Brian Trifon

Brian Trifon


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Brian Trifon

Title
Trifonic | Co-founder at Finishing Move Inc.
Bio
Brian Trifon is the front man for Trifonic, a San Francisco based electronic act that seamlessly fuses experimental production wizardry with beautiful melodies and traditional song structures to craft music that is simultaneously unexpected and accessible.

Brian began his music career as a guitarist and programmer for famed electronic artist BT. Brian toured nationally with BT and contributed additional music, programming and guitars to several films, TV shows, and to BT’s album This Binary Universe (2006).

In 2005 Brian joined forces with his older brother Laurence to create Trifonic. Trifonic’s first track, a breaks mash-up called “Bored on Your Backside”, was the top vote getter in WIRED Magazine’s 2005 Freestyle remix contest. Trifonic dropped its debut album Emergence in 2008, a critically-acclaimed collage of downtempo, dub, IDM, post-rock and ambient music that established Trifonic’s distinctly unique sound. Emergence’s standout track “Parks On Fire” was featured on Hybrid’s compilation album Soundsystem 01 (2008, Nettwerk), and several of the tracks have appeared in TV shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) and 90210 (CW).

Trifonic followed up Emergence with the remix EP Remergence (2008) and the EP Growing Distance (2009). Trifonic has also collaborated with top electronic artists on tracks including “Can You Hear Me (Trifonic Remix)” by Hybrid (2010, Distinctive Records), “With Angels (Trifonic Remix)” by Hecq (2011, Hymen Records), and “Quadcore” by Boom Jinx, Andrew Bayer, Matt Lange, and Trifonic (2011, Anjunadeep).

Trifonic’s second full-length album Ninth Wave was released on November 13, 2012.

In addition to his work with Trifonic, Brian has contributed music to multiple award-winning video game soundtracks including Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
Website
Expertise
soundtracks, music production / mastering, music performance, music composition, sound designer
Interests
electronic, electronica, gaming, idm, trip hop, glitch, post-rock, cinematic
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

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Marc Alan submitted media.

Brian Trifon

Hi Marc, This is really good! You should be proud! I love the ambient/filtered drone intro. I actually like that sound throughout as well as the reverse accents and the deep bass which fills out the bottom end.  

Minor details that I hear on my speakers that I can't tell if they are intentional. You have a click at 24sec, 27sec and 29sec on the drum hits (release portion of the sound). I think it's probably because you chopped them and didn't do a fade out. It doesn't sound bad, but I can't tell if it's intentional or not. If you're going to have clicks and pops it's definitely important to have them be a production choice and not an accident haha!

I generally like the cut-up drums and I think you did a good job with them, it has a bit of a retro DJ Shadow vibe to it, which I like, but I feel is probably the weakest link in the track. That being said,  it gets into to very personal taste territory so I can't say there is anything objectively wrong with them. Just keep in mind that if you're going to go the retro Shadow cut-up break direction, you want to find or create the absolute best sounding break beat you can get your hands on. Shadow or Amon Tobin or even Hybrid always find or make really really good break beats that they chop up. I think you could call this done as is -- but if you were going to spend more time on it, I think focusing on working on that chopped up beat -- just getting a different source loop/kit to start with would improve it. Anyway, either way it's really good work and I enjoyed listening to it! Particularly good ambient sound design! 

Chris Euton submitted media.

Dravidian Daydream by ADeight (Chris Euton)

Brian Trifon

Nice job! Solid production,decent sounds and overall a really good sense of musicality. This seems like something that would be perfect for licensing as it has enough space in it that it would work well against picture/sfx/dialogue etc.

That being said, if you are releasing this as an artist track and have no plans for vocals, it feels like it is missing a lead focal point. You have plenty of melody which COULD be the focal point, and the melodies are memorable and capable of leading the track -- but the synth sound is not confident enough as a leading voice. I think a more ballsy sound or something more bespoke/distinctive as a lead would help with that. I'm really picky about synth sounds/sound design because that's what separates a lot of mediocre productions from excellent ones. 

