Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: August 4

Soundtrack News - Za, 05/08/2017 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.58]Danny Elfman[] ([m.50196]Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot[]), [c.1590]Chris Bacon[] ([m.45114]Sherlock Gnomes[]) and [c.2994]Federico Jusid[] ([m.50197]Escobar[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 30 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-08-01]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with music by): [m.44391]The Dark Tower[] ([c.8705]Junkie XL[]) and [m.42041]Kidnap[] ([c.2994]Federico Jusid[]). Expanding nationwide from its limited release last week is [m.49146]Detroit[] ([c.151]James Newton Howard[]) Among all new theatrical releases, we...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Warren Ellis

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 03/08/2017 - 17:50

For two through and through Australians, you’d think that Warren Ellis and Nick Cave are as American as a backwoods apple pie after listening to their hauntingly authentic, stripped-down take on the lethal outlaws, hardscrabble natives and salt of the earth lawmen that their film music has conjured. While they might have achieved alt. rock cult status in their other band incarnations as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman and The Dirty Three, Cave and Ellis are cutting memorable figures in creating the kind of strikingly rural scoring that hasn’t been heard since “The Long Riders” and “Paris, Texas” glory days of Ry Cooder.

Effortlessly segueing from their stage and album gigs to scoring in 2005 for John Hillcoat’s visceral outback western “The Proposition,” Ellis and Cave’s use of heartbreakingly intimate rural instruments, as merged with stripped-down experimentation, has created a poetically distinctive vision of our nation’s mythic west, and forgotten wastelands with such scores as “The Road,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” “Lawless” and “West of Memphis” amidst other stylistic scores.

Yet perhaps no soundtrack of Ellis and Cave’s is as lyrically sad as the ghostly lost people, and unsolved murders that sweep over “Wind River.” Marking the filmmaking debut of actor-turned writer Taylor Sheridan, “Wind River” reteams “Avengers” actors Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in a way that’s anything but superheroic, throwing them into a beautiful, white wasteland as Cory Lambert and Jane Banner – a tracker and an FBI agent reluctantly teamed to find how a native American woman ended up frozen to death – yet another casualty in a land where her people have been laid to spiritual, and economic waste.

Taking a bleakly effective turn from the ironic, unplugged western score that they’d provided to Sheridan’s script for “Hell or High Water,” Ellis and Cave create a score full of lost souls and madness, pushing their powerful, alt. backwoods sound into new emotional territory as environmental as it is cutting edge. Melody for fiddle and electronics create an air of mournfulness, with crystalline organ the unforgiving snow. Piano and strings speak for the pain of unmentionable family loss, with voices moaning for the desolation visited upon a tribe that’s become victims to hopelessness of their reservation. Perhaps most powerfully, Nick Cave’s voice is used as song-score, creating some of the film’s most powerful moments of reflecting mortality.

Ellis and Cage have made “Wind River” a powerful, lyrical journey into the heart of frozen darkness where death can come in seconds – a musical realization of nature’s power to drive men mad in spite of its beauty. Sticking in the mind like ice on lungs, Ellis and Cave once again evoke a distinctive regional sound that shows their talent at revealing the universal nature of an outback the reduces humans to their primal selves, with all the poetry and savagery it entails in their deceptively stripped-down approach – a collaboration that Ellis now ventures into.

Was film scoring ever on your radar when you began your music career?

No not at all. I was aware of music used in films and soundtracks as I have always loved instrumental music and watched films all my life. It felt like it gave me more freedom with my imagination than a lot of lyrically driven material. I moved between David Bowie and Stravinsky and Coltrane as a teenager. When Dirty Three started people assumed we would be a natural to do score work. Nick asked me to work on “The Proposition” and it all just fell into place. We realized we could create a world and sound that aided the image and create an ambience with minimal parts. We also realized we could make large quantities of music in a short amount of time, and create music that wasn’t on our radar at all. Then people started asking us to do other films. 
 I remember NIck and I rehearsed for an afternoon the day before the recording session and we came up with all the major themes. The fact we didn’t really have a clue what to do left us wide open to chance!

Warren plays with The Dirty Three

What particularly drew you to ethnic and folk instruments?

I have always loved folk music. The first tunes I played were bluegrass pieces I learnt from a book my father bought for me. Over the years I have realized I am primarily attracted to different kinds of sound, from whatever sources, and manipulating them. I am always happy to buy an instrument I know nothing about and try to make something work with it. I remember buying a Bombarde on a Dirty Three tour, and the guy said it was as loud as a jet engine. I then used it on “The Road” and the first Grinderman album. I recently saw a video of someone playing one in a church in Brittany. What an instrument! I was hitching across Europe in 1988 and some Hungarian musicians gave me a Foruja, a flute made from a reed. I guarded it preciously and took it home because I was so entranced with it’s sound. I also played the Erhu in a Chinese Orchestra in Melbourne for a few years. So I always figure I will get a song or a sound at the very least from any instrument I buy. It’s all just a matter of waiting for the moment. I bought my first synth in 2004 and it wasn’t until recording “West of Memphis” that I found its calling. Now I am never without three of them.

What was it about your music that attracted Nick Cave to collaborate with you?

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

It was apparent the moment we met during the recording of Murder Ballads that we liked playing together. Something just connected. There has always been a shared love of trying to make a song work that is slipping through the cracks. I had been aware of Nick’s work for some time since his early forays in Melbourne with The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party and I was a relative new comer when we met in 1993 .It was amazing to see him and the Bad Seeds work in the studio. I think it was the second time I had been in the studio and they were working on Let Love In. I was trying to play some string arrangements Mick Harvey had written up and I was losing! Mick was incredibly patient with me.

I think over the years we have been able to bring out the best qualities in each other with composition, and also to develop that creative partnership. There is an energy when we work that is addictive and still driven in a very pure and primal way. I remember when Nick saw Dirty Three for the first time, and he loved the attitude and energy of the group. He then invited us on tour to open for The Bad Seeds in 1995. There is always this unsaid notion of pushing each other as far as we can and taking risks.

How easy was it for you and Nick to transition from rock to scoring?

It just happened. He asked me to be involved with “The Proposition,” and we realized we had a way of working and a flow that produced large quantities of music in a short amount of time. We would just sit and improvise, make music and an editor would put them to image and try finding spots that worked. Over the years we have narrowed this process down, but at its heart there is still a process like day one. These days it is Nick, Jake Jackson, and myself and we record, edit and place the music. 
I guess having had a background in instrumental textures, and Nick having such an instinctive sense of melodic phrases and form possibly helped the transition. I just remember when we recorded “The Proposition,” something immediately indicated a way of working together beyond the band set up. Score work encouraged undertaking music normally outside of our comfort zones. So it has had a knock on effect in all the areas we work in. When I first met Nick he would play the piano and I the violin and we would play for hours, just messing around mostly without words. After a few scores I remember talking to Nick and wondering why we didn’t incorporate this approach in a band. Hence Grinderman.

How did you scoring process work, and evolve through the years?

When we started we had a very basic palette of piano, violin, loops, bass and drums on “The Proposition.” With each score we approach we have a discussion with the director about what style and tones they might be thinking, then we think about sounds and instrumentation. I think the first three scores we used similar palettes, adding strings, celeste and pump organ to the mix. Then it just seemed evolve organically, like making albums, trying to do different things from the previous scores, and also trying to make different types of cues. The inclusion of synthesizers and more electronically generated atmospheres came around “West of Memphis.” This score seemed to really influence “Push the Sky Away” tonally to my ear. Our aim is to bring something of worth sonically to the film and not just adding musical glue. Our scores have a certain sensibility that is not for every film or director. We have discovered the directors need to really want to work with us because of our existing work. There are certain scores we just cannot deliver, which is probably a good thing. The process is very much a sum of its parts. We both bring something to the proceedings and the realists are better for it.

Could you talk about your work with Nick for John Hillcoat on such movies as “The Proposition,” “The Road” and “Lawless?”

NIck has a long relationship with John and it felt like I was just swept along for the ride. Those scores and “Jesses James” feel like when we were cutting our teeth and working out how to do a score on our own terms. “Lawless” was different in that there was an idea that it was song driven and the score was more or less incidental. We moved to L.A for that one and found it rather difficult working within the machine so to speak. I think our distance from there was probably a good thing for the earlier films. But it is interesting to think of these films because they were mostly not temped with other people’s music, just some placeholders. I think in many ways it helped us form a style. Temp scores are such a nightmare to be up against. The powers that be get so stuck with the pieces and it is hard to offer anything that will make them let go.

John was always great to work with, knowing what he wanted with a vague musical description. He also trusted and supported us in the process. We can be quite a terrifying proposition for producers because we don’t make demos, so to speak. We go into the studio to find the score. I remember with “Lawless” everyone wanted to hear our music. But we told them that were why we were here, to find the score, and that caused some alarm bells to ring. There was definitely an air of “Who are these amateurs?” That film felt like a struggle. “The Road” also had issues in that Cormac McCarthy’s book had been so popular, as had the film version his “No Country for Old Men.” So there was a lot of pressure for that film to perform.

Another western score, and film of yours that’s only grown in cult popularity is “The Assassination of Jesse James.” Could you tell us about that scoring experience?

As we tour a lot, our windows for working on scores is very small and not very malleable, which doesn’t fit in with a film’s schedule. With “Jesse James,” I remember Andrew had two references for “Jesses James” – Alex North’s score to “Carny” and Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.” We had asked for a cut to work with, and received 30 seconds of Brad Pitt trying to fire a pistol in the snow as he contemplates suicide. They didn’t have a cut together, so we just started playing. It was Nick, Marty, and myself and we put down a load of ideas and sent them to the director Andrew Dominik. I think he was not very impressed with them, and we had another session where he suggested a celeste and pump organ to the mix, and again I don’t think he liked what he heard. In the early days we would have Gerard McCann out the back editing our improvisations to image, and he was fed a live line from the studio where we work working with Jake the recording engineer. When Gerard heard something of interest he would come out and tell us to put some of that down. It was a process we used on “The Proposition” and “The Road.”

Oddly enough Andrew ended up using 40% of those initial ideas, and we developed them into themes. I remember there was a point in the creation of it that it felt like it was going to get away from us. We had a hard time with the final cue “Song for Bob.” I remember, as we had never done anything quite like it. Then we had some string arrangements that we put in the mix and they seemed to resonate better with Andrew. They really helped make our ideas more cinematic and wide. I remember seeing the film in the cinema and Andrew had moved a lot of the cues around. I also remember being so blown away by the film that I couldn’t believe we were involved in it! I lost sight of the fact we had done the music, it was so immersive. That score was definitely one of those moments where you question if you are in fact going to be able to finish it. It felt so out of our reach at times. I must add Andrew kept batting for us, despite the calls from the studio to get us off the film. He is an amazing director and I would work with him in a heartbeat.

What was it like for you and Nick to score the documentary “West of Memphis?” Had both of you both been supporters of The West Memphis Three before it?

Yes, totally. We had both seen the previous documentaries “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Lost 2” and were aware of the travesty that had occurred. I remember while we were working on the score, there was the retrial and the director Amy Berg suddenly had a very different ending to the cut we were working on. To see the edit change to such an outcome was extraordinary, if bittersweet for the guys. Making a documentary was a new thing for us, and it requires music that adds a tone, but doesn’t steal the limelight with melodies, as there is so much dialogue to follow.

“Wind River” is a far more downbeat, yet no less riveting film for Taylor than “Hell or High Water.” Could you talk about what makes him a unique director? And did your collaboration vary here, given that this is a darker film?

I like very much Taylor’s scripts, in particular the dialogue. He has a keen sense of social observation and also a wry sense of humor. “Wind River” is his directorial debut and he said when he wrote the script he always had us in mind to do the score, and that he always planned to direct the final part of his trilogy. Reading it you could sense there was lots of room for score and that with the snow and melancholic mood it would require us to find a very different score tonally. He had temped the film with some of our existing scores that made it easy to target things.

Temp scores are such a bane for film composers. Directors and producers develop temp love then you spend so much time trying to get it out of the film. So often you see films where the music is so reminiscent of another score/cue and you know the temp has been imitated. The edit gets made to the temp piece, and then the editor has a hard time seeing it with a new idea. It can be such a bore because it takes away the composer’s duty to come up with something original.

Director Taylor Sheridan on the set of Wind River

Fortunately the temp for “Wind River” was only a placeholder and Taylor wasn’t attached to any of it. Better yet, it was our music .The longer a temp score sits on an edit the harder it is to get out. We made the score relatively quickly, two sessions of five days from memory. Taylor came to the sessions, as did David McKenzie, who directed “Hell or High Water,” which really helped move things along .In the early days the directors were always in L.A so there was a day delay in feedback and quite often more than that. So having the director in the studio helps target ideas more efficiently and creates an efficient dialogue.

For “Wind River,” we did as usual, which was to go in the studio and start making ideas we think might fit and try to find a palette. The electronics seemed to accompany the snow and internal workings of some of the characters and the vocals, piano and choir the overarching sense of loss and redemption that consumes the characters. Taylor was fantastic to work with. He was very trusting, open and let us do what we felt was correct. He also told us the film was very fast and dynamic to shoot, and he even rides the snow buggy sometimes. There is something about the film’s leanness and economy that is appealing due to the way it was shot. There is talk of more work with him, which would be great.

Tell us about your ensemble here, and how sampling plays a part in it?

Warren and Nick compose

Some pieces are straight improvisation with Nick and myself playing in real time, and then we develop that music. Others are built on atmospheres I create. We never use sampling as such. I make electronic atmospheres using whatever I have at my disposal, recording with loop stations and modulating them with pedals. I don’t own a sampler. Quite often I make 20 or so atmospheric ideas before I arrive in the studio with the film in mind, send them to NIck and he composes melodies to go with them. With “Loin des Hommes,” I remember 14 of the ideas found a target. On this one Nick branched out on the synthesizer as well as piano and celeste. But as I have said, it’s mostly about the moment of improvisation and creating ideas on the fly then targeting things when they start working.

We have a general idea now how to make a score and shape it to follow the dramatic arc of the storyline. We also added piano, celeste, pump organ, violin, viola and a string section and choir. This all feels like possibly the widest score sonically we have attempted, and the most spacious as well, because we really wanted to push the bottom end in this one and create a haunting glacial atmosphere. It’s the opposite sound to “The Proposition,” yet similar in it’s vastness of setting and internal rumination.

In “The Proposition,” you and Nick somewhat dealt with the plight of Australia’s aboriginal culture. How do you think what they went through compares to the devastation that befell American Indians? And how did you put that feeling into “Wind River” when you see the sad state of the reservation and its people?

Obviously there are parallels. Both Indigenous people gave been displaced and destroyed by white settlement. It wasn’t something we discussed to target intentionally. As our music has a certain melancholic and supportive tone, maybe it is why Taylor wanted us on board to reflect that aspect. I know he said he didn’t want a traditional score and he stood by his word. I am glad the score made it through unscathed as we intended.

