Beware the Cosmic Interloper!

Hi Evil Twin Friends!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (the irony of that expression will shortly become evident), you probably already know about a unique astronomical event that transpired the other evening – on November 8th, around 7:30 PM AST, a rather large (think “aircraft carrier large”) piece of spacefaring debris, sexily named by scientists 2055 YU55, passed within 202,000 miles of our home world. At risk of publicizing how desperately out of the loop I can be sometimes, I must confess I wouldn’t have even known about this if not for a Facebook friend who mentioned our Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s rather catchy turn of phrase, referring to the mass as a cosmic interloper. Apparently this is a recognized term (although the equally cool, Pink Floydian interstellar interloper is used more frequently), and I fell in love with it immediately.

For the visually-oriented of you, here’s some video of this bad boy, courtesy of NASA:



So, anyway, I loved the sound of “cosmic interloper” so much, I felt inspired, that very evening, to write a little musical homage to 2055 (if I may be so familiar to presume to be on a first-name basis). Please understand, I undertook this project in full awareness that, although there were no predictions that it was on any sort of collision course with Earth, if it HAD hit us, it would have left a crater 4 miles wide and 1600 feet deep – or created 70 foot tsunami waves if it’d hit water, possibly rendering my efforts something that ultimately only I would ever hear, not to mention making this little exercise my final actions on the planet – though I can think of far worse ways to go.

It’s now Thursday afternoon as I write this, and we’re still here, though, and I am pleased to share with you the final outcome, in its unpolished glory. I can always think of things that I might do to improve it, or make it more dynamic or subtle, but the idea of these little exercises, which I love (but rarely share) is to produce something based on a quick turnover (about 3.5 hours, kids!) and an emotional/evocative subtext. Here’s what I came up with – imagine you’re floating in the vast gulf of space, maybe somewhere between the Earth and the moon, and suddenly you see this massive obsidian orb wheeling its way towards you, just missing you, and then watching in bewilderment as it silently and impassively moves on, as dark and unknowable as Leviathan. That’s kinda what I was going for.

Cosmic Interloper

Anyway, let me know what you think – this was a lot of fun to write, and I think I’m going to start to use events like this to jump start more exercises like this. Better yet, if you know of an event or theme or person that could benefit from the Evil Twin “treatment”, send me a note! I take requests.

Until next time (assuming no global cataclysms in the meantime),

Chris

Post-Festival Recap, Part Two!

Hey everyone!



As promised, and while it’s still relatively fresh in my head, I thought I’d share a bit more about how Evil Twin spent his days and nights at the 31st annual Atlantic Film Festival. This is, regionally speaking, the film industry event of the year, and for ten days the intersection of filmmakers, musicians, actors, and producers makes for a pretty heady environment. Not as overwhelming as TIFF, not as cosmopolitan as Tribeca, not as hipster-cool as SXSW, and not as Southern France-ish as Cannes, the AFF is still a great event that draws talent from all over the world, and provides some great opportunities for shameless celebrity spotting (Look, there’s Lana Lang having breakfast! Look, there’s Peregine Took buying popcorn! Look, there’s Pierce Brosnan..wait, why is he still here? Bag of Bones wrapped two weeks ago…) along the way.

The first weekend of the festival was probably the busiest I’ve ever been during the Festival – in fact, other than the opening night screening on Thursday, I only managed two other screenings between Thursday and Sunday (far below my usual daily Festival average of 2-3 a day), but what was going on was far more fascinating and enjoyable. On Saturday afternoon I moderated a session hosted by the Screen Composers Guild of Canada called Knowing the Score: the Reality of Preparing for and Planning Music for your Film, which was attended by a wonderful crowd of musicians interested in learning a bit about the craft of film scoring. Our guests, Marvin Dolgay (president of the Guild), Bob Hunka (SOCAN’s man in Hollywood), and Asif Ilyas were eager to share their knowledge and perspective with the group. It was great to see John Mullane from In Flight Safety there in particular, as the film he scored, Charlie Zone, ultimately went on to pick up a slew of awards by festival’s end! Here are a few pics, which you can click to, as they say on Ain’t It Cool News, embiggen (all images Copyright Chris Geworsky, 2011) !


