Blood Runs Cold - Remaking an Old Composition

This is an old composition that I completely re-recorded.

Genre/Style: Suspense/Thriller Film Score

Creative Vision for the Track:
This is the opening cue for a short film from 2004 that I helped make. It is based on Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” where the main character commits murder and tries to cover it up. Plus they are also snowed in at a remote cabin, so there is an element of isolation and claustrophobia. And the main character is just an unstable sociopath.

So my first idea was to use a lot of pitch bending on the strings, but all done manually so that it would never be perfect. When the bends reach their destination note I wanted them to purposely fall short or go too far, just slightly, representing that there is something off about the main character.

My next idea was that I wanted a theme that would never properly resolve. This represents the main character’s plans which never come to his desired end.

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):
Tempo is… slow?
Key is mostly Dm

Main Instruments used:
This is a mostly string-based piece with one lonely bassoon and some drums. And then one brief moment with brass and full orchestra.

The original 2003 recording on the film was recorded with a Yamaha PSR-530 keyboard. The keyboard had some string ensemble patches and some synth strings that I blended. But the sound is definitely dated so I wanted to remake it with modern, realistic-sounding samples.

This version uses a lot of different string samples:

  • Joshua Bell Violin for the main solo violin
  • EastWest’s Gypsy Violin for the other solo violin that is doing most of the slow bends
  • I used a solo viola and solo contrabass from EastWest’s Goliath
  • A couple of violins from Spitfire LABS’ Frozen Strings
  • A chatter effect from LABS’ Amplified Cello Quartet
  • An ensemble sample from LABS’ Scary Strings
  • A bit of Intimate Strings from Embertone
  • Some pizzicato from both LABS and BBCSO
  • Several other string articulations from BBCSO

For other instruments I had:

  • A couple of tutti hits and strikes from Project Sam
  • A couple of hits from EastWest’s StormDrum3
  • A bassoon from BBCSO
  • Arctic Swells from LABS
  • EastWest’s Hollywood Mens Choir
  • Project Sam’s Luminous Choir
  • My New House Choir
  • Percussion from both EastWest HO and Spitfire BBCSO
  • And a mix of some sound design elements made by our own Mikael Baggström

The music starts at 1:21 if you want to skip my introduction


Cool Mike! I especially liked the classic bit with pizzicato strings and bassoon; always a good, creepy sound :smile: Were the strings at the beginning using a flautando or were they harmonics? At least some of them sounded like flautando.

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A combination of flautando and con sordino.

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Very eerie, very chilling (pun intended a little). Beautiful orchestration and mix. Nicely done!