Your scores have often dealt with stark environments, whether it’s the old west or the apocalypse. That being said, “Wind River” is likely the “coldest” film you’ve scored. How did you want to reflect the kind of icy mountains and plains that drive people mad here, yet are also beyond beautiful for those who can find peace in their surroundings?

There is something about our music that attracts directors making films with people wandering around lost in vast landscapes. It wasn’t by design it just happened. But it follows on from the types of music we generate in the bands we play in. I think once we found the electronic base for this score we had the cold/ snow aspect of it underhand. It was so amazing when we put the first cue to the shooting of the wolf in the opening scene. We instantly knew what we were looking through and worked through the reels cue by cue, sent them off to Taylor. Then he came over and we topped and tailed the reels in 5 days with his involvement. He was very trusting with our ideas and very generous in his enthusiasm and admiration for what we were creating. In many ways that permitted us to go on different excursions and take risks because of Taylor’s confidence. He didn’t get blocked on cues, which was a first.

As this score was unfolding we became aware that it was like a mix between “The Proposition” and “Jesse James” to our ears. Obviously the recited poem is something that occurs in “The Proposition,” and it felt appropriate to do something similar, as there were several meditative journey scenes. Nick developed something using the poem on the refrigerator and recited it over an ambience, and then we added a choir and strings. I think from memory this is the score that came together the fastest with the exception of “The Proposition.” That took 5 days from start to finish.

How did you want to play the “murder mystery” aspect of “Wind River?”

I think we let the narrative tell this part of the film. It seems like something that just unfolds in front of our eyes in a linear way. For us, this score was more a meditation on loss and the plight of the Native American Indian and we underpinned that aspect with the score rather than the “murder mystery”

In addition to its stripped-down organic sound, there’s some frightening and unusual use of electronics in “Wind River.” Can you talk about that element of the score?

I think “Far From Men” was when we started experimenting with odd electronics, like the way hip-hop is put together. I make these mostly with anything I find. For “The Road,” I used things I though might be around after the apocalypse, wind and wire that would sound like the earth in trauma. I made vocal loops, flute loops, and guitar loops for “Wind River” and pitch shifted and manipulated them. Then NIck, Chris Blakey and myself started sculpting the cues in the studio. The aim was to make these moments have impact and be in stark contrast to some of the more pastoral cues and ambiences. I have a big bank of loops now and I was working with Richard Russel from XL on his album. I didn’t know what to do so I plugged my pedals in reverse order, which is how I found that I could actually sample and DJ my own sounds. That really influenced how I made the loops for “Wind River.”

Not only are your scores “primal” as such, but they often deal with peoples’ baser emotions. How do you think that comes across in “Wind River?”

The score taps into the rawness of the emotions in the film due in part to its fragility and sense of being held together by the barest of musical threads. Also the fact there are kind of spectral voices in the mix that support the haunted aspect of Toby and his internal rumination. There is also something quite epic about this score to my ears when it reaches its climax. It is possibly our most realized and complex score in some respects. The string arrangements had to be very specific, and fortunately Ben Foster understands our work.

“Wind River” makes haunting use of voices. What gave you the idea for them, and what do they represent?

I think we have been featuring voices more and more in the scores, and when we made “Tell Me What It Is” and “First Journey,” we knew it was something that would need to develop and recur doing the film. Again it was something that once we saw the idea to image we knew we were onto something. “Three Seasons in Wyoming” is as big as our music gets in the film. We wanted that to be the emotional peak of the score, that final run through the snow. There was something beautiful and meditative about it, like the horse riding scenes in “The Proposition,” which felt kindred in spirit to this film.

Given that the loss of a child is a major theme in “Wind River,” did that make scoring “Wind River” particularly emotional for Nick?

We never spoke about this actually. He read it and said he wanted to do it. I am not able to speak for him on this. Obviously it must have resonated in a very different way for him than anyone else in the studio.

How did you want to use Nick’s song in the score?

It feeds into the meditative nature of the film and the way the score slowly develops and stakes its ground. It keeps changing lyrically slightly as the story unfolds. I guess it is part of Corey’s internal mantra as he searches for the killer and redemption.

As sad as “Wind River” is, especially with how you use an elegiac organ, was it also important for you to reflect a sense of healing for the characters?

Of course. There seems that moment in the film when Corey eventually starts to forgive himself when he is able to do for someone what he felt he failed to do himself. And we see in these circumstances that life does go on. I think some of the piano based ideas and violin themes underline that sense of compassion, healing and redemption.

Do you think that a stripped-down score like “Wind River” is more effective then if someone had taken a more conventional, orchestral approach to it?

I think you do whatever it takes and feels right to you and the director with a score. How stripped down often depends how much risk the director will take. There is a tendency to fill films with music because I think producers fear silence means boredom, and they don’t trust their audiences. The Europeans in general are much more economical with their scores, and very rarely does it underscore an action or sad scene. American films tend to do the opposite. I think the score for “Wind River” is effective in that it creates it’s own space and supports the film without overstaying it’s welcome. It doesn’t sound on the nose to my ears in terms of the emotional content of the music.

You and Nick also recently scored the eccentric Netflix film “War Machine,” which was a different sound, and subject for you. Tell us about that Netflix film.

This score was a genuine pleasure to create. The director David Michod was really hands on from day one with the creation of the score and it was a learning experience to see him in action. He’s a very generous and intelligent guy. It was so great ask why he wanted certain things and tones and he was very specific to the micro second it seemed. He really wanted us to do something very different from our usual scores, the Roedelius pieces were his idea, and he had a very definite idea of what he wanted the score to underpin. It was also great for us to step away from our traditional instrumentals and try to do something totally out of our musical experiences. I think it’s one of my favorite scores we have done.

Not all is beautiful gloom with you, as the biopics “Django” and “Gaugin” will show. Is it even more rewarding to score artists, whether they’re musicians or painters?

Vincent Cassell as Gaugin

I don’t really think about such things. Biopics are generally a “do not enter” for me, and I find them rather uninteresting with a few exceptions. In many ways, it feels easier dealing with fictional characters the known identities. I’d prefer scoring bank robbers to artists! But there was something attractive about trying to recreate the lost Requiem of Django Reinhardt and it was a style I had never attempted. When I watched “Gauguin,” I saw it as more than a biopic of an artist, it was more an allegorical look at a life opening when it was closing. I found the performance of Vincent Cassel incredibly engaging and moving. It was also apparent the music was given lots of room from the first cut I viewed.

Is a symphonic style something you’d like to try more of, especially as you and Nick went to “Mars” using a broader sound?

I think we are open to trying anything. Certainly “Mars” was another shift for us in terms of sound. Composing for a TV series is a different thing to a film. That was an interesting to approach. I should add what an integral part of our team is Jake Jackson. He has done most of our films, with the exception of “Lawless,” and he still reminds me of that. Since “The Proposition,” he has helped us define a way to work and shaped our ideas so that we can move in the soundtrack world. Initially he was recording the material only, but after the budgets shrank he started editing with us as well.

I would start bringing in ideas to get us up and running, like instant atmospheres, and Jake just keeps the tape rolling. We have developed a way of working together which is very copacetic over the last decade or so. It was as though recording “The Proposition” kicked the wheels in motion and the idea of how to create scores with Jake has been developing ever since. As he had worked on TV series before he was able to bring a lot to the table in terms of placement and form and structure. I think it very a very mutual exchange over the years.

When he arrived to record “The Proposition,” he was told we were a bunch of drug addicts so he had no idea what to expect! Jake said he was shocked to find we were actually incredibly hard working and straight. I like that with our scores there is a continuing search to move on from the last thing we have done, like with the bands we work in. It all feeds in to the next thing. Since “Skeleton Tree” we have made six scores which will shape where the next Bad Seeds album goes when we sit down to start that. You can make quantum leaps in style doing a score and get things out of your system. The also make you happy to go back to your day job of touring and making albums.

Do you feel like you’re following in the steps of Ry Cooder, whose use of stripped-down regional instruments brought a new sense of authenticity to American scores? And do you both think you’ve helped stretch the sound of film scoring in general?

I have no idea. We came into the score world from a rock and roll background and there was something in this approach that appealed to certain directors. As we aren’t musical technicians as such and don’t have wild technical abilities I think it adds to the simplicity and stripped down nature of what we do. I am not sure we are bringing new sense of authenticity to “American” scores. I think there are a lot of great film composers who have jumped over from other worlds, Mica Levi does amazing work for example with scores like “Under the Skin” and “Jackie.” TV series have also changed the musical ballpark, as they have for every other aspect of film making without stating the obvious.

If Nick and I have contributed something along the way then great. But there has always been a history of composers coming from left of center and doing scores, usually in the independent scene – or when there are little resources. Look at “Maniac,” “Driller Killer,” “Aguirre,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid…” The list is endless. Even John Carpenter did his first films because there was no budget and he knew what was needed.

In a way, given how many movies you’ve scored set in our backwoods, do you think you feel as American as you do Australians when it comes to composing?

I actually wish we were able to score more Australian films. They just don’t come our way for some reason. There is something about the vast vistas in the American landscape and the wildness that resonates as an Australian. There is a sense of space and isolation that is instantly recognizable to our own country of birth. Maybe that’s what it is.

What’s the biggest tip you may have learned to help you survive if you ever ended up in a blizzard at “Wind River?”

Be on the back of Corey’s buggy!

”Wind River” opens on August 4th, with Warren Ellis and Nick Cave’s score available from Lakeshore Records HERE

Listen to Warren Ellis and Nick Caves scores like “The Proposition,” “The Road” and “The Assassination of Jesse James” HERE

Visit Nick Cave’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: July 28

Soundtrack News - Za, 29/07/2017 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.171]John Powell[] ([m.44204]Untitled Star Wars Han Solo Movie[]), [c.3178]Jeff Russo[] ([m.50145]Star Trek: Discovery[]) and [c.678]Sean Callery[] ([m.42316]Inhumans[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 30 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-07-25]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with music by): [m.46320]Atomic Blonde[] ([c.648]Tyler Bates[]) and [m.45382]The Emoji Movie[] ([c.50]Patrick Doyle[]). Among all new theatrical releases, we are tracking song credits for: - [m.46320]Atomic Blonde[] (23 songs) - [m.45382]The Emoji Movie[] (25...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Bushwick' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 28/07/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release underground hip hop pioneer [c.21888]Aesop Rock[]'s original score to the forthcoming film [m.49467]Bushwick[]. His first ever film score, [a.21126]Bushwick - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] is a mind-bending collection of instrumental tracks providing an exhilarating beat-heavy backdrop to the Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott directed thriller. Produced by [c.21888]Aesop Rock[], the tracks also feature contributions on synth and guitar by Grimace Foundation. Lakeshore Records will release [a.21126]Bushwick--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on August 11th, on CD August 25th and on vinyl at a later date. RLJ Entertainment will release Bushwick in theaters and on VOD August 25th. ­­­­...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'Brigsby Bear' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 27/07/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release the [a.21287]Brigsby Bear – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on July 28, 2017. The album features the original score by [c.1750]David Wingo[] ([m.46047]Loving[], [m.33034]Mud[]). "I was beyond thrilled when I found out that Dave [McCary, director] and Kyle [Mooney, co-writer] were interested in talking to me about scoring the film," said Wingo. "I'm a big fan of all their Good Neighbor stuff and was kind of obsessed with these 'very special episode' sketches they did for SNL and was sending them to everyone I knew, and the idea of ever potentially working with them never crossed my mind until I got the call." "There was a lot of discussion as to how much the score should have in common...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Varese Sarabande to Release 'Gypsy' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 26/07/2017 - 02:00
Varèse Sarabande will release the [a.21281]Gypsy - Original Netflix Series Soundtrack[] digitally on July 28, 2017. The double album features the original music composed by [c.674]Jeff Beal[] ([m.48087]An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power[], [m.49445]The Putin Interviews[]) for the Netflix series, which premiered globally on June 30th. "The very first scene of the pilot is a bit of a microcosm of some of the themes of the show," said Beal. "We meet Jean walking through Grand Central station and out into the sunlight. There is a surreal quality to the light and slow motion, and a key line in the opening narration 'There's a force more powerful than free will -- our unconscious.' This felt like the way in - music should express the...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: July 21

Soundtrack News - Za, 22/07/2017 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.534]Michael Giacchino[] ([m.41886]Coco[]), [c.1784]Dustin O'Halloran[] & [c.15056]Hauschka[] ([m.48860]The Current War[]) and [c.14]Marco Beltrami[], [c.3354]Marcus Trumpp[] & [c.3355]Brandon Roberts[] ([m.50106]Little Evil[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 25 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-07-18]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with music by): [m.45378]Dunkirk[] ([c.237]Hans Zimmer[]), [m.46504]Girls Trip[] ([c.147]David Newman[]) and [m.44370]Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets[] ([c.752]Alexandre Desplat[]). Among all...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

July, 2017 Soundtrack Picks

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 19/07/2017 - 00:05

Soundtrack Picks: “WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES” is the top soundtrack to own for July, 2017


To Purchase the soundtracks from this list, click on the CD cover




Price: $19.95

What is it?: Spain has increasingly yielded any number of composers using interesting combinations of sound to evoke the human condition. Zeltia Montes is one especially unique composer as she shows a strongly stylistic ability to play the downbeat worlds of men, and humans behaving badly, beginning with three Galacians raising hell in Franco-era Spain for “A Esmorga.”

Why should you buy it?:
Having composed a spiritually rustic score for director Ignacio Vilar’s 60’s set “Lovetown” (available on Quartet Records), Montes now journeys to the 1950s with the filmmaker, paring down her instrumentation to a single piano in the process. Joining the unplugged, white and black-keyboard ranks of Brian Easdale’s “Peeping Tom,” Michael Kamen’s “The Winter Guest” and David Grusin’s “The Firm” in conveying the lonely piano’s ability to evoke large emotion, Montes follows three men over the course of a doomed 24-hour bender, barely raising the volume above a lovely, tender pace. However, “Esmorga’s” poignant sound is deceptive when it comes to depicting debauchery awash in sex and violence, making the score an effective, thematic counterpoint that speaks volumes for these ne’er do wells. It’s a yearning score that’s about unspoken bromance, and the ultimately tragic lengths it goes to, all while bringing out a uniquely feminine side to these alpha males. Montes return to her classic pianist roots here for an approach that’s simplicity at its finest, with Caldera’s engaging CD also containing a lengthy interview where Montes reveals her own lifelong musical drive and the reason for her unusual approach to “Esmorga,”

Extra Specia
l: With “Fragil Equilibrio” (“Delicate Balance”), it’s using a wall of inventive sound to the send earth to hell in an industrial-ravaged handbasket, courtesy of a doom-laden documentary awash in mass isolation. Led with a haunted, wailing vocalese, Montes’ mix of world and alt. music is hypnotic in its dire warning. Guitars and flutes convey the Latin rhythm of Montes’ native Madrid, the Shakuhachi flute a Tokyo awash in materialism and ethnic percussion the poverty-stricken Sahara. Equally as interesting in painting a globally interlinked portrait of disconnection as Guastavo Santaolalla’s fictional “Babel,” Montes’ use of metallic sampling and organic instruments get across the film’s message about the evils of industrialization, while making striking use of metallic sample in its score. But whether it’s employing piano solitude or the warped musical high-tech, Montes’ “Esmorga” and “Equilibrio” mutually speak with the inventiveness of a brave new voice on the international scoring scene.



