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NEWS: Weekly Roundup: May 17

Soundtrack News - Za, 18/05/2019 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.648]Tyler Bates[] ([m.50744]Hobbs and Shaw[]), [c.1187]Blake Neely[] ([m.52232]Greyhound[]) and [c.17145]Bryce Dessner[] ([m.51933]The Kitchen[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 25 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2019-05-14]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.52485]A Dog's Journey[] ([c.91]Mark Isham[]), [m.50574]John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum[] ([c.648]Tyler Bates[] & [c.4501]Joel J. Richard[]) and [m.51932]The Sun Is Also a Star[] ([c.25944]Herdis Stefansdottir[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music Announces New Release of Elmer Bernstein's 'Ghostbusters' Score

Soundtrack News - Vr, 17/05/2019 - 02:00
In honor of the 35th anniversary of [m.9664]Ghostbusters[]' 1984 theatrical debut, Sony Music announces a special reissue of "[a.25847]Ghostbusters (Original Motion Picture Score)[]" with music by legendary film composer [c.15]Elmer Bernstein[] ([m.16173]The Magnificent Seven[], [m.26323]To Kill a Mockingbird[], [m.542]The Age of Innocence[]). Available now to preorder, the anniversary edition arrives in digital formats for the very first time (in both standard and hi resolutions) and on CD Friday, June 7 and on vinyl Friday, July 19. The collection features music from the iconic blockbuster, newly mixed and remastered from the score's original multi-tracks, as well as new artwork, commentary from [c.15]Elmer Bernstein[]'s son,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Craft Recordings Announces 'Shaft' Soundtrack Deluxe Reissue

Soundtrack News - Wo, 15/05/2019 - 02:00
Craft Recordings is excited to announce a new deluxe reissue of Isaac Hayes' Grammy Award–winning album [a.25837]Shaft[]. Set for a June 14th street date and limited to 5,000 copies worldwide, the two-CD collection will offer the newly remastered, classic soundtrack--as originally released in 1971--plus all of the original music from the film, which did not appear on the best-selling LP. In-depth liner notes from [c.3340]Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson[] round out the set. A single-disc version consisting of only the remastered soundtrack will also be available. Unbeknownst to many, the music from the [a.1567]Shaft soundtrack album[] and the film were actually not the same. When [c.409]Isaac Hayes[] was tapped to score the film's music,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music Announces 'The Sun Is Also a Star' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 11/05/2019 - 02:00
Sony Music announces the release of [a.25754]The Sun Is Also a Star (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[] with music by Icelandic composer [c.25944]Herdís Stefánsdóttir[]. Available Friday, May 10, the soundtrack features music from the Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film, which will be released nationwide on Friday, May 17. "Working with Ry on creating the score for [m.51932]The Sun Is Also A Star[] was a wonderful and smooth process," says composer [c.25944]Herdís Stefánsdóttir[] of the soundtrack. "I immediately felt we had a musical connection, which helped create the themes for the film. I was 7 months pregnant when I started writing the score and that made the experience very special for me. I was...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music Announces 'Tolkien' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 04/05/2019 - 02:00
Sony Music announces the release of [a.25655]Tolkien (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[] with music by Grammy, Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning composer [c.149]Thomas Newman[], whose scoring credits include [m.912]American Beauty[], [m.23685]Six Feet Under[], [m.31314]Skyfall[], [m.8549]Finding Nemo[] and more. Available Friday, May 3, the soundtrack features music from Fox Searchlight's [m.53770]Tolkien[], which makes its theatrical debut Friday, May 10. Of the soundtrack, composer [c.149]Thomas Newman[] says: "Because J.R.R. Tolkien is embedded in popular culture, and because his work and outlook have been the subjects of much interpretation, I wanted to write music for Tolkien that would honor his ethos, his individualism, without...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Les Miserables' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 01/05/2019 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records is set to release the original soundtrack to the critically-acclaimed BBC/PBS Masterpiece limited series [m.54134]Les Misérables[], written by composer [c.493]John Murphy[] ([m.118]28 Days Later[], [m.25144]Sunshine[], [m.30723]Kick-Ass[]). The album will be released digitally on May 3rd with CD and vinyl versions forthcoming. Series director Tom Shankland wanted John to tell a fresh musical story and to ultimately create a raw and uncompromising score to reflect the trials and misery of [m.54134]Les Misérables[]. John described the scoring process as an experimental journey: "My original idea for the score to Les Mis was '1816 Velvet Underground meets 60s French film music.' Tom [Shankland] was thinking 'gnarly,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Gabriel Yared to Receive Max Steiner Award at Hollywood in Vienna

Soundtrack News - Ma, 29/04/2019 - 02:00
Hollywood in Vienna CEO & Founder Sandra Tomek is happy to announce that [c.234]Gabriel Yared[] will be recognized by the City of Vienna with this year's Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award. Yared's career encompasses over 90 film scores, most notably is his collaboration with the late Anthony Minghella, including the 9-time Oscar winning [m.7724]The English Patient[], as well as the critically acclaimed [m.4794]Cold Mountain[] and [m.25470]The Talented Mr. Ripley[]. "[c.234]Gabriel Yared[] is one of the most outstanding composers of our time. His melodious, elegant, refined and beautifully orchestrated film scores lend a deep emotional layer to the stories and we are very honored to pay our respect to him and his...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: WaterTower Music & Sparks & Shadows to Release 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 27/04/2019 - 02:00
WaterTower Music, in conjunction with Sparks & Shadows, is excited to announce the May 24 release of the soundtrack to the highly anticipated next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' cinematic Monsterverse, [m.41882]Godzilla: King of the Monsters[]. An epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history, the film hits theaters worldwide beginning May 31, 2019. [a.25708]Godzilla: King of the Monsters Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] features new music composed for the motion picture by Emmy and BAFTA Award winner [c.1238]Bear McCreary[] ([m.44831]10 Cloverfield Lane[], TV's [m.32573]The Walking Dead[]). The 26-track album includes the song "Godzilla...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Audio: Interview with Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 25/04/2019 - 03:02

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

Of all the 1980’s reboots that have become Hollywood’s new rage, perhaps none delivers the excitingly nostalgic or vibrantly fresh kick of “Cobra Kai.” Continuing the “Karate Kid” grudge match between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence while adding a new generation of teen rivalry and romance to the mix, this film-to-net continuation of “The Karate Kid” saga from the retro brain trust of “Hot Tub Time Machine” became last year’s biggest viewing surprise by not sweeping the in-joke leg. Instead, the show was a grand ratings slam of heart, humor and action that paid ironically affectionate tribute to a beloved franchise while taking its spirit in a new direction.

The same can be said of the musical styles applied to “Cobra Kai” by its twin dragons Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson. Hailing from the dojo of composer Christophe Beck where they’d team on additional cues for such scores as “Ant-Man,” “Frozen” and “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” the composers would forge their own separate destinies with “Son of Zorn,” “Adam Ruins Everything,” “Bad Exorcists” and “F*&% the Prom” while teaming on the series “Sing It!” Their strong background in symphonic action, teen spirit and rock grooves have now forged spirits like never before with “Cobra Kai.” Capturing the both the Oriental spirituality and can-do heroism of Bill Conti’s original scores and iconic themes, Birenberg and Robinson also hit the guitar groove anthems and power pop rhythms that made “The Karate Kid’s” album the definition of the 80’s movie tune energy. Balancing the instrumental tones between Miyagi-Do’s philosophies of self-defense with Cobra Kai’s strike-first fury, the duo’s impressive balance between fighting montage energy, orchestral power, contrasting guitar characters and ethnic meditation are far more than the one-note approach that could have been, reflecting a love for the “Karate Kid” and what it still represents to fans old and new.

Now as “Cobra Kai” returns for a second kick-ass season on YouTube Premium, Birenberg and Robinson continue to open up their sound for the growing emotional dimensions of the LaRusso-Lawrence conflict, which grows to a boiling when the merciless Kai sensei Martine Kreese comes back to his stomping grounds. It’s a demonstration of bringing an iconic 80’s score-soundtrack approach into new Valley that shows Birenberg and Robinson as crane stance composers to beat in the 80’s homage competition – a Zen of musical homage and a rocking updated attitude that they now discuss on a new episode of On the Score.

Click above to Listen Now or Click Here to Download

Leo Birenberg (L) and Zach Robinson (R)


Buy the COBRA KAI Season 1 and 2 Soundtracks HERE and HERE

Watch “Cobra Kai” on YouTube Premium HERE

Rock out in the Dojo of the Whiskey A Go-Go on Wednesday, June 12th as Zach and Leo perform “Cobra Kai” Live HERE

Visit Leo Birenberg’s website HERE and Zach Robinson’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Disasterpeace

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 17/04/2019 - 22:36

For one of Hollywood’s rising musical talents, Disasterpeace (aka Staten Island native Richard Vreeland) has a way of energetically reaching into the cinematic past. He’d begin his career in the indie videogame realm with eccentrically rhythmic scores to “Bonk: Brink of Extinction,” “Shoot Many Robots” and “KRUNCH.” But it was Disasterpeace’s bouncy eight-bit “chipmusic” sound for acclaimed “FEZ” that caught the ear of writer-director David Robert Mitchell, who was looking for a composer that could crawl into the 70s and 80’s skin of classic horror synth scores. The resulting, eerily electrified collaboration on 2014’s “It Follows” not only alerted film critics and viewers to the duo’s talents, but also jump started a new wave of throwback computer-generated scores typified by “Stranger Things.”

