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TRANSIT.

Released on KRONOS RECORDS. 2014.

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Composer Christoph Zirngibl began his musical career by learning how to play the drums. From the age of just five the composer was attracted to music and it was not long before he began to have piano lessons at the age of twelve. At this stage in his musical development the composer admitted he was not really aware of film music. He was more interested in improvising music when he sat at the piano rather than following the notes that were written on the manuscript in front of him. This was something that was not exactly encouraged at first by the composer’s tutors, but as he progressed, the experimentation and improvisation was looked upon more positively. Christoph began to take notice of music in film and it was fellow German composer Peter Thomas who caught his attention with the score for the Sci-Fi, television series SPACE PATROL. But it was the music of John Williams that made up the thirteen year old’s mind that he would write music for film when he heard the vibrant and powerful score for JURRASSIC PARK. Christoph continued to study piano and also carried on playing drums and along the way also began to write songs and small scale compositions. In 2000 he joined the army and began to play drums in the army band, after which he decided to study music formally. Until today Christoph has composed the music for more than 40 TV movies and feature films.

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What musical studies did you undertake and who was your tutor?

I started to study ‘Scoring for Film and TV’ at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich in 2003 under the German film composer Enjott Schneider (Stalingrad, Stauffenberg, Brother of Sleep, 23). During the first two terms composer Andreas Weidinger filled in for him. One day, after a few weeks in the 1st term it was that Andreas needed someone to support him for a current project with a demanding schedule. So I became his assistant starting with making coffee, doing music preparation and creating sounds until after some time I was involved in doing some minor co-composition and orchestration stuff. So I very early had the chance to get to know the real life of a film composer with all its different facets, which was every bit as important as the courses at university.

What composers or artists would you say have influenced you in the way you write or score a film?

Going back a bit in film history two guys that have become more and more important to me are Bernard Hermann and Alfred Hitchcock. The way especially Hitchcock used to think about movies, stories and dramatic aspects is really interesting. His thoughts on what a good story should be about, what the audience expects from a good story and seeing how he used to apply this knowledge when making a film can be really inspiring for a film composer also in a modern context, I think.

In the big film music world there are many interesting characters whose work I admire a lot, such as Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Lalo Schiffrin, Alexandre Desplat or Henry Mancini and of course John Williams. In terms of sound and also modern film dramaturgy Hans Zimmer is an absolute must. More and more important to me are also Michael Giacchino and Christophe Beck, who are really great in terms of stylistic flexibility and handling their catchy themes.
But I’m primarily influenced by non-film-related music, songs, classical music, electronic music etc. and by experiencing concerts – that’s where most of my initial ideas come from.

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TRANSIT contains a quite varied score, did you have specific instructions from the director about the music or was there a temp track installed to guide you?

For TRANSIT we didn’t use temp music. The director and I listened to some music during our talks about the script or we exchanged MP3s without syncing them to picture just to specify emotional aspects. These tracks mostly were no film music but songs or classical music. As to me, this was a very inspiring workflow which especially is suited for movies with bigger dramaturgical arcs.

How did you become involved on TRANSIT and what size orchestra/ensemble did you use for the soundtrack and what percentage was performed by electronic or synthesized elements?

I had composed the music for Philipp’s very first short movie “Julian”. In that project we had already developed a great working relationship. So I was very happy to be able to take this relationship to the next level with his follow-up project “TRANSIT”.

There are kind of two sound worlds in the score: an emotional string orchestra world as well as a more ambient/atmospheric world. The latter consists of treated bits and excerpts from the first one and the two worlds are connected to each other by the use of solo instruments (acoustic guitar, kantele, piano) that represent the movie’s diverse characters. Most of the electronic sounding stuff as well as the percussions are also created out of recordings I did especially for this project.

There are some lovely guitar solos within the fabric of the score, when you are writing a score and you decide that there will be a solo instrument do you write the music with a particular soloist in mind and do you perform regularly on your scores?

