As of November 15, 2013, Sonic Cinema will be temporarily holding off on accepting further filmmaker requests for reviews. I have had a great many significant life changes this past year, and I have not yet been able to get to all the ones I currently have on the books. Until those have been completed, I will not be accepting new ones at this time. Thank you for your understanding. -Brian Skutle
Brian's Annual Month of the Macabre - October 2013
This is the 10th time I’ve focused my October movie watching on horror movies. That’s kind of surreal to consider, actually. However, even more surreal was something that happened around the middle of the month that has thrown off my routine in a big way.
The long and short of it is this: my father, Mark, passed away on the 13th of this month. He had been having heart issues for a year and a half, and on the 10th of this month, he went into the hospital, and never recovered from the shocks that occurred when he first went in. His heart was just too weak, and he will be missed. He IS missed, in fact.
Unlike in 2007, when I held off on doing my October horror viewing month after spending the first 11 days of the month in the hospital myself with breathing issues, I pressed on. I had a really strong start, and even though there’s much to do in the aftermath of his passing, getting on with this particular tradition was important to me.
As I went back to work after having over a week off to take care of things with my mother, I got back into a pretty aggressive rhythm in terms of watching movies this month. My Top 10 horror films are always a must, and I found a way to get them all in without really rushing anything. In terms of seeing movies for the first time, there weren’t a whole lot in the long run, though I did start off well in that department; when I got back to business, it was more important for me to watch old favorites than discover new movies, although the new ones I did watch (especially “Children of the Corn” and Mario Bava’s “Black Sunday”) certainly made an impression.
In five out of the previous nine Octobers I’ve done this marathon, I’ve had another tradition, of sorts. Inspired by the images and sounds of the films I’ve watched in Octobers past, I’ve also created musical works that set out to tell similarly terrifying stories of their own. The first four of these, written between 2004 and 2009, were released earlier this year on my fifth album, “Storytelling”. Last year, two more pieces were composed based on ideas I had started to lay out in October 2011, and that gave me an idea for this year. This year (2013), I would write multiple pieces again, and hopefully, have enough to where I would be able to release a full album of ALL of my October pieces (including the four from “Storytelling”) by the end of the month.
Even more so than my movie marathon, this ambitious idea was put on hold by my father’s death. In the first couple of weeks, I had already written and recorded two pieces for this project—“Sin-uous Winds”, which utilized the Theremin-esque app on my iPhone, and “The Dreadful Tick of Time”, which was based around a lot synthesized guitar sounds on my keyboard—and had started on a third. However, it wasn’t until it was just my mother and I again, after friends and family had gone back home, that I was able to get back into something of a compositional rhythm. By this point, I knew the idea of writing and recording enough to have the album, entitled “The Cold Wind of Horror”, done by the end of the month was gone, but I did finish two more pieces (one for solo flute, which I had started before he died, and one for solo harpsichord; neither of which have titles as of yet), and have ideas for a lot more to flesh out for next year. (I also have what will be some pretty great artwork, done by a friend, that gets at the heart of what I’ve been trying to do with these pieces, as well as captures the essence of what films have inspired me most along my musical journey.) You can look at the track listing below to listen to some of these pieces.
I hope you enjoy, and Happy Halloween!