Having since generated more game scores and performance pieces, Disasterpeace has finally made his re-entry into the cinematic world this year, impressively transforming his expected identity in the process. The first soundtrack to see release is Netflix’s “Triple Frontier,” with director J.C. Chandor (“A Most Violent Year”) subverting what could have been a typical south of the border drug-smashing action picture into a band of military brothers’ morally conflicted quest for the contraband treasure they think is owed them. Disasterpeace brings on furious, war-like drumming (with a helicopter assist from Metallica’s Lars Ulrich) and rock guitar licks for a to-the-second planned heist that of course goes haywire, It’s a dark, gritty score brimming with anger and tension, paying off the percussive demands of musical merc action while accenting the intelligence and emotion that Chandor uses to re-energize a well-worn action genre,

But no Disasterpeace score is as audacious, or as positively old school as the film noir strains that can now be found “Under the Silver Lake.” Where its writer-director David Robert Mitchell drew from classic chain mail horror films for “It Follows,” the cinematic influences in “Silver Lake” are all over the classic map from “Vertigo” to “Chinatown” and “The Long Goodbye” (with a dash of “Repo Man” thrown in) as a slacker turns detective to solve the disappearance of a beautiful blonde apartment neighbor. It’s a long journey down the hipster neighborhood rabbit hole, and Los Angeles at large that has no end of irony as it decodes self-help cults, self-obsessed movie culture and the insane vanity of the rich and powerful, as overseen by a wary homeless figure and a twisted name-that-tune musician.

As his epic, eccentric score goes “Under the Silver Lake,” Disasterpeace channels his inner Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Miklos Rozsa and throwback videogame love into a rabbit hole of beyond esoteric clues and reversed-record messages, meeting a gallery of Robert Altman-worthy eccentrics to play in the bargain. Lushly channeling the romantic mystery maestros’ styles, Disasterpeace brings his own witty inventiveness to “Silver Lake” with whistling, sci-fi synths and just a bit of videogame love – all adding to a uniquely satiric, hallucinatory miasma that pays as much tribute to classic Hollywood scoring as it does the composer’s futuristic inventiveness. It’s a witty homage that shows a singular musical voice seemingly capable of any stylistic transformation for an always-weird La-La Land.

Tell us about your own musical beginnings, and what drew you to scoring?

It really started for me with a love for making stuff. I spent my childhood drawing, writing stories and experimenting with software. I spent a large portion of my teenage years freelancing, making websites and logos. But I was always surrounded by music. My family was in the music ministry at our church, and I eventually took up the guitar in high school. Everything up to that point had me pursuing a passion for graphic design, but as my love for making music blossomed I eventually decided to pursue that instead. I stumbled into my first soundtrack gig by responding to a wanted ad on a message board, but I never thought that scoring was a possibility until I found myself doing it.

How did videogames like “Hyper Light Drifter” and “”Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake” become the medium to start your career in? And how do you think they made you grow as a composer?

My very first soundtrack gig 13 years ago was a game, and I’m still working on games. It’s a very challenging and fun medium to contribute to. There’s something to be said about the history of videogame music too, and how it evolved from simple, technologically restricted beginnings. I came to appreciate these early stylings, which are sometimes called “chipmusic.” It dramatically influenced my own work. I think videogames really got me to think about music contrapuntally. When you’re emulating a style that limits you to a few voices and simple sounds, everything that remains needs to be quite strong. It also delayed my foray into the production side of things, and got me to focus more on composition. I was able to perform my music live for many years as part of a small but international scene of very enthusiastic people. I could really go on – it was an awesome experience and I owe so much to the medium of games and to many of the smaller scenes in its orbit.

How did the name “Disasterpeace” come about?

I had a habit as a kid of creating fictional entities just so I could make designs. So I wanted to form a band, and I started with a name and a logo. The band never came to fruition but the name has stuck for over a decade. It’s a play on ‘masterpiece’, with the added twist of ‘peace’ to give it a bit of a dual nature.

What do you think it was about “FEZ” that drew David to your work, and made him believe you’d be ideal to score a live action horror movie?

I think he was looking for a sound that had an emotional range suitable for the film. The music in “FEZ” is intimate at times, but can also be very aggressive and menacing. I think having a breadth like that worked well for “It Follows.” In that way there is a fundamental similarity between the two scores, but many distinctive differences as well. I think I was lucky to connect with a film director who is an avid player of videogames.

Could you talk about scoring “It Follows” in a way that replicated the classic synth-horror sound of the 70’s and 80’s? And was that genre of scores something you’d always been interested in?

I never spent much time with horror films, and so I came to the project with very little knowledge of the genre. I knew the “Psycho” theme, and I had listened a bit to the band Goblin and dug that. So I think in a way there is some of that spirit in there, but I tried to take a deliberately ignorant approach to scoring the movie. I would only listen to the temp once or twice before writing something new for the scene. In this way I could hopefully build on a distillation of why the temp works, without mimicking it too closely. I think it’s a good practice to try and not be too on the nose. Some of the temp music references were from 80s films, but most of them weren’t. The anachronistic nature of the film was something that I was always sitting with. And the aesthetic of the score was in part a byproduct of real world limitations. We only had a few weeks to score the movie and the only thing I knew I could do in such a short period was to build a synth score. I learned how to build my own synth patches in college and had refined that ability while working on “FEZ.”

What did you think when “It Follows” caused an explosion of retro-scores?

I really tried to be deconstructive about how we were being nostalgic, and so it was not my desire for the score to come off as overly retro. I’m glad if people were inspired by it but I think the characterization is at odds with what my intentions were. But that’s life!

“Triple Frontier” was your next feature score to come out. What drew J.C. Chandor to your work, especially given how different this subject was from “It Follows?”

This score was actually written after ‘Under the Silver Lake.” JC’s editor Ron Patane was fond of my work and shared it with JC, including the music from that aforementioned film. I’m not entirely sure what drew them to me to be honest. I think they wanted something bold and different. They didn’t want it to sound like every other blockbuster movie. For a lot of the team, including JC and myself, this was our first time working on a big action movie. I’m always looking for novelty in my work and I think that’s what brought us together. When you’ve never done something before, it makes it a little easier to do something different.

What do you think separates “Triple Frontier” from the usual mercenary action films, and how did you want to take a different route from the usual electronic-ethnic beats we get from movies set in South America – while at the same time paying off the demands of an “drug” action score?

I’m honestly not entirely sure, as I’m not well versed in action films, mercenary or otherwise. I think it’s probably a bit of a throwback because of the way we used motifs. We had the benefit of working with Suzana Peric, a veteran music editor who knows JC well and brings a ton of thoughtfulness and experience to the table. We figured out early on that it wouldn’t benefit the film to use any overtly South American themes. Focusing on the protagonist’s relationships was the most important thing for the score to do, and so aesthetically the score goes in more of a military direction, as that is their background. The grittiness of the score I think helps to sell that they are ex-military mercenaries who are dealing outside of the law.

You do a lot of “tracking” with the characters’ plans to “professionally” get in and get out. How did you want to map out the infiltration of the drug kingpin’s jungle mansion?

This went through a couple of different iterations but what ended up working best was to have plodding music that left lots of space for the characters’ planning and radio talk. Along the way it’s important to have points of interest in the music, especially when you have something slow and methodical. We leaned heavily on a few themes for this – one that characterizes the soldiers’ backgrounds and identities, one that signals that there is trouble ahead, one that is all about greed and money, and the title theme. The title theme is meant to represent the journey that they are on, but is also tied to the drug lord Lorea, who has his own dissonant version of the theme that is usually played out slowly on a jangly guitar. Once we figured out the pacing that we needed, we interwove the score with these different thematic elements. They help to emphasize moment to moment what’s happening and what’s important to take away as an audience member.

Another terrifically suspenseful sequence is when the group tries to get elevation for their helicopter ride over the Andes Mountains. How did you want to get the idea of rising and falling momentum across here?

This scene is very dense visually and sonically, and so we had to pick our spots with the score. I had written music to carry through the whole scene, but in the mix it was decided to pull that out during the second half of the helicopter’s ascent. We actually stumbled into having solo drums over the helicopter falling sequence. I had delivered a work in progress sketch for the cue, in which I had fully accompanied score up until the helicopter begins to fall, at which point there was only drums. I had yet to get around to writing the rest of the parts for this section, but when we all watched the scene together the idea of just drums clicked really well. The drums build in intensity and tempo as the helicopter spirals further and further down and that rise in energy matches what’s happening on screen.

Usually in films like this, the heroes have no problems killing nameless, faceless natives and drug dealers. But here they take pains not to unnecessarily kill anyone – which they do in spite of their best efforts. How did you want to reflect this unexpected level of morality in the score – and the price that comes from breaking that?

This is anything but a usual action film, and I think JC and the entire team brought a lot of thoughtfulness to the characters motivations and to the genre.

Do you think that living in LA is a surreal experience in and of itself?

It definitely was when I was working on ‘Under the Silver Lake’. To work on a film that is set very near where you live is quite bizarre. To drive by those locations, and to ponder on the story, really got me thinking about where the lines get drawn between reality and the wacky world David created for the film.

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 16: Director David Robert Mitchell attends “Under The Silver Lake” Photocall during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)


Were you a fan of the kind of offbeat 70’s films like “The Long Goodbye” that “Under the Silver Lake” references?

My unfamiliarity with noir was pretty severe, so at the start it was a bit tricky to find a good place to start. David and the editor Julio Perez IV recommended I watch some films to develop a bit of a reference point. And so I watched films like “Citizen Kane,” “Vertigo,” “Taxi Driver” and “Blue Velvet.” I haven’t seen that film you mentioned, but just watching a couple of movies really helped me a lot to get a sense of the attitude and aesthetic that was such a big inspiration for David.

