Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: October 19

Soundtrack News - Za, 20/10/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.235]Christopher Young[] ([m.51260]Pet Sematary[]), [c.647]Arturo Sandoval[] ([m.53698]The Mule[]) and [c.540]Rupert Gregson-Williams[] ([m.53952]Hot Air[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 50 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-10-16]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week is (with music by): [m.50579]Halloween[] ([c.27]John Carpenter[], [c.25735]Cody Carpenter[] & [c.16932]Daniel A. Davies[]). Expanding nationwide from their limited releases a few weeks ago are [m.52278]The Hate U Give[] ([c.1784]Dustin O'Halloran[]) and [m.49502]The Old Man and the Gun[]...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Troye Sivan's & Jónsi's 'Revelation' from 'Boy Erased' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Vr, 19/10/2018 - 01:00
Focus Features and Back Lot Music announce the release of "Revelation", the new original song by Troye Sivan & [c.1877]Jónsi[] written for the feature film [m.50670]Boy Erased[]. The soundtrack to the film – featuring an additional original song by [c.1877]Jónsi[] and score by [c.8161]Danny Bensi[] & [c.1781]Saunder Jurriaans[] - will release digitally on 10/26 and physically on 11/2 with the film's theatrical release in select theaters nationwide. A vinyl component will be issued later this year with Music on Vinyl. [m.50670]Boy Erased[] tells the courageous story of Jared (played by Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at age 19. Jared...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Johann Johannsson Wins Posthumous World Soundtrack Award for Best Film Composer of the Year

Soundtrack News - Do, 18/10/2018 - 01:00
The Icelandic composer [c.3198]Jóhann Jóhannsson[] won Best Film Composer of the Year for a second time in a row, this year posthoumosly, for composing the film score of [m.49629]Mandy[], [m.48862]Mary Magdalene[] (co-composed with [c.7675]Hildur Guðnadóttir[]), and [m.46542]The Mercy[]. His protégé and co-composer [c.7675]Hildur Guðnadóttir[] received the prize on his behalf. Best Television Composer of the Year was awarded to [c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[] for scoring [m.52662]Game of Thrones[]; [m.38946]The Strain[] and [m.42756]Westworld[]. The Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film went to [m.41692]Black Panther[] by Kendrick Lamar, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Solana I. Rowe (aka SZA), Matt Schaeffer,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Walt Disney Records Announces 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 17/10/2018 - 01:00
Walt Disney Records is set to release the original motion picture soundtrack to Disney's [m.47721]The Nutcracker and the Four Realms[] on October 26. Composer [c.151]James Newton Howard[] was tapped to create the score and it was recorded by The Philharmonia Orchestra in London with esteemed conductor [c.3037]Gustavo Dudamel[]. Featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang. Disney's holiday feature film [m.47721]The Nutcracker and the Four Realms[] opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2. With original music composed and produced by Howard, the soundtrack builds on iconic themes from Tchaikovsky's classic 1892 ballet score. Howard's thrilling orchestral score captures the magic and intrigue of the film by reimagining the original "Nutcracker"...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Music.Film Recordings & Varèse Sarabande to Release 'What They Had' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Di, 16/10/2018 - 01:00
Music.Film Recordings and Varèse Sarabande Records will digitally release [a.24313]What They Had – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] on October 19th, which features an original score written by composer [c.23721]Danny Mulhern[]. The Bleecker Street film has received critical praise since it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The New York Observer raves that [m.50941]What They Had[] is "compassionate and utterly engaging. A stellar ensemble." Most recently, the film was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. [m.50941]What They Had[] will be released theatrically in the U.S. on October 19th. "The score for [m.50941]What They Had[] needed to convey the warmth and intimacy of...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: October 12

Soundtrack News - Za, 13/10/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.534]Michael Giacchino[] ([m.47942]Spider-Man: Far From Home[]), [c.24]Carter Burwell[] ([m.52987]Missing Link[]) and [c.901]Jack Wall[] ([m.53873]Call of Duty: Black Ops 4[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 35 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-10-09]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.50081]Bad Times at the El Royale[] ([c.534]Michael Giacchino[]), [m.48801]First Man[] ([c.2205]Justin Hurwitz[]) and [m.48395]Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween[] ([c.2455]Dominic Lewis[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Dominic Lewis

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 05/10/2018 - 04:21

Few shows start off as impossible alternate reality fiction, only to transform into a horrifying variation of the truth like Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle.” Adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel that posited the Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan winning WW2 to split the spoils of America. Linking the fates of the rebellious Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos), the traitorous American Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith (Rufus Sewell), Japanese trade minister Tagome (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and relentless “pawn” Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente) are black and white films that show a counter earth where accepted history played out – the images of which become key to determining the destruction, or salvation of “High Castle’s” nightmarish future.

Told in muted, oppressed colors and ever-surprising moral shades of grey, the new season of “High Castle” is more darkly fantastical as it has the Nazi’s pursuit of “travelers” who can skip between free, and subjugated worlds inspired the Reich to build a machine that will let them invade the multiverse. Yet the ten-episode season is also far more intimate in domestic scope. Its main story strands find Juliana dealing with the shock of her murdered sister who’s seemingly coming back to life, all while the ruthless John Smith shows an unexpected, emotional side as he tries to keep his family together in the face of the “sacrifice” of their genetically doomed son to the Reich’s euthanasia. Amongst the “pawns,” Tagome does his best to shelter Juliana, even as Kido tries to break the minister’s stoic stance to find out why he’d abet the enemy, especially when her compatriots bombed Japan’s San Francisco’s headquarters at the climax of last season.

Tying the myriad story threads and characters of this formidable “Castle” together is the mesmerizing score by English composer Dominic Lewis. For a series based on the nature of time, the pressure of evil closing in plays a central scoring role in season three. Rhythmic music becomes a countdown as the Nazis try to control the multiverse itself, a far more fantastical angle that also suffuses Lewis’ approach with an otherworldly, dream-like atmosphere. Brass becomes twisted patriotism, where violin hears the tragedy of relationships rent asunder in a series of betrayals. Though mostly played in brief, impactful portions through “Castle’s” ten episodes, Lewis also gets to revel in epic orchestrations as the Japanese fleet sails under the Golden Gate Bridge, emotion dances with a forbidden Bar Mitzvah, and the symphonic piercing of dimensions becomes scoring that would do any arch villains’ super-science lair proud. So too does the show’s ersatz Leni Riefenstahl feel soaring Wagnerian triumph for her propagandistic goal, even as the music will make our hearts sink. However, there’s also a new sense of musical hope on the horizon for a “Castles” that’s been renewed for a fourth chapter, as the leaflets of a rising sun inspire the striving, patriotic melody of a populace finding the hope to struggle out of fascism’s jackboot.

Thankfully, Lewis’ singular rise as one of the most talented, next-gen composers of Hans Zimmer’s musical fortress has been far less traumatic, if no less creatively challenging. Trained in the cello and composition at the Royal Academy of Music, Lewis made his Hollywood pilgrim’s progress through booth reading, synth programming, vocals and copious additional scoring for such composers as Rupert Gregson-Williams (“Bedtime Stories”), John Powell (“How To Train Your Dragon”), Henry Jackman (“Wreck-It Ralph”) and The Man himself (“Rango”), Lewis’ contributions on dozens of scores ultimately saw him break out with solo work that’s included swooping animation (“Free Birds”), propulsive suspense (“MI-5”), frantic comedy (“Rough Night,” “Fist Fight”) and social drama (“Money Monster”) before entering the door of “High Castle” via his long association with Jackman.