Well, thanks a lot! It depends on the sound and style of the music I have in mind. As TRANSIT was a low budget project I did not dare to think about a specific soloist beforehand but I was very lucky that Markus Wienstroer, one of Germany’s prolific studio and live guitarists, agreed to perform on this score. This was also the case with Giacomo Castellano whom I have been working with very regularly since TRANSIT. To answer your question more precisely: Most of the time I have a really specific sound in mind and then I have to find an artist who understands my ideas musically and sound-wise.
As for myself I do perform on most of my scores whether it is as a piano-/keyboard-player, a percussionist or on other instruments. I think this is an important part of my, if not of any film composer’s, musical and stylistic personality: Film music is all about emotional authenticity and to achieve it, most of the time you don’t really need the world’s best guitar-player, singer and so on but you have to find a personality that can add that unique emotional flavor that makes music special.

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ACROSS THE RIVER.

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The soundtrack release of the music from the horror movie ACROSS THE RIVER comes courtesy of the ever industrious Movie Score Media and is released on their scream works label, the music that you will hear on the compact disc is a compilation of music that is taken from the score and also is accompanied by cues from composer Stefano Sciascia’s other albums. Seven of the cues included were previously released on his concept album entitled LUX EX TENEBRIS which was issued in 2010, plus thee are two cues taken from his 2004 album MANTRA 22.22, which means that there is just one original cue on the disc, but saying this the entire album is originality personified, the composer utilizing to great effect double bass and highlighting the instruments versatility and also it range. This is also I think an exercise in the use of music in film that is not specifically composed for that film and it demonstrates that music that is not written for any movie in particular can be effective as long as it is placed correctly. This is a highly original work, which is not only quite powerful but at times can be emotive and moving. Sciascia combines music and also musical sounds and effects to generate a soundtrack that is filled with numerous surprises. The composer makes amazingly effective use of sounds as well as melodies within the score and his choral interludes and passages are eerie and haunting, solo violin is also brought into the equation on occasion, the composer using the instrument economically and at times only allowing a fleeting appearance from it, but it is enough to establish a touch of melancholy that is underlined with an aura of uneasiness. The combination of both choir and solo violin is demonstrated to a greater extent in track number 6, LACRIMOSA which although is for the majority of its duration a largely ominous sounding piece does contain its fair share of emotion and has to it a sombre mood. Track number 7, SCOTLAND THE BRAVE, is a somewhat odd and even quirky sounding piece, it begins with a sound that I suppose can be likened to whale song of sorts, to this is added bagpipes and as these melt away the composer introduces strings which are filled with emotion and sadness but at the same time retain a certain air of menace. Track 8, MANTRA 22.22 PART lll, showcases cello and bass and for me is an interesting composition as again it oozes emotion and also has a sound to it that can be deemed slightly oriental. Track number 9, STABAT MATER is probably the most unsettling composition on the compact disc, this is partly due to the effective use of choir within the piece the composer again adding off beat sound effects for greater impact and underlining it all with low slow paced strings with cello solo taking centre stage as if it is guiding the vocals. The same can be said for track number 10, ORIOR which contains an almost guttural sound at the beginning of the cue, which fades into obscurity giving way again the solo cello that is enhanced by subtle use of further stringed instruments, with choir again being introduced throughout.
I cannot stress enough that this is an infinitely innovative work and one that will entertain simply because of its originality. One to watch out for.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