“I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you’re making a horror film doesn’t mean you can’t make an artful film.”- David Cronenberg (director, “The Fly,” “Spider,” “The Dead Zone”)
Brian Skutle’s Macabre Musical Saga: The October Pieces
“Otherworldly March” (2004)
“Gothic Twilight” (2005)
“Darkness for Voices, String Quartet and Tubular Bells” (2006)
“The Hour of the Wolf” (2009)
“Organ Grinder” (2012)
“Labyrinth of Terror” (2012)
“Sin-uous Winds” (2013)
“The Dreadful Tick of Time” (2013)
“Untitled Flute Piece” (2013)
“Untitled Harpsichord Piece” (2013)
Other Horror-Inspired Works by Brian Skutle
“Symphonic Dread” (2005)
“Symphonic Guitar Dread” (2005)
“Walpurgisnacht (Original Score for the Short Film ‘Walpurgis Night’)” (2009)
Mathew Timms’s “Walpurgis Night” (2009)
Thanks for listening,
“The horror story was birthed when we became sedentary cavemen and started telling scary stories to keep the children from wandering off into the night. Today, there’s nothing more cathartic for a guy in a three-piece suit, someone super wound-up and super-tight, to get on a roller coaster of a horror film and scream like a madman.” -Guillermo Del Toro (director, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Cronos”)
Brian’s 10th October Halloween Horror-a-Thon: The List
“Silent Hill: Revelation” (2012)- C+
“Horror of Dracula” (1958)- A+
“Insidious: Chapter 2” (2013)- A-
“Stephen King’s Children of the Corn” (1984)- B+
“Haxan” (1922)- A+
“Cat People” (1942)- A+
“Pet Sematary” (1989)- B
“I Walked With a Zombie” (1943)- A
“Frankenstein” (1931)- A
“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)- A+
“Insidious” (2011)- A
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)- A+
“Let Me In” (2010)- A
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1959)- A
“The Grudge” (2004)- A-
“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)- A+
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)- A+
“The Masque of the Red Death” (1964)- A+
“The Hour of the Wolf” (1968)- A+
“Black Sunday” (1960)- B+
“The Exorcist” (1973)- A+
“Nosferatu” (1922)- A+
“Jaws” (1975)- A+
“Dracula” (1931)- A
“The Mummy” (1959)- A
“The Ring” (2002)- A+
“Carrie” (1976)- A
“Stephen King’s It” (1990)- A-
“The Conjuring” (2013)- A+
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hush” (1999)- A+
“RiffTrax Live! Night of the Living Dead” (2013)- A (Movie: B+)
“Psycho” (1960)- A+
“The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror” (1990)- A+
“The Devil’s Backbone” (2001)- A
“Sinister” (2012)- A-
“The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV” (2013)- C+
“The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII” (2012)- B
“Evil Dead II” (1987)- A
“Sleepy Hollow” (1999)- A
“1408” (2007)- A-
“The Woman in Black” (2012)- A-
“Bride of Frankenstein” (1935)- A+
“Friday the 13th” & “Friday the 13th: Part 2” (1980-81)- A- & B
“Mimic” (1997)- B+
“The Mist” (in Black & White) (2007)- A+
“Shaun of the Dead (2004)- A
“The Signal” (2008)- A
“Halloween” (1978)- A
“The Shining” (1980)- A+
Brian’s 10 Favorite Frightfests
10. “Friday the 13th” (1980; Sean S. Cunningham) & “Friday the 13th: Part 2” (1981; Steve Miner)- Two years after John Carpenter redefined the modern horror movie with “Halloween,” along came the legend of Crystal Lake. One day, negligent camp counselors were fornicating in the woods while young Jason Voorhees drown. The next year, they were killed. Now, Crystal Lake (also known as Camp Blood to the locals) is open again for business, but an unknown force still roams the woods. If you’ve followed even a little horror over the years, you know who it is. Over thirty years and twelve films later, Jason has moved from being a terrifying stalker to ridiculous parody, but this origin story, and the 1981 sequel that further set the stage for continued terror, still intrigues as it introduces a new force in horror.
9. “The Ring” (2002; Gore Verbinski)- Verbinski may have made blockbuster bucks directing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, but for my money, he hit the jackpot first by making this tense thriller, Hollywood’s first remake of a Japanese horror classic. To star, he chose Naomi Watts, who projects her natural intelligence and strength along with your typical horror movie vulnerability as a reporter who starts to try and uncover the dark secrets of a videotape where the viewer dies after seven days. However, just when you think it’s over, Verbinski and his collaborators have one more twist in store to curdle your blood.
8. “Insidious” (2011; James Wan)- Seven years after they created the latest serial horror killer in “Saw’s” Jigsaw, director Wan and writer Leigh Whannell looked to a couple of other durable genre blueprints, those of the haunted house, and haunted kid, and delivered one of the few horror films that actually terrifies when a family’s eldest child lands, inexplicably, into a coma, which will uncover dark family secrets, and lead a father (Patrick Wilson) through his own childhood fears in order to save his son. I don’t know if I want to see this film go the way of “Saw,” but Wan and Whannell lay the groundwork for a franchise unlike any other in American cinema. I can’t wait to see what they have coming our way next…
7. “Psycho” (1960; Alfred Hitchcock)- In 1998, maverick director Gus Van Sant (“Milk,” “My Own Private Idaho”) did the unthinkable and remade this legendary Hitchcock thriller shot-for-shot, in color no less. To what end, critics are still figuring out, but the classic original still looms large, with Anthony Perkins’s unforgettable performance as Norman Bates, a man whose devotion to his mother is beyond creepy; a story that turns the audience on its head with the expectations it sets up, and the surprises it has in store (spoiler: Janet Leigh doesn’t last long); and one of the greatest, deceptively simple horror scores of all-time courtesy of Bernard Herrmann, who paved the way for other iconic themes to come.