In the right speaker you have a counter melody that is cool and has potential, but feels a bit meandering at times against the primary melody. I think it could be tightened up and you could play up the call and response interaction between the 2 melodic parts.

I like the guitars in the chorus section and the overall vibe of the track is great. I think it's really good but it feels 85% complete. I think if you put in that final 15% into the details of the synth sounds and really making sure that the melodies all interact in a succinct way, it will be great! 

Chris Euton submitted media.

Scented Secrets (new 2013 mix) by ADeight (Chris Euton) / DIgital Dlumber Party

Brian Trifon

Again great job! Really musical and fantastic vibe. It also like that it has a cinematic quality which I really enjoy. Furthermore, I appreciate that you go to unexpected places with it, it wasn't totally predictable and that's exciting!

I like the sound design and synths in the intro.  Good drum energy that comes in at 13sec. Love the key change at 43sec, definitely a nice change up. I also like the cool sound design glitchy breakdown at 1:30.  Nice transition at 2:25 from heavy to more ambient chill.

So details that I think you can improve: I think the drums could be more powerful sounding and the pattern of the kick could be slightly tightened up. I think you have some extraneous kick drums that don't need to be in the pattern. It depends what you are going for, the drums have a metal/hard rock vibe with the complexity of the kick drum. My personal feeling is less kicks is more -- but that's just an aesthetic thing -- so you can ignore me on that, if you disagree.  

I like the choir that you have 34sec and throughout, but it sounds very much like generic sample library choir. I think the choir and fake string sounds could be better. I love the parts musically speaking, but when I hear them my first thought is "fake choir" "string synth patch." Like you're last piece I think you can take this one from good to great, by focusing the last 10% on the sound design details. Like the harp-ish sound at the end… love the part, but the sound itself could be improved. Musically this one is on point, sound design/synth wise it's still in that 85% there. 

Overall great work!

Matthew Kratz submitted media.

Brian Trifon

Awesome! Great tune, great vibe and feeling to it -- plus a cool video. Loved it!

Mark Giambrone submitted media.

The Hollow (the Hill) by You You Dark Forest

Brian Trifon

Wow this is great! Beautiful song.You've got some really nice harmonic progressions in there and I like that the whole piece is a journey with a lot of unexpected changes and turns.

 I like the left and right guitar voices and how there is some nice counterpoint and complimentary parts. I think the sound of everything is very "live," which is nice, but also has some potential drawbacks. I like that I can clearly hear each instrument and the mix is well balanced. I feel like the guitar tones could be improved and have more dynamics. The guitars are the main voice and primary focal point at almost all times. The guitars need to sound superb -- because they make it either sound fantastic or just pretty good. The clean tone could maybe be cleaner and smaller and then when you want to go heavier it can be tonally more aggressive. With instrumental long form music like this, you've got to keep the listener sucked into it at all times. That means memorable parts (which you have), volume dynamics and tonal dynamics.

2:05 is a nice change and breakdown to guitars. I would make sure the tuning is checked and make the build more dynamic. The softer chill parts maybe aren't soft or clean enough to allow for the impact when things get heavier. The simpler guitar parts seem to be better executed and more effective. I like the intricate lines, but if you're going to go for them they have to be executed and performed perfectly in terms of the timing and clarity. When I critically listen, I listen for how well executed are all of the attempted parts. Generally most of the guitar parts are well executed, but when it starts to get more complicated and more heavy, which should equate to more intense emotional experience, things become a little less tight. Clearly you have some similarities with Explosions In The Sky (in a really good way!) and one thing that you might take away from listening to them is their use of dynamics and notice how well their guitar parts are usually executed (albeit probably simpler parts than what you're playing.)