Even though Dominic Lewis might have found himself in grim surroundings as the walls between oppressive fiction and reality have broken down in the face of a homegrown tyrant, the composer has also indulged his far more child friendly talents this year with the rambunctious treats of “Peter Rabbit” and the rousingly terrifying tricks of “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.” Like the “High Castle’s” dimension-shifters, Lewis knows how to segue from one musical tone to the next, an ability learned from The Masters that he now reveals.


Tell us about your path to film composing.

Both of my parents are musicians, which always helps a lot. My Dad was in a quartet and my mom’s a singer. So from the time of being a young kid I was exposed to live concerts and classical music all the way through to rock music. My sister exposed me to dance music or electronic music. Then my dad started doing sessions in London with Isobel Griffith’s orchestra. So that perked my ears up to that world. Then I was lucky enough to go on a couple of sessions. I think my first was “Shrek” with Harry Gregson-Williams. Then I did other sessions with Craig Armstrong and George Martin. It just sort of unfolded from being a musician and playing the cello and singing in choirs and doing all sorts of stuff. Film music was just a natural progression for me. I had many greatest hits soundtrack Cd’s and tapes in my dad’s car and tapes, all of which made me fall in love with it. But it was being at those scoring session that made me say, “Oh my God, this is what I have to do!” subconsciously there all the time. And then I went to these sessions and I was just like, oh my God, this is what I have to do!”

When I was old enough I went to down Rupert Gregson-Williams’ studio and started programming stuff up when he’d go out for a cigarette break. I was very lucky to ease into the world because then other people get thrown out of college and want to be a film composer. But they get coffee and food and stuff for years before even doing tech work. I was lucky enough not to have to do that because Rupert had me under his wing and taught me loads of stuff. Then he told me to go to LA and visit people.


How was it getting started by doing additional music for people like Hans Zimmer and Henry Jackman at their studio?

Both composers were extremely talented and very different. The world of Hans Zimmer is something I never thought I’d be part of after studying and listening to his music in school. Then cut to two years later and I’m sitting in a room with him and John Powell talking about dragons and fighting pandas and whatnot, all with Dreamworks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg in room. That was a dream come true, but also extremely scary to me. Hans’ world was very daunting at first because the man is a genius and you constantly feel the pressure of being at your very best – that you must not let him down, the you always needed to prove yourself.

When I started at Hans’ Remote Control Studio, I didn’t leave it for like three months. I would have interns going to get me spare underwear and I’d used the shower in the building just to let Hans know – and he probably had no idea I wasn’t leaving the building! It was just that, that hunger, that need to prove that I was good for this, and that his cues were in safe hands with me. Where things were a bit easier with John Powell on “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Rango” with Hans was really tough because he’s got so much faith and loyalty in his guys that he will pretty much gave them the stage for their cues which I think is fantastic and extremely ballsy. That’s why he’s one of the greats. Oftentimes it is was only me and “Rango’s” director Gore Verbinski talking about cues, which was very daunting and scary. When I later worked with Henry it was a more relaxed atmosphere because I was writing from the wings and not really being involved in meetings with the filmmakers and the executives. I was just sort of me doing my cues, making sure they were up on the server and then hearing later after the meeting whether the music was approved or not, or what fixes there were to come. I became far more confident and relaxed in what I was doing. And I was a better composer. Henry and I pumped out a lot of music over three or four years. Yet all of the experiences I’ve had writing for composers has been amazing in their own ways.

You got involved with “The Man in the High Castle” with Henry scoring the pilot.

Henry and I scored the pilot together, and I took over from episode two using the things. Then after season one it was sort of a reboot because the characters moved on to different things. Seasons two and three have just been me, and I just signed a contract for four – which will be me too

How do you think the show and the music have developed to the point of season three?

Each season is extremely different in my eyes. The first one was very character-based and very intimate as it followed them through journeys. We got to know their struggles and where they would be going. Then in season two you have this big story arch where you’re faced with the end of the world. So that change was huge as I went from very small, intricate character-based melodies and harmonies to a more elaborate Austrian-Hungarian classical palettes with Straus-ian melodies. Now season three has gone a bit noir in a sort of Hitchcockian way. Things also get a little bit more sci-fi n the way of Phillip K. Dick because you dive more into these alternate worlds and the craziness of their “travelers.” other travelers.

Musically through all three seasons I’ve taken organic elements, and messed them up by stretching them and, sticking the instruments through delays to make the music feel weird, creepy and strange. And then on top of that you’ve got these traditional instruments playing melodies and harmonies – yet always with that underlying current of the strangeness and eeriness. So that’s what musically ties the three seasons together, even though they’re all very different because of their stories’ contexts.

The “sci-fi” nature of season three brings in a particularly ethereal sound.

I started season three with the “Trudy Suite,” suite, where I wanted to create that “daydream-y” sound when you don’t know what world you’re in, who can travel or who’s going to travel. You have to be in a particular meditative space to be able to travel. It was important for me to create that dream-like stuff with chimes, bells and things that repeat in a nursery rhyme / music box kind of way. The suite is made out of celeste, struck chimes, warped Glockenspiel and things like that with strings as and undercurrent. There are some voices in there too. It’s a more musically dreamy way of time traveling I guess.


Would you say the scoring has gotten stranger as whole?

It’s so great that they’re kind of letting me do what I want on season three. There’s a lot of trust now, which has kind of pushed the musical envelope a little bit. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, but I’m just saying that I was trying to think outside the box and to really push this strange classical harmony that you necessarily wouldn’t do in a TV show. And I get away with it because the show is so great. It holds it. You can just keep pushing on it in terms of experimenting with new weird things and hybrids between different genres of music because it works. But that’s essentially what “The Man in the High Castle” is. It’s a hybrid of a lot of different genres that are now going all over the place, and you can do that with the music as well.

How did you want to musically differentiate between the Japanese and the Germans?

It kind of changed because everyone’s moving around so much. The music was a bit more clean cut in season one where the Japanese took on a more woodwind-based palette and the Germans tended to be more brass-orientated. But actually as the seasons progress, and especially in season three, we see different sides of different characters, which ties into what the Japanese and Germans were doing season one. Their instruments cross over, the neutral zone. Now John Smith’s melody might be on the cello, which in season one was mainly Juliana’s instrument. Inspector Kido might have more of flute- based thing. But if he’s being really evil, then I’d bring in the brass. So it’s kind of boiled down to strong brass instruments for the bad guys, and woodwind instruments for the good guts, for want of better words, because everything’s crossing over now. The Japanese and Germans have all got their fingers in different pies.

What’s especially interesting in season three is how a once completely nefarious character like John Smith is almost a “hero” for want of my better word. How do these twists give more emotional depth to the music?