6. “Horror of Dracula” (1958; Terence Fisher)- Though no other film has captured the allure of Bram Stoker’s tale as hauntingly as Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” Britain’s Hammer Films came closest with this dramatically powerful first film in their own Dracula franchise, with Christopher Lee rivaling the iconic Bela Legosi in the role of the titular vampire, and Peter Cushing in a terrific interpretation of Dr. Van Helsing, whose hunt for the Undead One has rarely been so visceral. Director Fisher was a Hammer fixture that, in this film and others (especially “The Revenge of Frankenstein” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles”), became one of the great masters of the genre by delving deep into the Gothic and sensual origins of this type of horror story.
5. “Nosferatu” (1922; F.W. Murnau)- If you need any proof as to how the silent era was the heyday for horror films, all you’d need to see is this evocative adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale from silent film master Murnau, which captures all the terror in the story through its haunting imagery (which so inspired Werner Herzog when he remade it, he shot his film in the same locations) and a lead performance by Max Shreck as Count Orlock that is impossible to forget. As with “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Haxan,” and the likes of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” the silent era brought a nightmarish touch to this story that sound takes away, and Murnau milks it for all its worth.
4. “The Masque of the Red Death” (1964; Roger Corman)- Though typically known for low-budget B-movies like those you’d see on “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” writer-director Corman—a mentor to the likes of Scorsese and Ron Howard—nonetheless found his greatest storytelling strengths in adapting the works of Edgar Allen Poe, especially with this opulent and striking story of the evil Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) and the feasts of his court when the Red Death comes to town. Price is incomparable, and Corman’s vision of the tale, full of sensual pleasures and wicked delights, is without compromise or peer.
3. “Cat People” (1942; Jacques Tourneur)- The first in a series of low-budget thrillers from producer Val Lewton, Tourneur’s film is not scary but sinuous, as a young Serbian woman (Simon Simone) finds herself dealing with fears of her innermost desires when she marries a New York man, but doesn’t feel as though she can act on her natural womanly desires, for fear that she’ll become a cat. The low-budget trappings only enhance the mood Lewton and Tourneur are able to achieve, while Simone’s performance not only fills you with dread but sympathy for her plight. Paul Schrader’s 1980s remake added more blatant sexuality, but included none of the original’s suspense. Warner Bros.’s box set of Lewton’s films, which include other collaborations with Tourneur such as “I Walked With a Zombie” and “The Leopard Man,” is not just a treat for horror fans, but for anyone who appreciates cinema that moves through the shadows of the human experience.
2. “Evil Dead II” (1987; Sam Raimi)- Maybe this is the type of movie Bryan Singer was trying for with his revisionist “Superman Returns.” Alternately a sequel and a remake of his cult classic, “The Evil Dead,” Sam Raimi—who returned to the genre brilliantly recently with “Drag Me to Hell”—returns to the woods and the unseen terror unleashed by the Book of the Dead with everyman star Bruce Campbell returning as idiot hero Ashe. The difference this time? This sucker is funny as Hell. Scenes of Ashe being followed by the evil, exemplified by Peter Deming’s zooming camera, and Ashe dealing with his dismembered and posessed hand have the intensity lacking in many a horror movie, with a darkly comic edge that makes it a laugh-out-loud riot.
1. “The Shining” (1980; Stanley Kubrick)- If John Carpenter’s “Halloween” two years before ushered in the modern era of horror films, Kubrick’s unsettling adaptation of Stephen King’s infamous masterpiece marked the end of the reign (for decades) of intelligent, adult-oriented horror films, stretching back to silent classics like “Nosferatu,” and continuing through the Universal legacy with Legosi and Karloff and the Hammer films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Make no mistake—intelligent horror found its’ way onto the screen, from “Silence of the Lambs” to “The Sixth Sense,” to “Sleepy Hollow” to underrated King adaptations such as “1408” and “The Mist”—but with one visceral and brilliant entry, the reclusive master, with the aide of Jack Nicholson’s timeless nuttiness, brought the legacy of movie monsters past to its’ unforgettable peak.