How did you and David come up with the approach for “Silver Lake’s” score?

At first we set out to try a new approach. On “It Follows” we worked from a temp score, and I wanted to experiment this time around with writing material from scratch for David and Julio to cut to. This proved to be very difficult, and the amount of material required to find the right fit for all of the different scenes was a very tall order. So after trying a couple of different styles, we had to go back to the method we knew worked. It’s really crucial to have a strong way to communicate with each other about music, and for us, it’s temp music. David and Julio are a great team, and very well versed in films and music. Riffing on their references is fun and enlightening for me. They always introduce me to tons of material I’m unfamiliar with.

There are a lot of scenes in the film that stand apart, and draw from references that are a bit out of the ordinary for the movie. The temp music for some of these scenes was never quite figured out, and so this made the cues themselves difficult to solve. At times it was hard to figure out what was needed musically and there were definitely a couple that we had to iterate on over a dozen times to get right. But part of that process is having long, interesting conversations about the underlying intent of some of these sequences. You really have to get into the heads of your collaborators, while also acknowledging to some degree that the film itself has developed its own immutable properties. Figuring this stuff out is never quite the same, from project to project, scene to scene, or even minute by minute.

Before scoring “Under the Silver Lake,” did you do a deep dive into the scores of composers like Bernard Herrmann, Miklos Rozsa, Max Steiner and Jerry Goldsmith? And were there any particular scores and styles of theirs that stood out for you in determining this score’s classic film noir tone?

I would call it a shallow dive, but it was really crucial for me to have something to grasp onto. On “It Follows” I had at least a vague familiarity of horror which helped me out, but for “Under the Silver Lake” I would say I had even less familiarity with David’s touchstones, so it only made sense to go listen to some things. Discovering the music of a composer like Bernard Herrmann was one of the great joys of the project for me, and I’ve subsequently gone back to watch and listen to some of his other work.

Conversely, how did you want to bring your own take to an iconic musical style, especially when it came to such eccentric touches as whistling and sci-fi like sounds?

It was important to me to try find fun, odd elements for this score that would set it apart. The film music certainly wears its inspirations on its sleeve but there also a lot of disparate ideas at play. I wanted to acknowledge the eclecticism on display through the music as well.

Scoring “Under the Silver Lake” at The Bridge

The recurring whistle motif was actually something I recorded in the production office bathroom. It had a bizarre feeling of being tonal but atonal, and had a nice reverb to it. Sometimes it can be hard to recreate these kinds of spur of the moment ideas, so I ended up just using the voice memo I took with my phone. There are also sections of the score that are the full orchestra accompanying the whistle motif, but the whistle motif has been omitted. I think it will hard for people to figure out where those are, but it’s a fun little tidbit!

What kind of level of cinematic archness and irony do you think your approach gives to the film, especially since you’ve got young characters watching old movies?

Certainly the music contributes to those feelings. By its very nature of being inspired strongly by older music, but with all of its odd contemporary twists, video game sounds, and so forth, I think we were able to concoct something really unique and fun. Despite the irony of it, I can earnestly say that we were channeling things like “The Legend of Zelda” and Alfred Hitchcock in the same breath. And to have the opportunity to take a musical tour of some of David’s strongest inspirations, filmmakers like Fellini and Lynch, was a really difficult but satisfying challenge.

How did you want to convey the idea of patterns and portentous signs?

I had experimented with weaving patterns into the score, but the visuals do such a strong job of that and so I maybe felt less inclined to force the issue there. What the score does try to do is hint at many of the signs and clues that are going on. There are many subtle nods to things, and something like the musical ideas of the song “Turning Teeth” are littered through the film and the score itself. It was also fun finding ways to have the music participating in the visuals of the film. There are some pretty neat Easter eggs worth finding.

What does Silverlake mean to you as a location, and as music? And how do you think that the score captures the strangeness of LA in a bigger picture?

I haven’t spent a ton of time in Silver Lake, but I do have friends there and live about 15 minutes away. I know that place and the scene associated with it loomed large with David, who lived there around the time the screenplay was meant to take place. It’s perhaps a tough sell to an unaware audience but the film was meant to be a period piece, about a very particular period of time in this neighborhood, not too long ago.

What I love about the film is how it plays with the many curiosities and oddities that bubble up around the culture of Hollywood and entertainment. There’s a very dark side there, and historically a lot of cultish, esoteric behavior. LA is an easy target for commentary because of the absurdity of the place, and how concentrated it is. It’s interesting how people behave when the culture of a place, a culture of entertainment, celebrity and personality, can almost border on religion at times, whether they realize it or not.

How did you want to score to peel away the layers of the film’s mystery, to play the progress that Sam is making? And did you want the score to become more hallucinatory along with his discoveries?

The score wears a lot of hats, which is part of what made it such a demanding project. Some of that was maybe self-inflicted, but I knew I wanted the score to participate in the way that the film reveals, suggests, and just generally does things that feel subversive, or like a slight of hand. The music does a ton of foreshadowing, introducing you to characters and themes, and hinting at the unsettling nature of this world we’re about to enter. But what I love is that we also got to participate in a kind of running commentary. The music oftentimes will play very straight and earnest, which can help to sell the absurdity or bizarreness of certain scenes. But there are other times where the music is audibly melting and warping and really trying to get you to notice that the walls are crumbling, that the line between what’s real and what’s not is being blurred and to ask, “Who knows where we are anymore?”

The hallucinatory nature of the score is generally in alignment with the things that are being talked about or visualized, things that are beyond our typical understanding of how the world works. Things that are esoteric, part of the unknown, or only for a select few to know and understand. But it’s also unclear whether Sam is having visions and nightmares at times, or whether these things are a concrete part of his reality. And to play up those questions, and really lean into those scenes, was a particular joy of mine as the composer.

How difficult was it to walk a tightrope where the music wouldn’t fall into outright absurdity or horror?

It was important to establish the language of the score to help in solving some of the darker sequences. I ended up finding and developing an effect that made the score sound like it was melting, and this became a key ingredient in helping to modulate the score from its more noir default setting into a strange, unsettling soup.

There are also some comically bizarre touches that just seemed to work, where perhaps we had enough of a traditional analog that it wasn’t too distracting. One example is the whistling, which starts as a motif associated with the hobo codes, and eventually turns into the solo clarinet melodies that are thematic to the Homeless King. I thought the idea of whistling made sense for the idea of a hobo culture, as it’s very human. But since it was an idea rooted in the esoteric for Sam, it also made sense for it to be somewhat distant and eerie. At some point though, when the rubber meets the road and Sam meets the Homeless King, to switch to a very concrete and dry instrument, like a solo clarinet, seemed to work really well. The fun and earnest nature of the music also helped to sell the absurdity, and perhaps reflect in some way that the Homeless King felt about himself.

Though it’s not scored as such, a remarkable “musical montage” sequence is where the pieces start to get put together using any number of memorable pop-rock and even score hits. Did you play a part in that?

Yes. This was one of the most challenging parts of working on this film, but we’re really happy with how it turned out. As you can imagine this sequence required assistance from many different people. There were initial workshop periods discussing the songs we could potentially use, and the licensing ramifications associated with that. But also there were story and musical considerations, about lyrics and about how songs could effectively flow into each other. It’s more or less possible to transition from any song into any other song at the piano, but it’s certainly not always easy, by any stretch. We had rehearsals with the actors so that they could get used to pacing their dialogue to the music changes and so that the changes in the medley could be paced to their dialogue.

The Songwriter starts the sequence by playing a very loose and improvisatory rendition of Satie’s “Gymnopedies”, arranged for one hand. This was an idea I had that I thought would be a fun way of establishing the character. The Songwriter is someone who could write or play pretty much anything, and perhaps already had. And so in his private moments he might just be noodling around on some of his old hits, or at least that was the thought there. We also made sure to work in thematic material from the score.

It’s hard to describe all of the complexities of this sequence, but on the day of filming David ended up doing a fair bit of adlibbing, so that we had all the coverage that we needed. We even had the musician on set, who played keyboard for the actor’s in-ear monitors, get into makeup so we had some overhead hand coverage for the piano. An unexpected wrench in our plans was that the prop piano was totally without strings, so he couldn’t play the piano by ear at all! He had to try to remember all the hand positions, and he did a remarkable job.

Tell us about a particularly nifty bit where you do a throwback to old Nintendo music.

There are a few, but the most overt one is while Sam is using the Nintendo Power to solve the puzzle of where to find Sarah. One of my earliest ideas was wanting to use different aesthetic elements to represent different aspects of the rabbit hole Sam finds himself going down. Using sounds inspired by classic video games was a great way to do this, and something fun and unique for the score that we had a lot of fun with. It was also fun to make subtle use of it at times, as opposed to being obvious. This played along well with the role games play in the narrative of the film, particularly the monologue by Topher Grace’s character. It’s about how a generation of kids, through playing videogames, were obsessed with finding secrets.

With each score, you seem to assume a completely different musical identity. Is it important for you not to get trapped by the assumptions of what you might be capable of?

It is. I think I’ve always been motivated by how people tend to over categorize, oversimplify and generally just misunderstand artists and their intentions. I relish the challenge and the opportunity to prove myself and others wrong, to surprise people, to interface with new ideas and to allow a new set of requirements to humble me and send my work in a new direction. It’s really important to me that I’m always trying to push my boundaries creatively, to be a little bit uncomfortable and see where that takes me.