Price: $8.99 / $11.78

What is it?:
Whether he’s on board The U.S.S. Enterprise, stealing the Death Star plans or partying in the Himalayas with The Sorcerer Supreme, a big key to Michael Giacchino’s becoming the reboot franchise king of so many Gen-X favorites is because he’s a kid at musical heart with the talent to match his obvious enthusiasm, especially when it comes to two of the best recent franchise reboots– beginning with the climactic “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Having taken over the series’ from Patrick Doyle after his striking work on “Dawn,” Giacchino brought a sense of dark majesty to king Caesar for a “Rise” that saw him anointed as the leader of his tribe to face off against the rapidly dwindling humans. With “War,” Giacchino turns the first talking Simian into Moses, for all of the righteous fury and reverence that accompanies a warrior prophet. But as dark as this “Apes” film and score gets, particularly in the opening that sets Caesar off on the path to vengeance, it’s the tender humanity that’s just as impactful as the Goldsmith-ian battery of primal percussion. Any number of memorable themes that drive the score, the first powerfully rising with a sense of biblical purpose. Even more striking is the pure innocence of little Nova’s melody for piano and strings, music that impactfully speaks for the impossibly cute mute girl, especially when Giacchino brings in symphonic and choral depth for a slave water-giving sequence that would bring tears to Ben-Hur’s face. Caesar also serves to inspire Giachinno with images of Kirk Douglas and Steve McQueen, from orchestrally crucified defiance to using playful percussion for a great escape. Questing, John Barry-esque rhythm and even a bit of spaghetti-western’isms adds humor to a grimness that threatens at points to verge into ape torture porn. But it’s part of the film’s pleasant surprise that musical good and evil gets shadings here in the long, consistently enthralling cues that make up Giacchino’s thrillingly emotional work. It’s a war tribute to “Apes” scores past and present, while blazing its own, excellent path where ethnic percussion ultimately gives way to a fiercely moving orchestral sound – a sense of melody triumphing over the savagely percussive animal instincts of monkeys who end up becoming musically more human than human

Why should you buy it?:
Giacchino’s fanboy sense buzzes perhaps most strongly in the gee-whiz nature of Peter Parker, a kid who finds that being a superhero is pure joy as opposed to suiting up for depressing psychology examinations like many other costumed adults in town. “Homecoming” is just about as lightweight as a spider’s web, and just as strong at sticking with the pure fun. It’s a score that will have any Spidey fan of a certain generation in the palm of the composer’s hand blasts off the Marvel logo with a rousing take on the 60’s TV cartoon theme. As opposed to trying to be alt. rock hip for the first Spider-Man movie to take place in a multi-racial teen world, Giachinno’s vibe for organ, bongo beat and guitar is a cool retro shagadelic update. But that doesn’t mean his strongly orchestral spider sense isn’t buzzing any less as it draws from the rhythmically trumpeting, heroic wellspring that composer Danny Elfman used for Spidey’s first swing out for Sony. This score dances about with a giddy feeling of Stark suit discovery before upping the emotional ante, yet not in a way involving an uncle or girlfriend’s death to the musical equation. Here dark menace is relegated to a brassy, neo-Wagnerian theme for The Vulture, music that villainously plays evil pouncing from the sky. Giacchino effectively sets up their themes’ conflict between hero and villain, creating a terrific motivic momentum between a guiless kid out to nab a mature bad guy, not quite realizing the civilian stakes at play until the somewhat darker music of Iron Man zooms in to percussively save Parker’s skin, and lay his emotional vulnerability low. But make no mistake that Giacchino’s “Homecoming” is pure comic book stuff, a welcome musical return to the days before the genre becomes a cloud of dark, depressing strum und drunk. Here the emphasis is on bright, exclamatory orchestral colors and brass-pounding excitement that the orchestra never fails to plunge, soar or use a web shooter with while saving the day. “Homecoming” sings with delightful innocence about just how cool it is to be a superhero saving the girl or duking it out with the bad guy. Even better, its music is as much about how neat it is to be a composer knowing that with great power comes a responsibility not to take it so darn seriously.

Extra Special: For all of the epic sweep of Spidey and the Apes, “The Book of Henry” also stands tall as Giacchino’s little score that could. Working again with Colin Trevanow for a passion project after “Jurassic World” (and no doubt anticipating a return to dinosaur funland with him), Giacchino writes an impactfully small-scale score for a mother following her son’s instructions on how to take out the child molester next door. While not exactly the most savory subject to work with, Giacchino certainly knows something about kids in jeopardy, whether by a deceptively pubescent vampire in “Let Me In” or a pissed off alien for “Super 8.” Taking a classically-themed approach by centering on the instantly emotional instruments of piano and violin, then adding unusual percussion like the Indonesian gamelan to the mix, Giacchino conveys both bereavement and hope, as read by an oddball kid who only wants to help in a decidedly dangerous and adult way. At first sunnily capturing the magic of small town USA with a quirky, very subtle militaristic rhythm, Giacchino soon gets to the “Story’s” darkness with suspenseful percussion and foreboding strings. It’s out of the 70’s conspiratorial playbook of such classic scores as “All the President’s Men” and “The Parallax View,” as used here to put a boogeyman into a gun’s crosshairs, While this isn’t exactly kid’s stuff, there’s a heartbreaking gentleness to “Henry” that ends on a note of gentle hope that homespun normalcy will return. Though it’s might be the least seen, and heard movie on Giacchino’s deck, “The Book of Henry” is perhaps no better tale at showing off how prolific composers keep things fresh by opening the smaller volumes.



Price: $21.99 / $27.99

What Is it: There’s an inimitable passion to the golden age of scoring, a time when opera-trained, Eastern European expatriates could be boundlessly expressive as they captured a far-less repressed American society and its Hollywood dream machine. Hailing from Vienna and Russia, Max Steiner and Dmitri Tiomkin stand as exceptionally romantic and musically boisterous composers, their all-hands on deck way of expressing emotion on particularly glorious display via the mentally disturbed high seas of “The Caine Mutiny” and the torrid “lust in the dust” of “Duel in the Sun.”

Why Should You Buy It?
: There were few composers better at playing American gusto than Max Steiner. As the guy who essentially invented film scoring with 1933’s “King Kong,” Steiner made unquestioning orchestral valor in the military’s service the marching orders of any number of soundtracks – a manly patriotic sound that filled such scores as “They Died With their Boots On,” “Fighter Squadron” and “Operation Pacific.” Yet it was in that theater of combat that Steiner also showed the valor in disagreeing with orders with 1954’s “The Caine Mutiny,” as his Oscar-nominated score seized a battleship’s command from Humphrey Bogart’s Commander Queeg. Yet you’d think it was all normal anchors away, anthemic stuff given “Caine’s” symphonic approach, which begins romantically by using the jazz song “I Can’t Believe You’re in Love With Me” for its hero’s courting of a nightclub singer. GIven the comedic bassoon, high-hat hijinks the join with soaring, proud music and such navy standards as “Colombia, Gem of the Ocean,” and you might think that Steiner was captaining Popeye aboard McHale’s Navy. But soon his powerhouse way of combining original score with recognizable navy tunes, call-to deck bos’n whistles and bugle revelry starts twisting into something darker, along with an increasingly unstable Queeg. Leave it to Steiner to turn The Marine’s Hymn into the raging equivalent of escaping from a giant gorilla or fleeing charging Indians as Steiner plunges down the mentally unstable rabbit hole with crazed energy and ominously descending music, twisting the score’s smiling patriotism that came before it. Yet there’s a sadness to his approach that remains sympathetic to Queeg, playing both the steadfastness of his troubled officers and the outrage of their de-throned captain – leaving the mutiny trial itself essentially unscored. Steiner’s work couldn’t have finally found a better home than at Intrada, a label that’s giving new sonic life to such classics as “On the Waterfront” and “The Ten Commandments.” “The Caine Mutiny’s” original, dialogue filled release stood as one of the most highly prized LP collectables, sans benefit of the actual stand-alone score on the album. Intrada rectifies that here while destroying “Caine’s” Ebay value by finally putting out the album that Steiner’s classic should have been all along, with terrific sound as clear as a call to revelry in front of a captain going to musical pieces.

Extra Special:
The financial disaster that resulted from the out of control artistry of 1980’s mega-western “Heaven’s Gate” pales before the better financial, if no less crazed filmmaking glare of 1946’s “Duel in the Sun,” where “Gone With the Wind” producer David O. Selznick cast his wife Jennifer Jones as a half-breed Indian who brings disastrous results to the good and bad brothers torn between her. It also created a raging battle between Selznick and composer Dmitri Tiomkin, a composer with no small amount of hubris – but with the goods to back it up. Given a motherland of Cossacks rampaging across the plains, Tiomkin took like a fish to water with the Hollywood western and its cowboy / outlaw mystique, composing epic scores for the likes of “The Westerner,” “Red River,” “Last Train from Gun Hill” and “Giant.” “Duel” is his epic summation of the genre. Given especially sweeping themes for impossible romance and sweeping rancher pride, Tiomkin lets loose with every gorgeous musical trope you could hope for – among them furious tribal dancing, the thundering heroism of a cavalry riding to the rescue, Mexican folk music, snarling brass villainy, a fateful chorus and orchestral tragedy – along with the best use of Stephen Foster’s song “Beautiful Dreamer” this side of “Mighty Joe Young.” It’s western scoring as pure opera, mostly as melodically bombastic as all get-out, and all the more glorious for it. There’s too much to hold for just one CD, and the winning music re-performance team of producer James Fitzpatrick, conductor Nic Raine and The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus bring on the galloping, Wagner-by-way of Texas thunder that they renewed for such other Tiomkin classics as “The Alamo” and the similarly fiery “Fall of the Roman Empire.” Frank K. De Wald, who chronicles the facts behind “The Caine Mutiny,” details “Duel’s” history while deconstructing its lavish cues in his superb liner notes for a movie where it’s a miracle that Tiomkin himself didn’t get into a gunfight with Selznick at defending his mighty score’s honor.

4) LA CONQUETE / COMME UN CHEF (300 edition)

Price: $19.95

What is it?
: Best known in the America for his richly dramatic scores for such fellow Italian masters as The Taviani Brothers with “Night of the Shooting Stars,” and “Good Morning Babylon” along with his heartfelt, Oscar winning score for “Life is Beautiful,” the prolific composer Nicola Piovani isn’t as well traveled here for his zany comedic abilities. But thanks to France’s Music Box label, Piovani’s deft, clever handling of humor is on glorious display for this CD double feature.

Why should you buy it:
For the first soundtrack, Piovani puts on Nino Rota’s circus clown shoes for France’s political ringmaster with 2011’s “La Conquete” (“The Conquest”), a satirical look at the rise of Nicolas Sarkozy to the ranks of president. Having taking over composing reigns from Nino Rota after his passing for Frederico Fellini’s last three films, among them the nostalgically swooning “Ginger and Fred,” Piovani was no stranger to the circus-like whimsy. Here it’s a big top given a jazzily romping theme with Sarkozy as leading the amusement park charge. It’s a delightful, deceptively frothy approach given the stakes at play for France. But Piovani has his eye on more than a carnival ride of a political Macbeth and his lady, using portentous strings and a devilish to get across a real-life man of ambition who’s in danger of selling his soul, and losing his exasperated wife. Twisted music box bells and tick-tock percussion also get across a political snake pit of cutthroats, while wistful, and sometimes brooding strings become Sarkovsky’s strained marriage – all giving melodic depth to “The Conquest’s” loopy humor.

Extra Special:
Piovani serves a similarly delightful Rota-esque course for “Comme un Chef” (“The Chef”), a tasty piece of froth that had international tough guy Jean Reno as a gourmet losing his touch, only to have his creativity, and ire boil over when teamed with an upstart kitchen whiz. Piovani gives this buddy chef comedy a wistful, sad-sack jazz approach that is more about slow-burn exasperation that racing for head of state, with a fuzz guitar only adding to Reno’s exasperation at the new kid of the butcher block. Elmer Bernstein’s sardonic approach for scores like “The Grifters” also come to mind in Piovani’s clip-clop rhythms, whose French taste comes across with the ingredient of an accordion, with even pseudo-Spaghetti banjo strumming applied to escargot. Where Piovani’s clever stew also includes Flamenco and a a zippy show jingle, what shines through “The Chef” are its lovely, bouncy melodies that finally bond its adversaries over the sheer joy of food – a la such French cuisine porn scores a la Alexandre Desplat’s “Julia and Julia.” For a composer often given to weightier entrees, this is a soundtrack pairing that’s as effervescent as champagne popped in a musical clown car rounding politicians and gourmets alike.


Price: $11.99

What is it?: Throughout his career, Lebanese-French composer Gabriel Yared has shown a deep, lyrical empathy for the horrors of war and ethnic cleansing. Hearing both the epic sorrow of the masses alongside the intimacy of two lovers, Yared’s talent for tragedy has included America’s Civil War in “Cold Mountain,” a boy transformed into a human dog by The Holocaust for “Adam Resurrected” and soul mates turned into mortal enemies by the Serbian war “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” But where these subjects have often gotten play in the cinema, The Armenian Genocide has gone curiously unrecognized in any major multiplex way until “The Promise.” Realized by director Terry George, who impact dealt with the tribal massacre happening outside of the “Hotel Rwanda,” “The Promise” deals with Turkey’s still (and always) unrecognized genocide of the Catholics within its county, an act whose seeming acceptability among the world powers gave Hitler the idea he could also get away with it when it came to the Jews. But as opposed to making some treatise, George’s treatment is as resolutely old schooled and passionate as a movie you might have seen (sans its more horrific violence) during Hollywood’s golden age, if the studios had the balls to make a picture about the Armenian Genocide back in the day.

