This music is, as you might expect from the title, for a short about a man and his encounter one fateful winter’s night with The Uncanny. It was a heck of a lot of fun to do, as it meant integrating lots of disturbing sound design (and you’ll hear some raspy breathing in this cut -- that’d be me, after spending a day in a house full of cats) with some “make you jump out of your seat” moments and stop-and-start rhythms. Cue the stabbing Herrmannesque strings! Fun stuff!
This music was written to set the stage for Michael’s film, the story of William, a young man with an autistic spectrum disorder who is feeling somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of his first job interview. Various repetitive marimba (a mallet-based instrument; think xylophone or vibraphone, but deeper and “woodier” sounding) patterns crop up, along with strings and some glitchy drum loops, all of which are used throughout the score to convey his internal state.
This music contrasts William’s frustrating job search (and the threat of not being able to meet his obligations with his new roommate and friend, Trey) with his sense of purpose and the almost zen-like centredness he feels when absorbed in the process of designing games. My favourite part? Using a fax machine tone as a rhythmic element!
No spoilers here, but the film reaches a bittersweet yet hopeful resolution with a restatement of William’s marimbas, but in a more confident context than is heard anywhere else in the movie. Looking forward to the day when the film is more readily available and I can share the music AND the accompanying images…but I feel like the music stands up pretty well on its own.
Last year, as part of my ongoing involvement with Women in Film and Television Atlantic, I had the good fortune to work with this incredibly talented woman! Dawn’s film (funded through the gracious support of Communities, Culture and Heritage Nova Scotia) explores the relationship between humans and our increasingly technology-saturated environment, and the way those interactions could be subtly changing us. It’s a fascinating study, and afforded me the opportunity to create some disturbing alien soundscapes, vintage analog synth textures, and, as you can hear in this sample, some intense percussive elements too.
Easily the darkest film I have had the pleasure to score, Irene is a story about midnight liaisons in seedy hotels, love lost, pain, death, and existential angst. Whee! So of course writing music for it was a challenge -- it needed to underscore the darkness and become part of the overall neon-drenched atmosphere of the hotel. It needed to not feel so much like a traditional musical score as more something as essential to the environment as the sickly fluorescent lighting and rattly air ventilation. Treated guitars, wailing synth pads, reverse-reverb piano, and percussion seemed to fit the bill perfectly -- here’s a taste!
A melancholic little piece written to capture the title character’s rather self-pitying state of mind on the morning of her 25th birthday. Fun fact: originally her character was supposed to have had hippy parents, but that was rejected as the script evolved. I still liked the idea of some kind of vintage ‘60s instrument for her, which is why some “Strawberry Fields Forever” Mellotron flute sounds pop up from time to time throughout the score.
ii. Bhupinder’s Patio/Sunfish
What kind of music would you be likely to hear at a Nova Scotian fish and chips shop run by Bhupinder Pal, immigrant from Baharampur, West Bengal, India? This scene required me to create something that would capture that feeling of two worlds colliding, and then it had to transition into a sweet little reconciliation between our protagonists.
Murder at Insomnia Station
Another call for music to transition between extremes, this one veers between 1940s-style noir-ish romanticism and straight into trippy modern café music. In the actual film, the café music gets squashed into a tiny radio speaker, but here’s a hint of what it sounded like before the vicious (but necessary) EQ-ing.
ii. The End
In keeping with the overblown 1940s “Warner Brothers-melodrama-potboiler” vibe of the opening scenes, here’s a swelling resolution to Lara’s little romantic fable, as a fedora-sporting Dave Carroll, trench coat collar up to keep out the chill, walks off into the evening mist .
Spy and another Spy
This was a bit of a tip of the hat to all those classic spy show themes I grew up with (especially Laurie Johnson’s “Avengers” and Leslie Charteris’ “The Saint” themes) with a bit of a contemporary slant (also, Michael Giacchino’s “”Alias” fingerprints are all over the place by the time the synth parts come in).
Guess Who’s Knocking
Something whimsical yet purposeful was required here – the opening shot is of two white-shirted men with neckties walking down a suburban street (Are they salesmen? Evangelists? The audience is left guessing at first.). My one goal was to make it clear that this was a comedy, regardless, so something a little off-kilter felt appropriate (tuba + electric tremolo guitar = instant comedy).
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