Milan Records released my score to Killers Within last week, and it is now available on all major digital stores and streaming services.
From Randall D. Larson’s liner notes:
Killers Within dabs into a variety of genres: fantasy, horror, thriller, action… so it was key for Bushe and O’Neill to have a score that could evolve over the story’s course while blending all those genres into a cohesive whole. “We discussed creating some straight-up horror music, how far into electronic and percussive elements we might want to go for the action scenes, as well as the part of the film which borrows from heist movie tropes,” Leroy said. “But the main point of conversation, really, was what kind of musical atmosphere we wanted to create for the moments in the mansion—which is where a majority of the film takes place—and how we were going to sustain tension during those scenes.”
Leroy’s first tactic was developing a theme for the central character of Amanda, with whom the audience will likely sympathize the most. “My initial challenge was not just figuring out how to go seamlessly from an action/thriller film into a monster/fantasy film mid-way into the story, but also how to create a sense of overall identity for the film. Having a theme for Amanda and very subtly bringing it back at key moments in the score was key. At the end of the day, this is a story about a mother trying to save her son, and we really wanted that point to come across among (or in spite of) all the other elements in the film.”
To accommodate the extremely varied palette necessary to follow the film’s shifting genres, Leroy utilized a phalanx of electronic and digital tools. “The score ended up calling for a huge amount of analog and digital synthesizers for ambiences and textures, processed strings and reversed percussions, old school keyboards like Rhodes and Hammond organ, electronic pianos, layered acoustic and electronic bass to add rhythm and tension, EQ’ed digital pulses, and a wide array of risers, hits, and percussive sweeps,” he explained. “All of this backed, when necessary, with more traditional orchestral groups like string pads, brass effects, and processed woodwinds.”
Finally available on all download and streaming platform: my score to Aqsa Altaf’s beautifully reflective film The Long Farewell.
With no dialog and minimal sound effects, the film relies on music to create a profoundly poetic atmosphere. Written primarily for synthesizers with piano solos, the score sometimes blends with the director’s bigger-than-life shots of the luxurious surrounding landscape (thick forests, tall trees, wide rivers, big gray skies…). At other times, it reaches for the ethereal by opening up the emotional range to depict what is not directly seen on screen—the deep, everlasting bond between the two main characters.
The music was written freely, without a constant tempo or a bar structure to box the music in. Harmonies start softly and grow slowly, and eventually disappear back in the ether. Various textures and instruments are layered in over time to lead the story to its climatic point, and ultimately pull back to leave the audience reflecting about childhood, friendship, and the loss of innocence.
My score to Matt Cerini’s animated short ‘Dear Alice’ is now available on all download and streaming platforms.
Directed by Matt Cerini at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Dear Alice is an animated short film that tells the story of Anthony, an unconfident artist, who must inspire a wide-eyed young girl, Alice, to see the beauty in her sketch before the bus they’re in reaches his stop.
The film, which was completed in 10 months time and included a team of 15 artists in production, deals with artistic growth through self-doubt and reassurance, thanks to a chance meeting with someone dealing with the same issue as yours. The director’s ultimate goal was to pull at the heartstrings of anyone watching, to make them shed a tear when the little girl felt completely abandoned, or crack a smile when she lit up as Anthony nodded for her to give it another try.
The score, written as a duet between solo violin (performed by Patti Rudisill) and solo cello (performed by Michelle Packman), plays on this newfound relationship where each character inspires the other. Both instruments are featured first by themselves, then start answering and supporting each other, to finally join together in a warm and uplifting ending. Harp (performed by Lara Somogyi), piano and strings provide the emotional backing.
My score to The Housemaid is now available as a CD release courtesy of Spanish label Rosetta Soundtrack! As a long-time soundtrack aficionado and CD collector, I’m always happy to see film music released on physical format, especially in this challenging market. And it’s even more exciting when it's your own!
Head over to Rosetta’s product page to read more about the score and order your copy.