Why should you buy it?:
While Yared is more than capable of similarly rising his orchestra to understandably thunderous outrage a la Steiner or Tiomkin, this soft-spoken composer is more effective with sad, floating melody – though stormy, symphonic percussion is certainly on hand for the Turkish army’s march of annihilation. Centering his score around a love theme that encapsulates both couple and their ethnic birth rite, Yared creates a sense of poignant, shivering foreboding, if not the inevitable – music that’s full of shame at seeing a country, and civilized behavior going to unstoppable pieces. It’s a style that’s nearly universal to any movie about a Holocaust, but Yared’s intelligent, almost soothing approach is never mawkish in getting across desperate sorrow. There’s also a sense of unbeatable hope alongside dire brass, urgent rhythm and chorus that has the survivors determined to make a last stand. Where the west has the violin to conjure haunting sadness, an instrument that Yared uses effectively here, there’s no more effective, ancient wind instrument in “The Promise” than The Duduk to convey desolation. “The Promise” hauntingly resonates with its sound of humanity and love put to the ultimate test, delivering on both the film’s epic sweep and emotional intimacy that makes an event unknown to most, either through ignorance or outright denial, come alive with musically devastating and touching results as only Yared’s distinctively elegiac voice can deliver it.

Extra Special:
“The Promise’s” album showcases Armenian music, from the festive fiddling of “Lach Nazar’s Dance” to the gorgeous hymn “Gohanamk.” It’s a spirituality that’s also beautifully conveyed through Veronika Stadler’s haunting voice, and lyrics as part of Serj Tankian’s Duduk-topped Authentic Light Orchestra with “Sari Siroun Yar,” Unintended sadness comes from listening to Chris Cornell’s “The Promise,” his distinctive, and now sadly silenced voice adapting Yared’s theme into a orchestra-backed title song, its rising melody recalling Cornell’s far more rocking title track “You Know My Name” from “Casino Royale” in a more mellow, if no less passionate way.



Michael Andrews has been a particularly busy composer on the funny-crass comedy scene, applying his alt. rock grooves to the Judd Apatow-approved likes of “Funny People,” “Bridesmaids” and “The Five-Year Engagement” among the even filthier likes of “Bad Teacher,” “The Heat” and “Dirty Grandpa.” While the Apatow-produced “The Big Sick” might not lack for F-bombs and one cute bodily function joke, it’s a far more gentle, and way better affair than anything bearing the Apatow brand before it – making for one of the year’s best, and most emotionally affecting films given Andrews’ intimately groovy score. “The Big Sick” resonates with the power of real life, as it’s taken from Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani’s culturally rocky relationship with a WASP that gets even more difficult when she falls into a coma following their break-up. He starts with a pleasant theme that gets across a tentative, sweet bond based on mutual joking, a guitar groove sending the irresistible pair down the happy lane of growing attraction. Where this kind of engagingly mushy stuff used to be expressed with lush, swooning orchestras, Andrews’ intimate use of piano, guitar and retro-synthy samples is the perfect exemplar of a new, hip generation of young lovers, with all of their charm intact through Andrews’ unplugged approach. But soon, the score gets more confused and nightmarish as unexpected life-or-death stakes strike, reflecting a guy who’s pretty much glided though life and meaningless hook-ups having his world blown up. As he can’t help stick by the hospitable bed, and deal with his ex’s none-too pleased parents, Andrews’ score grows even more lyrically moving in its mainly acoustical approach that ranges from melancholy to hope with each new medical development. Given a more affecting stage than before with the kind of hip characters that have comprised so much of his cool repertoire, Andrews’ often beautifully unplugged, theme-based scoring hears the comedy called life in all of its poignancy and warmth, making “The Big Sick” pack quite a moving wallop from the softest of musical touches, especially as graced with the catchily uplifting, hand-clapping rhythm of The Bird and the Bee’s end song “My Life.”

. CARS 3

Randy Newman has been there from Pixar’s starting line, with checkered flags waved for all three “Toy Story” movies, two “Monsters Inc.’s” and one “Bug’s Life.” Where he began the “Cars” saga, Newman was subbed by Michael Giacchino for the international spy action of the second-run “Cars 2.” But there’s no keeping an oldster from getting back on track, as Newman’s victorious return for the way better-reviewed “Cars 3” proves in reliably energetic style. Where the “Cars” movies have been Pixar’s youngest-skewing pictures with their bright, big-eyed vehicles, the new model gains a bit more maturity as Lightning McQueen faces the potential end of his racing career through a devastating accident. Leave it to Newman to go full, old-school orchestral speed with McQueen’s chance at redemption, bringing on the classic, Americana orchestral sound that’s defined his scoring career with the likes of “The Natural,” “Pleasantville” and even “Cold Turkey.” But if this new “Cars” is just a bit more serious, there’s gentle humor and rambunctiousness to spare in Newman’s approach. It’s all very much an enjoyable piece in his Pixar sound that hits every humorous bit and heartfelt emotion in a way that’s constantly shifting gears, but avoiding the Mickey Mouse’ing that’s a speed trap in toon scoring for any composer. A lush, sunny homespun quality powers “Cars 3,” with yokel guitar music drawing the once-hotshot McQueen back to his first consciousness-raising stop at Radiator Springs. Newman also has fun with Hawaiian fuzz guitar and sad-sack brass amidst the rousing, get-back-on-track momentum. For a composer who’s accompanied baseball players and horses through many laps of defeat and victory, “Cars” most effectively taps into the universal appear of sports-movie scoring, live action or not, slowing down here and there for Newman’s trademarked poignancy before trumpeting rhythm speeds McQueen out of the pit stop. As his hero spends “Cars 3” getting back into pole position, Newman’s lushly reliable gift for conveying the thrill of the race in an nostalgically understandable way for both the youngest, and oldest viewers is more energized than ever for his very welcome return to put the “Cars” saga back on track.


The Vietnam War and Disney live action might have seemed like very strange bedfellows, unless of course comedy and wild animals were involved. Such is the curious, and entertaining pairing of Alex North and David Newman on Intrada’s album of 1987’s “Good Morning Vietnam” and 1995’s “Operation Dumbo Drop.” Produced by the company’s Touchstone Division, which could give berth to star Robin Williams’ R-rated stream of consciousness as real-life DJ Adrian Cronauer, “Vietnam” is most famous for interspersing era-classic pop / R & b hits by The Beach Boys, James Brown and Them with Williams’ zingers. Yet there’s a score in here as well, by the rarely comedic Alex North, a master of soundtrack-changing expressionism with the likes of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Dragonslayer.” But that balance between fairly serious scoring and Williams’ song-filled mania is likely what director Barry Levinson was looking for. Scantly, but impactfully used at around 17 minutes of airtime, North’s score doesn’t sell out, but is certainly a bit less rhythmically experimental than usual. Beginning with a boogie-woogie, many of North’s brief cues carry a subtle Asian flavor and an overall brightness to them, capturing a somewhat heroic funnyman becoming intoxicated by an exotic land during his downtime, with a dawning realization during the film’s second half that not everything if fun and radio games in some of the score’s more expressionistic detours. It’s a bit like briefly switching from “I Heard it through the Grapevine” to the classical station, creating an unusual contrast that makes these interesting segues as welcome tune-in for North completists. Making far more of an orchestral statement is Newman’s “Dumbo,” a play on another famed Disney character, here turned into a real-life “flying” elephant with no end of bodily function jokes for the GI’s trying to save it from the Cong. Newman had long been excelling with rambunctiously melodic kid-friendly scores like” “The Mighty Ducks,” “The Sandlot” and “The Flintstones” by the time this unique animal movie came his way. In a sort of dry run for the African-set adventure of “The Phantom,” Newman combines Asian winds and percussion with his wonderfully antic orchestrations, which blend with electronics for an alternately thrilling and meditative sound. Where there’s heartwarming emotion and dynamic action to spare, Newman’s score is most affecting as it majestically conveys the bond between Vietnamese culture with a very human animal, one that goes back to time immemorial. It’s a spiritual understanding that drives the score, and finally gets into the GI’s heads beyond their grousing – even if the often funny animals is in the score’s jungle surrounding bely a situation that’s anything but cute.


Given the grippingly dark, lethally hushed quality of bros Brooke and Will Blair’s approaches for director Jeremy Saulnier’s “Blue Ruin” and “Green Room,” one might not expect much humor to seep through their music for another blood-drenched parable about the limits of vengeance. The no-relation Macon Blair (so great as a hapless vigilante schlub and a hapless skinhead schlub in those movies) is now the writer and director behind two losers out for payback against computer stealing psycho douches, and the world in general. Given an unbalanced homebody and a pumped-up dweeb with delusions of Bruce Lee nunchuck grandeur haplessly trying to take out the Manson Family-esque trash in their Silverlake hood, the Blairs get to have a bit more eccentric fun here without selling out their effective brand of simmering alt. doom. Taking on a twangy country music affectation, the Blairs use a weirdo Theremin-like sound to capture just how out of their league its heroes are, while haplessly bringing on payback with finger-snapping percussion, shouting voices and a 70’s-era funk-guitar sax action vibe. Having last played for Nazi punks, the Blairs are definitely on home turf with slow-burn chords and tribal percussion for “Home’s” druggie scum. As with their past scores, guitar is the attitude here, but it’s unleashed with righteous payback that ranges from thrash to the meditative, building to the film’s climax with evil metal-rock hits, their twisted music escalating with a sense of panic of two people who’ve gotten themselves into a whole lot more corpse-filled trouble than they reckoned. Taking their bad-ass energy up a notch, the Blairs continue to provide menace like few alt. composers out there, putting their metal groove into unlikely hands while revealing a surprising sense of very dark, if sympathetic humor in the process with a score you can imagine taking place in a Twilight Zone biker bar. Adding to “World’s” eccentric shitkicker feeling are any number of oddball, ironic song choices, from Jason Newman’s Tiki Lounge vibe of “Go Away (To Paradise),” the country balladeering of Texas Shapphire’s beatific “Bring Out the Bible (We Ain’t Got a Prayer”) and Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Bring on the Dancing Horses” for good retro measure – all adding to a humorously unnerving experience that continues the Blair Brothers simmering theme that revenge is best left to the professionals.

. LADY JANE (1,000 edition)

Where many costume dramas are inapproachably adult, and stuffily regal when it comes to attracting a youthful audience, 1986’s unsung “Lady Jane” was a welcome, romantic difference in the true story of young royals thrust onto the throne during an insurrection against Queen Mary, only to fatally prove themselves anything but their elders’ puppets. It’s a likewise tragedy that this marvelously romantic score would be the only theatrical offering from Stephen Oliver, a composer well-versed in such Shakespearean TV adaptations as “The Winter’s Tale,” “Antony & Cleopatra” and “Othello” (among numerous operas) before his untimely passing at the age of 42. If there’s a Bard antecedent to “Lady Jane’s” star-crossed young lovers (played by Helena Bonham-Carter and Cary Elwes at the beginning of their oft-costumed careers), then it would be “Romeo and Juliet,” particularly in its swooningly romantic, Renaissance-era period score by Nino Rota. Sure the usual stalwarts of the off-with-their-heads genre were musically on hand here, with enough heraldic trumpets, regal Latin choruses and aristocratic drumming to fill any number of coronations. But where “Lady Jane” reigns supreme in its genre is in how Oliver bends the music of stuffed-shirt royalty into the growing love between two teenagers who are placed into a world beyond their imagination. Given a gorgeous theme that serves for orchestrally robust pomp and circumstance as well as budding romance, Oliver’s score seamlessly flows between the symphonic responsibility of the throne with the far more intimate guitar, flute and strings of a couple’s indifference growing into a bond they’d die for. There’s terrifically exciting suspense and alarm as well as the adult’s plans collapse in the face of the True Queen, a blending of the Baroque classical and contemporary that makes Oliver’s score especially vibrant, and even sadder when you hear the sound of what could have been. But at least this gorgeously majestic, and heartbreaking score, exceptionally well-performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, remains a hidden gem no more thanks to Quartet’s lavish two-CD release, seen under the auspices of Tadlow producer James Fitzpatrick and Film Score Monthly’s Lukas Kendall. With the first album devoted to the complete score, and the second a representation of the release that should have come out at the time had the movie not be ignonimously dispatched, “Lady Jane” finally assumes its rightful seat as one of the great scores about royalty that this distinctly English genre has ever produced, one all the more distinct for its youthful appeal for both a king, queen and composer who could have achieved greatness, but leave behind an impressive memory of their brief reigns.


Among movies based on country-fied hit songs like “The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia” and “Take This Job and Shove It,” one of the most unexpected cinematic treatments given to a Red State ballad came from 1976’s “Ode To Billy Joe.” With it’s folksy guitar and plunging string line, Bobbie Gentry spun the story in 1967 of how Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and how the narrator’s family tries to make sense of his suicide. It was fairly daring in the way that “Beverly Hillbillies” star-turned-director Max Baer Jr. revealed the reason as gay panic, putting a tragic spin onto the re-teaming of attractive young stars Robby Benson and Glynnis O’Connor from the previous big city bonding for “Jeremy.” With their love now significantly more tormented in “Ode’s” unaccepting, period setting of 1950’s Mississippi, there was no better composer to call in than Frenchman Michel Legrand. In a film scoring culture used to lushly playing tragedy, Legrand had a remarkably thematic talent for tearing romance asunder in such as scores as “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “The Happy Ending,” “Wuthering Heights” and his Oscar-winning “Summer of ’42.” As with many of his memorable orchestral works, Legrand’s “Ode” is mainly comprised of a melody equally capable of swooning affection and heart-rending doom, his string-laden emotions spinning from delicate strokes of the piano into a full orchestra. For even if the finally manic Billy Joe thinks that no one can understand the unspeakable urges his girlfriend can’t comprehend, leave it to Legrand to fully express them. It’s the kind of sweepingly tempestuous, symphonic music for young lovers that instantly grabs the heart, keyboard, flute, harp and strings aflutter with all of the unbridled emotion that comes from raging hormones that don’t go the way its doomed hero desperately hopes for. Gentry’s vibe becomes the stuff of Shakespearean lyricism in Legrand’s passionately melodic hands with a score that stands tall with his best dramatic work, which remains just as vibrant four decades later with Kritzerland’s sumptuous premiere CD release of the original LP, whose first side as such contains the Gentry classic and Legrand’s score, with the remaining soundtrack given over to the far more indigenous country pickin’, fiddlin’ and harmonica blowin’ source music that’s a contrasting hoedown to a kid born in the wrong place, and wrong time, even if that song never hinted at first to the reason for his jump into lush, symphonic and oh-so French waters of the Tallahatchie.


