Categories
music process

How To Make Images With Only Sound

A Sound Design Project For Theater

I just started working on creating sound design for Fordham University’s theater department.  It’s a mainstage production of the play Magnolia, by Regina Taylor, which is a re-telling of the Cherry Orchard in 1963 Atlanta, Georgia.  It takes place right in the midst of the civil rights era and the sounds of that time period.

The biggest challenge is creating this sonic montage which is to open the piece.  Taylor, who is also directing, wants to evoke a backwards countdown from present day into the past.  It’s challenging and exciting.  Given all the events in the news lately regarding racial discrimination, it feels very timely.

To start with, I began gathering source audio to sample in this newsreel type audio event.

Here’s some of the sources i gathered:

Watching these videos, I found it impossible not to get caught up in the moment.  Especially the coverage of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.   I got so choked up.

After exporting some of these audios using an online tool, I had a file folder from which I could import into my digital audio workstation of choice, LogicProX.

Here’s a screenshot of my session today.

How To Make Images With Only Sound

What a crazy mess!  I started by just laying down a basic beat and bass line to give some kind of structure.  Later I’m going to add a tempo map that ramps up to add to the excitement.

As we were listening to these ideas, my assistant engineer (my 14 year old son Alejandro), suggested a possible unifying idea:  to take each President’s oath going backwards in time from present to 1963.  Brilliant!

So that’s where we’re at so far.  I have a terrible first mix that I don’t want to bore you with just yet.  Lots more to do and in the process of updating my sonic palette by updating my Spectrasonics Omnisphere.  That’s a way cool virtual synthesizer.   Ok, more later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
music purpose

The surprising struggle with composing music for media

For the past twenty or so years, I’ve been involved as a composer for theater, film, television and other media.  In the past, I have done projects for commercial advertisers pushing products and services that I didn’t always believe in.

That’s tough.  Because there’s a conflict internally.  And while I wanted to create the best possible music analogue to the message, it became more and more difficult with projects I couldn’t believe in.

Belief.  It’s the only thing that makes us who we are.  Our beliefs and our values.

Recently I was invited to create the soundtrack and trailer music for a new podcast.  The subject is about immigrants and the deportation of the most vulnerable of them.  As a child of immigrant parents, married to an immigrant, it’s something I can get behind.

While I don’t condone illegal immigration, I do think the way we treat people who are here, no matter how they arrived is a reflection on our society.

The podcast is called Indefensible and is sponsored by the Immigrant Defense Project.  

 

Categories
art music

Music for Theater, Instinct

I wrote music for this theater production of an original play by Matthew Maguire.  It opens this weekend in NYC at the Lion Theater on Theater Row.  An outbreak is spreading and scientists are racing to save the world whilst dealing with their own troubled relationships.  The play is smart, witty, fast and very disconcerting. What’s scary is how plausible this is!

Here’s an excerpt of the music from it.