediately be a lot more life in this passage. And remember: if you also apply this to your orchestra, this effect will be even greater.

Personally I would also use some kind of riser or reversed cymbal for your impact on 2.50. This is personal taste, but when you use a woosh / reversed cymbal before this kick / impact, then it will be less abrupt and have a greater effect in my opinion.

Keep up the great work, Cliff!

Thank you for the advice! I think my management of the peice is a little like my approach to most things, I tend to get inspired and flit from flower to flower like a bumble bee. As soon as I read your comment regarding CCs I knew even before I listened you were correct. I get distracted by creative thoughts as my retention of them is poor, so I feel I need to get them in the DAW before they disappear. I should really go through every instrument at the end and assess it to see if it’s “finished” thank you for taking the time to point that out!

1 Like

Well, Cliff, that’s the problem most of us have. I fully recognize your struggle: for many, being creative is much more fun than working in a minimalistic way and registering little automations for hours.

however, you will see that when you give just as much attention to mixing and effects as to composing, your productions will progress quickly.


Nice work Cliff. At first, I did get a futuristic, ‘space station’ vibe from it, but from your description, I could later envision an ancient forest tribe scenario; the main motif gives it a good fantasy sound while the choir provides an ethereal, primitive texture. I like how the choir isn’t overbearing or real epic, but is a bit more sparse.

I would have liked to hear a bit more variation in the theme–maybe modulate a half step up, then come back to your original key later. Also, my personal taste, but at the end, hammer the root chord with the same rhythm as the original motif with those taikos accenting, like “Da–dada–da–da” to keep that tribal feel, that would have been cool. Otherwise, loved it.

Thanks for the critique Matt, the futuristic vibe came about as I was exploring ways to create space and texture within the piece. I “heard” these textures which I knew I could achieve with synths so introduced these complex sounds, this then enabled the futuristic twist, which I developed. Thanks for the advice about modulation and bringing the sections together to hammer home the rhythmic pulse toward the concluding phrases! I will explore these avenues. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

Exactly what i realized in my last track. Its the small details, taking lots of time, but also make the track even more beautiful. But now as i reached my technical limits and also my “spare” time limits for working on music, I have to deal with the results as they are by now.
But in fact, automation brings a track to breath and finally to live/life.

1 Like

Simple but easy to see how it would work with onscreen action. Possibly better for a lot of projects than a more grandiose and complicated piece.

Some great imaginative work. I enjoyed it. Some impressive visuals as well.


1 Like

Thank you for commenting. I did actually resist putting in a lot more and ending up with a mess of ideas. I think in the middle there is an (eight bar) repeat that could do with something new. I try to offer the listener something new with each repeat. I know there is more to do to make it “perfect” but I am pleased with what I learnt during the process.

Thanks for listening, I enjoyed making it! The visuals were created in Final Cut Pro. The screen shot was just lifted from the project in LPX.

The first 20 seconds of rising atmostphere are really cool, but later, your hybrid mix of instruments sounds a little unconected and with some lack of intensity. Too many different sounds and voices in the background that take the control because the main theme is absent or little developed. Only the repetitive little arpeggio doesn’t work as a good skeleton for the piece.
For me, it is not a good piece for an action scene.
But, it just my franc opinion, and the learning always worth the effort.

Thanks for the Critique , much appreciated. I added the intro at the very end and the escalating semitones were really an experiment. I then added the drum to emulate the Scottish tight snare and investigated some pipe band drum music to recreate the pipe band sounds. I will at some stage introduce bagpipes to the piece to get the final feel which may link all the parts you feel are disjointed. What you don’t like is as important to me as what you do like so thanks for your honesty.

1 Like