“Under the Silver Lake” was very uncomfortable, and an amazing opportunity. To have collaborators who have faith in you, like David had in me to develop a score for a full orchestra with no prior experience, is a remarkable thing. I think there are those who have succeeded through relationship building and public outreach, but that’s never been easy for me. I’m a pretty private person and I like to keep my social circle smaller. So I think for me to be successful, it has to be about taking creative risks and finding collaborators who trust me to take those risks. I was fortunate to have a remarkable team of collaborators on “Under the Silver Lake.”

Lead Orchestrator Kyle Newmaster and Disasterpeace scoring “Silver Lake”

What’s up ahead for you? And what kind of musical genre do you hope to surprise people with next?

I’m working on a game with Heart Machine and Annapurna called “Solar Ash Kingdom,” as well as a film with the director Joaquin del Paso called “A Hole in the Fence.” I’m also diving into an immersive theatre project that I’m excited about. I’m hoping to work more with the human voice in the near future.

If someone played your score for “Under the Silver Lake” backwards, what coded messages might they hear?

You might hear a thing of two if you’re really diligent!


Plunge into “Under the Silver Lake” in theaters and on VOD April 23, with Disasterpeace’s score available on Milan Records HERE. “Triple Frontier” can now be located on Netflix.

Listen to Disasterpeace’s scores for “Triple Frontier” and “It Follows” on Milan Records HERE and HERE

Visit Disastepeace’s web site HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: April 12

Soundtrack News - Za, 13/04/2019 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.752]Alexandre Desplat[] ([m.53146]Little Women[]), [c.1238]Bear McCreary[] ([m.54166]Child's Play[]) and [c.1688]Clinton Shorter[] ([m.54208]Boss Level[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 30 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2019-04-09]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.53198]After[] ([c.665]Justin Caine Burnett[]), [m.51187]Hellboy[] ([c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[]), [m.51913]Little[] ([c.16115]Germaine Franco[]) and [m.52987]Missing Link[] ([c.24]Carter Burwell[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new theatrical...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Atlantic Records Announces Musical Companion Soundtrack for 'Fosse/Verdon'

Soundtrack News - Do, 11/04/2019 - 02:00
Atlantic Records has announced plans for a musical companion soundtrack tied to [m.55423]Fosse/Verdon[], FX's much anticipated new limited series from the producers of [m.44329]Hamilton[], [m.47855]Dear Evan Hansen[] and [m.35901]The Americans[]. Each Tuesday, beginning with last night's series premiere, original cast recordings of the tracks featured in that evening's episode of [m.55423]Fosse/Verdon[] will be released at all DSPs and streaming services. The weekly releases will culminate with a full album, "The Music of Fosse/Verdon – Original Series Soundtrack," collecting all tracks released over the course of the eight-part series. Fosse/Verdon airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET/PT on FX through May 28 (check local listings). The first...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: WaterTower Music Announces 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Season 1 Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 06/04/2019 - 02:00
WaterTower Music has announced today's release of [a.25585]Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season One (Original Television Soundtrack)[], the 19-song collection that includes music from both Part One and Part Two of the Netflix series that re-imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and witchcraft. The album will be available for streaming and purchase digitally on April 5, coinciding with new episodes of the show (Season One, Part Two) which launch the same day on Netflix. The Soundtrack features the theme from the show, "Main Title (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)" by composer [c.9482]Adam Taylor[], six performances from the cast, along with a...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Christopher Young

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 04/04/2019 - 21:47

Horror is a genre that’s especially subject to no end of deaths and unholy rebirths. But staying professionally alive in a field that’s always starving for new blood takes uniquely creative survival skills, an eerie energy that Christopher Young has demonstrated in spades with a chilling-centric scoring career begun with the 1982 slasher “The Dorm That Dripped Blood.” Scraping together an impressive orchestral sound given the small budgets of “The Power,” “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2” and “Torment,” Young’s music became the stuff of bloodily orchestral legend with 1987’s “Hellraiser,” his score turning Clive Barker’s torture loving Cenobites into bringers of romantically waltzing rapture.

Young has remained a musically inventive presence over the decades since in horror scoring with “Drag Me To Hell,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Sinister,” while showing his equally impressive talent for subjects that didn’t involve corpses and creatures with such diverse works as “The Shipping News,” “Beauty Shop,” “The Man Who Knew Too Little” and “Sleepwalking.” But for a composer with a major league Halloween pumpkin collecting addiction, there’s no bigger desire than to always be pulled back into a malefic playing ground, even if its one that’s become increasingly forbidding to melody over pure shock effect – let alone old blood. But thankfully the “Starry Eyes” directing team of Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer have heard Young’s siren call when trodding upon their first major Hollywood picture for a new visit to the “Pet Sematary.” Where filmmaker Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaption of one of horror maestro Stephen King’s ghastliest stories still stands tall as perhaps the most transgressive studio movie ever with its sight of a boy tyke biting open Fred Gwynne’s throat, this new, exceptionally well made and acted “Sematary” has scares to spare, even if it more acceptably as such transfers the resurrected rage to an adolescent girl.

Where the original “Sematary” announced the shape of experimental scores to come from a studio debuting Elliot Goldenthal, this return to sour ground allows Young to tread two worlds. One is the eerily sympathetic piano picture of a family becoming undone, and the other the nightmarishly sampled feeling of clawing through cursed Native American ground. Far afield from the operatically symphonic terror of “Hellraiser,” Young’s electronic spin on “Pet Sematary” is almost shocking in its subtlety, shape-shifting from harmony to haunting percussion to help the film conjure a mood straight outta classic Universal Horror until it becomes one of the most enjoyably lunatic undead ‘roid rages this side of “Re-Animator.” Leaving that audience participation thrill ride for the movie itself, Young’s inventive score stands tall as a haunting tone poem of spectral voices, growling samples and floor dragging, pipe hitting percussion that weaves an indelibly freaky mood with capturing parental desperation. Better yet, its uncanny music shows a composer whose enthusiasm, and most importantly ability to uniquely scare with his enduring voice is in no danger of being buried in a “Pet Sematary.”

“Pet Sematary” is your first major studio horror film since “Deliver us from Evil.” What’s it like to be in that position, and what do you think attracted the “Sematary” directors to you?

I think it was I’d scored a lot of the films that they loved when they grew up. Perhaps dreamed of working with me, because of the good vibes they got from those movies. I know they are big Sam Raimi fans, so that connection may have helped solidify things. They’re pretty young guys and it was wonderful being an old school guy getting asked to come in and join this team.

Tell us about your collaboration with Kevin and Dennis, especially as you’re dealing with two directors. Were they always of one mind, or did they have different opinions on how the score should go?

Pet Sematary directors Kevin Kölsch (L) and Dennis Widmyer (R)

They were pretty much one minded, of course, there’s going to be differences of opinion but it’s not like they were at opposite ends of the extreme. They were pretty unified and had a clear vision of the direction the “Pet Sematary” score should go in. But the music still went through an incredible evolution over the many months I was on board. We were thinking at first of an approach that was more orchestral. But slowly and surely that morphed into what was primarily an electronic score. I think that happened once the team at Paramount got involved. It was felt that this was the kind of score the picture really needed. Most of the gatherings included quite a lot of people from Paramount and they voiced their opinions, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Verheiden, Randy Spendlove and even the head of film production. At times there were up to eight people whose opinions I had to take in mind. Being back at Paramount was ecstasy. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was heaven on earth being able to be back on the lot to be a part of that team. I loved working on this movie, I adore the directors, I adore the movie, but equally so it was wonderful reuniting with a studio that gave me my first big legit studio break 26 years ago with “Jennifer 8”. That marked the beginning of me being really taken seriously by the major studios. It’d been a while since I’d done a Paramount movie after “The Core” and “Wonder Boys.” Paramount always treated me like family, which was remarkable. Now I’m old enough to realize the value of having the opportunity to come back into that fold. So I wanted to make sure everybody was very happy and to try to deliver the best score I could. And it was a miracle that everyone seemed to be pretty pleased about the way this score turned out.

It’s also been many, many years since you’ve scored a Stephen King movie, that last one being George Romero’s excellent adaptation of “The Dark Half” in 1993. What does Stephen King’s work mean to you, especially when it comes to all of the scores his writing have inspired?

I’m a big collector of fantasy literature. I have a major obsession with classic, primarily English and early American ghost stories. And of course, Stephen King is an author I have a tremendous admiration for, like everybody else on the planet. So there’s no better way to see how I’ve evolved as a composer than to return to a Stephen King film. There’s a major difference between these two scores. “The Dark Half” is entirely orchestral, whereas “Pet Sematary” is entirely electronic. Doing an electronic score for George just wouldn’t have come up because he wanted me to do an orchestral score, as most people did back then because of “Hellraiser” being a symphonic horror score. Being given the opportunity to try to continue to try to reinvent myself thru this electronic world is exciting. I suppose if it had been an orchestral score, my question would have been ‘Can I do it again? What can I do with the orchestra that I haven’t already done?’ The pure electronic thing in horror movies is new and exciting. If I’d been doing nothing but electronic scores my entire career, then maybe this score would have been less exciting for me.

At the time that the first “Pet Sematary” movie came out in 1989, you were actually making a name for yourself with very richly melodic orchestral horror scores, like “Hellraiser”, “The Fly II” and “The Hider in the House” with music that hearkened back to the likes of Bernard Herrmann and James Bernard. Now, What did you think of the first “Pet Sematary” film and Elliot Goldenthal’s score for it?