It’s great to be able to flip the script on some characters, especially with John Smith, because in the first season I didn’t really score him. There was a noise he got from a piano pedal that we stuck through a feedback and just let it go. I took elements of that and made more intense, because I didn’t want to do the whole “evil Smith” thing, you know, low strings and brass and whatever, because then it becomes too cliché and annoying. So it was more of a sound design way of scoring him. With season two, we got into the whole thing with his son Thomas’ illness. I could come in with brass with John being the bad guy, or use a cello or piano to show how he was feeling for Thomas, and in turn make us respond sympathetically to John. With season three you’re undecided because John seems to be going against what the Nazi vision for America is. That made it really difficult to paint him in a way that the audience could make up their own minds about John. So his stuff was done with more neutral instruments. For example, maybe I’d take the horn and double it with cellos or use instruments that don’t necessarily paint John as a good or bad guy. But I feel the same with you, because Smith almost comes across as being a hero in this season.


How did you want to choose when to bring in the big orchestral moments as when you have Japanese fleet sailing through San Francisco or introduce the Nazi’s dimension-channeling machine, which is almost like a scene out of a James Bond’s villain’s lair?

It’s a mixture of me and the temp tracking process. Some people get very used to the temporary soundtrack that they put in while editing the episode, which is very difficult to get away from when I’m spotting my own music. I’ll say that we don’t need a cue here. But because they’ve had music there for a while, they want it in the same place. Sometimes with those longer cues, I’d personally rather have them be shorter so I could let the action breath a little bit. But I think those longer pieces work, especially as a lot of the time those scenes have sound design that just blend in with the score.

The show can be very depressing, as it seems there’s no way the Axis will ever be overthrown. But this season brings in the idea of the hope of the rebellion. Was it a relief to play that kind of guarded optimism into this overwhelming darkness?

I think it’s great because season two was super dark. There was no hope, But I like season three’s new element of resistance. It creates more of a balance because we’ve had two seasons of the Nazis doing their thing, which is a lot to process. Maybe that’s why season two wasn’t so well received by critics I think because there was no real light at the end of the tunnel for anyone. It was just massively depressing. So now it’s really lovely to have just a little glimmer that maybe they can pull this off. And then you kind of come back to thinking “Well, how the hell are they going to pull that off with something like twelve people?” But it’s still nice. I think the danger with dark shows is that they just drag you down. I know from friends and family that even in season one they’d be like, “Oh no, I really liked the show, but it took me a long time to get through it because it’s just so dark!” I think it’s really good to bring in that strand into season three, which I hope they do in season four so we can get to have a hero.

The running joke is that “Man in the High Castle” is a documentary show. Do you ever get depressed while working on it, especially as it seems that there’s no stopping the rise of fascism in America?

Righter after I finished season two where the arch was the end of the world, I joked that next week we’d have President Trump. And then it fucking happened! “The Man in the High Castle” has been close to home. But now with this season’s new theme of hope I think the show is easier to stomach. Yet there are certainly moments for me when it’s depressing, especially when you have a huge group of people chanting “Sieg Heil!” for 45 seconds. That’s time to turn the dial down. I can’t hear that because I have to watch a scene a number of times in order to score it. But then I get to work on other shows like “Duck Tales,” which are happy, fun and the complete opposite! So that helps me stay sane.

One truly charming kid’s score you did this year was for “Peter Rabbit” Now you get to scare them with the sequel to “Goosebumps.” What was it like to take over the musical reigns from Danny Elfman for “Haunted Halloween?”

Oh my God. It’s so daunting. I was very scared. But the director Ari Sandel and I were adamant that while we didn’t want to do away with Danny’s themes from the first one, we also wanted to give this score its own sound. I think I’ve come up with some cool new themes. The main villain in this movie is Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy. He has a very creepy side, but he’s also the master of puppets – the sort of maestro who’s bringing Halloween to life. So I wanted to give him a march of sorts for him commanding his troops. So I wrote the “Slappy March,” which is a lot of fun. Ari really loved it, and it’ the main theme in the movie. “Goosebumps 2” has been an amazing experience for me. I mixed all my musical influences for the score from Strauss to Ravel to John Powell to John Williams to Danny to Alan Silvestri to Mahler. But it’s the most “me” I’ve been writing for an orchestra and I’m very proud of that. The last big orchestral score I did like this, even though the tone was a bit more “fluffy,” was for “Free Birds.” “Peter Rabbit” was a bit more of a hybrid.


What’s the trick of scoring a kid’s horror film where the music has to be scary, yet not too scary?

That’s tricky to balance. There are moments where you want kids to jump and be scared, but you can’t go too far, otherwise you’ll have them screaming and running out of the cinema! So it was a tough line to toe. But the execs and the director definitely leaned towards the scary stuff and wanted to push that envelope a little bit and make it scarier. So I think that’s, that’s a big difference between the two scores. Danny’s isn’t necessarily “scary scary,” where there are very definitely scary moments in mine where I used horror scoring techniques, like you’d have in “It.” But I think “Goosebumps 2” has been shot in a way where I can afford to have that little bit of extra horror in the music. The picture holds it well. We’ve really had incredible musicians who’ve achieved those strings effects and drones that would accompany an R-rated horror movie. It’s been really incredible for me to write for an orchestra like that, and I’d love to keep doing it.

Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris star in Columbia Pictures’ GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN.


You’ve had a pretty swift rise as a composer in the last five years. What would you attribute that to?

Being a film and television composer is so much more than just writing music. It’s the whole thing. You’ve got to be good in a room with the director and the producers. You’ve got to be able to produce the goods musically and you’ve got to think on your feet to let everyone know that they’ll be safe in your hands. John and Hans and Henry are all great like that. I was a sponge and fed off of their musical brilliance. It was incredible to be in a room with them and the directors and execs to see how they reacted to tough stuff, like flipping scenes around and deadlines and all that kind of stuff that comes with supervising a score. I was able to be in that for almost five years before I went out on my own. That helped me really understand that your job as a film composer is to fulfill the vision of the director and the producers and the studio. So yes, obviously you want to have your voice and you want to bring what you bring, but at the end of the day you ‘re a filmmaker too. That’s a huge part of being a successful film composer is being a fellow filmmaker and part of the collaborative process.

Obviously there are times when you need to stick up for what you think’s right, but you also need to do away with a bit of your ego.

That’s why being a team player is huge. The people I work with are getting what I bring to the table. But at the same time, they’re also getting what they want. It’s very easy to throw in the towel and say, ”Okay, well I’ll just do that.” But there’s an interpretation line of like. “They said this, but I think that what they really want is this music.” That’s the tricky part, because a lot of directors and producers don’t necessarily speak the music vernacular. So translating what they mean is very important. To anyone else, it might be “What the hell do they mean by that?” But because I’ve been in it, I say, “Cool. Moving on.” That’s probably one of the main reasons why it’s been maybe a little quicker for me to get to where I am, just because I had such great training and great great mentors. They really set me up to hit the ground running.


Watch the third season of “Man in the High Castle” premieres on Amazon Prime HERE.

“Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween” opens on October 12th from Sony Picture, with Dominic Lewis’ score available soon on Sony Classical Records.