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A multiplying nation of genetically evolved apes led by the highly intelligent and strong willed chimpanzee Caesar become increasingly threatened by a group of humans that are survivors of a devastating virus that had been unleashed on the world a decade previous to the events in this movie. The two sides manage to reach a fragile peace to live together or at least tolerate each other, but this is a short-lived state of affairs, as both humans and apes are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as the planets dominant species. This new series of ape movies are very different from the series that began in the 1960,s with Charlton Heston and Roddy Mc Dowell, they are much darker and unnervingly realistic, even darker than Tim Burtons take on the franchise. Patrick Doyle provided an excellent score for RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and now we have a wonderfully dramatic, vibrant and also in places melodic and melancholy work from composer Michael Giacchino. He of course has fast become the man to score the latest blockbuster sci-fi movies etc and his rise to the A list of composers has been steady but also well deserved. Within his latest offering for DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, I do hear certain little musical references and maybe the odd nod of acknowledgement to Jerry Goldsmith, which I suppose is only natural as it was Goldsmith who indeed laid down the blueprint for Ape music in the original PLANET OF THE APES all those years ago and it is probably Goldsmiths original score that has stood the test of time better than any other of the original Ape series soundtracks, because it was so far ahead of its time when written. Giacchino has composed a score that works on so many levels, it is as I have said dramatic and vibrant, but it also has to it a lush sound at times with a richly melodic foundation in a number of the cues, the music relays an atmosphere that is sombre and dark for the majority of the time and also posses a certain ethnic resonance but does also manage to purvey to the listener a mood that is fragile and emotive which is tinged with melancholy and an underlying sound running through it that implies all is not gloom and despondency hinting that maybe there is some hope for the Earth or is there? The compact disc opens with a cue that is poignant and subdued, solo piano acts as an introduction to low and somewhat unsettling strings, the darkness of the strings and also the light and almost dream like motif that is being picked out by the piano seem to compliment each other and also combine to usher in a sprinkling of choir, with piano still stealthily present acting as a chink of light in a atmosphere that is dark and a little unsettling with the three note motif seemingly holding the composition together, the cue comes to an abrupt end with a menacing and sharp sounding cello.

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Track number 2, LOOK WHO’S STALKING. A half heard and subdued opening from low strings is suddenly abruptly interrupted by percussive stabs, these then melt away giving rise to various percussive punctuation as swirling strings start to build to establish a tense and formidable sound these strings introduce chaotic voices that segue into what is really the first real action theme from the score, which consists of driving strings and percussion being flung headlong by brass. This up-tempo action piece is short lived and soon fades giving way to more tense atmospheric sounds that bring the cue to its close. Track number 3, APE PROCESSIONAL is really the first time that we hear a fully noble and uplifting melodic theme performed by the string section with assistance and support from brass and percussion that combine to create a rich and warm sounding piece. Solo harp opens the piece, and is soon joined by rich sounding strings the composer adding faraway sounding horns to the proceedings, the strings swell and establish the theme further which relays hope, melancholy and a touch of romanticism. Solo piano is introduced towards the end of the cue to create even more emotion. Within this score we can hear certain musical references to maybe Goldsmith, or is that just something that I wanted to hear? It is a work that is dramatic and powerful but also has to it a potent lushness that conveys so much emotion and sadness. It is atonal, majestic and above all entertaining. Worth a listen.

RAPHAEL GESQUA.

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What is your first memory of any kind of music or contact with a musical instrument and do you come from a family background that is musical?

- Well, I remember my mother told me that when I was born, the doctor just took me in his arms and played classical music to the new born I was. Who knows? Maybe it all started here?
Apart from my father, who was playing jazz guitar when he was young (and even released an album) but didn’t turn it into his job at the end, there are no composers/musicians, or even artists in my close family…I’m the only one, I’m afraid.

What musical education did you receive, and what areas of music did you concentrate upon?

I’m kind of a self-made composer, which means I didn’t have the opportunity to study music in an “official” way. All I learned (and still am learning) comes from what I’ve listened to and “studied” by myself since my childhood. I can say for sure that it is my passion for movies and videogames that led me to turn my attention to music. I remember, as a child, always being listening to synthetic videogames music, sometimes instead of playing the games
themselves, and really annoying my parents with those “beep” sounds they didn’t understand at all. I even composed some music on 8-bit computers like “Amstrad”, on which there was no musical tools, and so you had to be a real computer programmer, even for composing music. But around 1987, a personal computer called “Commodore Amiga”, opened new horizons to me, as it enabled the perspective of using samples with a different way as synthesizers: the so-called “sound-trackers”.
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Then I began to really involve myself in composing music, at the point that someday, came the emergence of a new period called “demo scene”, where computer geeks started unite their talents to create some kind of video clips on computers and spreading them on floppy disks and modems (there was no internet, back then)), each clip involving, mostly, a programmer, a graphic artist, and a composer.