Your host and quizmaster, making introductions

Asif, Yours Truly, Marvin, and Bob with our guests

Screen Composers Guild of Canada President Marvin Dolgay - this man knows his stuff!

 























On Sunday there was another big Guild event, this one once again involving the estimable Asif Ilyas, who brought in a very sexy portable scoring studio setup in order to demonstrate the collaborative process with the Hitchcock-to-his-Herrman, the Spielberg-to-his-Williams, the Eisenstein-to-his-Prokofiev (two more self-effacing men you will never meet, so I can literally hear them rolling their eyes as I type this sentence), director Rohan Fernando, with whom he scored two films in the festival this year, the drama Snow, and the documentary The Chocolate Farmer. They spent an afternoon sharing stories and describing their workflow, all filtered through a series of pointed questions posed by Marvin Dolgay. Here are a couple of shots from the afternoon, again captured by the talented Chris Geworsky:


Asif, expounding

Marvin, Asif, Rohan, and sexy gear

Rohan and Asif, Collaborators



It was a great experience, and the attendees (again, including primarily composers with lots of different levels of experience with film scoring) had a great time, after which we all had the opportunity to hang out at a Screen Composers Guild-hosted social event at Niche. Good conversation, gracious guests, sexy hardware…or was it gracious hardware and sexy guests…either way, what’s not to love? A special congratulations to Asif and Rohan for their essential roles pulling this event together under a tight schedule and challenging circumstances, and an extra-special congratulations to Asif for, days later, winning the AFF award for Best Music for Snow!



The evening was capped off wonderfully by finally getting to see a film I scored, Omaha Fly By! Working on a film for weeks (or in the case of the film’s wonderful producers and actors, for possibly even longer) can cause a person to lose sight of what works and what doesn’t, so it was really gratifying to watch it with an audience who laughed at all the right spots and who seemed to get into the film’s quirky groove pretty readily. Kudos to everyone involved in bringing the film to the screen! If you missed it during its screenings during the Atlantic Film Festival, you can catch it next at the Silver Wave Film Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick (November 3-6, 2011). I’m planning on attending, and looking forward to seeing new and old friends there in the process!

And with that, I’ll be closing this week’s log entry – Until next time, a big air kiss on each cheek to each and every one of you! ;^)

Until next time…


 

- Chris

Post-Festival Recap, Part One!

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and media composers… I know, I promised that I would offer semi-regular updates from the trenches during this year’s Atlantic Film Festival, but the fact of the matter is that I got quite swept up in the fun of it all…


Me looking insanely happy at the opening night AFF party, but it's just Diet Coke in the cup, honest! (Photo: Stoo Metz, 2011)

…and figured I’d be better off sharing some of the highlights with folks once the dust had settled. So, the next couple of blogs will address what went down with Evil Twin Music over the 10 days of the festival.


First of all, I’ve had a few friends ask me if I saw any good movies. A fair enough question, but the fact is, I was busy enough that I saw surprisingly few movies…fewer this year than any other year, in fact. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, though, or that the choices were slim…quite the opposite! Often things I wanted to see were screening simultaneously, so I had to make my best guess and hope I chose well! Also, I must admit that I was kept quite busy with Screen Composers Guild of Canada activities, and was hanging out with good friends and fellow filmmakers much of the time too! We have such a wonderful family of filmmakers here on the East Coast, and I’m proud to call many of them friends, people I genuinely like hanging out with! That being said, I did get to see some good films, and here are a few of the Festival Highlights for me:


The Films


As always, there was quite a varied lineup, and I managed to take in a little bit of everything, including:


- the very moving, entertaining, and educational Project Nim was my favourite film of the festival. It covered Herbert Terrace and his team’s 1970s work on language acquisition in primates, and specifically, the story of Nim Chimpsky, a chimp raised in a human household, in the hopes that his learning language would occur as naturally as it would for a human child. I knew the broad strokes of the story well from my undergrad days, but wasn’t prepared for the Machiavellian power plays (political, sexual, and with the media) that Terrace brought to the party, nor the sheer, self-serving hippy-ness of some of the researchers. Parts of it reminded me of Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, and I could only imagine Herzog watching the film and rolling his eyes as one of the team members described her shock when her maternal efforts resulted in Nim (as an increasingly aggressive adult male chimp is wont to do) trying to (nearly successfully) eat her face. Special shout-out to composer Dickon Hinchliffe, who wrote a combination of some lovely, 70s-flavoured underscore, as well as some powerful, shiver-inducing bigger orchestral cues for some of the more tragic moments. Wonderful stuff, and a guy to watch out for (though he’s no newcomer, and was also a founder of the British orchestral pop band Tindersticks).


- Pedro Almodovar’s latest, The Skin I Live In, which had some of the same eye-poppingly colourful cinematography as his best work, and all the melodrama. Unlike more recent films like Talk to Her or All About My Mother, “Skin” leans more towards simply “dark” than “dark humoured”. Don’t get me wrong – I liked it a lot, and I never thought I’d see something approaching an Almodovarian spin on the whole “torture porn” genre (no, it’s not that gory, but when you’re dealing with a story about a mentally unbalanced plastic surgeon, you know there are going to be some squirmy moments), but overall, it’s not as much fun as some of his earlier films. Still stylish and always interesting, but a little less fun. Again, a nod to frequent Almodovar collaborator Alberto Iglesias for a shivery and propulsive score. If Bernard Herrman was Spanish (and alive) he might be writing film music like this.


- the very funny Irish film, The Guard, with tremendously engaging performances from Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. This one could have been a standard “fish out of water” tale like we’ve all seen before, but – heck, actually it is a standard fish out of water tale, but the performances and writing are so sharp, you end up not minding in the least. The heavy Irish accents are a bit of a challenge (especially in the mix I heard at The Oxford, not a paragon of acoustic virtue to begin with), so I’m actually looking forward to seeing this one again once it’s released for home viewing. Calexico’s score was odd, but well-suited for a story about a character who was 80% blarney and 20% brilliant, and who fancied himself as almost a Sergio Leone-esque antihero.


- some local gems as well, including the opening and closing gala presentations, Roller Town, courtesy of local comedy troupe Picnicface, and Mike Clattenburg‘s Afghan Luke. Mike’s film is playing at the Oxford as I write this, so I encourage you to check it out. Roller Town’s distribution deal is, as I understand it, pending, so I’m pretty positive it’ll be playing at local theatres in fairly short order (if anyone knows the details for sure, please chime in in the Comments section!)


I saw some wonderful shorts as well, but will save a few words on those for next week’s blog, as well as share some of my experiences at the various Screen Composers Guild of Canada events (hopefully with further thrilling visual support, courtesy of official AFF photographer, Chris Geworsky.


So, stand by – more to come in a few short days!

Festival Time!



Happy Monday, Everyone!

 



There’s a definite feel of Fall in the air as I write this – the air is cooler, night falls a bit quicker than it did even a few short weeks ago, and all hands are on deck for the 31st Atlantic Film Festival, which opens this coming Thursday, September 16th. I’m proud to be taking part in the festival this year, in many capacities. First and foremost, I’m a delegate representing The Screen Composers Guild of Canada, which means I’ll be helping my good friend Asif Ilyas from The Shire to get a number of events organized! A few personal highlights for me over the next several days include:


- Next week (Sunday September 18th at the Delta Halifax at 1:00 PM), Asif and director Rohan Fernando will be holding a Master Class on film composing, using Rohan’s films “Snow” and “The Chocolate Farmer” as case studies in developing music that is psychologically and emotionally appropriate for a film. Unlike previous Master Classes, there’s no application process – all are welcome to attend, so if you’re interested in all in film scoring, this will be something to check out! More details can be found here.