Listen to Dominic Lewis’ scores for the first two seasons of “Man in the High Castle” HERE

Romp with Dominic Lewis in the animated animal kingdoms of “Peter Rabbit” HERE and “Free Birds” ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Dustin O’Halloran

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 03/10/2018 - 21:25

One of the truly soulful composers who’s fused his acclaimed alternative sound into a growing, impressive body of scoring work, Dustin O’Halloran’s music often seems to be on a journey of self discovery. First joining with singer Sara Lov to front the Devics, O’Halloran relocated to Italy, where he drew on the memory of the music of the ballet classes his mother taught for his solo album debut with “Piano Solos.” Its poetic sound caught the ear of director Sofia Coppola, who brought his piano pieces to the distinctly hip costume drama court of “Marie Antoinette.” O’Halloran has since given his mesmerizingly intimate emotion to the immigration-effected young lovers of “Like Crazy,” the cello-driven seduction of “Breath In” and a doomed Marilyn Monroe stand-in for “An American Affair.” Teaming with Jill Solloway to win an Emmy for his title music to Amazon’s “Transparent,” O’Halloran received further award notice when he and fellow indie-centric scoring artist Houschka received an Academy nomination for “Lion,” a movie about reclaiming lost identity that opened up a whole new world of ethnic sound for the often overseas composer – just as much as his indie music work with Adam Wiltzie would show off ambient explorations as A Winged Victory for the Sullen.

Dustin and Adam Wiltzie are A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Even from Berlin, O’Halloran took note of the home fires burning in America as one unprosecuted police shooting followed the new to spark demonstrations from victims who were often urban. It’s inspired a new wave of social justice from a populace that won’t take it anymore, their growing need to take action inspiring Angie Thomas’ bestselling book “The Hate U Give,” and now a powerful film adaptation from director George Tillman Jr. (“Soul Food,” “Notorious”). It’s heroine Starr (Amandla Stenberg) has seemingly navigated a life in two worlds, reveling in her cultural identity in her gang-blighted neighborhood, while wearing the schoolgirl costume of a private academy on the other side of the tracks, where she’s found both friends and a beau. But when an innocent car ride with her longtime crush Khalil (Algee Smith) sees him gunned down by a trigger-happy white cop, Starr suddenly finds her dual existences colliding as she must determine whether to reveal herself as a witness for a jury that will determined if the officer goes to trial.

While O’Halloran has played high dramatic stakes before, “The Hate U Give” has a social resonance that goes beyond just any simple movie going experience. Yet as opposed to an in-your-face call for change, both director and composer take an unusually poignant voyage to that point where Starr will affirm her identity. As heard through a building sense of desperation and life-changing determination, O’Halloran is very much in his own, subtle territory here. With a lyrical piano theme, aching violin and an intimate orchestra, O’Halloran’s impactfully muted approach creates a sense of yearning and growing anger that’s both suspenseful and emotional. It a sense of lyrical somberness for Starr’s balancing act loosing its cool, mixing with more menacing electronic tonalities that hear the very real threat posed by the gang who doesn’t want her drawing attention to the drug dealing that’s used by the media as a weapon in dehumanizing Khalil.

O’Halloran’s beautiful, brooding score steadily gains its moving power without musical cliché, instead choosing to hear itself through a wounded young woman’s realization of who she is, and the price will bring. It’s a low key approach that will likely captivate audience members to not only understand the realities of urban existence, but help change their thoughts in a battle for social justice that goes from the streets to a very White House. As captured with a hush instead of a scream, O’Halloran’s impressive score for “The Hate U Give” marks both an impressive new chapter of in his sound, and continuing theme of characters realizing their worth.


Your first score was for Sophia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” She’s a filmmaker who has a definite appreciation for the world of indie and alternative music that you were coming from.

I think it was a great film to be a part of because it had such a great collection of music. It was also a good starting point for me as a composer to understand that film scoring doesn’t have to be this classical idea of what film scores should be. That’s sort of stayed with me – that film scoring is an evolving art form that should evolve and should move forward. In the same way, Sofia Coppola had a lot to do with thinking about how filmmaking can evolve, especially because she was into such different music that brought a whole new life to her movies.

Two films that got your further notice were Drake Doramus’ “Like Crazy” and “Breath In,” two relationship films that again drew on your alternative string and keyboard sound.

I felt I really had a lot to myself to bring to them, because that was the music I was interested in making at the time. Drake is a big lover of music, and he wanted everything to feel very fresh. He wanted the soundtracks to feel like a playlist instead of a film score he wanted it to feel like a playlist instead of a film score. I got a lot of room to really make good pieces of music because there was so little dialogue in those movies. The score was put up front. It was only after Drake’s movies that I had to do underscore and learn how to make music work with dialogue, which is a completely different way for me of making music for films. My scores for Drake are still two of my favorites.

You were were really put on the Hollywood map when you and Hauschka got an Oscar nomination for Garth Davis’ “Lion,” which also revealed a whole other ethnic side to what you were capable of. What was that experience like?

Dustin and Hauschka

Garth was a really wonderful director to work with and he gave me a lot of trust and creative room. So everything that came after that was fun and a really nice experience. It was really great to be in a Hollywood situation where at the end of the day just the film is enough. But I got acknowledged, and I got to bring my mom to the Oscars!

You do a lot of your work in Europe. What is it about being over there that adds to your music?

Europe is always a place that’s much more focused on the arts. It’s less a career-oriented place than New York, LA and London, which are expensive, career-driven cities. So it’s nice to be in contact with musicians and artists that have that different perspective, especially when I shared a studio with Jóhann Jóhannsson in Berlin. So it was great to have this kind of environment with artists that I really admired and appreciated. That kind of process that I’ve had in Europe doesn’t happen everywhere.

What do you think that being in a studio with Jóhann brought to your work?

Jóhann Jóhannsson and Dustin O’Halloran

Jóhann was just uncompromisingly strong in his vision. He was so intent on pushing himself and his music forward. He never, he never sat back and rested on his laurels. He was always pushing, and always very inspiring. In the short time that he was making films he made a huge impact on the sound of Hollywood. So many films now are referencing his scores. Very few composers have had that kind of impact. Jóhann was definitely one of the masters.

Even working overseas, I imagine that you were hearing the near constant stream of news of white cops shooting black people and getting away with it. What did you think of those stories?

America is a very divided country right now. There’s a lot of social division. We’re just seeing it in our government and a lot of places. It’s definitely much more of a topic in the United States, though. Europe is going through their own social issues. But I mean, what can you say? It’s a divided time.

What do you think it was about your music that made George think you’d be right for “The Hate U Give?”

The Hate U Give director, George Tillman Jr

Well, I think this is a tricky film because George was looking for a score that could hit a lot of the different emotional spots of the film in a very honest way, one that wouldn’t be this big Hollywood score, He wanted the music to feel like it it was inside of Starr’s character. I guess George had heard “Lion” and really liked it. In a lot of ways, both “Lion” and “The Hate U Give” are the kind of soundtracks that I’d never really done before. George and I had a lot of conversations about how he envisioned the score, which I had to show him, as I didn’t have a lot of past work that would sound like what he was looking for. But we just really got along very well. I went away and worked for about a month, then came back with about half of the score to play for him. It went really well, because he’s a great director.

Given how incendiary “The Hate U Give’ could have been in its cinematic and musical approach, how important was it for the score to remain low key, almost as a counterpoint to the heated emotions that are happening in the story?