Jet-setting Diane Lane drives about the French countryside with the business partner of her flighty husband Alec Baldwin (but when hasn’t he played one?) on this travelogue of food and wine where, thanks to the magic of the movies, no gains a pound. But as sheerly caloric musical fun goes, Laura Karpman’s score for Eleanor Coppola’s froth for the older set is an experience of imbibing in pure, hip delight. What’s better is that opposed to going for a dry, mature vintage of humor, Karpman knows how to soup this stuff up, while still incorporating everything we know and love about bubbly, French-accented scoring. Using a alternative beat to launch the gourmand road trip, Karpman brings on various courses of piano that play delicate romance and cafe jazz, while scratch-sampling such standards as “Je Te Veux,” “Que reste – il de nom amours” into musical molecular gastronomy. Fingersnaps, flute and strings unfold a picnic, while escargot is seasoned with reverbed female voices and a “Groovy Bistro” pops with accordion. While not taking a retro Michel Legrand approach as such, there’s a real freshness that recalls how dynamic those great, jazzily progressive French composers were at taking the classic sound of amour into a new groovy pop era, all without betraying their country’s swooningly affectionate tongue. As she accompanies a fellow American while absorbing all the pleasures of white privilege senses, Karpman provides an enchanting alt. road trip, at once lyrical and vibrant as her soundtrack flows with the rejuvenating effects of rhythm without losing sight, or hearing of what makes France so delightful, perhaps more than ever given her energetic sampling that puts a new spring in its heroine’s gentle step.


One of Italy’s great practitioners of film scoring shagadelia with the likes of “The 10th Victim,” Piero Piccioni could bring a unhinged sense of abandon to his work when not doing more orchestrally serious scores. Perhaps its one reason that his songs have continued to be groovily heard in such Hollywood soundtracks as “The Big Lebowski,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.” If there’s a highlight of sexual psychedelia in Piccioni’s prolific repertoire, then it would arguably go to the sensually liberated fuzz guitar and organ orgies of “Camille 2000.” So give Piccioni an Alistair MacLean drug thriller set in Amsterdam with 1971’s “Puppet On A Chain,” and the gloriously lurid result is like sending the “Camille” groove straight to the S & M room of hellfire club to be ravaged by brass-knuckle horns. “Puppet” is a grungily groovy score very much in line with the new, hep cop thriller music that was hitting at the time, most iconically overseas that year with Lalo Schifrin’s “Dirty Harry.” But if that Argentinian composer brought a female vocal fuzz guitar elegance to even the likes of the Scorpio killer, Piccioni’s treatment of smack-dealing Amsterdam sleaze merchants and a ruthless assassin is the psychedelic equivalent of slap in the face, as delivered via rocky rhythms in tandem with an delirious orchestra (performed by the London Sinfonia no less) and pseudo-007 horns. You’d better believe these cue titles mean it – from an “LSD Party” with bongo Indian rhythms to a weirdly distorted “Drug Hypnosis” the gnarled strings of “Fear” and the monstrous lurching of “Obsession,” “Puppet’ is engineered for maximum acid-action brute force – as dancing with filthy horns, electric organs and fuzz guitars at their sleaziest. “Puppet” is Piccioni gone gloriously grindhouse in a way that will delight his fans’ baser instincts, along with admirers of groovy treats like “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Barbarella.” Here, Piccioni’s sex kitten sound is a raging tiger, which is back on CD (and of course vinyl) thanks to this unexpected release from Silva Screen Records, awesomely straying a bit from the BBC respectability we’ve grown accustomed to. Let’s hope there’s more thrilling shagadelia to come from the label, especially when it comes to Piccioni.


It seemed that animal-friendly, hip kids’ friendly composer Christopher Lennertz (“Hop,” “Cats and Dogs 2,” “Marmaduke”) was truly beyond redemption after using Disney-ready music to have an R-rated orchestral orgy in the animated supermarket food aisle of “Sausage Party,” But there’s hope yet that Lennertz can re-enter PG-rated grace as he helps those little blue devils find their kin with “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” Sure, seditious humor is now an ingrained part of even the most gentle children’s movie, which doesn’t mean that Lennertz takes his music any less seriously, or ambitiously for these Belgian-born icons in the first Sony movie completely set in a CG cartoon world. Lennertz paints such a symphonically wondrous blue color that you might think you’re listening to tale of “Avatar’s” planet of Pandora, especially given his use of tropical percussion and winds. He soaringly captures the spirit of great kid’s adventure-fantasy scores, if most definitely in funny terms, especially when using a sinister cimbalom to play the frustrated Smurf-obsessed wizard Gargamel and his exasperated cat. There’s a delightful rambunctiousness as the characters set off in pursuit of a great, neighboring mystery, given Lennertz’s terrific writing for any number of thrilling, comic chases that are as orchestrally lush, and pleasant to run through as the movie’s fantasy jungle. Where Lennertz has fun evoking superhero music as much as he does a Simpsons attitude via the Smurfs, what stands tall in his epic score for small people-things is just how nicely emotional it gets in pointing out Smurfette’s hope that she isn’t the last woman in town, in quite lovely fashion for Lennertz and Shaley Scott’s song “You Will Always Find Me in Your Heart.” There’s a real, exciting musical dimension a grown up score fan would never expect from a “Smurfs” movie, a fun sense of magic and wonder that Lennertz brings to his enchantingly shaded music.

Way more muscle-headed adult, and about as subtle as sunburn is Lennertz’s action spoof ‘roid rage score for “Baywatch.” Having accompanied director Seth Gordon for the raw jazz assault against “Horrible Bosses” and the Tex-Mex cons of “Identity Thief,” the duo now update the winkingly innocent David Hasselhoff show to hard-on R-rated raunch. Just as Elmer Bernstein took a straight-laced, symphonic approach to the disaster clichés of “Airplane,” Lennertz hits up “Baywatch” as if he was scoring a completely straight-laced Rock picture. Hence this is likely the most insanely serious score that never graced a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Hyper-electronic sampling that sounds like an od’ing rave concert mixes it up with brawny symphonic action, and very sad piano music for a hero’s tortured past. It’s everything old school score fans want off their lawn, but then that’s exactly the very humorous, sweaty point of just how well Lennertz thunderously apes multiplex action music. Way more suited to a “Fast and the Furious” score than jiggling babes, “Baywatch” is seditious, testosterone fun, exactly the kind of bombastic fireball music the Rock is usually running away from in slow motion – though it happens to be on a beach amidst exploding speedboats and a femme fatale going to hilarious firework pieces. But then given Lennertz’s own history with spoof scores like “Soul Plane,” “Meet the Spartans” and “Disaster Movie,” taking off the excess of todays’ action scoring with barely a smile is “Baywatch’s” most hilariously seditious act of all.

. THE YAKUZA (1,500 edition)

The beginning of a beautiful musical friendship was drenched with intoxicating fatalism, as director Sidney Pollack and composer David Grusin had the eerie stillness of east meet film noir west for 1974’s “The Yakuza.” Way more in the spirit of Sam Fuller’s “The Crimson Kimono” than Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” “The Yakuza” finds Robert Mitchum, the icon of still-life coolness, as a private dick back in Japan to rescue his war buddy’s kidnapped daughter from the country’s ancient, tatoo’d version of The Mob. As scripted by “Taxi Driver’s” Paul Schrader at the height of his nihilistic powers (along with his brother Leonard, then revised by “Chinatown’s” Robert Towne), “The Yakuza” was filled with lyrical sadness for all of its bloody samurai swordplay and Yank gun shooting – a stillness hauntingly met by Gaijin Grusin. But then, the musician had often distinguished himself as both a master of cool jazz and as a composer who’d grown from fun, swinging work on “Gidget,” “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Divorce American Style” to far more somber, and dramatically complex work with “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” and “Adam at Six A.M.” He’d then show his adeptness with the criminally-themed “The Midnight Man” and the Mitchum-starring “Friends of Eddie Coyle.” But with “The Yakuza,” Grusin ventured into a whole new underworld. Where many composers couldn’t help by westernize scores set in foreign lands, Grusin reached an uncommon level of ethnic truth in his scoring, matching a level of instrumental authenticity that could easily have him mistaken for Toru Takemitsu (“Rising Sun”). Using the indigenous winds, chimes and percussion, much of “The Yakuza” is impressionistic, if not outright experimental. It’s haunted, shivering and conflicted tone, twisted brush strokes for the most part instead of an outright musical attack in keeping with the formal, poetic restraint of Schrader and Pollack’s approach before all bloody hell breaks loose, along with honorably severed fingers. Where Grusin captures the disorienting experience of a gumshoe lost in a culture’s most violent recesses, “The Yakuza” is still very much a traditional noir score, from its gorgeously drunken sax and a symphonically lush love theme to ominous, threatening strings of thugs in the shadows. But it’s Japan that’s ultimately in charge of this strikingly distinctive and somber work, whose tonal ideas Grusin and Pollack would return to America in jazzier form for the conspiratorial “Three Days of the Condor” and “The Firm” (along with far more upbeat soundtrack pairings like “Tootsie” and “The Electric Horseman”). Previously released on an out of print Film Score Monthly edition, “The Yakuza” returns to CD as part of Varese Sarabande’s We Hear You Series, featuring Grusin’s signature piano and sax touch, Japanese action star Ken Takakura singing a Japanese version of the title theme “Only the Wind,” as well as the addition of score piano demos. Jon Burlingame’s perceptive liner notes make this intoxicatingly dark trip to Japan worth taking again for one of Hollywood’s most uniquely made, and scored take downs of a foreign crime syndicate.

CLICK on the album covers to make your hardcopy or download purchase, and find the soundtracks at these. com’s: Amazon, Intrada, iTunes, Moviescoremedia and Screen Archives Entertainment

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records & Invada Records Announce 'Wind River' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Di, 18/07/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records and Invada Records are proud to announce the labels will be releasing the [a.20834]Wind River – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on August 4, 2017. The soundtrack will be released on vinyl and on CD later this year. The album features the original score by [c.1533]Nick Cave[] & [c.1534]Warren Ellis[] ([m.46413]Hell or High Water[], [m.49217]War Machine[]). Recently screened at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, the film was described as, "a quiet, meditative crime drama, and a wonderfully effective one, aided by haunting music by [c.1534]Warren Ellis[] and [c.1533]Nick Cave[]" by The Wrap. Screen Daily said, "Music, from [c.1533]Nick Cave[] and [c.1534]Warren Ellis[], seems to underline the...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Milan Records to Release 'The Glass Castle' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 15/07/2017 - 02:00
Milan Records today announced that it will release [a.21234]The Glass Castle - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally and on CD on August 11th to coincide with the wide release of Lionsgate's feature film starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson and Oscar nominees Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts. The soundtrack features the movie's original score by composer [c.]Joel P West[] ([m.38123]Short Term 12[], [m.42701]Grandma[]) and includes the original song "Summer Storm" written and performed by West and inspired by the original writings of Jeannette's father. It also includes the cover of "Don't Fence Me In" based on a song from the memoir. "Joel was part of [m.47045]The Glass Castle[] team from day one. He and I were...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: July 14

Soundtrack News - Za, 15/07/2017 - 02:00
This week, the nominations for the 69th Emmy Awards were announced. Check out the nominees in major music categories, including the inaugural category for "Outstanding Music Supervision" [url./news/article/?id=2416]by clicking here[]. Congratulations to all the nominees. Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.201]Alan Silvestri[] ([m.44373]Ready Player One[]), [c.231]John Williams[] ([m.49200]The Papers[]) and [c.1371]Austin Wintory[] ([m.50043]De Niro[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 20 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-07-11]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Brian Reitzell

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 14/07/2017 - 03:20

Surely one of the most deliriously strange and original composers working for Hollywood’s golden calves of television, film and videogames, it’s likely that Brian Reitzell would be playing for the both teams in “American Gods. Indeed, the old school overlords and shock of the new idols have been paid tribute. One on hand nightmarishly skilled in the classical instruments that serve as “Hannibal’s” favorite cooking accompaniment, and on the other showing that he’s keyboard-techno hip for the punk kids of “The Bling Ring,” the uniquely sorcerous sounds that resonate from Reitzell for the likes of “30 Days of Night,” “Boss” and “Watch Dogs” represent the height of eclectic music. And that doesn’t begin to cover the styles that capture the sacred and profane of this Starz series, which has just recently completed its first season’s road trip to reveal the true nature of the beings controlling the destiny of ex-con Shadow Moon, his sassily decaying wife Laura and humanity in general.

Adapted from the book by otherworldly fantasist Neil Gaiman by “Hannibal” show runners Bryan Fuller and David Slade, “American Gods” stands tall as one of the most visually striking and thematically profound genre shows yet put on cable – delivering on the graphic and intellectual promise that the cannibal stretched to the limits on network television. Delving into the need for belief that’s part of mankind’s DNA at figuring out their place in a universe so twisted and uncaring that it could only be ruled by supernatural figures, the first season of “American Gods” ripped open a curtain of rebooted deities, as masked for our particular culture. Here our iconic deities have masked themselves as media bros, a weapons manufacturer, an impossibly cheerful bunny wrangler, a surly slaughterhouse worker and a punch-drunk Irishman among many others.

Packed with all-consuming sex, gory showers and clever mini-episodes that show how prayers ironically deliver, “American Gods” is a field day for Reitzell’s most imaginative, and accessible work yet in the TV medium. Drawing on America’s indigenous jazz, the ancient rhythms of Egypt and the satiric pop of David Bowie for inspiration, Reitzell prostrates himself with unimaginable fusions of inspiration, whether it be hip-hop Celtic jazz, Wagnerian blood and thunder or the Arabic-cosmic lovemaking between cabbie and Djinn. Now with Reitzell’s work compiled by Milan fathomable and enthralling as its gods’ motivations. Reitzell’s music thrusts us into a world of ancient rhythm and the impossibly hip, at hypnotic peace in a way that new and old gods certainly won’t in the ensuing throwdown to come when “American Gods” returns – as heard by a lunatic composer who worships all.

Were you familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work, and this particular book before getting the series? And if not, did you dive into it once you had the show?

Yes, I was aware of Neil’s work but hadn’t read “American Gods.” David Slade had recommended it to me so I had a copy already on my shelf. I dove right in. Read the book, read the scripts and even listened to an audio book in my car. I wanted to totally respect what Neil had created. I needed to soak it all in and then I could decide where to go from there.

“Hannibal” allowed you to create some of the most unusual music ever heard on network television. With you working for that show’s creators on Starz, were the gloves truly off to just be as musically insane as you wanted?

Oh I took the gloves off long ago! “Hannibal” evolved into something that was uniquely it’s own. It had it’s own custom instruments. It’s own sonic language. Will Graham lost his mind and the music went there with him. I was blessed with having 100% creative freedom plus the love and support from Bryan Fuller, David Slade, Martha De Laurentiis and the studios. With “American Gods,” even though I was essentially working with both Bryan and David again, it was a very different situation. It was also a very different story and has it’s own universe. I approached it in a slightly more conventional manner because that felt right. There are moments when we are pushing things even further then we did with “Hannibal” but it’s certainly not as far out as that show overall. I did the show “Boss” for Starz a few years back as well and that was a lovely experience. They get it, and yes, the gloves are off. But the protective goggles are on!

