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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Music Music Music...

More on what I've been composing. I just finished re-recording a track for the end credits that's meant to parody the scene at the end. The director wanted something upbeat to sort of give a sense of irony to the whole piece. So I listened to a lot of Beach Boys before writing this piece and churned out something that he actually really liked...though, the more I play it to myself, the sicker of it I get. I guess it's like that.

At any rate, finding a director who knows what he wants, though he may not always be able to articulate it, has made for some challenging work but in a good way (let's face it, challenges are rarely bad things). I likened it almost to a different kind of composition lesson with a teacher who is not a composer. Kind of makes me realize that the people who teach you things don't always have to be teachers themselves, nor do they need to be setting out to teach you something specific. It sort of just happens sometimes that you learn from a scenario without anyone trying to cram knowledge down your throat.

Anyway, basically, there was the one bit of underscore in this drama (that barely even exists) that was written to punctuate the one scene that needed something (not that it needed it terribly, the actor's work was fine) and then there was a piece of source music for a party and the end credits tune I was just talking about.

The underscore was the most straight forward part. It had to be subtle but was just something to help in the absence of dialogue where the two characters. I worked the least on this bit, mainly because it was the shortest. Ultimately, a light guitar strum (which we decided to fade in) and some distant organ, some guitar harmonic triggered by slapping the strings lightly, all very faint. You almost don't realize it's there.

The End credits, as I said, was inspired by some Beach Boys tune, which I will not identify and consists of an acoustic guitar strumming some upbeat and happy chord progression with a few changes for the minor key area (flat 6th and 7th chords as well) and an electric guitar with a chorus effect playing a really cheesy melody over top. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

The source music has been quite the project though. We've been through several permutations of it. This is a case where any big budget project for a Hollywood film would just buy the rights to a couple of Jay-Z songs or something but I decided I could knock out a few beats and we could switch between them. Well, we've sat here and agonized over what kind of music would actually be playing at this party and tweaked my synthesizers and my beats as much as we thought possible and still haven't quite hit the mark. So, that's the last remaining challenge. At this point, the first thing I did that was almost approved, I've gotten sick of listening to and we're starting to dismantle it even and try to get at the root of it all. But last night I punched out two more beats with basslines and just left it at that. Until the next time I get around to working on it, at which point I will try and figure out what kind of sound should go in the mid and high range frequencies of the song. The target is somewhere before my synthesizers start to make it sound techno. I wrote one song that I may post on my myspace page later today to let you hear it. I was listening to Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg and I just dropped everything and wrote this tune. Then, when the director arrive last night I wrote two more beats with him sitting here, trying to get an idea if we were hitting the mark or not, going back and forth between listening to my stuff and then calling up mp3s on Grooveshark.com of various rap songs to get inspiration.

It's been quite educational. If left to my own devices, I'm liable to get going with an idea and run with it in one direction, which may or may not be the right place to go. Having the director come over and listen from time to time helps out immensely when he's looking for something specific. So I don't get too far off track. Also, what I'm gleaning from working with a director is a sense of what works and what doesn't work generally, that I can more than likely apply elsewhere.

The lucky thing is that I get to do all this without a deadline. So I have time to actually try again whenever something doesn't work and maybe next time when I do have a deadline, I'll work more efficiently. So this has really been a blessing getting to do this project with a friend at a time when what I really need is experience with the whole process.

I'll keep you updated on this as it progresses and when it's finally complete. I just checked and that piece I worked on last night is up on my myspace page.

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