Other Noteworthy Nightmares- More of Brian’s Faves:
-“The Blair Witch Project” (1999; Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez)
-”Bride of Frankenstein” (1935; James Whale)
-“Bubba ho-Tep” (2003; Don Coscarelli)
-”Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hush” (1999; Joss Whedon)
-“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012; Drew Goddard)
-“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920; Robert Weine)
-“The Conjuring” (2013; James Wan)
-“The Devil’s Backbone” (2001; Guillermo Del Toro)
-“Drag Me to Hell” (2009; Sam Raimi)
-“The Frighteners” (1996; Peter Jackson)
-“Haxan” (1922; Benjamin Christensen)
-“Hour of the Wolf” (1968; Ingmar Bergman)
-“Jaws” (1975; Steven Spielberg)
-“Scream” (1996; Wes Craven)
-”Shaun of the Dead” (2004; Edgar Wright)
-“The Signal” (2008; David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush)
-”The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror” (1990; Rich Moore, Wes Archer, David Silverman)
-“Stephen King’s It” (1990; Tommy Lee Wallace)
Macabre Masterworks I Plan on Adding to My Collection
-”Army of Darkness” (1993)
-“The Birds” (1963)
-”The House of the Devil” (2009)
-“Insidious: Chapter 2” (2013)
-“In the Mouth of Madness” (1995)
-”John Carpenter’s The Thing” (1982)
-”Let the Right One In” (2008)
-”Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
-”The Omen” (1976)
-The “Paranormal Activity” Series (2009-12)
-“Scream 4” (2011)
-“Silent Hill” (2006)
-”Troll 2” (1991)
-”Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection” (1931-1945)
-”Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994)
-“You’re Next” (2013)
“The Horror…The Horror”: 2013 in the Genre
“The Conjuring”- A+
“Warm Bodies”- A-
“Insidious: Chapter 2”- A-
“You’re Next”- B+
“John Dies at the End”- B+
“All American Zombie Drugs”- B+
“World War Z”- B
“Evil Dead”- C+
“The Purge”- D
“The ABC’s of Death”- Haven’t Seen
“Carrie”- Haven’t Seen
“Dark Skies”- Haven’t Seen
“Hell Baby”- Haven’t Seen
“I Spit on Your Grave 2”- Haven’t Seen
“The Last Exorcism Part II”- Haven’t Seen
“Texas Chainsaw 3D”- Haven’t Seen
“V/H/S/2”- Haven’t Seen
A Movie a Week
A Movie a Week: "Raging Bull"
Am I really going into my fifth year of this series?
That seems hard to believe, but it’s true. And yet, my enthusiasm for this weekly series not dissipated. Yes, there were a lot of “weeks” last week where my actually watching and reviewing the film I selected was put off until the next week, but that had more to do with my changing life, and a schedule that includes a full-time job on top of trying to keep up and watch movies on a regular basis. This year, however, I am going to try and get back on schedule, though, and stay there.
This year is going to see a bit more variety, with some more obscure (and personal) choices along with established classics and well-known movies. We also have a very different choice as my “bookend director” this year. After going the Z-movie route with Ed Wood, I’m returning to great filmmakers with this year’s choice, Spike Lee. True, he’s very uneven in terms of the quality of a lot of his narrative films, but that said, it’s almost impossible to argue with the greatness of his best films.
This week, I will be aggressively be catching up on reviews for not just this series, but in general. That starts with my review of Martin Scorsese’s 1980 boxing masterpiece, “Raging Bull”. I’d put this one off until later when both Scorsese and DeNiro have films in theatres, but any time is a good one for this pair. I hope you enjoy!
“Raging Bull”- A+
Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” has the reputation of an “established masterpiece,” a film whose greatness is set in stone, having long survived the test of time. But watching it again for the first time in at least 15 years, one finds that it remains a riveting work of art, made by filmmakers who had something to prove, not just to the industry, but to themselves.