Tell me about scoring the main titles, and what you wanted the music to convey about what was to unfold. How did the visuals inspire you?

When I was tasked with composing the Main Title sequence I was deep into scoring the show so I had to create it during after hours. Doing double duty in this business is very common as I’m sure you know. I knew it was coming so I started messing around with a chord sequence just based on the concepts that I was being fed by Bryan Fuller. When we had our first meeting with Patrick from Elastic who directed the titles I already had the chords and a full demo. He showed me a bunch of storyboards and he, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green talked me through the shape of it. I suggested doing it at 120 BPM which would make my chord sequence fit perfectly into 90 seconds. I originally wanted it to be more classic, more John Barry. Big orchestral. Pop. Bryan and Michael wanted it to be more percussive and dirty, and when I saw the images, that’s exactly what it needed. It all came together fairly naturally but it’s a monster. I maxed out ProTools. I wanted to score the images, not just play a song or background music. I also wanted a hook and for it to have lots of ear candy to accentuate all the visuals. I also wanted to cover the sound design with the music – engine sounds and such, but to do it musically and be cohesive. I wanted it to be thrilling and trippy and also to introduce Shirley Manson and Mark Lanegan’s voices as gods.

How did you want to get across the difference between the old, and new gods that represent blood and thunder tradition versus crass technology?

I wanted to give all the gods their own sound. I also liked giving a nod to both Monty Python and Looney Tunes so it goes over the top like a 50’s cartoon at times. I wanted it to be fun and to go deep. Most people won’t even get the reference of Norwegian Black Metal music for the Vikings but that’s where it started for me. I wanted Mr. Wednesday to be scored with a jazz combo and for the pre-historic Nunnyunnini animated sequence to sound like pre-historic music so I only used bones, shells, skins, wood and voice as my instruments for that cue. No digital or analogue effects even. I threw out all western musical forms and tried to make something that could have been made in pre-historic times. On the flip side for Techno Boy I only used a 909 drum machine and a computer program to score him. I love these kinds of challenges. Much of it is psychological rather than purely musical.

Many episodes would start with a self-contained tale that dwelt on belief, which often didn’t have the expected results for the gods’ worshippers. How did you view the importance of these pre-sequences and their music?

Those cues were pretty epic. They were standalone sequences and a chance for me to bring in whatever felt right regardless of what came before or after them. Each one was completely different from the next so all the instrumentation and style was altered to fit the particular scene / god / time / etc… I just try to get inside of the story and color it in a way that makes it as immersive and entertaining as possible. It’s always important for me to seduce the audience into the show so if the show would open with one of those sequences as it often did, then it was a way for me to have fun with the classic popcorn film score. It was a nice departure but it was also totally linked to the overall story of belief and worship. I wanted those scenes to feel connected but also be a very different experience.

Did you have a favorite god to score for?

I loved them all really. Each one had it’s own unique voice but the Nunnyunnini sequence was my favorite. I’m now very interested in doing more animation. I would like to do an entire episode or film that is animated. The only problem is that it takes them so long to make the picture. I think that scene took about 9 months and it’s only around 4 minutes long!

“American Gods” allowed you to also dig back into ancient, ethnic music, but with a twist. Could you talk about scoring the gods’ original homelands?

In between projects I like to travel, and when I travel, I always seek out indigenous musical instruments to bring home. I keep my studio as stocked with as many instruments as I have physical space for. It’s a bit out of control at the moment! One never knows when one needs a fish skin Riq from North Africa or a Chinese Sho. I like to play the instrument. Put my hands on it. To experiment with the different methods of making various sounds and textures. “American Gods” did afford me the opportunity to incorporate many of these instruments into the score. I don’t pretend to be an expert in any one style of music except my own. I am very interested in using instruments from all over the world and to have a basic knowledge of how to play them.

If I need something special or for something to be played by an expert of a particular instrument then I bring them into my world. This was certainly the case with episode 7 where I needed to create Celtic Doo Whop music. I brought in a couple of Celtic musicians to play on top of the Doo Whop tracks I created. That was fun. We had never heard Celtic Doo Whop and had no idea if it would work but it did! It wasn’t just the instruments either. We experimented with incorporating specific music forms on top of other musical forms, which was really interesting. We mixed a traditional Irish Reel on top of American Jazz with some Phil Spector.

The idea of making ancient music is very interesting to me. There aren’t any recordings of ancient music so there’s plenty of room for me to do it my own way. Over the years I have studied so many different musical time periods. I love it when I get presented with something that I haven’t yet researched to death. The greatest thing about music for me is how expansive it is. I will never learn or discover all of it so when I discover a music / musician / style / composer / instrument that I like and wasn’t aware of it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s been there all along but we were never introduced until now! I love the challenges that this show presented me. It’s just like cooking. You gather your indigenous ingredients, respect the traditions and make it your own using the most appropriate tools. This show took me to so many places but it’s important for me to be an individual. To make it my own, so maybe that’s the twist you mention. I have my strengths and I have my limitations so at the end of the day it all some how sounds like me.

“American Gods” had rather extreme, and stylish amounts of sex and violence, particularly in the all-consuming goddess Bilquis. Could you talk about scoring her, and her rather unusual lovemaking sequences?

There are a few Biquis scenes but they are all connected by the instrumentation. We made a flute sound for the melody by blending two very different wind instruments. I have been presented with some rather unusual sex scenes over the past few years. I just do my best to make the audience feel like they are in the film and in the case of that first Bilquis scene the audience is devoured! It was a very intense scene to score. It was all consuming to say the least!

“American Gods” had what’s arguably the most romantic, and explicit homosexual love scene been on cable between Salim and the Jinn. Could you talk about scoring this sequence?

That was the only cue that I scored and then had to throw out and start over. I originally did something more like legit softcore porn music – sax and piano. It was cheesy and romantic. It was hilarious! When I showed it to Bryan he said no, it needs to be sexy, primal. He wanted me to turn the audience on and get them all hot and bothered. I knew exactly what to do and in the end it came out really cool. Lee Scott, my music editor who also did “Hannibal” with me said it was the best cue he’d ever heard me do though it did get watered down a bit in the final dub. SO I have done a few sex scenes over the years, though nothing quite like this!

It’s all percussion and one horn. Many of the percussion instruments I played I wasn’t even aware of what they were called, so my engineer and I would have to Google them so we knew what to put on the track sheets. You can’t just put percussion 1 – 30 it would be too overwhelming. I learned a bit in that process. The VFX came in a bit late so I had to go back and hit all the fire FX after I had scored the scene. The VFX really need the music to make them work. To make them feel alive. If I hadn’t hit everything the way I did then it would have been filled with sound effects, which would have broken the sauce and cheapened the experience. It was a tremendous amount of work but it’s not every day that I get to score a gay Muslim sex scene. I wanted it to be very special. It had to be!

It’s often hard to get a grip on the gods’ motivations, and if they’re good, or evil. How was it to score characters that people viewed in moral absolutes, but were rather unknowable?

I just do what feels right to me. I don’t ever like for the audience to feel like they are being spoon fed or manipulated. I want to take their hand, strap them in and let them enjoy the ride. I’m just adding to the whole experience. Adding my color, my comments to what is already on the plate. It’s not always what you think it is on the surface. Laura for example found her way into the audience’s hearts but if you look at her story she did some unforgivable things. I loved that about what Neil, Bryan and Michael gave me to work with. It’s deep. It might be confusing at times but it’s always great to look at and it makes you think.

Music has always been part of worship and ritual, no matter the culture. How do you think that tradition plays into your approach?

I have studied sacred music of all kinds for many years. As a kid growing up with hippy parents in Northern California we even had our own ritual, something we called the “Riddim.” We would all grab an instrument, mostly drums, shakers, pots and pans and play them in unison as we danced from the house down to the Russian River that was basically in our backyard. We would all chant “Riddim, Riddim” and when we got to the river we formed a circle as the music reached a clamorous crescendo. The neighbors probably thought we were nuts but we did it for years. As a kid growing up, my gods were musicians. Concert halls were my churches. When I make music it’s a sort of worship to all the gods of music I worshiped and studied growing up and still continue to this day. Making a track that was influenced by Giorgio Moroder and then sung by the goddess Debbie Harry is certainly a form of worship! Same is true with the tracks I made with Shirley Manson and Mark Lanegan. It’s all ritual and worship really.

On the other hand, I found your music for “American Gods” more melodic, and fun as such. Would you agree, and how it important was it to play to the series’ satiric tone?

Yes, totally. It was fun to make that kind of music. To give a wink and be silly when it felt right. To go over the top and to honor a more melodic and traditional approach at times. In some ways it’s much easier to do that then to do something like “Hannibal” or “30 Days of Night” where I have to invent rather then re-invent. I really embraced the satire of it. Once I did the first episode and thought about all those great BBC shows of my childhood like Monty Python and Benny Hill even, it was very clear where I was going. I’m a very selfish composer. I take the jobs that allow me to make the music that I want to make so it’s always rewarding. But this show was so diverse musically that it took pretty much all I had. I love doing comedy and I love doing horror and it was a real pleasure to combine the two.

In the way that iconic visions of gods are warped here, how did you want to bend the music we’d expect from them, i.e. Irish jigs for Leprechauns, etc.

I’m always bending things! I like making music that fits a characters style but not doing what is always expected. The idea of using a jig for Mad Sweeney was too easy and surface. I liked using the Yamaha organ and doing something a bit more like Garage Rock for him. Of course when we got to episode 7 and we were in old time Ireland it made sense but the whole concept of using something like contemporary Irish music over him is just too expected and isn’t cool to me. I always want to do cool things so I try to add to the characters style to make something new rather than what everybody expects us to do. It’s too cheap!

Could you talk about the major role of jazz in its many forms “American Gods?” Was it because jazz is essentially America’s indigenous music?

When I started working on the show everyone around me assumed it was going to be Americana / Folk music and there is some of that. But to me when I saw Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday jazz felt right. Jazz is such an American hybrid. It’s magical. For me it seemed totally appropriate to go there. I think of Ellington, Coltrane, Bird, Monk, etc… as American gods. I could also permutate that music into so many emotions from a smoky piano combo to hard core Be Bop and everything in between. For me jazz is the deepest kind of music. You have to be able to play. It can’t be made on a lap top or just written out. I’m lucky to have a black book filled with some of the best musicians on the planet that I get to play with. New Orleans. Man, that place is America if you think about how Cajun / Creole food and jazz music came to be. It was the ultimate fusion of cultures and traditions.

There are a lot of cool “pastiches” of classic pop and rock in “American Gods” from Donna Summer to David Bowie. As a musician with a rock background, did that make the series particularly appealing in twisting about the iconic sound of the American rock songbook?

Definitely. There are places where it would have been easier to just license an existing track but for me it’s very appealing to create something special for the show that showcases those references. Bowie, especially the Berlin era and Moroder are in my blood stream. I have all the gear and instruments so those cues were quite fun for us to make. It’s nice to steer away a bit from scoring and to make a fully produced song and even better to connect it with the score that is very natural to me. Plus I’m the show’s music supervisor and Bryan Fuller is well aware of what we can do in here. He will sometimes put something in and say “you know something like this but make it even better and can we get Debbie Harry to sing on it.”

Shadow Moon is sort of our “everyman” guide as to what it’s like to be in the company of a god, while trying to comprehend this insane road trip he’s on. How did you want to reflect his flawed humanity in the face of the cosmic?

I used a whole bag of tricks for Shadow but I liked the more acoustic and minimal. That’s also where I first had Mark Lanegan in to sing on “In The Pines”. That track and especially Mark’s voice just nailed that guy. I was trying to bring a bit more emotion to his character because he played it very low key like Neil had him written. I had to be carful to not go to far. It’s a super fine balance.

Could you talk about playing the relationship between Shadow and Laura Moon?

It varied quite a bit depending on the episode but mostly theirs was a tragic love story and was pretty straight musically. Lot’s of cello, piano and trumpet.

Could you tell us about which experimental film composers you admire, and how they might have played a role in “American Gods?”

There are too many to name but Toru Takemitsu in my opinion was the greatest film / TV composer of all time and his sensibilities are something I really admire. There are nods to 60’s Morricone, Elmer Bernstein by way of Elmer Leonard, Bernard Herrmann, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Pierre Shaeffer, Carl Stalling and Treg Brown in the show. I loved being able to do jazz. To go over the top and make it fun in places. To improvise to picture like Miles did back in the day. I work without sound effects mostly so I’m covering everything with my instruments – locks turning, cards shuffling, ceiling collapsing, sun shining in your eyes, etc… I found myself thinking like a silent film composer, like I was behind a curtain with all my instruments. The dialogue is always my top line when it’s in.

Do you see a similarity between your work for “Hannibal” and “American Gods?”

Yes, it’s still very much me but “Hannibal” was more uniquely my own style and more me as the main musician. “American Gods” required more musicians, a slightly more conventional approach and massive stylistic diversity. Both shows have Bryan Fuller at the helm and Bryan loves for me to cocoon the audience with sound to create a heightened sense of reality, which I embrace to the fullest! Both shows share a similar approach in that there is a heavy emphasis on musical performance and gut reaction. I try to never repeat myself so I had to move some of my “Hannibal” instruments out of the studio and put into my storage room so I couldn’t rely on my past.

Could you talk about working on the vocal songs in “American Gods,” especially when it came to collaborating with Garbage’s Shirley Manson?

There was a scene in episode 4 where a Garbage song had been temped. I thought the song was lyrically off because it was too on the nose but Shirley’s voice and her whole vibe was perfect. Butch Vig (Garbage drummer / producer) is a friend of mine so I told him about the scene and thought I could go through their catalog and find something that would beat the temp. Everybody loved the temp – except me I think. Remember I always want things to be special. So since I didn’t find the perfect track in their catalog, Butch put me in touch with Shirley, who luckily lives in the neighborhood. She came by the studio and I showed her the episode. She totally got the episode and with the character of Laura Moon.

Since I was super busy scoring the show I brought in my friend Roger Manning to help me quickly co-compose and record a track. The scene starts with the sound and image of a punching bag so I took that as my starting place and built a rhythm track based around that sort of cadence. Slapping flam taps on my legs and then adding drums, percussion and keyboards. It had a really nice post punk feel to it. Shirley wrote lyrics and came down and sang on it. It all happened really quickly because it was so natural for all of us. I think Roger and I had the backing track written and recorded in a couple hours and Shirley popped in a day or so later and after an hour we were done. The mix took a bit longer. I then brought Shirley back in to sing on the Main Title sequence and again be part of our own little ABBA with Debbie Harry for the last episode. I considered Shirley, Debbie and Mark Lanegan all musical gods / goddesses and liked bringing them back through out the life of the show.

What was the most difficult episode for you to score, and why?