- Also next week (Saturday September 17th at 12:15 PM) you can check out “Knowing the Score: The Reality of Preparing for and Planning Music for your Film”, a panel discussion I’m moderating, with guests including Asif, Marvin Dolgay (president of the Screen Composers Guild), Bob Hunka (a well-respected music supervisor and SOCAN advocate in Los Angeles) and a surprise guest or two! Come to this event as well, if only to watch my intense discomfort at sharing the stage with such talented and articulate advocates for our art! Check out more info about it here.


- Finally, in the realm of shameless plugging, I need to make mention of a short film from New Brunswick that’s screening at the festival twice this year, and that I was very blessed to have the opportunity to score! Omaha Fly By is a fun little comedy directed by Joel Thompson and very ably produced by my buddy Lita Llewellyn. There’s so much I’d like to say about this film and the wild mix of elements in it that made it so much fun to write music for, but I’d far rather have you discover it for yourself, so do come see it! Here’s a link with more info. The promotional picture on the website is pretty apt, and maybe gives you an idea of the ride you’re in for.


I’ll be trying, as often as I can, to do some microblogging and photo sharing from the festival, so please come join me virtually (or in person – I hope to see some of you there!) either by following me on Twitter or Facebook . I’m not going to be one of THOSE people, with their head constantly buried in their phone – I want to talk with people and soak it all in, but when I have a moment, I’ll be taking a few snaps at the very least, and will be eager to share them with you!


Have a great week folks! Over and out!

It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything.
John Locke, 1690

Happy Labour Day, folks! This is a time of year that holds multiple meanings for people, whether it’s because it’s the last long weekend of summer, because of the rituals for students of all ages returning to (or beginning) classes, or because it’s the last weekend you’re supposed to wear white (being immune to the whims of fashion, Evil Twin prefers to ignore this one). However you view it, though, it’s definitely a time that signals change. Here’s hoping that the change that Fall 2011 brings us is all for the best!

Here’s a fun-fact for you: did you know that here in Canada, Labour Day’s been celebrated since the 1880s, all in the wake of the Canadian Typographical Union’s bid for a 58-hour (!) work week? OK, perhaps as fun-facts go, it’s not that much fun, but it is factual (at least according to Wikipedia)! So, in the spirit of recognition of workers’ tireless efforts, I figured this might be an opportune time to recognize the hard work of some of Evil Twin Music’s friends and colleagues.

First of all, I’d be very sorely remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the work of the very talented Ms. Carly Murray, whose company, Chipper Studio, brought you the webpage you’re viewing today. Her visual acumen, sense of clean, organized design, good humour and patience with my many, many questions and requests for tweakage have been invaluable over the weeks and months running up to the opening of this site. Thanks for everything, Carly! Good work!

Carly’s work wouldn’t have the visual unity and appeal that it does, though, if it weren’t for having some awesome source material to kickstart and inspire her, and that’s where a very dear friend of mine needs a tip of the hat. Danielle Autran is a graphic designer I’ve known for many years (who continues to be one of Halifax’s losses and Montreal’s gains), and who brought exactly the look and feel that the name “Evil Twin Music” evokes. I wanted something vaguely retro and “mad scientist”-ish, and she brought that in spades – from my logo to my very cool business cards (hit me up for one – I’m happy to share!) to the CD label on my demo reels, that unified look comes courtesy of Danielle’s genius.