I had the chance to be really quickly well appreciated by international “scene members”, at the point that I entered directly classified to the first place of what was called “The Euro charts”, a periodic classment of best programmers, graphic artists and composers from the demo scene, for which everyone in the world could vote. From this time, I still didn’t plan to make music my full time job, probably by lack of self trust. But one day, a very good friend of mine told me “Raphaël, you are talented, and if you don’t try to reach videogames companies, I’ll do it for you! As I can tell you, you WILL be a videogames music composer!” A couple of weeks later, I had a phone call from 2 great videogames companies: “Ocean Software” and “Delphine Software International”. It was amazing, for me, as one of those 2 companies produced games I even used to skip school to play them. So, imagine my feelings, when Paul Cuisset, the company director, called me to work on his future productions. A dream coming true…A few years later, the same friend told me” Now that you’ve done videogames music, I can assure you will compose for feature films!”And he was right too, about that. Many years after, however and to be frank, I must confess I still can’t read a musical score, today, and I’m still working with computers, as I always did.

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Did you always want to write music for film, if so what inspired you to take this career route?

All I can tell is that I’ve always been a music addict, since my childhood. I remember always having some kind of melodies rolling in my head, without being conscious that I was already composing.
As I said before, it’s my passion for movies and videogames that leaded me to compose music. However, at the beginning, willing to be a videogames composer wasn’t easy at all, as most people were not considering it was a “real” job, because of the “beep” syndrome people couldn’t see that, already at this time, there was music ingenious composing masterful pieces with “beep” sounds. I’ve always considered that the human brain and soul behind a piece of art, was the only thing that matters…Still today, I can be much more moved by a piece of music made on a Commodore Amiga with 4 channels monophonic voices, than some other pieces played by a great symphonic orchestra. After all, at the end, only the result matters…

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AMONG THE LIVING is one of your latest assignments, how did you become involved on this and how long did you have to score the movie?

In the past, after having worked for about 12 years in videogames industry, I decided, in 2003, that I would try my luck in movies.
So, I decided to search for young directors making short films, as I thought it would be the best scoring school, instead of already trying to reach “big” feature films directors, which I though wouldn’t work at all. Some friend of mine then told me about a guy in videogames business who had gone to movies business, and also knowing (and liking) my work. So, we met. And then, he introduced me to a young director making a short comedy-sci-fi horror film.
That was my first contact with director Julien Maury (of the “Maury and Bustillo” famous film duo). I did his two short films soundtracks, he seemed to love them, and so, naturally, when he managed to direct his first feature film with Alexandre Bustillo, “Inside” (“A l’intérieur”), in 2006, he offered me to do the soundtrack. That is how it began. Then came “Livid” (“Livide”), “Among the Living” (“Aux Yeux des Vivants”) and soon “The ABCs of Death 2″ (“X” segment) still with the 2 directors. Now we even are real friends, which turns it even more fantastic to work with each other.

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AMONG THE LIVING contains some unusual and also highly original instrumentation and orchestration, when you began working on the picture did you immediately think of using a whistler or was this an idea that evolved as you were working on the score?

Thanks a lot. To be frank, there was a first version of the soundtrack, in which I had done absolutely what I felt about the movie, without even discussing with directors, which was a big mistake. Indeed, instead of the final dark and dirty whistling musical direction, led by the prologue, I had took a more symphonic direction, at the beginning, closer to my previous feature film with same directors, “Livid”. When they listened to it, they told me: this is very good. You made your own movie, musically speaking, and it’s quite interesting. But this is not what we have in mind for “our” film. We want something dark, dirty and frightening. “From that time, I decided that the “Faucheur” theme (bad guys family), that was already written for cellos, could have been interesting if played by a simple whistle. But not a clean one, more like an old bad take from a bad whistler, to strengthen the sticky and stifling side of one of the family’s “normal” days. That’s why I decided to whistle myself, as I’m a very bad whistler. And as a result, the two directors just loved the idea, and then we decided to use it as a real leitmotiv for the bad guy.

