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Music for Films - Volume 1

The music on this album was written and recorded over a period of several years - some for theatrical releases, some for my own original 8mm films and the rest for films that exist only as moving images in my head. Though individually they run from the moodiest and darkest places of my imagination to the most romantically epic and whimsical, as a whole they represent the full range of my musical ambitions during this time. Here are the stories behind the music:

When I began work on my first collaboration with Telligys Productions, the film "Wake-Up Callz" starring the Amazing Kreskin, my intention was to not only direct and handle all the post-production but also to score the film. Unfortunately, the workload quickly became overwhelming, forcing me to use pre-existing music loops for the score. Although that entailed some creative manipulation on my part and the result was satisfactory, it was not original music nor the satisfying experience I was hoping for. At the time I also did not have the sophisticated music software to do the film justice. So years later I started to revisit the film with the goal of replacing that score with my own original creations. MAIN TITLES and OZROY BATTLES THE SHADOW are the two tracks that resulted from that work. I hope to someday complete the project and release a proper, original score for the film.

Upon the completion of our second film "Bite Nite" I had both the experience and tools to compose and produce orchestral music of a standard that I would find fulfilling. SATCHEL'S DREAM was one of my first attempts at creating a complex and dynamic piece of material that would push both my creative and production boundaries and remains a personal favorite. I find that the best and most interesting orchestral film music being written today is found in animated films and so that track as well as MISTER BUTTONS and A BRIEF CHASE SCENE emulate that genre that I am so fond of. There is a lot of music crammed into these short pieces, a style of writing that I love and a hallmark of animated films dating back to the original Warner Brothers cartoons scored by the master of the form, Carl Stalling. The music can be frenetic and exhilarating, a must in matching the quick cuts so integral to that type of filmmaking.

I'm also a huge horror film fan, so it was inevitable that I would dive into that playground and see what I could come up with. HAUNTED is an experiment in space and dynamics, setting a mood with sweeping strings that evokes a classic, romantic ghost story. HORROR TITLES #1 is more playful, in the spirit of a Tim Burton film while HORROR TITLES #2 uses a rhythmic pulse and chorale to create a feeling that is alternately tense and comedic.

Speaking of the horror genre, back in 1983 my high-school friends and I made a Super 8mm film called THE FINAL RECKONING. A young girl is possessed by the devil and sets off to destroy everyone who gets in the way of her young love. It's all rather silly but it gave me the chance to revisit my teenage years and give the 7 minute film a proper score and sound design. I've done this with a few of my early films but this was one of the most epic and challenging - to play with romantic themes while mining the genre staples of bombast and demonic chorus.

JENNY WADE is a reworking of a short piece I wrote when I first left my band years behind. It was originally written on a synthesizer, the only tool I had at the time. I loved the melody but knew I could improve the sound of the piece using modern orchestral samples. Hopefully I succeeded while remaining true to the spirit of the original.

When I'm not scoring for a film or a particular narrative idea that has captured my imagination I like to play with sound and musical ideas until I find something that warrants further expansion. SPANISH EVENING was born from a desire to write for acoustic guitar in a Mediterranean setting. The track that became UPSY DOWNZIES began as the simple violin ostinato below:

I had no goal in mind for the piece - it simply grew and expanded organically as new ideas struck me. It can be quite liberating to write without a preconceived structure - any idea is fair game and the best ones usually come as a surprise. The driving violins grow into a series of crescendos that incorporate more and more of the orchestra until, as if jumping off a cliff, the music soars and settles into a pretty and airy finale. It is a piece of many colors and dynamic shifts, hence the somewhat daffy title.

I love animals and tend to write with them in mind, inspired by their spirited adventures and the human qualities we tend to place on them. The BBC's Planet Earth documentaries move me emotionally like few other things can and so I wrote WALTZ IN THE WILD with that in mind, my musical soundtrack to the wonders of the world's creatures in their natural habitats. WINSLOW'S WOEFUL DAY could very easily be about a downtrodden person, but I like to think of it as the story of a sad but determined basset hound.