Anyway, I'm just being super picky, because this is really quite good and I really like it. It's something that I can imagine being taken to the next level and competing with Explosions In the Sky, GSYBE, This Will Destroy You and other instrumental post-rock bands that I love!  Nicely done!

State.com submitted media.

Brian Trifon

Hi, 
l
ooks like a cool app. I don't know exactly why you submitted this to me, because my expertise is in evaluating music and more specifically in evaluating music production.

 I thought the video teaser was funny and I like the idea of a social network that isn't based on following somebody popular or connecting with your current friends. I will check out the app and see how it is! On a fundamental level I'm not sure I care about everyone's opinion nor do I give them equal standing. Furthermore I don't just want to interact with people with the same opinions. However maybe your app addresses these things.I guess I'll have to check it out! thx
Brian 

Nick Murphy submitted media.

Brian Trifon

Hey Nick! 
Nice job, really good energy and I'm impressed that you manage to maintain the energy throughout and still have a concise and coherent arrangement!  So I'll give you a few specific comments then some general comments to keep in the back of your mind as you grow as an artist. 

First specifics: At 15 sec you have this trance-gated synth that filters up. I like the purpose that the trance gated sound serves in terms of the energy, but I'm not in love with the particular synth sound itself, it's a little cheesy sounding. That could just be my personal taste -- so if you like ignore my comment on that! 30sec great energy in the build, nicely done. 44sec - this is an important moment where you introduce the main riff and have everything else more stripped down. I love the riff, I think it could be dryer (slightly less reverb on the main riff.) I think you could design the sound for that riff better. It's close but it's such essentially the core of the song -- so you need a sound that is really really compelling and distinctive. 52sec - the trance gate synth comes back in - I'm not sure the trance synth needs to come back in so quickly. I love the vibe that you have in this drop section that started at 44sec and I wish it would stay with that stripped down sound for a little longer. That being said, this is a very condensed arrangement so I understand that you have to move things along quickly. The one other thing to keep in mind is to make sure the mix doesn't get harsh when the arrangement gets dense. The way it's weighted frequency-wise is slightly harsh.

General comments: Dude! you're very talented, particularly for your age so here is what I recommend to think about as you grow and develop as an artist and a person. 1. How are you going to stand apart from the 10's of 1000's of other people making electronic music. It's not good enough to be talented or be able to assemble a good tune. Ultimately what makes for a career whether it be in EDM, video game music or any other form of music or art in general is having a distinctive instantly recognizable sound. Here is the bottom line, if you want to compete with EDM artists like Martin Garrix, Tiesto,Skrillex or Deadmau5 or whoever you might look up to -- you not only have to be able to make music as good as them, but you have to make music that is BETTER than they do -- OR -- you have to make music that is different and distinctive so that you aren't even competing with them. The way I think about it is like this -- I can't do Skrillex as good as Skrillex -- if I tried I would just be a low-rent imitation of skrillex and nobody would be interested in that. However the flip side is that Skrillex can't do Trifonic as good as me haha! I've spent a long time developing the trifonic style and sound and that has really helped my career. I think that you want to think about developing a really distinctive Nikmo sound. You have the sensibility, talent and you can put together a good sounding piece of music. Now I think the biggest challenge is to really make your music stand apart from other EDM artists. The more you can be unique and do things a little different, the more you stand out from the crowd. I think the place to start is working on improving your synth sounds and sound design. They sound good now, but they don't sound super distinctive. I wouldn't be able to listen to it and go "oh yeah that's Nikmo!"  Whereas if I listen to Gesaffelstein, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Koan Sound, Disclosure,  I know its them without looking it up. Anyway, you have plenty of time! Keep making music and doing a great job. cheers!
Brian

- - submitted media.

Waterway To The Horizon by Andrei Georgescu

Brian Trifon

Hi Andrei,
Beautiful! Really nice work.

I like the electric piano part  in the intro- nicely complimented with the ambient sounds at starting at 16 secs

32sec strings come in - I think these strings are cool, but could potentially be more realistic sounding (better samples if you have any.)