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What size orchestra did you use for the AMONG THE LIVING score and what percentage of the line up was synthetic?

Well, first of all, I have to thank you! Indeed, absolutely all instruments are virtual, in “Among the Living”, except, of course, my dirty whistling parts and dark voices, which also are my voice originally. The simple fact you’re asking the question is a huge reward, for me, as I consider working on virtual instruments as fascinating and difficult as working with “real” instruments.
Besides, I don’t quite like the term of “real” instrument. After all, what is a real instrument? Only result matters, once again, and the final goal of music is putting sound to the audience hears and minds, no matter the sound is coming from a tangible and palpable instrument or a computer connected speaker/headphone. Computers are no more dissociable to film music, today, as they allow to take any musical direction (big orchestras, electro, sound design…) no matter the budget. For instance, the solo violin playing the overture and end credits of “Among the Living” took me several weeks to reach the way it sounds, to fit what I exactly had in mind. So, it’s a hard work too, to manage to reach a realistic sounding virtual instrument, with some gain of time, too, as you don’t have to wait for musicians to play your score, to have an idea of the result. Of course, I’m not saying computers are better than real instruments (I definitely prefer having real musicians when possible) but again, they are more like complementary, additional than replacing each other. I love both of them. And I’m pretty sure Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and many others, would have just loved the opportunity to write a score and hear it immediately, using a computer.

Do you conduct at all or do you find it more productive to utilize the services of a conductor so that you are free to monitor the scoring session from the control box?

Ah, the question has already been answered: conducting is a real job, I’m just a composer, and I let professional conductors do their job, when needed, as they just do it brilliantly. So, yes, I stay most of the time in the control box, from where I get out sometimes to have a word with the conductor and musicians, which is a great part of scoring, when working on film with a big enough budget

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The score for AMONG THE LIVING has been issued on a MSM/KRONOS compact disc, were you involved in the compiling of the disc or the sequencing of tracks from the soundtrack?

Of course…Mikael Carlsson of “MovieScore Media” and Godwin Borg of “Kronos Records” gave me a total liberty in sequencing the CD and in the visual choices. It was my choice, for instance, to keep the ENTIRE soundtrack on the CD, even the sound design parts, as it is my very first film feature soundtrack released on CD, and as I wanted to make it, above all, for the soundtrack geek I’ve always been, meaning I’m always annoyed when hearing that
some music parts from the original film I watch in a theatre, are missing on the soundtrack CD/Digital release. With “Among the Living” soundtrack, you’ll hear ALL of what you can hear in the film! It was really cool to work with MSM and Kronos, and I hope we’ll do it again in the future.

When working on movies how many times do you like to see them before arriving at any ideas about the type of music that it requires?

The first moment I think I’ve decided which musical directions to take for the film, is reading the scenario. Indeed, I’m lucky that directors always send me the script as soon as finished (even before its final version, sometimes), so we can begin discussions and choices for the soundtrack. They even invite me on shooting sets to feel the “live” atmosphere of the films, or at least they send me the rushes by internet, day by day, during shooting. However, most of the time, it is when I get the first edited pieces of the film that I really begin to decide the real final musical way of the film, as I think editing is a real guide, for a composer (in terms of rhythm, musical colour etc)…

At what stage of production do you prefer to become involved on a project, is it better to see a script or do you find it more helpful to wait and see the film in its rough cut stage?

I think the more we get the best! So much cases, in videogames mostly, where production only contacts you when the project is near its end…A pity…

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AMONG THE LIVING has as I have said very original orchestration and I think this is one of the reasons why I liked the score so much, it ‘s unusual and innovative, do you orchestrate all of your own work for film, or is this something that due to scheduling etc is not always possible?

Well, thanks again. I’ll tell you. I really prefer doing less soundtracks and keep total control on their composition and production, than doing more and needing to let part of my job done by someone else. So yes, I do everything, when writing music, composing, arranging, orchestrating, mixing etc…Of course, if I have to work with a real orchestra, this is different then I have to let the conductor do his job, but I’ll make sure he gets a score that is quite playable for his orchestra. To summarize, I have a philosophy “If the score is bad, it’s all my fault, but if it’s good, it’s thanks to me!”