I have a confession to make. I never saw the original “Pet Sematary” back then. I’m a tremendous fan of Elliot Goldenthal’s music for sure, though I had never heard the “Pet Sematary” score, I knew his later music – not only his film stuff but his concert music. Now, along comes the opportunity to have an interview for the current “Pet Sematary.” The first order of business was to read the script, which I did. The script was exploding in my head along with my ideas of what I thought the score needed accomplish for it. I then thought ‘before I have the interview it might behoove me to finally look at the original movie.” I started watching the original “Pet Sematary” and I said, “I’m going to stop, because this is actually doing more harm than good.” So guess what? I’ve never gotten through the whole original “Pet Sematary.” So I’m not the person to be able to answer any questions about it or its score.

All that I have heard from people who know both films, is that this new one is pretty rockin’. It’s a great, updated take on that story and so I don’t think it’s going to let anyone down who is very much attached to the original one. I think they’re going to find merit in this new one for sure. As far as A/B-ing the scores, of course, Elliot’s score from what little didn’t sound like a very big orchestral. As for me, I’m always trying every time I get up to bat on another horror movie to make sure that I’m trying to outdo myself. Whether I succeed or not, I’m not the one to say. I’ve been doing cues for horror movies for 35 years, I still get as worried with each cue as I did when I did my very first horror movie “The Dorm that Dripped Blood.” I’m always in a state of anxiety as I ask myself “What can I do better? What can I do to improve myself?

One of the big changes in the film is switching the undead killer from a small boy into an adolescent girl. What is the trick of scoring a “bad seed” once an innocent kid turns evil?

The age-old thing that seems to work is doing some kind of a lullaby to capture the child “bad seed” in a way that reflects the youthful innocence they once had. Lullabies have been around since the beginning of time and thusly I did the same. Because as trodden as that road has become, it really works in communicating in innocence in an immediate way, and at the same time has the ability to get messed up as we get further with Ellie down her dark path. Ellie and her family have the only two themes in the movie that you can actually trace developing over the course of the picture.

Given that animals really don’t “act” as such, how did you want to convey Ellie’s sweet cat Church similarly becoming a demonic figure?

While Church doesn’t have a theme as such, I did give him these “sonic blobs” that represent it. There’s bass bending, like a vomiting bass section sound. It’s there somewhat consistently with the cat once it goes evil. Also there’s this manipulated cello modified scream that comes from cello, and it has this horrid kind of “waaaahhh” like a cat scream.

How do you want to reflect the Native American nature of this burial ground?

It’s storyline is about the Wendigo that lives in the forest, this evil spirit that is somehow connected to this ancient burial ground where all of these bad things happen once a deceased body, either animal or human, is buried within it. Because of this ancient Native American aspect of the storyline, that became a part of the sonority of the score. Reflecting that ancient Native American kind of attitude was definitely encouraged by both the directors and producers. It’s done in a subtle way with these deep drums that are supposed to be like Native American tom-toms. Then there are wood flutes that I played and messed around with at my studio to sound like a Native American flute. There are whispers, there’s bells, little metallic wind chimes that also help deliver that feeling of being in the forest where there’s this deathly Native American attitude vibe happening.

You make particularly eerie use of voice in “Pet Sematary” which ranges from moaning to panting.

I used samples to create voices, which I thought was the perfect way to describe Rachel’s memories of her disabled sister. I focused on vocal clusters that could be pitched, hummed, or whispered that could communicate the sense of varying levels of uneasiness to outright terror. I’ve been a big fan of that cluster stuff that always works well in horror movies. There are some moments that are exclusively voices and that’s kind of fun and twisted. I love using the stereo spectrum to have things move around in a way that one could never be done with live musicians, which makes these moments even more effective in the score.

You’ve certainly done outré electronic and sample-based scores going from your unused one for “Invaders from Mars” to the absolute insanity of “Sinister,” “Wilson’s Heart” and now “Pet Sematary.” How do you brainstorm just how weird you can get?

I’ve taken that approach even further for the album of “Pet Sematary” than what you hear in the film itself – which I don’t even think the film could have allowed! But that’s the one thing I love doing when we get to the record, or the movie – those moments where I do get to be malfunctioned in the head. To me, the fun stuff as I’m getting older is always trying to figure out a way to bring something to the table that I haven’t quite heard in movie scores yet. If I succeeded in doing that in “Pet Sematary,” then I’m thrilled. You mentioned “Invaders from Mars,” which was one of the earlier attempts of going off the deep end and trying to create sonorities that you just didn’t hear in movies. It was “music concrete” that actually didn’t use many digital electronic sounds, but was all basically recorded with acoustic instruments that were messed around with. “Sinister,” “Wilson’s Heart” and this movie are all extensions of my desire to try to keep whacking out the sonority world.

As it moves between haunting melody and abstract effects for a killer, “Pet Sematary” particularly recalls your score for “Jennifer 8” that you mentioned before. It’s an approach that stands out when so many horror scores are dissonant from beginning to end.

CY: I appreciate that. It’s extremely rewarding working in scary movies. As a composer who happens to love crazy 20th century concert stuff, it’s the place to be able to explore that world and so I’m very thankful. But there’s this side of me that also lusts to write long melodies, I haven’t done a romantic movie in a long time, nor a drama. But that side of me always is sitting inside of everything. So every time I’m trying to scare you there’s this person who finds an equal amount of joy in writing in music that makes you weep. So of course, whenever there is an opportunity to introduce something melodic or tonal that addresses a different level of the emotional experience in a scary movie, I’m all there.

      

A lot of horror films are not held together by melodies. But they never really have been. However, some really catchy motifs and some great tunes have been written for scary movies. For me, the best composers for that genre realize the value of using melody and chords and triads as a way to take you to a place that clusters could just never take you to. When I was doing films like “Jennifer 8,” “The Fly II” and certainly “Hellraiser” was that these were tragedies as much as they were horror films. I owe it all to “Hellraiser” at the end of the day for giving me the first opportunity to express what precisely you and I are talking about here. There is more to horror films than just scaring the audience. Great horror films have to sympathize with someone. If it’s a monster movie, then we actually care about the monsters. They’re not just vicious mad men, (although slasher films are) but they are characters with an inherit tragedy. And if a composer is doing his job right, then that feeling will be there. I mean, the score for “The Bride of Frankenstein” wouldn’t be what it was if there wasn’t a romantic element to Franz Waxman’s work. And on and on it goes.

In that way, do you think that “Pet Sematary” is as much about a family tragedy as much as a killer kid coming back from the dead?

That’s what the story is about, for sure. You’ll notice the score really doesn’t play the tragedy. But if I had done “Pet Sematary” around the same time I did “Hellraiser” the music probably would have been more inclined to speak of those tragic emotions in a much more recognizable way. But it’s much more subtle in this movie because times have changed. The music can’t be as open and extraverted emotionally today as one used to be able to be in the 1980s, let alone in the 1940s. The tricky thing is that I had to dial this emotion down, even though the story’s tragedy is what I caught on to. Because I’m a father myself, the part of the story that knocked me solidly out was about what the father goes through for his daughter. I thought about what I would do if I were that father, and I was given the opportunity to bring my daughter back to life. What would I do? Would I sign on the dotted line and bury her up there in that ancient burial ground and have her come back regardless of being told what the consequences might be? I don’t know, but that gives the film this heavy tragedy, which I still didn’t hit too hard. But that was the smart thing to do. The way the score turned out in the movie is exactly the way it should have been I think. It had to do with the excellent direction I got, not only from the two directors, but as well from the entire Paramount team. They directed me perfectly in order to deliver a score that seems to be the right one for this movie.

How do you remain an elder statesman of the genre while keeping it fresh enough to still be viable to still get studio movies like “Pet Sematary?”

Well, first of all, fortunately, even though I’ve done as many horror films as I have. I have had the opportunities throughout my career to work on films that are not horror. I know that’s what I’m best remembered for, but I have had the opportunity to move away from horror films on occasion. So that when I come back to them, it’s not like that’s all I’ve been doing. But because of that I’m not burned out by them. What does burnout mean? Does that mean you stop being able to think anymore? The musical part of your brain is burnt to a crisp and it’s no longer functioning? No. I still have that all very much in my head, I still think of music of the time, all day long. So, I move away from it, I’m not exclusively a horror guy. And when I’m not working on movies, the things I do on my own are not horror-based. So when I return, fortunately, there’s this youthful enthusiasm that’s still there. So it’s the combination of having the youthful enthusiasm for a genre that I have not burnt out on, coupled with the fear of failing, you know? That keeps me on my toes and trying always to outdo myself, always trying on each cue to make it the best that I’m able to make it within the confine of working in a business where perfection is not possible. It’s not possible if you have write two minutes a day to write perfect music, But you can try your best and the composers who I like the most are ones who consistently always try their best, who never stop evolving. Who are always taking each and every note that they commit to tape or to paper very seriously. They got my vote, whether they get awards or not. They’re my favorites.

“Pet Sematary” opens on April 4, with Christopher Young’s score forthcoming on CD and Digital via Paramount Music HERE, and on LP form Waxwork Records HERE.