Dustin and George at the scoring of ‘The Hate U Give’

I got the sense that George wanted to make a film that a lot of people would see and understand – to be inclusive. “The Hate U Give” doesn’t want to divide. It wants to show a humanistic approach to some big social issues and for the audience to walk away with something. The music was to ultimately help that. It isn’t referencing musical genres, but Starr’s emotion. I could actually get pretty abstract about that because George let me go pretty far with my ideas, which I was really excited to do. I got to experiment with getting away from tonality because I felt that sometime melodic content was too much for this film. That let me create more of a sense of feeling rather than a lot of “melodic” moments. They’re definitely in the score, but there also these soundscape moments that are about the intensity of what’s happening.


A theme to many of your score is that they’re about characters that are trying to find themselves, and their way through life. How do you think that applies here?

Music is such a subjective thing. It’s different for so many people. So, it’s hard to say exactly what it is that’s common about my music. But to me, I think it’s reflecting the idea of time, which is why it works with these kinds of characters, because they’re trying to define their emotions.

How did you want to play the key scene in the film with the police shooting of Khalil?

I just felt like I wanted it to feel like how something like that would feel. There’s little bit of melodic content in the scene, but not a lot. Mostly I just wanted this visceral feeling of like when something dramatic is happening in real life, because you don’t hear this melodically sweeping score. It’s an intensity that sounds abstract. You feel that in the way that George shot the scene, and from the emotion that Amandla gives to it. She’s an incredible actress.

Like Hamlet, Starr spends much of this story deciding if she’s going to take actions against outrageous events. How did you want to play that rising need to reveal herself as the passenger in Kahlil’s car?

I think I build the score to that moment. It’s a dynamically escalating score because Starr is dealing with all of these conflicting emotions. It is Shakespeare for sure as she defines who she wants to be. Because she’s always evolving as a person, there’s a lot of music in film – about 75 minutes. Because the story is constantly shifting, there aren’t a lot of themes to come back to, though there certainly are motifs.

How does Starr’s narration of the film impact your own musical storytelling?

I’m always playing her emotional perspective. So I guess the answers to that question is that the music tells you that it’s always about her journey.

The movie starts very impactful with Starr and her family being given “The Talk” about how they should behave when a cop pulls them over so they’ll survive the encounter. That will likely to be eye opening for audiences. In that way as a white composer, what did you learn about the black experience through “The Hate U Give?”

I think that really goes back to the prescriptive that George brings to the film. When we come to the big riot scenes at the end. He was really conscious about the music for the crowd not sounding dangerous. He wanted that protest itself is a good thing, even though it goes out of control in the film. The music shouldn’t play them like they’re the dangerous ones. It’s their right to protest. So I really followed him about how the music should be sensitive to those kinds of situations. For me, “The Hate U Give” is a really important movie to be a part of. We have a big problem now in America, and it’s great to work with a director who’s sensitive to that.

The other movie you’ve scored this year about a woman discovering herself is “Puzzle,” where the character literally puts together the pieces of what she’s missing from her routine as a housewife. What was that experience like?

I think “Puzzle” is a very topical film as well in a time where there’s a lot of awareness of women’s issues. This isn’t a big dramatic film, but a very subtle and interesting film about a woman discovering who she is in a typical patriarchal relationship. She doesn’t even realize that she needs to find out about herself. What’s special about “Puzzle” is that there are probably a lot of women like that, women with gifts that they don’t realize. Real life is a lot like “Puzzle.” It’s not big and dramatic, but super small. It’s about people who realize they’re big inside of their own worlds. And I think Kelly Macdonald is such a great actress to portray this very internal world because her acting style is so subtle. I’ve always loved her acting, and here it gives a lot of space for the music because her character is so internal.

It’s resulted in a lovely chamber score from you.

That score was done very quickly in about four weeks. I really loved how it came out because you never know how the music’s going to come out when you don’t have much time. You’re starting to film and we don’t have that much time. But I was really happy with how “Puzzle” came together.

I’d love to hear how your and Hauschka’s score came out for “The Current War,” but it’s tied up in the whole Weinstein company mess. What can you tell us about the soundtrack?

I don’t really know score the status of the film, but I’m very proud of it. It’s a very contemporary electronic score with a lot of percussion for prepared piano and analog electronics, modular synths and a lot of sound design work. It was deep diving it to try and creating something that was musically new. It’s a painstakingly detailed score, so it’s frustrating that the movie hasn’t come out yet. I hope it’ll see the light at some point.

Your upcoming score for “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is about a dog and racing cars. What can you tell us about this seeming change of pace for you?

Well, it’s not a cartoon with a talking dog in it! It’s more an existential family drama that’s based on Garth Stein’s book, which is told through the eyes of a dog. He’s definitely thinking in it. He’s the vehicle through which the life of the family is told. It’s a dramatic film that I just got started.

As a musician who straddles both the, the film scoring in the Indie rock world, how do you think your sounds contrast and compare with each other?

The Devics’ Sara Lov and Dustin O’Halloran

All the music that I’ve done for myself has been a very important part of how I approach film scores because recording something in a rougher way or the way I use analog effects shows how I’ve grown with music, where I’ve always recorded myself. So how I approach recording has just as much to do with the composition as the notes do. So that’s something that’s different about how I work. Some composers don’t know anything about recording and they just go to a studio where they record their music and have a very great-sounding score. But sometimes it’s not about recording in the most beautiful studio, Maybe it’s about recording a cellist in your studio, close miking a piano or putting something through an old delay pedal. That can create an emotion in just the same way. That’s what I’ve learned from making my own music is how you can record the same piece of music on five different pianos and in five different ways. And maybe one of those versions on an upright piano has a lot more to say than a beautiful nine foot Steinway recorded in the most beautiful studio.


Do you hope that the film gets out young people to vote in the November mid-terms, as well as making them ask why police don’t face justice for shooting innocent, unarmed blacks?

I hope so. The worst thing that can happen is that we are having a conversation and that we’re letting fear dictate our democracy. And I think that when people start to understand what’s happening and see the other perspective and educate themselves, then there’s less fear. I think our country is now starting to find that understanding. Hopefully it can bring about a more humanistic viewpoint, because there are a lot of different people in our country. We’re a melting pot, which is a beautiful thing. It’s just about trying to understand people’s positions.


“The Hate U Give” opens on October 5th with Dustin O’Halloran’s score on Milan Records October 19th

Buy Dustin’s scores to “Like Crazy,” “Breathe In,” “Lion” and “Puzzle” HERE

Listen to Dustin’s “Piano Solos” HERE and his work as The Winged Victory for the Sullen HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Federico Jusid

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 20/09/2018 - 00:51

Few writer-directors have struck a dramatic chord on television like Dan Fogelman, whose acclaimed NBC series “This is Us” have won over audiences by playing all of the heartstrings of triumph, laughter and loss. It’s a particular ear towards the human condition that Fogelman now takes to the big screen with Amazon Studio’s “Life Itself,” and hearing his musings loud and clear and with poetic subtlety is Argentinean composer Federico Jusid. They’ve engaged in a time, and country-warping tapestry that brings together a seemingly dissimilar group of mixed-up characters into a dramatic whole, its intimately sprawling tale arranged in chapters from a grief-obsessed screenwriter to rebellious rocker before travelling to Spain to center on a relationship- hungry olive oil baron and the peasant family he admirers for a film that’s about the act of storytelling as existence.