:51sec - really nice moody ambient section love it! I would make the transition to the synth that comes in at 1:12 more dramatic and dynamic. Really have it swell up and then drop into that synth at 1:12. That synth entrance is an important moment. Also, because this synth is so naked, you might consider trying to craft a more unique/designed synth sound. The synth section ends somewhat abruptly at 1:31 and switches to the harp dulcimer. I like the change in instrumentation, but maybe carry some remnant of the synth over. Maybe an echo or have the synth part carry on but filtered or distant. I'm not totally sure the best solution for that, but generally speaking you want to be very thoughtful about transitioning and introducing/taking away elements and themes. I like how you continually move forward to new territory, but it might be a good idea to carry some of themes or sounds forward and have them work together instead of switching from one to the next. That being said I like that you start at point A and end up somewhere different! It makes it more of a listening journey.

I really like how the harp/dulcimer is answered by the bass synth at 1:48. Also cool reverse melodic bits and strings.

I like the drums that come in at 2:20, here is where it all comes together! You might consider adding an extra dramatic pause right before the drums come in. The drums entering is a big moment, it is in someways a peak in the energy of the song. You probably want to milk it's entrance for full dramatic effect.  The drum section has a good vibe, the dulcimer/synth bass and ambient bits work well together. I think you could have this section build longer and further. You exit it pretty quickly. 2:54 you start to breakdown the energy of the previous section dies too quickly IMO

3:12 instrumental harp/duclimer section and ending. Love it really beautiful!

Overall this is great and has a strong emotional quality to it. I found myself getting absorbed in the feeling of it which is exactly what you want to do. Once again that is why transitions between sections and themes is very important.  You don't want to pull the listener out of this emotional journey that they're on. Other general notes, musically this is great and I like a lot of the organic and ambient sounds. as I mentioned before I think the synth that comes in at 1:12 could be more highly designed sound - something that sounds less "soft synth." I think if you polish the details and transitions and really focus on maintaining the emotional energy of the song it will be fantastic.

I hope that's helpful! I really enjoyed it.

cheers!

Brian

Marc Alan submitted media.

Dust&Gravel by Flares

Brian Trifon

This is great! I love the ambient intro that leads to the perch hit at :53sec. It's very dramatic and I was totally into it. 

From :56sec - 1:24 you go for a bold and powerful drop. You set up a fantastic contrast which makes this area potentially one of the most important sections, but it needs the most work IMO. You build up all this tension and then release with the contrasting drum hits and bass synth and glitches. The idea is f**king great, but the execution could use some polish. I think some of the emotional energy that you have in the intro could carry over into this "drop" section. Let each hit breathe and each element or glitch have it's space. Every sound and instant in this section is super important because it's totally exposed. Deliver that moment and make people yearn for the next sound. The snare fill at 1:02 sounds a little corny -- I think you can craft something better for that. I like the synth hit at 1:09. This section is so close to being awesome, but I just wish it was 10% better.

1:23 love this. great way to come out of the "drop" section and start to rebuild tension. Love the frozen piano note (?) at 1:36. It that really increases the emotional energy of this section. 2:02 Fuck yes! Here's where it all comes together. I like the drums and the contrast of their grit with the piano and ambience. The crash at 2:15 is not my favorite. I think having a crash at that moment is great -- but that particular crash sample I don't love. Great strings.

2:29 same crash -- not my favorite. Love the counter melody that comes in on the piano. Great phrasing and rhythm for the piano melody, also a very memorable melody.

2:57 Great transition to outro and piano + ambience.

Overall this is excellent. Like I mentioned that drop section is really the only area that I would suggest working on. If you can make every sound in the drop section call and respond to each other and really try to push the emotional sounds to contrast the visceral bass and drum sounds, I think it will be very powerful. 

I hope that helps!

cheers,

Brian