Someone else who needs a big thank you and some “welcome back to Halifax” love is my friend and long-time collaborator Lara Cassidy. Without her creative vision and direction, a great many of the projects you see and hear on my demo pages wouldn’t exist. Her vision, along with other Curve partner Steve Richard’s eye for visual composition (and you need to check out his website too, for a dose of sheer visual splendor) have resulted in some wonderful, innovative stuff, and I’m a fortunate guy for having the chance to work with this duo as often as I do!

So, let’s ring in Labour Day 2011 with a virtual raising of a toast to four folks who have done a lot to give this page some of it’s visual zing – don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t for people like this, making my music look so good!

Tunes that go bump in the night…

Hi Friends!

Throughout the weeks to come I’m going to be offering a mix of my own thoughts and experiences in the world of music for the media, and at other times, I’ll be treating you to some odds ‘n’ sods ‘n’ bits of internet flotsam that come across my desk. This week’s entry felt like a good place to start because it’s about a genre of music that’s near and dear to my heart, because Fall is just around the corner and it’s never too early to post some Hallowe’en-ey thoughts, and especially because it’s a wonderful example of the vital role that music plays in supporting visual images.

Great and indelible motion picture images are often paired with unforgettable music – think about some of the iconic scenes from classic thrillers, and imagine them without their underscore. Imagine Janet Leigh being stabbed by Norman Bates without Bernard Herrmann’s slashing strings…imagine how less palpable the sense of dread of an anticipated shark attack would be without John Williams’ infamous “duh DUH duh DUH duh DUH duh DUH” ostinato…imagine trying to relate to Damien Karras’ crisis of faith before going mano y mano against the Prince of Darkness in The Exorcist without Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells to support it.

The article from The Guardian that I’m sharing today is a great little primer on some essential horror film scores – I really like how it focuses on some of the innovative work that lesser-known artists like Goblin brought to the table in the ’70s, plus a bit of a clarion call for how innovative compositional and sound design tools ought to be employed to bring new sounds to this most venerable of film traditions as we move further into the 21st century.

Check it out and let me know what you think. What’s your favourite horror film score?

From Goblin to Morricone: the art of horror movie music | Film | The Guardian.

Tap tap tap…is this on?
Testing testing… Which button do I… Ah, there it is! Splendid!

Greetings friends, collaborators and co-conspirators both new and old! This is Chris Pauley here – I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be writing the inaugural blog entry for my new website & company, Evil Twin Music! Actually, allow me to rephrase that – in truth, this entry’s purpose is exactly that: I actually can, and am here to tell you how very, very excited I am to be finally able to share some of my film, TV, web, and game music (and, sometimes, the images that go along with them) with you in a public forum.

As a composer, producer, writer, and creator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia I am always on the lookout for new opportunities to collaborate with media producers and to create music and sound for film, TV, games, phone applications, radio (or any other media you may imagine). So, having the chance to share and interact with the world in a manner such as this (apparently this “interweb”, as it is commonly called, has caught on, and is not likely to go away soon) is a privilege, and not one I intend to take lightly.

Over the coming weeks, I will be adding new material to the site, and hope to present, once a month, a new, short video sample highlighting work I’ve done, where my music has been matched against visuals. You will also find examples (both audio and audiovisual) of my work in the section of the website conveniently labelled “Samples”, so please do check them out. I’ve broken the material there into categories – you can hear music for commercials, for film & TV, and for games and other media (or just odds ‘n’ sods that don’t fit elsewhere). After you’ve taken a listen, please feel free to send along any comments, suggestions, requests for material, or inquiries about how we might work together to chris@eviltwinmusic.ca; I’d love to chat with you!

So, once again, welcome! I’m looking forward to getting to know you better, and hope you feel the same! Before I go though, in closing this first dispatch, I feel it might be appropriate to address a couple of questions I am often asked:

“Chris”, people ask me, “why Evil Twin? Are you really evil? Do you have a twin?”

Nah, maybe that can wait for next time.

Ok, so is this how I turn this thing off? No? How about th-