I first met my buddy Justen Patrick Lander when he asked me to score his short film "American Standard", the heart-wrenching story of a nursing home resident clinging desperately to the memories of his younger self. It's a beautiful, powerful film and THE TOWER was pulled from the final act when he briefly manages to escape the institutional chains that bind him. The music is simple and sad but for one brief moment rises and shines like the glory of his lost youth.

I don't ever write purely electronic pieces - WHISPERS is about as close I usually get. It's a soundscape piece - pure mood, enhanced with some heavily-effected piano and violin. I love the textures of orchestral instruments but a dash of synthesizer and electronic garnish can be very effective in the right moments and something I've been bolder in incorporating into my music. SIXTIES SCI-FI TV SHOW doesn't contain any electronic flourishes, but it has that sound and feel... a tip of the hat to the days when composers tried to conjure a futuristic mood decades before synthesizers could do it so easily. Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Fantastic Voyage... that sort of thing.

THE WAYWARD CAPTAIN is a piece of music summed up neatly in its title - the rolling, rollicking seafaring travels of a jolly man guided more by rum than navigational tools.

When I was about 15 I got hold of my father's Super 8mm camera and became obsessed with making movies, so much so that I went to college to obtain a degree in filmmaking. That didn't pan out as I'd hoped but it left me with a collection of films that I knew I would eventually want to write music for (the technology for someone like me didn't exist at the time). "The Silent Guns" was my big epic, an earnest attempt at telling a grand World War II tale on a shoestring budget. It's the story of a young man setting out to uncover what his grandfather did to become a hero during the war. WAKING THE PAST finds the young man in England, wandering among the crumbling skeletons of coastal defenses, looking for answers. A mysterious cosmic force hurls him back in time to the day of the climactic battle on the BEACHHEAD when his grandfather gave his life to prevent the German invasion. But in his shock and surprise in coming face to face with his ancestor, he accidentally disrupts the timeline and when he is returned once more to the present day, the true horror of what he has done becomes all-too apparent in WHAT HAPPENED TO HISTORY?

CATS & DOGS - yes, more animal music. In another experiment, this time I took a scene from a Hollywood film but ignored the original score and wrote my own. The original music by John Debney is terrific but I wanted to put my own spin on the visuals.

A decade ago my girlfriend Cindy and I spent a fabulous week in the UK. BRITAIN 2009 is the soundtrack to the short film I made about our adventures there. It is also one of the first pieces of orchestral music I ever wrote - I was definitely going for big and majestic, with a touch of whimsy. Essentially it's just me feeling my way around the instruments available to me and learning how to put them all together. I love to write for French horn and it all started here. Not bad for a first attempt I think.

EPIC began as an attempt to write something adventurous and medieval, hence the opening string ostinatos and flute flourishes. But as the music grew more complicated and the canvas expanded, it turned into something grander and more romantic, culminating in long sweeping horn and string passages. Music for heroes and lovers in ornate, flowing costumes.

My high-school friend John and I were two fun-loving nerds with a film camera. We wrote silly music and made silly movies. THE DR. SPARTIKAN SOLUTION and THE GUM were prime examples of how far we would go to entertain ourselves (if not anyone else). The scores to both, again written many, many years later, are also prime examples of my writing style: complex and whimsical. I love the challenge of creating dense musical passages with countermelodies that bridge the quick edits between scenes. It's always interesting to me to go back and listen to this music and try and figure out how I managed to make it flow in what seems like an effortless way but in fact took a whole bunch of

blood, sweat and tears to accomplish. The best music I can write is music that continues to surprise and engage me, even after all these years. I love that feeling of "how the hell did I do that?" because, honestly, I don't even remember. It's that thrill of rediscovery that always inspires me to continue to push on through the times I may be doubting myself. . Writing music to visuals offers such great rewards, because it forces me to break the rules and habits of conventional songwriting in order to fit into a structure that is not of my own making.


All of the music on this album was composed, arranged, orchestrated, performed and produced by myself in my home studio using electronic samples. I hope you enjoy listening to it and get a sense of the joy I had in creating it. See you for Volume 2!

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