Fogelman’s playful, profound idea is fully grasped by Jusid, one of the rising crop of Latin American and Spanish-centric composers, all linked with their impressive ability to hear the human condition. The son of frequent directing collaborator Juan Jose Jusid (“An Argentinean in New York”) and actress Lusina Brando (“I Don’t Want to Talk About it”), Jusid was born with an artistic drive that gave him a prolific career on both the classical concert and film and television scoring stages. Catching the attention of international audiences with his work alongside Emilio Kauderer for 2009’s Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee “The Secrets in their Eyes,” Jusid’s numerous soundtracks since have included “I Want to Be a Soldier,” the epic series of the Spanish queen “Isabel” and the biopic of the Chilean poet “Neruda.” His rising English-language credits have veered on the side of suspense with “Kidnapped,” “Misconduct” and “Loving Pablo.” Put together, Jusid’s often-harmonious approach has gone from lushly powerful orchestras too more intimate ensembles, capturing a wide range of emotions that now pay off with lyrical resonance for “Life Itself.”

Given the work of Bob Dylan that plays in Will’s manic head that starts off the tales heartstrings, Jusid takes an approach that’s rarely above an unforced whisper, and all the more powerful for it. Piano blends with electronics and gently haunted strings lead to Latin guitar, forming a halting, lovely web of melodies that soon become as recognizable as Fogelman’s well-drawn characters. It’s music that’s communal in its ideas of love and sudden, sometimes shocking loss, as gently accented to radiant, and tearful effect. It’s a score that demonstrates themes as the ultimate links of hopes and dreams, showing Jusid as a composer who’s truly tuned into the tragicomedy of life itself.

(photo by Circe F. Ervina)


Tell me about your musical start in Argentina.

My mother and father were both classical music lovers, and played the piano in our house. I started playing it when I was five, and soon was working with a great music teacher, who also taught me to improvise – which is fantastic for a little kid. I believe this same person also created a system of music notation. So music was something that was very natural to me. I thought I’d never do anything else than become a musician.

What was it about film music that inspired you?

Juan and Federico Jusid

My parents were very passionate about their work, so it was very normal for me to be in the “green room” of a theater, or on a film set. I know that left a big imprint on me. Seeing my father work showed me how movies were constructed. I’d write background “jingles” for his movies. As a teenager, I studied at the conservatory, and would always be writing music. I think because of my family, I learned the “reality” of film scoring as opposed to the old academic approach that I’d get from school. I left Argentina to study abroad and develop my careers in both the classical music world, and the film one.

What was it like having an international breakthrough as the composer alongside Emilio Kauderer for the Oscar-nominated Argentinean film “The Secrets in Their Eyes?”

I ended up working a lot of Spanish movies, or movies that were Spanish co-productions, like “The Secrets in Their Eyes.” That film became very significant to, for me, especially when it came to expanding my career to America. I was able to go from scoring foreign movies in two or three sessions to getting a 120-piece orchestra and choir when I composed additional music for Alberto Iglesias’ score for “Exodus,” which was quite a new experience for me.

The first “Hollywood” score that you did on your own was for than Anthony Hopkins thriller “Misconduct.”

I actually did the Halle Berry movie “Kidnapped” before that, but because of Relativity Studio’s situation, “Misconduct” came out first. I remember waking up in the morning, turning on my studio’s TV set, and there was Anthony Hopkins on the screen, an actor I’d grown up watching!

How did you end up scoring “Life Itself?”

I’d known the film’s music supervisor Season Kent Though we’d never worked together, we’d often run into each other. I got a call from my agent that they were looking for a composer for “Life Itself,” especially one who’d be respectful for the part of the film that took place in Spain. I was just finishing the score for “Loving Pablo,” he asked if I could send them some pieces from that. They liked it, and asked me to write up some arrangements of the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love,” which plays an important part in the soundtrack of “Life Itself.” To be honest, I’m not completely familiar with all the work of Bob Dylan, but I knew what they wanted. I sent Season five or six pieces that were done very simply for Spanish guitar and the piano very simple, you know, Spanish guitar and piano instrumental, which got me the assignment. When I finally saw the film, I was surprised that a lot my previous scores were in the temporary soundtrack. That can be very fortunate, or very fatal! But they liked the flavor of the new demos I sent them. Things fortunately went very smoothly through the whole process.

Given that a lot of the characters never meet each other, but are interconnected, how important was it to set up their relationships with your themes?

I talked with Season and Dan about how my music could mirror the structure of the film, especially as it begins with the character of a screenwriter who’s always putting timelines together. I wanted my themes to interconnect the people in that way so that their music could flow from one to the other with an “architecture,” like Dan’s incredible screenplay. I just humbly tried to follow it with motifs that jumped from one character to the other. Some would be fully orchestrated, while others would have different colors. So eventually when all these musical pieces come together, you realize how they’ve fitted all along. The score also needed to work with the songs, which are such an important part of the film. It has a “language” that’s laid back in a funny way, yet is also straightforward and often tragic, much like Dan’s TV show “This is Us.” He talks about the most profound things, but in a way that isn’t rhetorical, or solemn, but simply and lyrically. So I didn’t want “big” themes but instead a score that had similarly lyrical gestures.

Could you personally identify with what Dan’s characters go through?

I’ve certainly lost loved ones, which is very hard to cope with. But as a mother says in the film, it’s important to keep their memories alive as we expand on our own choices in life. That’s a very profound thought, one that really touched me. I could also identify with Will’s compulsive character big time!


Given how over the top and sentimental this score could have been, was it important to keep it subtle?

Yes, absolutely. I was very aware of that. I tend to score melodramatic, and romantic stories with that same kind of understated approach. “Life Itself” deals with some very big, transcendent thoughts. The worst things I could have done was to give them a musical exclamation point. The score needed to be respectful, as opposed to being sweet – like a desert you didn’t want. It’s a movie that ranges from the funny to the tragic, and it was important that Dan’s point of view wasn’t over-sentimentalized.

Besides using guitar for the film’s Spanish segment, you also have some interesting “ensemble” orchestrations in your score.

Isabel Segunda temporada. Federico Jusid y la Orquesta y Coro de RTVE -Photo by Javier de Agustín Aldeguer

I used electronics, a Rhodes Piano and guitars in a way that was always interconnected. It’s very simple, low key approach, because I didn’t want to overdo it.

What kind of “message” do you want people to get from the score?

I think the message of the film, and the music is how every person makes an emotional impact. There are many layers to that, because the audience is given a new perspective with each character that’s on the screen. It was up to me to deepen that emotion, to bring in new musical voices without being distracting. It’s a humble goal, and I think it went well.

You get to be a lot more dramatic with your score for a new animated take on “Watership Down” for television.

Yes, the approach is pretty much the opposite of “Life Itself!” Richard Adams’ novel has been turned into four episodes that are very dense and lyrical. The music brings an extra layer to his metaphor of comparing rabbits to the human condition. So it’s a broader, non-stop score with music for big chases and death scenes. It’s beautiful and so poetic, and the music is “painting” in every scene alongside the visuals.