The first one took the longest, which it always does. The most demanding though was the final episode. It required so many styles from Bob Fosee to Vivaldi to Herrmann to Moroder to Bugs Bunny to Morricone to…. The arc of the episode was brutal and I knew when I watched it that I wasn’t going to sleep for a week. I only had a week because the shows schedule got super compressed due to the VFX. I worked 95 days straight to pull it all off and I was getting tired so seeing that episode and knowing what I needed to do was daunting to say the least. Luckily I had started on the Moroder track a few weeks ahead because I knew it was coming and I needed to get it to Debbie who was in Australia on tour. It all worked out great and I’m very proud of it. I have an excellent team and could not have managed it without them. I work pretty old school so it takes a whole kitchen crew to get the food out on time and at such a high level. Regardless of any past successes I want to keep my Michelin stars! Every score is like a new frontier.

You wouldn’t expect tearful emotion from this show, but we certainly got it in the episode where we find out about Laura’s Irish ancestor. Could you talk about taking a relatively conventional approach to elicit that response?

I always just score what they give me. That episode was the one where we made Celtic Doo Whop too. I brought in some incredibly talented Celtic musicians who I had never worked with. I wanted it to feel like a children’s fairy tale. Big strings, whistles, pipes and choir. It might be the straightest episode except for that Doo Whop slant. That was fun for me. I rarely go there, but the whole experience with scoring this show was to try and faithfully create what the show needed. Those sweeping shots of the sea cliffs, the visions of leprechauns, a grandmother telling stories to her grand daughter. It reminded me of so many films I saw as a kid and so that’s where I went. I can be the straight guy but I rarely get asked to do that sort of thing and honestly I rarely want to because it’s been done so well for so long. There are a 1,000 people in LA that can do that same thing effortlessly. I mostly like being myself rather than doing what’s expected. But I love a good popcorn movie and that episode was a treat for me.

What was it like for you to finally unleash the musical thunder when Wednesday reveals his true identity in the climactic episode?

You mean to bring in the brass! That was something that had been building really since the first episode. It was great to have a big orchestra and to play with the swirling of the storm. That whole last act goes from one three-minute cue into another. I felt like I was making side two of Abbey Road but with a giant orchestra it’s all connected but goes so many different places. Ian McShane is such a powerful actor, it’s thrilling to color his performances.

Do you think that “American Gods” shows that the sky is truly the limit for genre shows, especially in terms of their music? And how do you hope “American Gods” develops for its second season?

The sky is always the limit! We have definitely entered a new era yet again. The bar keeps going up and up. I have never worked on anything quite like “American Gods.” Nobody had. It’s not film, TV or a video game. It’s all three rolled into one! All the different departments were working harder, longer and doing things they had never done before to get to the finish line. We had two show runners so it was doubly intense for all departments. This show could not have been made five or ten years ago. The times and the technology have made any and everything possible. Everything that I have done in my career prepared me for this, which is what I say ever year. But seriously this show made me go to places I hadn’t been in years and made me stretch myself out to places I had never been to before. To work in styles I had only ever listened to or appreciated from the audience. My mind is being blown on a weekly basis. I hope that next season is 10 episodes and that there is more animation, more musical collaborations and more of the same only different just like the book.

There still remains hope that “Hannibal” can be resurrected. If so, what would your hopes be for a third season’s story, and relationship arch?

I trust Bryan Fuller completely with the story. If we get the chance to do a 4th season or a film version I would welcome that. That was such a special show. Working with Mads and Hugh on the screen is such a pleasure.

If you could create you own musical god, how you describe him, or her? And how would you play it?

To me the most powerful and beautiful sounds come from nature. I would like to have a Mother Nature god and to score her with musical instruments that sound like nature. Everything from thunder storms to ocean waves to birds to wind.

Worship Brian Reitzell’s score to “American Gods” on Mr. World’s foul new media digital format HERE, or go Odin old school CD HERE

Watch “American Gods” on Starz HERE

Listen to Brian Reitzell’s nightmarish seasons of “Hannibal” HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 69th Emmy Awards Nominations Announced

Soundtrack News - Vr, 14/07/2017 - 02:00
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the nominees for the 2017 69th Emmy Awards. Some of the highlights are as follows: Original Main Title Theme Music: - [m.48533]Feud: Bette and Joan[] ([c.3207]Mac Quayle[]) - [m.47548]Genius[] ([c.237]Hans Zimmer[] & [c.1465]Lorne Balfe[]) - [m.48421]The Good Fight[] ([c.1620]David Buckley[]) - [m.46868]Stranger Things[] ([c.19144]Michael Stein[] and [c.19143]Kyle Dixon[]) - [m.46296]Victoria[] ([c.1449]Martin Phipps[]) - [m.42756]Westworld[] ([c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[]) Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score): - [m.44918]The Crown[], Hyde Park Corner ([c.540]Rupert Gregson-Williams[]) - [m.33760]House of Cards[], Chapter 63 ([c.674]Jeff Beal[]) - [m.46657]Planet Earth II[]...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Bruce Broughton to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at SoundTrack_Cologne

Soundtrack News - Wo, 12/07/2017 - 02:00
Within a festive award ceremony on the evening of August 26th, legendary film composer [c.21]Bruce Broughton[] will be awarded this year's Lifetime Achievement Award of SoundTrack_Cologne. 10-time Emmy Winner [c.21]Bruce Broughton[] has scored some of the most iconic TV series. His television themes include Seth MacFarlane's [m.49168]The Orville[], [m.12910]JAG[], Steven Spielberg's [m.26282]Tiny Toon Adventures[] and [m.6668]Dinosaurs[]. His scores for television range from mini-series such as [m.43325]Texas Rising[] and [m.2831]The Blue and Gray[] to TV movies ([m.50021]Warm Springs[], [m.18906]O Pioneers![]) and countless episodes of television series such as [m.5650]Dallas[], [m.21097]Quincy[], [m.11771]How the West Was...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Wish Upon' Soundtrack & Score Albums

Soundtrack News - Di, 11/07/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release both the original soundtrack and an original score album for the film [m.47910]Wish Upon[] digitally on July 14, 2017. The [a.21184]Wish Upon – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[], with music supervision by three-time Grammy nominee [c.3859]Alexandra Patsavas[], features the original song "Be Careful What You Wished For" by Wayfarers, along with tracks by Hey Violet, Grace Mitchell, Kil The Giant, Lili Ray, and Leo Soul (feat. Lili Ray). It will be released on CD later this summer. The [a.21185]Wish Upon – Original Score[] album features music by [c.868]tomandandy[] ([m.46410]The Monster[], [m.22240]The Rules of Attraction[], [m.13622]Killing Zoe[]). "John [Leonetti, director] and I worked closely...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Announcing Rick Baitz’s NY Film Scoring Mentorship Program – Apply by 7/21

Film Music Magazine News - Ma, 10/07/2017 - 21:54

BMI composer Rick Baitz is again directing his “Composing for the Screen 2017: A Film Scoring Mentorship Program” at BMI’s New York office starting September 6. The BMI-sponsored program, which is free to accepted participants, will select a small number of emerging film composers for a series of six workshops that will explore a wide range of film music excerpts – studying, composing, recording, and sharing work in a supportive environment. Students will leave the workshop with greater confidence in their own voices as media composers, an enhanced sensitivity to the art of composing for the screen, several strong cues for their reel, and an increased understanding of the film music business.This opportunity is also followed up with year-round continued consultation and development.

Prerequisites for the program include the ability to read and write music, history of experience and credits as a composer with media scoring experience preferred, access to music production equipment: computer, DAW (Logic, Digital Performer, ProTools, Cubase, etc.), notation software (Sibelius, Finale) and ability to create MIDI or hybrid scores.

Applications must be received by Friday, July 21, 2017. All application materials should be emailed with links to your music to Rick Baitz at

All sessions will be held at the BMI Media Room, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St, NYC 10007, with the exception of Session 5 (the final recording session) which will be announced at a later date. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 4-7 PM

Wednesday. Sept. 13, 4-7 PM

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 4-7 PM

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 4-7 PM

(Two-week break to prepare final project)

Wednesday, Oct. 11 – Recording session – location TBA, 2:00-5:30 PM

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 4-7 PM

Download the application here!

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Michael Giacchino Launches New Website

Soundtrack News - Za, 08/07/2017 - 02:00
[c.534]Michael Giacchino[] has launched his new official website. The composer whose credits include [m.24544]Star Trek[], [m.32685]Inside Out[], [m.36457]Jurassic World[], [m.34278]Dawn of the Planet of the Apes[], [m.12440]The Incredibles[] and [m.38198]Doctor Strange[] has received an Academy Award and two Grammy Awards for Pixar's [m.29995]Up[] and another Oscar nomination for the studio's [m.21287]Ratatouille[], as well an Emmy Award for [m.32685]Lost[]. His recent projects include Marvel's [m.38133]Spider-Man: Homecoming[] and Matt Reeves' [m.39882]War for the Planet of the Apes[], both of which are being released this month. The website features a biography, news, information on upcoming concerts, links to interviews...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music Announces 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 07/07/2017 - 02:00
Sony Music proudly announces the release of [a.20889]War for the Planet of the Apes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[] with music by Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer [c.534]Michael Giacchino[]. The soundtrack will be released on July 7th. Writer-Director Matt Reeves says about the music: "Michael's music for the Apes films is beautiful, inventive, epic, and above all, profoundly emotional. I know I am biased, but I think his score for War ranks among his absolute best. He is a simply master musical storyteller". Composer [c.534]Michael Giacchino[] says about the score: [m.20242]Planet of the Apes[] was one of my first childhood obsessions. As a kid, I used to draw the Apes from the film non-stop, including creating...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Castlevania' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 06/07/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records in conjunction with Frederator Studios will release the [a.21128]Castlevania - Netflix Original Series Soundtrack[] digitally on July 7th. Featuring an original score composed by [c.1202]Trevor Morris[] ([m.29531]The Tudors[], [m.31395]Immortals[]) and produced by Morris and Trey Toy, the music is inspired by the classic video game series [m.46900]Castlevania[] - a dark medieval fantasy following the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, trying to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hand of Vlad Dracula Tepes himself. The animated series is from Frederator Studios, a division of Frederator Networks, Inc., a Wow! Unlimited Media company, written by best-selling author and comic book icon Warren...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Daniel Hart

Film Music Magazine News - Di, 04/07/2017 - 01:03

There’s no greater question facing any living person than “What happens when I die?” It’s one that movies have answered since their birth with visions both horrifying and wondrous, painting visions of what’s facing the departed in terms both religiously absolute, and in defiance of the iconography of heaven and hell. Just as immediately recognizable is the image of a ghost that first comes to any child’s mind – that of a human figure buried under a white sheet, with only eyeholes hinting at expression.

Such is the stock in trade of director David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” in which the seemingly unbreakable love of “C” (Casey Affleck) and “M” (Rooney Mara) is unexpectedly sundered by the reaper. But as life, and new romance continues for his wife, “C” must hang around as a sheet in the wind as such, forever watching without being able to touch, haunted by all now denied him.

Just as this acclaimed picture brings back together Affleck and Mara from Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “A Ghost Story” continues the director’s collaboration with a composer who matches his soulful resonance in Daniel Hart. Familiar to alt. rock fans from his work with such bands as Broken Social Scene, The Polyphonic Spree and St. Vincent, Hart’s voice as a composer first resonated for Lowery on “St. Nick” before truly making an impression on the indie film scene with “Saints.” It was a dreamy score that brought new musical originality to the rural crime-scoring scene, matching Lowery’s lyrical touch for the genre. Their next collaboration would be a major step up into the sky with a reptile on the lam for “Pete’s Dragon,” a soaring, serious reboot of Disney’s animated musical that not only offered Hart’s folk-tuned emotion, but a sweeping orchestral sound to his repertoire worthy of James Horner at his fantastical height.

Now “A Ghost Story” brings Hart and Lowery back to earth, where it remains to watch life go on in artistically stark, determinedly independent terms. For a prodigy born from church musician parents, Hart paints a gorgeously sad plea for uncomprehending oblivion. His favored instrument of a violin abets a chamber approach reminiscent of such modern classicists as Arvo Part – scoring that conjures loneliness as opposed to fear as the score grows through the stages of ghostly acceptance. Guitar, glass-like sounds, voices and Latin chorus grow from from intimacy to a much larger, cosmic scope. Even that old afterlife scoring chestnut of an organ becomes something new and transcendent given Hart’s memorable evocation of what comes next, with his song “I Get Overwhelmed” creating an alt. plea for a spirit desperate to communicate. As far from a horror score as imaginable, Daniel Hart has conjured the musical afterlife in all of its melancholy, speaking for a silently anguished husband in a hauntingly unique musical voice. It’s “A Ghost Story” that typifies Hart’s increasingly impressive body of soundtracks, especially when in the company of a kindred spirit like David Lowery.

Talk about your first explorations of music. Did you ever imagine yourself becoming a film composer?

I’ve been playing the violin since I was three years old, but I think my first real explorations with music happened when I was a teenager. We learned and performed a piece in high school orchestra called “Jazz for Strings”, or something like that. I may be making some of this up, but I remember there being a very small section in the piece for a violin soloist to improvise. It was probably a five-second solo, but I volunteered to take it, and that small window into the possibility of musical creativity beyond learning Western Classical violin technique in the formal ways I had done so up to that point (violin lessons, high school orchestra, playing in a string quartet…) really shook me, planted a seed in me.

Then I got to college, and I started playing in a band called The Doubting Scholars. It was a band mostly made up of students, but spearheaded by Kevin Hanlon, from the composition faculty at Southern Methodist University. While I know Kevin enjoyed performing for an audience, he treated that band very much like a class for the students he had recruited to play with him. We learned Irish reels, American blues, Bob Wills covers, jazz standards, Beach Boys and Oingo Boingo songs, and we wrote originals. The songs I wrote for the Doubting Scholars were the first pieces of music I wrote that approached anywhere near worth hearing.

So I never set out to be a film composer. My main interest was in live performance, and I spent five years trying to tour full-time and then another five years touring full-time before I ever really tried to score a film.

How did you work with bands like The Polyphonic Spree and Broken Social Scene influence your own instrumental approach?

My main take-aways from my time in The Polyphonic Spree were more about how to be the best entertainer I could be, and about keeping my mind open to any possibility. Tim DeLaughter was a true frontman: he danced, he shouted, he called people to action, he was electrifying. I wanted to be that as a performer. And the fact that he could do that in front of a 26-piece band which somehow sounded cohesive…well the idea itself sounds impossible in an ever-shrinking music economy, but he and his wife Julie somehow pulled it off for years and years.