Find Christopher Young’s soundtracks HERE

Visit Christopher Young’s web site HERE

Special thanks to Max Blomgren, Mackenzie Kirk, Vee Noriega and to Sabrina Hutchison for her interview transcription

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music Announces 'The Highwaymen' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 30/03/2019 - 02:00
Sony Music announces the release of [a.25529]The Highwaymen (Original Score from the Netflix Film)[], with music by Grammy, Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning composer [c.149]Thomas Newman[], whose scoring credits include [m.912]American Beauty[], [m.23685]Six Feet Under[], [m.31314]Skyfall[], [m.8549]Finding Nemo[] and more. Available Friday, March 29, the soundtrack features music from Netflix's newest original film, starring Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson and Kathy Bates – available exclusively on Netflix Friday, March 29. Of the soundtrack, composer [c.149]Thomas Newman[] says: "[m.53520]The Highwaymen[] is already steeped in the perfume of the south. The desolate, dry landscapes of Texas and Oklahoma. Ringgold Road in Louisiana...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Michael Abels

Film Music Magazine News - Ma, 25/03/2019 - 18:30

(photo by Ray Costa)

The definition of come-from-where success for many concerned, Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” revealed a TV-centric comedian who could turn satire into a socio-political cinematic knife. Equally captivating was the work of modern classical composer Michael Abels, who enlightened the body bidding of a sunken place with uniquely twisted music that truly got under the cultural skin. A box office and Oscar success with all audiences that racially redefined the horror genre, the utter, sinister originality of “Get Out” and its score made us wonder how Peele and Abels could possibly top it.

Now with “Us,” the answer comes from America’s literal underground as a nation-encompassing lookalike legion of the “tethered” emerge to take long-simmering vengeance. As opposed to playing the same tune, the color that counts here for Peele and Abels is orange, as humanity itself falls under the scissor-wielding mute killers by way of a bizarro underworld – with the Wilson family under particularly lethal focus. Wife and mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) must face off against her childhood trauma come back in the form of a raspy-voiced double, whose own “family” will pursue father, daughter and son down a literal rabbit hole.

Music plays an even bigger part in “Us,” as Michael Abels moves between slithering melody and off-kilter Baroque instrumentations, music the lets us know something angry is lurking under the surface of gorgeous vacation homes and an amusement park town. With the gibbering tethered given voice with a choral “Anthem” every bit as creepy as “Get Out’s” use of “Run Rabbit,” Abels impressionistic, chamber-like work captures his other modern classical identity, while paying off the dissonant rage of today’s horror scoring once all hell breaks loose, and then keeps going from there. There’s also no small feeling of ironic musical humor for the have and have-not point that Peele is ultimately making. It’s relentless, smartly inventive thrill ride score, that doubles down on Abels’ composing promise, climaxing in a dazzlingly lethal dance-off as Peele warps the family’s preferred hip hop listening into musical combat unlike any other.

Now Michael Abels reflects on a new collaboration for an auteur steadily transforming himself into a new, multicultural generation’s mesh of Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling, as given a distinctively scary and ironic musical voice that lets us hear the real monsters as “Us.”

How did “Get Out’s” instant success affect you as a budding film composer? And do you what you learned on it made “Us” easier to dive into?

The success of “Get Out” had a life-changing effect on me, although it was gradual. As a result, I’ve been able to devote my life full-time to being a composer and because that has been a lifelong dream, I’m blessed beyond belief. What I learned on “Get Out” was the musical mind of Jordan Peele and to understand what kind of music excites him. As a result, in approaching “Us”, I already had a good understanding of what musical choices would be able to help him tell his story most effectively.

How do you think that “Us” shows how Jordan has developed as a writer-director? Would you say your collaboration was the same this time out?

I think that “Us” shows that Jordan Peele is what I would describe as fearlessly creative. He’s not going to settle for doing anything expected and I’m delighted by that aspect of his creative personality. Our collaboration on “Us” was similar in some ways to “Get Out.” For example, for “Us” I wrote some music for Jordan based off of reading the script and he started making some choices based on that. So, music was very much a part of the pre-production as it was in “Get Out”. Another way it was similar is that Jordan’s very clear about what he thinks makes music work in a film and in horror and so, the types of notes I would get from him about what he liked and what he didn’t were consistent.

“Get Out” began with the memorable use of the 1920’s tune “Run Rabbit.” “Us” starts with the equally striking, but original theme song “Anthem.” Can you tell us about writing this Gregorian chant-sounding piece, what you wanted it to reflect and what its words mean?

That was an example of one of the pieces that I wrote for Jordan to listen to just based off reading the script before they started shooting. But unlike the main title theme of “Get Out”, the lyrics of “Anthem” from “Us” don’t mean anything. I made them up. The reason is because the music isn’t meant to sound like any particular culture over another one. Although, the nature of the style of music makes it sound more western than non-western. But the reason it sounds that way is because it’s meant to conjure up the feeling of an organized movement of people preparing for battle. And so in a sense, it’s a battle anthem. And it’s the anthem of the tethered although at the beginning of the film, we don’t know that. All we know is that there’s a bunch of people and they sound organized. And they sound organized and unhappy!

But there are also some deliberate non-western elements in the anthem. It starts out with just children’s voices alone, which is another great Jordan Peele juxtaposition of something that is supposed to be happy and friendly in a context that is clearly meant to make you unsettled. And then as the anthem grows, a very kind of seductive rhythm enters, definitely not a march. It’s a very syncopated, tribal rhythm designed to let you know that this music refuses to be pigeonholed into one culture. And that was important because as Lupita’s doppelgänger character says in response to the question, “Who are you people?” She smiles dryly and says, ”We’re Americans!” It’s very pointed humor that’s there for a reason.

Like “Get Out,” “Us” has a slow, though relatively shorter burn to where the terror gets going – and then doesn’t stop. How did you want to reflect that pacing, while not making the score to exhaustingly tense?

Michael Abels and Jordan Peele (photo by Ray Costa)

With any piece of score I do, Jordan and I discuss a lot about telegraphing to the audience. And I think it’s super important in any horror or suspense film how you deliver the scare, whether it’s with slow, uneasy dread or whether it’s a jump that you don’t see coming. And every moment of terror or fright in the film was carefully crafted by Jordan to deliver according to that plan. So depending on the type of fear the audience needs to experience, the score pacing reinforces and helps support the type of scare it is.“Us” is not broken up like “Get Out” with some scenes of pure comedy that are done without score. In “Us”, the comedic moments are briefer, and so the score is paced according to what the characters are experiencing. When the characters are under threat, the score is terrifying. When the characters are taking a well-needed breather to get their bearings, the score backs off and lets them figure out what’s going on. I paced the music according to the pace of each scene.

How did you want to musically separate the main characters from their doppelgangers, as well as to distinguish the tethered family’s lethal abilities?

Early on, we had explored whether there was a way to have a duality, in that the musical theme might be done one way in the everyday world, and another way in the tethered world. But ultimately, the story is about this tethered rising up into the everyday world. So that paired theme concept wasn’t really executed, because you have to deal with the emotional experience the characters are having, rather than a concept. But the score where we are in the tethered underpass world and the score has a lot more elements of sound design. That comes from the sonic experience you have when you’re in a tunnel and things are rumbly and reverberating. So there’s a definite difference to above ground score versus below.

Was it important to give the “tethered” some kind of humanity as well?

That was crucial and I found myself empathizing with them a lot. I think that’s the beauty of the story that Jordan is telling. He realized that we would feel both fear of and compassionate for the tethered and that that’s confusing. So there were places in the film where we discussed whether this was a moment where the score needed to identify with the tethered rather than be afraid of them.

Given the chillingly raspy voice that Adelaide’s tether speaks with, was it important to make sure the score sonically wouldn’t get in the way of her affected speech?

One hundred percent. It’s an incredible voice that Lupita brought to that character. And it had scoring challenges because it’s a raspy whisper. There are key scenes– both the scene in the underpass where she is telling the story of the tethered and then earlier on right after the initial home invasion, when she explains who they are, where she has these long soliloquies in her raspy voice and I had to be very cognizant of how to find a sonic world that would complement rather than compete with that voice.

Would you say that this score draws more on your modern classical background?

There are more of the types of orchestral effects that you would find in 20th-Century concert music in the score to “Us”. So by that definition, yes.

Michael Abels composing Get Out

Conversely, how important was it to make “Us” work as a traditional horror score. And how did you want to balance that approach between melody and more impressionistic fear?

The way I score a scene is very immediate. I’m trying to channel the emotions of the character as they’re having an experience. When we have emotion, our emotions may be informed by what we know intellectually. But nonetheless, it’s very visceral and unfiltered. So, when I’m scoring a scene, I’m not considering whether it’s important to give a nod to traditional horror, or Impressionism or anything. I’m only thinking what music is going to convey this emotion. The analysis of what worked comes after the fact.

Tell us about your spectral use of voices and chorus here, as well as eerie use of the violin and the cimbalom. In a way, did you want them to speak for the wordless “tethered?”

Jordan is really drawn to voices and vocal effects, and he loves strings. I think, especially because of the strings, I think of Bernard Herrmann. The cimbalom and the violin both have significant parts in the score and it was fun writing for them. The key to making it sound evil is the dissonance that’s present in both the harmonies and the melodies.

“Us” certainly has no lack of satiric humor to it, as well some jokes for geeky movie fans. Do you think there’s any humor in your score when it comes to seeing the tethered try to become the originals – especially when it comes to Elizabeth Moss’ character?

Completely. That scene is a classic Peele-ian joke, where there’s something funny out of the juxtaposition of elements that are absolutely surreal together. I really enjoy helping Jordan deliver humor in that way. I saved scoring that scene of Elisabeth Moss and the mirror for the end of a recording session, on a day filled with otherwise very dissonant music. The violins were rewarded after playing horrifying effects all day with playing this wonderfully syrupy classic Hollywood-sounding theme. Although little did they know it would accompany such a disturbing image on-screen.

When Adelaide goes down the literal rabbit hole, you could have taken some fairy tale approach to the music, but chose to play the situation scarily straight as opposed to going for the metaphor. In that way was it important not to nail Jordan’s ironic visuals on the head with music?