It’s been 18 years since Scorsese has collaborated with Robert DeNiro, who was the director’s on-screen muse starting with “Mean Streets,” and continuing with classics like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” (for which DeNiro won a much-deserved Oscar), and “GoodFellas,” to say nothing of “The King of Comedy” and a remake of “Cape Fear” almost as iconic as the original. Hopefully, these two will find a project to work together on again (Scorsese has been spending his time with Leonardo DiCaprio, another generational icon, of late), because when they get together, something special almost always occurs. That was certainly the case with “Raging Bull,” in which DeNiro played Jake LaMotta, a boxer from the ‘40s and ‘50s who was a champion in the ring, but a flawed, almost sociopathic individual when it comes to women. He may play a lady’s man when he first starts courting Vickie (Cathy Moriarity), but his inadequacies come to the surface soon enough. And for him, his time in the ring is how he pays for it.
The film begins in 1964, with an aging LaMotta getting ready for an evening devoted to him. He’s overweight and out-of-shape; hardly the physical specimen one would expect from someone who was a middleweight contender at the height of his popularity. It’s not long before we are in the ring with LaMotta during a 1941 bout with Jimmy Reese, which ends with his first loss. The fights that make him famous, though, are his battles with Sugar Ray Robinson—victories are won by both, but for LaMotta, it’s more about the punishment endured than winning, even though that’s the spin he puts on it for the world, including his brother, Joey (Joe Pesci). Interspersed between the scenes in the ring are scenes of LaMotta’s personal life, where we see a man who becomes a walking ball of anxiety and paranoia about whether his young wife, Vickie, is cheating on him. When Vickie confides in Joey, after he’s seen her out with some mob guys, that Jake attacks her sometimes, we learn a bit more about Jake’s issues with women, something we already kind of guessed after seeing him with his first wife.
This is a film I think every guy should see, and not just because it’s a great film, and one of Scorsese’s best. (I’d put it below “GoodFellas” and “The Last Temptation of Christ,” personally.) If you want to see the effects of anxiety and jealousy on a male, and the downward spiral it leads to, “Raging Bull”—written by Paul Schrader (who wrote “Taxi Driver”) and Mardik Martin (who wrote “Mean Streets”)—is a violent case study in the loneliness it results in. Scorsese and DeNiro don’t back away from the ugly details of LaMotta’s life, and with the boxer himself acting as a consultant, it doesn’t seem like he wanted them to. Subject, star, and director are in perfect harmony in telling this story, all wanting us to experience every minute so that we understand just how painful an existence LaMotta lived. He made amends for it in the ring, though; that’s what those fights became about. He seems much more level-headed after he retires, opening a nightclub, and still living with Vickie and his kids. In retirement, which came in 1956, he seems…happy, and content, and relatively well-adjusted (he’s still a flawed individual), having excised the last of his demons in his last, brutal battle with Sugar Ray Robinson, which features some of the film’s most iconic images. That ideal life doesn’t last long, though, and LaMotta is back to the same, rage-filled pile of id he was when he was boxing.
This is a film that seems, at times, too over-the-top to be true, but it’s that hyper real nature to the story that hits hardest when the film digs to it’s deepest emotional depths. That’s what makes each of his movies he’s done “based on a true story” so potent, whether it’s the raw nerves exposed in “Raging Bull”; the larger-than-life Hollywood lifestyle of Howard Hughes in “The Aviator”; and the perversion of the American Dream that is “GoodFellas.” This is where Scorsese excels, and rarely has he succeeded more than when he and Robert DeNiro turned an eye on a former champion, and didn’t flinch at the flaws boiling just underneath the surface.
Previous “A Movie a Week” Reviews
“Do the Right Thing” (1989)
“The Guru” (2003)
“Reservoir Dogs” (1992)
“Die Hard” (1988)
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948)
“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002)
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
“About a Boy” (2002)
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
“Broken Blossoms” (1919)
“The Last Laugh” (1924)
“The Grapes of Wrath” (1940)
“The Game” (1997)
“The Passion of Anna” (1969)
“King Kong” (1933)
“William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” (1996)
“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986)
“Steamboat Bill Jr.” (1928)
“Basic Instinct” (1992)
“Roger & Me” (1989)
“Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” (2006)
“Much Ado About Nothing” (1993)
“South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” (1999)
“The Secret of NIMH” (1982)
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)
“Cloak & Dagger” (1984)
“The Killer” (1989)
“La Dolce Vita” (1960)
“Gojira (Godzilla)” (1954)
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)
“Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams” (1990)
“Apollo 13” (1995)
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
“The Exorcist” (1973)
“Sleepy Hollow” (1999)
“Raging Bull” (1980)
If you are a fan on Sonic Cinema, Brian's music, or the work of Cinema Nouveau Productions, and would like to show your support, a store is now available through Cafe Press, with T-shirts, hats, buttons, and other merchandise. A wide variety of designs and products are available. The store is Sonic Cinema Shop and can be found at the link provided. Thank you for your support, so I can continue to do what I love. -Brian Skutle
Musical Happenings- June 2013
It feels like I’ve had a busy year thus far musically, but the truth of the matter is, I really haven’t had much I’ve done.
