Monday, July 15, 2013

Crowley Theme: Web Series Composer Process #2



The second in a planned progression of pieces exploring my original musical score for the web series Theater People.

For Episode 2, director Matt Anderson wanted a theme underscoring a monologue by Jamy (Mark Mattison), a pretentious director who plans to mount a production of a lost play by Aleister Crowley. Here's the first scene in which this music appears, wherein Jamy seduces Jill (Jane Froiland) with some big talk about the show:

Now let's rewind to the first draft. I thought it'd be nice for this piece to grow chordally out of the main title theme, as did another theme I created for the callbacks of the "Romeo and Juliet" production. I wanted to highlight Jamy's sense of menace and tie it in with the Satanist he's talking about. I did my best to channel something Morricone might write to underscore a villain's appearance in a Western, filtered through a kind of Giant Sand/ Friends of Dean Martinez filter:

Crowley Theme (First Draft)

Matt and I both thought this was a nice piece of music, but it seemed a little too heavy on the menace-- "too real", as he put it. So I set about to sanding the edges off a little, making it somehow a little more bufoonish and friendlier to make Jamy seem like more of a poseur and less of a predator. I nixed the distorted droney guitar, added the organ, changed the bass sound from its previously aggro setting to something rounder, made the lead guitar less jagged, and came up with a more accessible melody. Here's the result, out of context from the scene. This has actually been tweaked a bit since that episode, for future use in the series and for demonstration purposes; the lead guitar is still pretty low in the mix so it won't compete with dialog, but I added some string bends:

Crowley Theme Friendlier (Revision)

I also mixed down a version featuring only the guitar, a version with only the drums, and the entire mix without the lead guitar to give Matt some more options down the line.

Thanks for checking this out-- I've had a great time working on this series, and I'm looking forward to updating you on more of its musical content!

Watch the web series

Index of "Theater People" web series composer process entries:

1: Main Title

2: Crowley Theme

3: Day Job Waltz/ Melodramatic Theme

4: Mambo Madness

5: Dream Rock

666: Devil Worship Music

Enjoy!

Mike Hallenbeck home page

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