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene was also a spectacle of a performance, and I greatly admired Kevin Drew’s ability to push that incredibly talented band to be so free on stage. But because I only toured with them after being a massive fan – and only for half a dozen shows or so – I think their music was much more influential on me. “You Forgot It In People” is still one of my favorite albums to this day, and I think they translated that freedom and energy from their live performances into their recordings, which is a rare feat. Though never in a conscious way, I’m sure that freedom, that human touch in their recordings, is one of the reasons I try to have as many live instruments in my film scores as possible. I want to feel that human element.

How did you come into David Lowery’s orbit for your first composing credit on “St. Nick,” What impressed you about his work as a filmmaker, and make you realize that you’d essentially become his go-to composer?

David had heard my old, old band – The Physics of Meaning – from his writing partner, Toby Halbrooks. Toby and I were from the same neighborhood in Dallas, and Toby and I were both in The Polyphonic Spree at the same time. After hearing that band, David asked me to write some music for “St. Nick.” I watched the film and wrote a couple pieces based on what I had seen, not meant for any specific part of the film, just a general feeling. David liked what I sent him and put some of that music in “St. Nick.”

Director David Lowery

I think David’s work as a filmmaker has a sincerity that resonates with me, that feels like a kind of storytelling I can relate to. But because I had never set out to be a film composer, I wasn’t thinking in terms of a lasting partnership when I started writing music for his films. I was just trying to help him tell the stories he was telling in the best way I knew how.

After “St. Nick,” David asked me if I would score his short film “Pioneer.” That’s when David and I really started developing a musical language based around our mutual aesthetic. I think all of his films have a very grounded quality to them, a very earnest quality. For whatever reason, when I see the films David makes, musical ideas immediately start popping into my head. He’s certainly not the only filmmaker with whom I’ve collaborated where this has been the case, but I think he may be the clearest one for me. He’s telling stories in the ways I want to be telling stories. I think “A Ghost Story” is the best testament to that feeling of mutual understanding we have when it comes to his films: over half the score in the film is my first draft, with no changes. That may not always be the case, but I feel like it gets easier with every film as we get better and better at telling these stories together.

Tell us about your collaboration on “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” and the unique spin you both put on an otherwise typical “crook on the run” story?

“Saints” has many elements of a classic Western – the thief, the sheriff, ill-fated love, questions about the nature of man in an unsettled land. But David moved those elements around, reorganized them in ways that felt less conventional to me. So I wanted to do the same thing with the score: use instruments commonly used in westerns (violins, banjo, mandolin, various percussion), but use them in less conventional ways. So I played the banjo with an e-bow, giving it a buzzy, sometimes twinkly, darker timbre. I fingerpicked all the mandolin parts, to make it feel softer, more vulnerable. I used old funk breakbeats as the rhythm templates for the handclaps and the knee slaps. “Saints” was the first feature I ever scored, and I was really shooting in the dark most of the time, but I’m still very proud of what we created there.

“Pete’s Dragon” took both you, and David’s work from the indie scene into a whole new studio stratosphere. What was that experience like, especially given how you were able to spread your symphonic wings on it without “selling out” as such on the qualities that attracted Disney to you as a team?

“Pete’s Dragon” was probably meant to be the real test of our collaborative relationship, a trial by fire. Because we were both treading in unfamiliar territory, I was apprehensive that I would be able to pull it off (by the time I started, it was already clear that David was pulling off a huge studio film with the most brilliant flying colors). I played in orchestras growing up, and I’ve done plenty of arranging for small ensembles over the past decade, but I had never worked on any musical project approaching anywhere near the scope of the score needed for “Pete’s Dragon”.

And yet, just as it’s been with all of David’s films, musical ideas starting popping into my head immediately. There are five or six big themes in that score. Of those five or six, three came to me in the first week I was on the film. The biggest theme, which first shows up at the beginning of the film, as the title card comes on screen, was one that I wrote on my second day of work, once I got to Disney and got started. To that end, I consider myself incredibly lucky, as we had such limited time for such a big score, and as Disney took a big risk in hiring me to work on the film.

“A Ghost Story” uses the iconic image of a person with a white sheet over them. Given the inherent goofiness possible from that image, how important was it for the music to make you take the movie’s conceit seriously?

I actually wasn’t thinking about this question at all when I was writing the score for “A Ghost Story”. Once again, this film of David’s is so grounded and so earnest in a way that resonates with me. The fear of cutting away at meaningful storytelling with goofiness, silliness, or ridiculousness never crossed my mind. I will say that I don’t think the film would work anywhere near as well as it does if our ghost was portrayed in any other way.

How do you think “A Ghost Story” fits into the more traditional genre of ghost films?

I don’t think it fits very well at all into the more traditional genre of ghost films, and that’s what I love about it. It’s not a film meant to scare you or shock you in any kind of horrific way. To that end, there are very few moments in the score where I had to write traditional haunting, scary music. This is more a film about a relationship between two people, and about what happens when one of those people can no longer participate in the relationship, but only observe it from afar. For me, it’s meditative and heartbreaking, full of loss and beauty.

How would you describe Casey Affleck’s screen presence, and what it adds to your music- even when covered with a sheet?

There’s a scene in the film where the ghost tries to run its “hand” over M’s shoulder and arm as she lays on their bed. It’s my favorite scene in the film. I just found out today that the day they filmed that scene was also Casey’s first time under the sheet, as the ghost. It’s an incredibly emotive scene, with Rooney’s character grieving so intensely, while the ghost of her former partner tries to comfort her in vain. There’s no dialogue happening, but both of the actor’s movements tell me more than any dialogue could.

Given that “C” never utters a word once he’s in ghostly form, how did you want the music to communicate his emotions? Or did the white sheet give you a blank sheet for you to transfer musical emotion onto?

I think the nature of the sheet gives everyone, especially the audience, a canvas onto which they can put their own interpretation of what’s happening in the ghost’s mind, or being. Since the dialogue is so limited once the ghost arrives, the music is often right up front and center, whenever it’s happening. To that end, I always want to be careful not to take over the scene. I want to avoid having the music become overbearing. It’s still only one element in the storytelling going on, so I was actually trying to avoid having the music communicate the ghost’s emotions too much. Instead, I tried to play to the action of the scene, which made my job much easier.

How did you want the score to grow from its chamber music beginning to essentially capture the emotional stages of death and the acceptance of it?

I realized pretty early on in the composing process for “A Ghost Story” that this should be a score with choral elements, with voices, and text being sung (as opposed to a solely instrumental score). The Virginia Woolf story “A Haunted House” is referenced a few times in the film, so I started by borrowing some text from that story, and using it in a couple of score pieces. Then I began looking for text from other sources that could be relevant to our story. I ended up with “Bardo Thodol”, the Tibetan name for The Book of the Dead, and with a passage from The Bible – Ecclesiastes 5:9. Being able to use these texts, which are all very different meditations on death in their own right, provided some guideposts for me, in creating a score that would also act as some kind of response to thinking about death, and the various ideas of what happens afterwards.

Given your lifelong love of the violin, what kind of emotions do you think are particular to the instrument, especially here?

Sometimes I think I’m better at communicating with a violin than I am at expressing myself with words. There is some solo violin in the score for “A Ghost Story”, but most of the time violin shows up, it’s part of a larger string section. And similar to the choral elements I wanted to incorporate into this score, I wanted a sea of strings floating around these images. And so I used quite a bit of what’s often referred to as “ghost harmonics” on the violin. They sound ethereal to me, and wispy, fragile: like they could break or die off at any moment. I suppose there’s no other movie where using ghost harmonics would be more appropriate than this one.

Did minimalist, yet emotional composers like Arvo Part play a part in your approach? And did you draw on any past scores for inspiration here?

Arvo Pärt has written some of my favorite music of all time, but also his influence is present in so many of the film soundtracks I’ve heard from the past 40 years or so like “Fearless.” Especially now, directors and editors love to use Pärt pieces as temp music while they’re cutting a film together. Consequently, I end up listening to a lot of Pärt as a reference when I’m starting on a film. The opening track from “A Ghost Story” – ‘Little Notes’ – has tintinnabuli strings near the beginning and the end of the piece, in the style that Pärt pioneered. Those same strings show back up in “Post Pie”.

Beyond Pärt, the other music David referenced directly in relation to the film was John Carpenter scores from the late 70s and 80s, like “Escape from New York”. We went in that direction for the scene in the hospital, but it ended up being too big, so most of the Carpenter-esque score elements were dialed back, or removed completely.

The other composer who influenced the score indirectly is Komitas. I scored Fox’s TV show “The Exorcist” last year, and as part of composing music for that show, I had to replace his stunningly beautiful “Chinar Es”, which was used as temp music in one of the Satanic ritual scenes. I wrote a piece called “Ha Ate Am Anane” for soprano, string section and piano to use in that “Exorcist” episode, and hired the incomparable Katinka Vindelev to sing the soprano part. I was so happy with the way that piece turned out, that I ended up writing a sister piece for “A Ghost Story”, with the same arrangement, and with Katinka singing again. This is the track “Viventes Enim”, which took its text from Ecclesiastes.

Talk about your music capturing the passage of time?

I have to defer to the film itself here. When I’m scoring a film, I always see my job as helping to tell the story that’s being told, to the best of my ability. I look at what’s happening onscreen, and I try to write music that is true to what I see. Because this film is indeed a meditation on not only life and death, but also the passage of time in a larger sense, then if I hit my mark at all, the music will have captured some of that story. But I think if I had set out to write music which would capture the passage of time, or had kept such a huge concept in my mind when I was composing this music, I never would have come anywhere near expressing that idea. It’s too big to capture.

Given that “A Ghost Story” is a supernatural movie, how much of a “genre” element did you want give the music, especially when it comes to the difference between being “eerie” and ”scary” in capturing a sort of life after death?

Both David and I found out pretty quickly that having the music veer towards “eerie” or “scary” didn’t serve the story very well, which is why we ended up losing a lot of the Carpenter-esque elements I wrote. For me, the film is more about love and loss than it is about fear and haunting. So if any words could live at the center of this score, love and loss would be the words in my mind.

How did you gradually want to bring human voice, as well as happier emotions into the score?

The first piece of music that went into this film was the song “I Get Overwhelmed”, by my band Dark Rooms. The song itself was written over a year before I ever read any script for “A Ghost Story”, and was never meant for the film. But when I played it for David last year, he decided to write it into the script. So the first piece of music related to the film already had quite a bit of the human voice in it, both through my vocals, and also through the synthesizer I made by sampling my own voice and re-pitching it. That may be one of the biggest reasons I felt motivated to put more vocals into the score. But I also think the lack of dialogue in the film made me want to fill some of the wide sonic space left open to me with words.

As for happier elements in the score, David told me early in the process that he wanted to end the film with a piece centered around a drum machine – that the drum machine felt warm and comforting to him. I don’t know if we were ever aiming for “happy”, but I think the closest we ever got to it was with “Safe, Safe, Safe”, the final piece of music in the film.

Did you own upbringing in a family of church musicians give any kind of religious quality to your approach in “A Ghost Story,” especially with your use of the organ and in its use of a Latin hymn?

There is no doubt in my mind that my upbringing in a family of church musicians influences every musical decision I ever make, one way or another. There are certainly spiritual qualities to this film, aren’t there? Since death and the afterlife are at the center of so many religions in this world, I suppose a film in which one of the main characters is dead for 2/3 of his time on screen is going to feel spiritual and possibly religious in some way, regardless of David’s intentions. I did turn to religious texts first, when I was trying to find words to use in the choral parts of the score. I chose Latin because it’s a dead language, and because it’s a fairly old language. And this film feels very old to me. I did also try to incorporate some Aramaic lyrics into the score, but it proved too difficult to find proper translations and pronunciations in Aramaic this time around. The same went for a couple other old languages I tried and failed to use.

How did you want the song “I Get Overwhelmed” to serve as a theme in the film?

I played the song “I Get Overwhelmed” for David for the first time back in February 2016, while we were working on “Pete’s Dragon”. I played it for him because I share all of my music with him, just as friends. He really loved the song immediately, and it was his idea to put the song into the film. Since it plays such a prominent role within the story, it seemed to me like the best starting point for work on the score.

To that end, I took stems from “I Get Overwhelmed” – the guitar track, the string section track, the vocal synthesizer track – and ran them through PaulStretch, which is an algorithm designed to dramatically slow down audio, often with the intention of turning it into an atmospheric soundscape. Pieces which are three minutes long can be made three hours long. I ran multiple elements of the Dark Rooms song through PaulStretch to create these washes of sound, and they became my first palette for the score. In fact, they’re the first music heard in the film, at the beginning of “Little Notes”, and then they show up many more times throughout the score as a theme. Maybe that’s the best way the music conveys the passage of time: as something incredibly slow, hard to identify, and pretty.

If there’s a running theme through David Lowery’s movies and your scores for them, how do you think “A Ghost Story” fits it?

Because I see David’s films as incredibly grounded stories, I try to write music that will also feel grounded in a similar way. Beyond that, I’m really happy that our films have allowed me chances to move in so many different musical directions. “Pioneer” and “Saints” were full of heavily folk-influenced music. “Pete’s Dragon” was mostly performed by a 96-piece orchestra, and a 32-person choir. “A Ghost Story” has 808 drum machines, atmospheric soundscapes, Latin choral parts, and a lot of synthesizers in it. I can’t wait for the next one.

Before “A Ghost Story,” you dealt far more overtly with the supernatural in Fox’s TV version of “The Exorcist,” which turned out to be a surprisingly great show. Could you talk about your experience on it, and what’s ahead now that the show’s been renewed?

Well, I will say that I’m really happy with so much of the music I wrote for Exorcist Season One. The show runner Rolin Jones knew more about contemporary classical music than just about anyone I’ve ever met, and he wanted a contemporary classical score for The Exorcist. That’s not something I get to do all that often, and I really enjoyed doing it.

What are you up to next with David?

Our next film together will be “Old Man and The Gun”, on which David just wrapped principal photography a few weeks ago. I visited set for a few days, and watched some incredibly entertaining outtakes between Robert Redford, Danny Glover, and Tom Waits. We haven’t gotten very far with it yet, but David and I are both thinking this will be a very percussion-heavy score.

What do you hope happens when you die? And would you want to stick around to see what happens to your loved ones?

I’ve been thinking about these questions too much since I wrote the music for this film. I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what happens when I die. Whatever it is, my guess is that the consciousness I have now will no longer exist. Maybe I’ll become a star up in the sky.

The idea of becoming a ghost and watching my loved ones live on after I’m gone sounds as difficult and heartbreaking to me as the film makes it out to be.

“A Ghost Story” opens in theaters on July 7th, with Daniel Hart’s score available on Milan Records HERE

Listen to “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” HERE and “Pete’s Dragon” HERE

Meet Daniel Hart when he takes part in Fans of Film Music on September 2. Find out more HERE, and get your tickets from event head Peter Hackman at

Visit Daniel Hart’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
Inhoud syndiceren