That’s not really true, of course, as I released two long-awaited albums: “Storytelling” and “Arpeggiations & Atmospheres”, both of which had been completed in 2011. The reasons for their delay? Cover art for “Storytelling” (WELL worth the wait from my dear friend, Carrie Stribling), and the fact that I always planned on releasing “Arpeggiations” after “Storytelling” by mere months, so I could keep things moving steadily on the release front. How did that work out for me?
Not too shabby. Hardly record-breaking numbers, but by aggressively promoting not just my new albums, but also my previous four releases, I was able to bump up interest, and get some sales after a long dry spell. To be fair, self promotion is still an area I need to continue to work at, but I think I’m getting the hang of it to a certain extent. (Being able to get friends and loved ones the albums, so that they can listen, and help endorse it, doesn’t hurt either. :) )
Just being able to do those two releases alone would have sated me in years past. This year, however, is different. One of the things I’ve come to realize this past few years, especially as I’ve crossed the 11-year mark in my service at my current job, is that, I want more. As a creative artist, I want to be in control of my life from a financial standpoint, or at least, more in control that it feels like I am now. I want the relative “success” I had in my releases earlier this year to be more than a flash-in-the-pan, but something to build a life off of. I have so many things I wish to accomplish as an artist, and so much to say as a blogger and movie reviewer, that it feels as though just being gainfully employed isn’t really acceptable anymore. I am profoundly grateful for the job that I have, and it has brought me so much more than I ever thought possible in terms of enriching my life (including introducing me to the woman who would become my girlfriend earlier this year, another motivating factor in my current thoughts), but the closer I get to a full dozen years, the more I feel like moving on is the next step for me. I hope that all of you will join me along the way with that.
All that being said, 2013 is far from over for me, musically speaking. In April, as I was taking a week’s vacation off of work, I not only finished recording MIDI trombone parts for a piece I began in 2009, “Deus ex machina: Pressures of Life” (which is available for your listening pleasure on Sonic Cinema by clicking on the title above), but I also re-recorded a couple of electronic parts for a piece I wrote for trombone quartet and electronics back in 2002, entitled “Lost Souls, Guided by Hope”. For both pieces, along with the 2006 written work, “Sonic Contemplation”, I hope to record live trombone parts for each piece’s inclusion on what will be my next major album, ”’Five Stages’...and other pieces from the heart”. That album’s title comes from its central work, my five-movement ”’Five Stages’ Suite”, which has also been recorded live (mostly), and has never been released in full, despite its composition in 1999. I’m planning on having this album available in 2014.
That’s next year, however; this year, I do have more planned. In October, during my annual “Horror Movie Marathon,” which has inspired six pieces, I’m looking to do something even more ambitious, and create a series of musical works in the same vein that will, along with my earlier pieces, be released in a digital-only fashion (a la “Arpeggiations & Atmospheres”) for an EP entitled, “The Cold Wind of Horror”. More on that in October.
A little more recently, however, I began outlining a new composition. It is currently without a title, but it is based around a band orchestration. I’ve wanted to write something for that type of ensemble for a long time, and the retirement of my high school band director, Alfred Watkins, after this past school year was a pretty good catalyst. Like any piece of music, it began with a couple of notes jotted down on manuscript (okay, not like ANY piece of music—I’ve started others simply by noodling around on the synths), although a little inspiration from my current cinematic obsession (“Cloud Atlas”, with one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard) helped nudge me along, as well. It’s in its early stages as I write this, but I’m anticipated that, in sound and orchestration, it’s going to be one of my biggest musical landscapes. I’ll keep everyone posted on my Facebook artist page with how progress is going on that piece.
Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Thank you all for your support over the years, and for indulging me my various, eclectic artistic whims.
Thanks for listening,
“Creative Beginnings” at CDBaby
“Dark Experiments” at CDBaby
“Sonic Visions of a New Old West” at CDBaby
“Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey” at CDBaby
“Storytelling” at CDBaby
“Arpeggiations & Atmospheres” on BandCamp