Sometimes one just needs a fun go-to project, something beneficial personally, but not necessarily Earth-shattering. Something I have been wanting to do for awhile is to re-orchestrate some of my favorite symphonic passages into the fabulous virtual instrument sounds of classic synthesizers like Prophets, Farfisas, Mini Moogs, and even some B3 on the side. So with a little music tech fun, I have started with the gorgeous slow movement from the New World Symphony. So when I need a little sonic therapy, I enter into the swirling realm of Arturia Classic Virtual instruments and just bathe in the sound sculpturing process. There are several other selections that come to mind by Sibelius, Mahler, Adorno, Gesualdo, Bach…. the possibilities are endless and may lead to some moving image scoring examples for my showreel. 27 days until summer!
Summer is here accompanying a plethora of recording projects featuring the scoring of Jochen Kunstler‘s film, Get Your Shit Together, Zeus. As inspiration hits full force, it is critical to have the studio ready for plugging in the laptop and having at it. Balancing creative endeavors such as these along with the Little League All -Star Baseball season, cantoring lessons, yard work, fife and drum corps parades, laundry, mindfulness, cooking – even thinking about thinking about planning teaching for next September . . . – one gets the idea. When there’s a moment of motivation, whether succinct or substantial, that coincides with isolation, it must be conquered as productive. Thus, the can must be ready to collect explosions of ideas, whimsically or deliberately.
A process that has worked very well for me over the years begins with the placement of several microphones around the space at various angles and distances from the performance stool. The mics are of course all different and are tracked individually and in as many as 20 to 30 combinations of stereo or mono with EQ, verb, and other FX ready to automate via nobs and sliders within an arms reach. This flexible set up was developed during preparations for surround sound fixed media compositions like “consubstantial.” Eight mics recording the same sound from eight different angles and eight different settings on the DAW maximizes potential decision making during editing for moving the audio around the performance space. Even works that are eventually rendered for stereo benefit from the timbre modulations resulting from this marriage between instrument and technology.
For these GYSTZ Sessions, I will be overdubbing myself as a virtual reed quartet of A Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, and Bass Clarinet. I hear this one’semble as a fluctuation of sonorities from church organ to jazziness to cerebral departures from both and everything else. I will also have the percussion ready to pop in at any moment – djembes, balafon, hand drums, rattles, bells, dumbek, to name a few. No doubt, this score will utilize electronic sounds and virtual instruments created in Reason, Reaktor, Ableton, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Logic; but that bank of real instruments will form the foundation and the necessary earthliness I am hearing for this film. The psychology of Crystal, the lead character, demands a complex and developing theme interspersed with pre-recorded Gospel tracks sung by two gentlemen. There are definite dreamscape notions formulating in my mind that may call for two guest singers, young female voices as undulating echoes from these featured guttural Gospel men.
As I embark upon the work, I hear a vastness of music that just may well expand beyond the needs of this film and result in an entity of its own inspired by this cool collaboration born from the VCFA community.
This summer (it’s already pretty hot in Connecticut, so starting NOW), I am composing an original film score for the soon-to-be-screened, “Get Your Shit Together, Zeus,” by fellow VCFA community member, Jochen Künstler. This autumn, Jochen will complete his MFA in Film from Vermont College of Fine Arts, also home for the MFA in Music Composition program from which I am a proud alumnus. The images above represent a portion of my pre-composing as I sketch cues for this reed quartet combination of A Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, and Bass Clarinet. These timbres will provide a wide variety of colors and moods depicting the various sensibilities I am audiating-worship organ, bluesiness, jazz, Gospel, and aleatoric dreamscapes and abstractions derived to and fro, including certainly, sojourns of an electroacoustic nature. But one never knows where one’s path of process will take them. A very illuminating journey, for sure.