Adelaide goes down the rabbit hole, what we need to notice is how she has gone, over the course of the film, from being filled with dread to be willing to confront whatever is about to happen. So the music depicts her emotion of preparing for battle.

“Us’” most striking sequence is the almost entirely new orchestration you bring to the climactic killer ballet-off. How difficult was it creating a “Pas De Deux” that would work as both a dance piece and terrifying action, especially given the scene’s quick crosscutting?

I think the dance aspects are very much present in the way Jordan staged and directed the fight sequences. There is a long, slow wind-up to the two Adelaides engaging each other, a back and forth that is very balletic. Similarly, the beginning of the cue that scores it, “Pas De Deux”, takes the “Why You Treat Me So Bad” sample from the Luniz “I Got 5 On It” track, and emphasizes the back-and-forth between the melody in the violins and violas, and the bassline in the cellos and basses. As a result, you hear the lines as two distinct melodies, one high and one low, which answer each other. Even though the high and low phrases aren’t precisely on shots of the two Adelaides, it’s unmistakable that the musical duality represents them. Finally, when the two Adelaides engage and the music becomes much more intense, the audience is already set up to hear the music as a battle or dance of two different ideas both sonically and visually.

Where were you in 1986? And do you remember Hands Across America?

I was here in LA! I remember Hands Across America, but I did not participate. Although I greatly enjoyed adapting Minnie Riperton’s “Les Fleurs” into a cheesy 80s underscore for the faux Hands Across America TV commercial in the initial scene of “Us!”

After “Get Out” and “Us,” how would you describe Jordon’s growing brand as a metaphoric horror impresario? And where do you see you partnership going while exploring other, un-“tethered” opportunities as a composer?

Michael Abels at the Chicago Orchesta Hall (photo by Todd Robinson)

“Metaphoric Horror Impresario” — very nicely said! I think Jordan is just showing the world that there’s no end to the creative genius that he has and that he’s going to be sharing with the world. And I am very excited to go wherever he chooses to invite me along.

“Us” is now tethered to theaters across America, with Michael Abels scores for “Get Out” and “Us’ available on Back Lot Music.

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Entertainment One to Release 'Stan & Ollie' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 23/03/2019 - 02:00
Entertainment One (eOne) announces the digital release of [a.25429]Stan & Ollie - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[], featuring an original score by [c.401]Rolfe Kent[], on March 29, 2019, the same week as the VOD, DVD and Blu Ray release of the film. The preorder for the soundtrack is available now at all major digital retailers. Composer [c.401]Rolfe Kent[] is best known for his scores for [m.23477]Sideways[], for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe, [m.30346]Up in the Air[], [m.7536]Election[], [m.25785]Thank You for Smoking[], [m.14869]Legally Blonde[] and the 2017 film [m.44892]Downsizing[], among numerous others. He also composed the theme song to the Showtime Original Series [m.6545]Dexter[], for which he was...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'Missing Link' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 22/03/2019 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release [a.25489]Missing Link--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] composed by [c.24]Carter Burwell[] ([m.47619]Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri[], [m.39926]Carol[]), worldwide digitally on April 12 with a CD and vinyl version forthcoming. The soundtrack also features an original song, "Do-Dilly-Do (A Friend Like You)," written and performed by The Walkmen's Walter Martin which will be available as an Instant Grat track on all album preorders beginning March 22. Annapurna Pictures will release the LAIKA film which was written and directed by Chris Butler and stars Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis, in theaters April 12. This April, meet Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis): 8 feet tall, 630...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Music.Film Recordings to Release 'Hotel Mumbai' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 20/03/2019 - 02:00
Music.Film Recordings announces the upcoming release of its soundtrack to the feature film [m.48761]Hotel Mumbai[] with original music from [c.15056]Volker Bertelmann[] who also records to much acclaim as [c.15056]Hauschka[]. A gripping true story of humanity and heroism, [m.48761]Hotel Mumbai[] vividly recounts the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Among the dedicated hotel staff is the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and a waiter (Academy Award-Nominee Dev Patel) who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As theworld watches on, a desperate couple (Armie Hammer, and Nazanin Boniadi) is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child. [m.48761]Hotel...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Rob Simonsen

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 14/03/2019 - 01:49

Even in the more earthbound realms of coming of age (“Love, Simon”), eternally adult romance (“The Age of Adeline”), social justice (“Stonewall”) psychological striving (“Wish I Was Here”), the post-birth blues (“Tully”) and even a heist caper (“Going in Style”), the music of Rob Simonsen has intrigued with its willingness to escape normality. Starting under the innovative wing of Mychael Danna, Simonsen started notably coming into his own for their collaboration on “500 Days of Summer.” Showing a versatility that could range from symphonic murderous intent for “All Good Things” and “Foxcatcher” or work that bubbled with indie music energy for the sleek “Burnt” the hyper-propulsive “Nerve” and the percussive fall of Gary Hart in “The Front Runner,” Simonsen’s music over dozens of scores has taken listeners to new dimensions. They’re ones that that could sometimes confront the listener with raw experimentation, or hypnotically sooth them with beauty – but always with a focus on human character. Now Simonsen gets to hear both stylistic extremes as he takes a giant leap for his first major studio alien invasion film “Captive State” and the super-heroic intimacy of “Fast Color.”

“Captive State” throws us into a metaphoric America that’s been taken over by “legislators,” with of course the nation’s majority happy to accept alien rule that will bring absolute order. One mysterious agent is Mulligan (John Goodman), who’s after Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) to help him unlock the mystery of the resistance group called Phoenix, and the fate of his resistance-leading brother. Simonsen’s score powerfully conveys the dread of an oppressive, human-abetted alien rule with grinding, metallic samples, a bullhorn-like sound alerting us to the overlords as kinetic beats race for their life. It’s a sometimes harsh, oppressively atmospheric score that buzzes like a hive mind to reflect the constant terror of occupation. Electronics here create a sci-fi sound along with the militaristic threat of percussion, an orchestra standing for the resistance to bring the score down to a more relatable earth than we’d like.

While symphonically cosmic girl power certainly has its place in the comic book movie universe, Simonsen’s music for “Fast Color” takes a far more mystical and low-key approach for a woman in a water-starved future. Though men in black think that the matter reforming, earthquake-generating powers of Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) might be the key to saving the world, it’s an ability that’s brought her nothing but grief. Fleeing back to her rural home to reconnect with her mother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) and abandoned daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney), Ruth concentrates on putting back together her own life more than any atomic particles. Simonsen’s beautifully drifting melodies take an unconventional view of meta-humans as his ethereal synths and yearning bells gradually unite the family. Just as astounding is how chamber music serves to embody the creative, day-glo visual effects that emanate from this unique family. It’s superhero scoring as melodic Zen for a most unconventional, yet powerful entry into the genre’s growing diversity. Simonsen’s “Fast Color” transfixes with the kind of innovation that he brings to his entire scoring universe, one that now takes off to the stars while bringing itself furiously into the present day.

Both “Captain State” and “Fast Color” make particular use of your electronic “hybrid” abilities that were on display in “Nerve.” Could you tell us how you got started in that world, and how it’s developed to the point of these two scores?

My ear has always been drawn to hybrid scores- combining electronics with acoustic instruments has captured my imagination more than anything else. When the opportunity to do “Nerve” came up, I was pretty elated to get to dive into a world of synthesizers. I grew up on Vangelis and am a true child of the 80’s. Mark Wike, who was the music editor on “Nerve,” was also the music editor on “Captive State.” He presented some of my work to the director, and that’s how that job came about.

“Fast Color” was a filmmaking team I had worked with on their previous film and it went great- they’re also friends of mine and we were happy to work together again. The director Julia Hart was really into the idea of using synths and making it a hybrid score. She always wanted the synths to be louder in the mix, which I loved.

Though you’ve done such genre projects as “Dollhouse” and “Seeking A Friend at the End of the World,” “Captive State” marks your first large-scale, effects-and-action filled sci-fi movie. What was it like to take on that challenge?

It was a thrill. Sci-fi and films with a fantastical or surreal bend to them are my favorite kind of films, so to be able to finally sink my teeth into one was very exciting. There’s so much opportunity for experimentation there, and the director Rupert Wyatt wanted to experiment. We stayed away from using any temp in the film, so the palette was developed in collaboration of working on the film as opposed to in context of anything else. I loved it. I hope it’s a first step into a larger world.

“Captive State” is very much part of the classic tradition of such sci-fi shows as “Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” that stand for metaphors with contemporary issues – here being a fascist takeover under the guise of “kindness.” How did that influence your approach?

We initially started sketching with brass melodies. My first stab at the opening (which is completely different now) was a descending brass theme, which was about the crumbling, darkening, twisted state of government authority, and an aspect of deluded society. A darkened American, patriotic theme. In the end the score became a bit more about an alarm bell for a rebellion.

Did you ever look to other “alien invasion” scores or films for inspiration? Or did you set out to do something truly unique with the genre?

I avoided listening to other scores when I was writing, but of course, I’m naturally influenced by so many of them just by virtue of being a fan of the genre. I’m sure they informed things subconsciously. But I wanted to keep my head clear of anything else as much as possible to try and give myself the best shot at creating something pure. One of the only things Rupert and I looked at from a musical tone perspective was a scene from “The Battle of Algiers” which Ennio Morricone scored, and had some fantastic percussion in it.

Tell us about working with Rupert, who’s now moved from apes to aliens here when depicting our contemporary world under siege.