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You worked with Alexandre Bustillo the director of AMONG THE LIVING previously on LIVID did he have specific ideas when it came to the music in both these movies, or were you more or less left to arrive at the sound and style by yourself?

Of course, Alexandre and Julien, the directing duo, always have a first idea of what they expect from me to bring to their movies, but they also give me a total freedom in adding some ideas, trying some weird things, proposing sometimes the opposite from what was initially planned in a sequence, etc…Which is kind of great, for a composer.

What composers or artists would you say have influenced you or have had any effect upon you when it comes to the way in which you approach scoring a movie?

Of course, there are several of them, but if I had to give a single name, that would be for sure John Williams. Indeed, he is the only one composer who gives me the feeling he knows which switches to turn on in my brain to fully stimulate my musical dreams connexions! I think his music is so rich that you even can find melodies in his orchestrations. Nothing seems comparable to a new Williams piece…except Williams…Of course, there are lots of other composers I just love, just after him, and who made me what I am Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Miklos Rosza, James Horner, Basil Poledouris, Bernard Herrmann, Alan Silvestri, Maurice Jarre, Vangelis, Hans Zimmer…Thanks to all of them, there was a time I couldn’t see film music other than being orchestral and symphonic. Today, I think the best way to innovate in scoring is to marry real orchestras with electronic instruments, or even using electronic orchestras in a way that wouldn’t be possible with real instruments. So many possibilities…And again, only result counts…

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I think I am correct when I say you began by scoring a great number of video games, how did you begin working on motion pictures and what would you say are the main differences between scoring a feature film, a short film and working on a game?

Videogames led me to film scoring, as the first person from the movie business I met, Julien Maury, had been introduced to me by a common friend who had known my work in the videogames industry since a long time, and had moved from videogames to movies. The difference between videogames and films music is much less now than when I started about 23 years ago. At the time, it had to do with the inherent technical limitations of each machine. For example, just on the PC, it had to deal with on compatible MIDI sound cards.
Except that everyone was free to have the sound card of their choice. As a result, it should be taken into account that the same sequence sounds good for the PC of each player. A real challenge. Moreover, at the consoles, it was again each composition as often as existing consoles, because each had its own sound system, it should be used as a small very limited memory and number of channels synthesizer. This led to these synthetic records that irritated both parents and marvelled fortunately their children. And finally, today, these same children pay tribute to the music of yesteryear games by composing themselves in the synthetic
style that became thus a style of its own. Today, there is no technical limit, in composing for videogames, but there still is a difference: whereas in films you just work on a total linear
sequence, in videogames you have to kind of anticipate all situations where the player can find himself in. Also, you can work on real-time interactivity, by using, for instance, multi-tracks scores, with add/remove instruments system depending on player situation.20 years ago, on “Fade to Black”, for instance, I was kind of proud being named by some journalists as “one of the first interactive music composer”. However, when you work on cinematic sequences of a videogame, it is exactly the same as in cinema.

What would you say is the purpose of music in film?

Film music is like a second storyteller making the audience feel something else that just what they can see on the screen. If the composer has nothing more to say in a scene than the director, then he should stay away from the scene. Of course, sometimes, music’s purpose is only to reinforce a feeling, especially in action sequences or some scary ones…But I really do like better music adding information than only underlining it…And sometimes, silent
is really better…

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Have any of the movies or games that you have scored been tracked with a temp track and if so was this something that found to be helpful in finding out what a director etc wanted for the project, or was it a distraction?

In videogames, never. In feature films, always. Temp tracks don’t disturb me, as I think I manage never to copy them, but only to use them as musical directions, and language to dialogue with directors and editors. Indeed, it is not easy for a director/editor to express what they expect from the composer in their film, and temp tracks are made for this: indicate the psychological direction, the needed musical colour of a sequence. The danger is when some composers are not able to compose something of their own, which means not only inspiring from temp tracks, but making a near plagiarism from it. It is sad, when watching a movie, to recognize which temps track must have been used for it. Unfortunately it happens quite often…

Do you use a piano or keyboard when working out your musical ideas or do you turn to a more hi-tech method?