In the end, what’s your biggest life lesson you’ve gotten out of Dan’s film?

‘Life Itself’ filmmaker Dan Fogelman, composer Federico Jusid and actor Sergio Peris- Mencheta

With each project, I try to put my own personal style into its idiom. And I think that with “Life Itself,” I’ve helped the audience to understand, and enjoy being with these characters. In a broader way, that shows how music allows us to connect to one another, especially our loved ones.


“Life Itself” opens in theaters on September 21 from Amazon Studios.

Listen to Federico and Emilio’s score for “The Secrets in Their Eyes” HERE,

Listen to Federico’s suspenseful soundtracks for “Kidnap” HERE and “Misconduct” HERE

Visit Federico Jusid’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Milan Records Announces 'King of Thieves' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 15/09/2018 - 01:00
Milan Records is releasing the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for [m.52966]King of Thieves[] today on digital platforms, with CD and LP releases to follow. The film (starring Sir Michael Caine, Sir Tom Courtenay, Sir Michael Gambon, Charlie Cox, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winstone) tells the story of the notorious Hatton Garden diamond heist and will release theatrically today in the U.K. It is directed by Oscar winning director James Marsh and produced by Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Michelle Wright, Ali Jafaar and Amelia Granger. The original score by Golden Globe®, BAFTA®, GRAMMY® and Emmy® nominated composer [c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[] features full big band and in the composer's words is "a...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Carlos Rafael Rivera, Ramin Djawadi, Cyrille Aufort & Robin Urdang Win Big at Emmy Awards

Soundtrack News - Zo, 09/09/2018 - 01:00
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the first winners of the 2018 70th Emmy Awards. Some of the highlights are as follows: Original Main Title Theme Music: - WINNER: [m.50341]Godless[] ([c.13643]Carlos Rafael Rivera[]) - [m.48525]Marvel's The Defenders[] ([c.1154]John Paesano[]) - [m.53103]Somebody Feed Phil[] ([c.25486]Mike S. Olson[], [c.25487]Bridget Ellen Kearney[], [c.25488]Michael Calabrese[] & [c.25489]Rachael Price[]) - [m.46732]The Last Tycoon[] ([c.257]Mychael Danna[]) - [m.49445]The Putin Interviews[] ([c.674]Jeff Beal[]) - [m.47032]The Tick[] ([c.1590]Chris Bacon[]) Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score): - WINNER: [m.32647]Game of Thrones[], The Dragon and the Wolf ([c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[])...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: WaterTower Music Announces 'Smallfoot' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 08/09/2018 - 01:00
WaterTower Music announced today the details of the soundtrack to [m.49328]Smallfoot[], an animated adventure for all ages, which will be in theaters on September 28, 2018, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group. The soundtrack features the Niall Horan song "Finally Free," that plays over the end title sequence, plus original new songs written by Wayne Kirkpatrick and "Smallfoot" director Karey Kirkpatrick, with several performed by members of the film's all-star cast. "Wonderful Life" is performed by Zendaya, "Let It Lie" is performed by Common, "Perfection" is performed by Channing Tatum, and "Wonderful Questions" is a duet performed by Tatum and Zendaya. The collection further includes "Moment of Truth," written by...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Hollywood Records Announces 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 06/09/2018 - 01:00
For the first time ever audio tracks from [m.174]Queen[]'s legendary performance at Live Aid are being released as part of the soundtrack album to [m.49194]Bohemian Rhapsody[], 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' forthcoming feature film celebrating the band, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Recorded at the historic Wembley concert in July 1985, these Live Aid songs are among the rare gems and unheard versions from the band's rich catalogue. Alongside the show-stopping Live Aid performances of "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Radio Ga Ga," "Hammer To Fall" and "We Are The Champions," the album features other rare live tracks spanning Queen's entire career, new versions of old favorites, and a choice...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: August 31

Soundtrack News - Za, 01/09/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.64]George Fenton[] ([m.53469]Red Joan[]), [c.274]Harry Gregson-Williams[] ([m.53465]Whiskey Cavalier[]) and [c.301]Edward Shearmur[] ([m.53466]Escape at Dannemora[]), 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.2018-08-28]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.50293]Kin[] ([c.10550]Mogwai[]) and [m.51597]Operation Finale[] ([c.752]Alexandre Desplat[]). Expanding nationwide from its limited release last weekend is [m.52057]Searching[] ([c.24432]Torin Borrowdale[]). We are tracking song credits for the following...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Abel Korzeniowski

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 31/08/2018 - 21:45

One might say that modern cinema’s scoring for Satan and his clergy hailed from Poland, as the cooing voices, sinister ceremonial melodies and eerie atmospheres of 1968’s “Rosemary’s Baby” came from composer Krysztof Komeda. He’d provide his dark mass in impregnating service of his countryman Roman Polanski as they set up their coven in Manhattan’s Dakota apartments. Now decades later, Poland’s new scoring Abel Korzeniowski proudly continues the tradition by going back to the Blumhouse beginning his Eastern European neck of the woods, drawing upon all the forces of his country’s richly melodic traditions with modernist darkness to spare for “The Nun.”

Introduced in “The Conjuring 2,” the hell-sent demon Valak makes an unholy mockery of The Cloth to bedevil The Warren family’s investigation of a London poltergeist. With its ghoul-faced image and formidable powers, Valak wasn’t able to steal its victims’ souls, but it sure stole the sequel in much the same way that the evil doll Annabelle did for “The Conjuring.” Now given a 1951-set spin off all its own to expand The Blumhouse’s horror universe, “The Nun” retraces the demon’s steps to the Transylvanian address of the Abbey of St. Carta, where the innocent initiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) and the fearful Father Burke (Demián Bichir) try to discover the truth of Valak (Bonnie Aarons), with prayer their only weapon.

As atmospherically directed by Englishman Corin Hardy, who made the memorable Ireland-set spore horror movie “The Hallow,” “The Nun” offers many basement chambers, forbidden tomes, sealed rooms, and of course jump scares for Korzeniowski to investigate in the best tradition of Satanic church scoring. Known for his gorgeously lyrical scores to “W.E.,” “A Single Man” and “Romeo and Juliet,” Korzeniowski showed his more fantastical, and richly symphonic talents with the sci-fi animation of “Battle for Terra” and the surreal Disneyland music of “Escape from Tomorrow,” as well as the imagined human horror of “Nocturnal Animals.” But no project showed that Korzeniowski had the real supernatural stuff like his three season run on Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” for which the composer unraveled a gorgeously gothic, and symphonically rampaging take on a re-imagined league of literature’s gods and monsters.

Now Korzeniowski makes a full-blooded leap into darkness with “The Nun” with a combination of his orchestral aplomb and more frenzied, Blumhouse-style scoring where modernism rears its startling, white-faced head. Conjuring church-horror scoring at its finest, all of the gleefully familiar vestments are here, from gonging bells to Lamb of God Latin choruses and unearthly moaning. But Korzeniowski is sure to up the ante with a veritable witch’s cauldron of hissing “voices,” chain-rattling percussion, symphonic stomping and majestic Wrath of God orchestral lightning bolts. Thematically merging creeping suspense with demon-pouncing strings and only a few, tender violins to provide succor from the overwhelming evil at hand, Korzeniowski maintains his own voice while speaking in the dissonant spirit of the Blumhouse sound. But given Korzeniowski, perhaps it’s today’s horror scoring that gets possessed instead by his indelibly melodic voice for the silent Valak.