‘Captive State’ director, Rupert Wyatt

Rupert’s awesome. He has so much passion for filmmaking and really pushes, which I love. He’s also a fantastically warm and genuine guy. He lives in upstate New York so I would go out there and we’d work at a house that was rented out for post-production. I had a little room up there, visual effects were on the ground floor, and the edit was in the basement. It was pretty cool being all under one roof. Rupert gave me a lot of leeway and autonomy in terms of finding gritty sounds and was always straight when he liked or disliked something. It was straightforward and satisfying.

How does the focus being more on humans dealing with an alien invasion, more than the aliens themselves, play into the score, especially given that people are split into camps of abetting or resisting the occupation?

We worked on a theme for the cell, the team of rebels. It needed to be a little warm and human, but it is often heard adrift amongst crunched synths and processed sounds. The aliens have sounds assigned to them but not a melodic theme. The humans got that.

Would you describe “Captive State” as being more of a conspiracy-paranoia score than a science fiction one?

Another film that Rupert mentioned early on was “The Parallax View,” with a score by Michael Small that speaks to what you describe. It has a kind of 70’s conspiracy-paranoid-Americana vibe to it. I think “Captive State” is a conspiracy-intrigue drama set in a sci-fi world.

There’s an especially gnarly feeling in how you use percussion, which meshes dark beats with a militaristic tone. Could you talk about that blend of music and sound design?

There’s a brokenness to everything in the film, whether obvious or underneath what we are seeing. We wanted things to have an off-kilter vibe to them. One of my favorite drummers out there, Ian Chang is a bit of a master when it comes to off-kilter, in the best possible way. I called him up and he made some beats for me. I took those and chopped them, pitched them around, processed them and that was a great element of energy and aliveness that was woven into the score. We also recorded a couple percussionists doubling on more militaristic type drums and augmenting the more processed sounds. Some of those also got processed as well. There are also some hits that I created by blending low drum hits with animal growls. I think there’s a lion growl in there!

How did you want to play the “legislators’” presence among the characters, even when we don’t see them?

In the film there are flocks of drones that the legislators use to police/survey people. It’s not a far-off idea actually with pretty impactful implications. We came up with a sound for the drones, which is a bowed mandolin that bends in pitch a bit. Then pitched that down a couple octaves in kontakt. It’s got this “swarm” kind of sound to it. Since we hardly see the legislators it became more about how the humans feel when they encounter them instead of having their own theme.

You also reach some fairly low tones with your samples, especially with bullhorn like effects, which serves as a sort of theme. How do you think the score personifies the alien machinery that keeps the humans in line?

The bullhorn sound is a synth patch I made using this little soft synth called Basic. It was inspired by tornado sirens I used to hear growing up in Missouri. They’d spin up at different places throughout the city as portents of a possible severe storm. Oftentimes the sky would be full of dark, twisting clouds and you’d hear some in the distance, some nearby, and it would make a creepy, sickening choir of dissonance and portent. It was unnerving and awe-inspiring. I was trying to get at that. It’s about the humans rallying, being called to action in response to the threat of the aliens.

We also recorded brass effects and gestures with the London Contemporary Orchestra, which also performed the strings. One of the tuba players for the LCO can circle breathe and play multiphonics, which is achieved by singing into the instrument and playing at the same time. We spent a day with different brass players doing multiphonics and extended techniques. It was a lot of fun. They are a wonderfully talented group of musicians.

It seems like there’s no way to beat the aliens, let alone human turncoats, how important was it for the score to reflect a sense of hope when it comes to bringing orchestral emotion into the nerve-grinding tonalities?

In the end, that’s exactly what the film is about, hope and courage. It was important to give glimmers of that and connect to human warmth and heart at points, even if there was a lot of tragedy and sacrifice involved.

Could you channel your own political feelings in “Captive State?” And do you think the current state of America makes the film, and score even more disturbing and suspenseful than it would have been?

I definitely was able to channel my political feelings in this film. It’s an interesting experience, seeing the rise of authoritarian regimes and nationalism throughout the world, which does feel like a threat with real consequences. Where it will all lead, who knows. I don’t want to give anything away but I think the film does offer a chance to see situations from different viewpoints in a way that we (specifically Americans) might not have considered before.

Abbey Road Studios (L to R) “Captive State” mixer Stan Neff, composer Rob Simonsen and director Rupert Wyatt

With such an offbeat score, was it difficult creating a song out of it with me for home “Home?”

Home was all Jake (Kill the Noise) and Mija. They took the stems of the prologue (track no 2, “Captive State”) and ran with it. I loved what they did with it.

Conversely, “Fast Color” takes an ethereal approach that reteams you with Julia Hart and writer Jordan Horowitz, for whom you scored “Miss Stevens.” Given that this was a completely different genre, how did your collaboration differ?

‘Fast Color’s’ Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz

We were going for something much bigger on this one. The palette was quite different and we were dealing with larger themes. It’s a bit of an emotionally driven superhero origin story. Our collaboration was very similar, propositions, notes and refinements!

With “Fast Color” being done on a very intimate scale, how important was it for your score to open up the story to the earth-changing, and even cosmic aspects of the characters, their powers and the bigger story that lies beyond this one?

Orchestras are great for adding a sense of scope to a film, and we knew we wanted that. There’s a fair amount of solo violin, which adds a lot of emotion and sense of a central character amongst a larger backdrop. The film deals with larger themes from an intimate point of view so we definitely wanted to bridge that.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw has superpowers in trailer for Fast Color
Credit: Jacob Yakob

“Fast Color” could be called a superhero film, much in the way the show “Heroes” tries to show normal people gifted with extraordinary abilities. What was it like to score that genre, be it in such an offbeat and independent guise?

It was great. Sci-fi is such a rich genre because you can deal with really large questions. You can build fantastical worlds and put forth very human questions that we all face. It’s my favorite genre so I loved it.

Do you think that scoring a heroine who’s mystically granted eternal life in “The Age of Adeline” helped you portray super-powered ones here?

I think my natural response to these kinds of stories probably has led me to using the orchestra both times. They are characters touched by something cosmic, mysterious, larger than life. The orchestra is great for that.

Does the emphasis on non-costumed female characters allow this score to be melodically softer than if it involved men with the same abilities?

I think it’s more about the intimacy of the relationships between the characters and the fact that no one has fully come out with their powers. These are people in hiding, dealing with personal and interpersonal issues, including motherhood, the processing of which leads them to stand up and be powerful in plain sight. I’m not sure what I would be drawn to if they were costumed and/or had fully embraced their powers. There are so many great metaphorical threads running throughout the film and we were just giving it the tones we felt were right to support it. I’m not sure how it would be different if it were men. Interesting question!

How did you want music to personify color?

Swirling strings seemed like the most accurate representation of colors flying around in the sky to me.

We’ve seen lots of super powers, but “Fast Color’s” ability of molecularly separating, and then re-forming objects brings something new to the game. How did you want to capture that family talent?

There’s a violin motif for their powers that is heard on solo violin the first time we see anyone really enacting powers. That same motif is played by the full orchestra at the end, so there’s hopefully a through line for all three generations whenever they’re wielding powers that grows with them.

How did you want to merge the synth style here with more traditional symphonic colors?

Again, hybrid scores are combining my favorite sounds in the world- orchestras, synths and processed sounds. Orchestra wasn’t quite right for a score like “Nerve” but for “Fast Color “it felt like the appropriate texture to get at what we were going for emotionally.

How did you want to reflect the toll that Ruth’s powers take on her life, and her relationship with her family?

I think that was rendered pretty successfully in the film by the story and actors so it was more about holding a space for that to take place- the longing, tenderness, regret. Ruth is a loner when we meet her, she’s a woman on the run so we needed the music to help get at the feeling of that. But once we get the full picture, more tender threads come in.

Talk about the “lullaby” sound that links mother and daughter,

Again we knew we needed something to echo the tenderness between them, and speak to a love that exists even though physical circumstances might pull a mother away from her child.

Given that a more conventional score could have expressed “Fast Color’s” emotions in an immediately recognizable way, was it a challenge to use a more ethereal style here to get those feelings across?

Not really, I think a more ethereal approach is something I gravitate towards naturally. I’ve loved listening since I was young to Vangelis, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol II, Michael Stearn’s score to “Baraka,” Brian Eno, Steve Roach and others that do more ambient work and have ethereal qualities to them. It connects me to similar feelings I get looking at stars in the night sky, which has always been a big inspiration for me. So I’m probably always trying to get to those ambient musical textures in a lot of my work.

In your non-score life, you created a truly fascinating musical collective with The Echo Society that did site-specific conceptual non-score concerts with other film composers. What do you think these events added to LA’s musical landscape, and would you hope to do more of these events?

Ah thanks. My hope is that they’ve been explorations in what’s possible and getting together to create exciting new works with other creators. There are a lot of musical groups doing similar things both before us but especially now- it’s a rich landscape in LA for music and art. We are definitely planning on doing more and are beginning work on our next show. Stay tuned!

When science fiction scores like “Under the Skin” and “Annihilation” are increasingly “out there,” does this make it even more difficult to create a unique score like this? Or do you even set out to create the kind of “hybrid” sound that no one’s heard before?

I think overall the rising tide of inventive and as you say “out there” scores have given filmmakers and studios a lot of confidence to stand behind a director’s bold choices to experiment and be different. Of course, it can be a daunting proposition to say “we’re going to try and do something totally different that no one has heard before”, as all music stands on the shoulders of what came before it. But it’s an exciting challenge to attempt. I love it.

“Captive State” opens on March 15th with Rob Simonsen’s score available that day on Sony Classics here. “Fast Color” opens on April 9, with Rob’s score available shortly thereafter on his label Miles of Lions Records.

Visit Rob Simonsen’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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