Definitely Hi-tech! I entirely “program” my music with a computer keyboard: score, arrangement, orchestrating, effects, speed etc…It’s a long and very precise work, and I just love to be alone in my work room, giving birth to new pieces. However, sometimes, I just love to walk my fingers on my girlfriend’s piano, a very beautiful sound.

Using AMONG THE LIVING as an example, did you begin by creating a central theme in the first place and then create the remainder of the score around this or do you tackle larger cues first or maybe start with stabs and core sounds before starting on the main score?

Indeed, I began with a central theme, the one with lead violin, cellos and chords…which is the one you hear in the end credits. But it is that piece that led me to write all variations, including in sound design (that’s why we decided to put him back in first place in the “Among the Living soundtrack release. So, indeed, I love composing a central theme building the score’s foundations. I’m really attached to the idea of a well constructed score, with logical use of themes, even if you don’t hear many themes, in movie scores, since about 15 years…

What is next for you?

Well, apart from 2 new videogames scores and sound effects/voices, and the Maury & Bustillo’s “X” segment from upcoming “ABCs of Death 2″ feature film anthology, there are about 4 features films soundtracks showing themselves to the horizon for me, including next Maury & Bustillo’s. I’ll be able to talk
about all of them very soon.

SUBSPECIES-THE NIGHT HAS FANGS.

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Back in 1991 Full Moon records or Moonstone records as they were called being a division of the Full Moon film company run by Charles Band, were very active in the release of soundtrack compact discs, a number of these were by Richard Band who is a composer I have always admired and one who is noted for creating some magnificent soundtracks on a shoestring budget. There were also a number of scores by other composers released on the label. SUBSPECIES (the night has fangs) was one such score, the music is by a collective of composers Richard Kosinski, Michael Portis, John Zeretzke and Stuart Brotman. This quartet of music-smiths produced a soundtrack that was to say the least original, inventive and interesting and for a horror score it contained its fair share of highly melodic moments. Performed by the Aman Folk orchestra the soundtrack contains a number of unusual instruments and these were bolstered and supported by an array of synthetic sounds. The score also contained choral effects and solo vocals which were stunningly effective. SUBSPECIES tells the story of a long blood feud between two vampire Brothers, one Stefan is trying to overcome his animal lust for blood but the other Radu is intent on perusing his insatiable thirst for blood and also wants more power so that he may rule the vampire world, he can do this only if he posses the bloodstone and to get this he must do battle with his sibling. The storyline to SUBSPECIES is greatly aided by the use of a highly atmospheric score and it is the use of numerous ethnic instruments such as Turkish oboe, duval, fuyara, tilinca, fulier, gardon and an eerie sounding cimbalon that enable the composers to underline, support and enhance the scenarios that are unfolding on screen so effectively and also so authentically. The movie which was the first Horror film to be filmed in Transylvania, boasts a score that utilises sophisticated synthetic sounds which are cleverly and seamlessly interwoven with music that is more traditional to Eastern Europe. The more traditional dramatic horror soundtrack being provided by composers Richard Kosinski and Michael Portis using growling synths and weird short sounds to create a sound-scape that is ominous and fearsome. Synthesised choir too plays an important part within the score, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. The folk and traditional material being written by John Zeretzke and Stuart Brotman. The end product is stunning and wonderfully effective. There is one track that seems to stand out among all of the others this is track number 16, FUNERAL FOR LILLIAN, a lone drum sets down the tempo for the cue, and is relegated to being a background to a female voice which performs a short but memorable lament which is itself unnerving and unearthly. The score intermingles and fuses Bulgarian, Hungarian, Turkish and Romanian musical flavours and successfully merges these with contemporary sounds to create a chilling and unsettling cocktail of music. One to watch out for, worth a listen.

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