As a child, did you find anything frightening about the church or its servants?

I grew up in a Catholic culture. We were immersed in everything within the Rites. I went to church every Sunday, I remember attending school with all the nuns – where we were beaten with rulers. I don’t remember anything ominous about the church except maybe what was in the biblical stories that included so much violence from which the religion is based upon – all of them speaking about this higher power, this big image. This was my childhood.

Now you’re primarily known for doing these incredibly lush scores for movies like “W.E” and “The Single Man,” What was it like for you to go from the dramatic to the horror scoring world with Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful?”

It was very much surprising because I always thought of myself as a melodic composer. I had to find a proper contrast to what was being shown, not just jump scares or a lot of noises, but to show both sides of the situation. I thought of the sense of dread and the things that scare us more, to find that place of why we do the things we do to make my music “scary.”

Did you have an appreciation for horror films to begin with?

I am not a great horror film watcher. Often at times, they are too strong for me. I don’t usually look for them on my own. But one that did stay with me was “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” because of its sense of romanticism and its score by Wojciech Kilar. I can watch it over and over again.

How did you become involved with “The Nun?”

This was through Warner Brothers and New Line. They thought the film could use some of my approach based upon all my scores. I got a chance to talk to the film’s director Corin Hardy, who was still filming in Romania at the time, and we connected very well. This was a really easy understanding about “The Nun” from early on because I was shown a lot of the principle photography at an early stage. That let me accumulate layers upon layers of ideas for the film.

The Nun director Corin Hard (From EW.com)


I’m a big fan of Corin’s “The Hallow.” What was your relationship like with him on “The Nun?”

We worked very closely, and went step by step with the score. Corin really tried to make this as an atmospheric European horror film, to immerse the viewer to believing that they were in this abbey.

You can say that the start of the “modern” satanic score goes back to Krysztof Komeda’s “Rosemary’s Baby.” What kind of scores in that genre stand out for you, and did you want to pay homage to them with “The Nun?”

Komeda is certainly a highlight for me as a film music composer. He is the lighthouse to me for horror because he achieved something more than just the typical horror themes associated with horror film music. I also truly love Wojciech Kilar’s “Dracula” score, and wanted to pay homage to it with “The Nun.”

What do you think makes a “scary score,” and you ever scare yourself with “The Nun?”

I can’t say I know what a “scary score” is. But I can say what I feel when I write “scary” music, because we respond emotionally between what’s personal and what everybody else feels. I have to feel the sense of dread. I have to feel the jump scares — to know that their timing is right. My music has to affect me as if I was in the audience of “The Nun.” There are moments in this score where I would still jump every time I listen to it. It’s really strange because, sometimes, even though you know that something’s coming, it still startles you. So It’s that scary moment where the music is pulling our strings at precisely the right moment and we have no other way to react when it happens. It’s a knee jerk reaction, like where you hit your knee at a precise spot and your leg will always bounce! So there’s something to it in the horror film score, that part where it gets under your skin where it just stretches your senses and prepares you for the moment when that “jump” happens.

You could say that Blumhouse is the Marvel Universe of horror films, where it seems that every character is connected. When you got “The Nun,” did you just watch all of the Blumhouse movies to refer to the “Conjuring” universe to make sure your approached matched the other composers’ in it?

No, I did not. I usually don’t really want to reference other movies, but I did watch the first two “Conjuring” movies to see what the audience wanted to expect in a thematic way towards the film. I felt I owed it to the audience to understand this relationship with these movies and their scores. If I had written “The Nun” without the knowledge of the previous films, I would have written it in a more romantic style, with more counterpoint and less electronics. I tried to make this more of an earlier form of horror scoring, and more orchestral than the previous films, which were more modern sounding.

“The Nun” is an origin film for this demon, as well as set in the 1950’s. How did that play into the score?

Since “The Nun” was a period piece, it allowed me to use more elaborate melodic elements than “The Conjuring.” And because its setting is in an abbey in Romania, there are no modern musical elements like the other films. This helped affect my score by using Romanian musical elements, with the basic thinking that this was a part of Europe. So, there are influences of this being an Eastern Orthodox Church, with their characteristic of a male choir singing at an exceptional low range. This choir sounds an octave lower. Their basses sound just out of this world. It’s a very different type of singing, so I really wanted to have this quality in my choir where we could use singers who can go this low. Other voices were used for pagan rituals that were at the time described by the church as Satanic. Of course, they were not, but it is how they portrayed them – that pagans were something evil.

At points, these voices sound like a hissing witch’s coven that’s conjuring the devil.

Some of those vocal elements you mentioned—the hissing sounds, come from orchestral instruments, where the brass players were literally hissing into their instruments. Obviously, the throat singer was an important part of the score.

Blumhouse monsters don’t talk nearly as much as Freddy Krueger. Given that, how important was it for you to get inside of this demon’s head and speak for Valak?

The nun doesn’t speak much! Her theme in a way is a manifestation of that because it’s a choral phrase—like this calling, a sort of replacement of her voice.

Contrastingly, how did you want to portray Sister Irene’s goodness versus this overwhelming evil?

The spiritual aspect was equally important as came down to making that innocence feel real.

“The Nun” offers truly monstrous percussion, which at points sounds like chains being dragged across the floor and at others like some hellish Godzilla is stomping through the abbey. How did you achieve those effects?

For the first wild session, we did percussions, scratching sounds and orchestral elements. We also had seven huge bass drums that became an element of huge hits for the things we did throughout the score. We had a lot brass instruments playing to this drum that gave me an unusual type of brass chorus that naturally ring outs from this drum.

Scoring session stills from Water Tower Music


You’re a very melodic composer, where a lot of horror scores are very aleatoric and dissonant. How did you want to achieve that balance of crazy horror scoring and the kind of music you usually write?

I had to restrict myself to writing short and clean intensions with the score. This was a way of mentally trying to explore the intricate details in the performances that were beautiful and unsettling, On the other hand, I identified scenes that I thought really allowed for using horrific elements. Otherwise, I simply held writing those dissonant elements. I also waited for moments where I could use the orchestra in an epic way, or to evoke something metaphysical.

Having had your first taste of the Blumhouse universe, is this a galaxy you would like to explore further?

I would certainly like to have some time off, because horror scores can be taxing on my ears. Having worked on “The Nun” for ten months, I’ve realized how tired my ears have become because I always had to listen to the score at a loud volume to understand how it would work. I think that’s taken some sort of toll over that time. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the experience of working on “The Nun” with Corin – though I wouldn’t mind writing softer music for my next score!

Any concluding thoughts the state of horror scoring?

I think that there is room for music in the horror genre that goes beyond scaring people in the usual way. This is my goal – to write music that would stay with people besides the film itself. I think the horror genre allows for that.

“The Nun” spreads its terror on September 9th, with Abel Korzeniowski’s score available on WaterTower Music HERE

Listen to Abel Korzeniowsk’s scores for “Penny Dreadful” HERE

Visit Abel Korzeniowski’s website HERE


Special thanks to Alexander Portillo for transcribing this interview

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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