Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"The Caper" Trailer

Trailer for "The Caper", a forthcoming comedy short from director Matthew Anderson. I served as composer, and my music appears in the first half of the trailer as well (the rock material in the second half is by Annie and the Bang Bang).

As is often the case in comedy, the music ranged widely in style; I found myself writing bossa nova, some ragtime, loungey jazz, Martin Denny-esque "beach" music, and a melodramatic orchestral cue for the noir passage seen at the start of the trailer.

The film will hopefully be making festival rounds soon. Stay tuned!

More film soundtracks by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck music library

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Andy Thomas

A few days ago, courtesy of the Minneapolis Egotist, I discovered a visual-to-sound transmutation by Andy Thomas:

The description: "Bird sounds captured using a digital audio recorder and fed into a computer to activate particle effects." My assumption was that certain frequencies and amplitudes of audio somehow triggered visual generators that manifested as color and shape values, perhaps with some sort of swarm/ fractal parameters.

I dug into the overall Vimeo page, where I was intrigued by the the artist's statement: "Digital Artist Andy Thomas creates intricate artwork and specialises in particle simulation based motion graphics, inspired by nature and technology." A further link led me to the home page of Australian artist's web site.

Thomas evidently got his start creating UV murals for raves and other events, leading to explorations of graphic design and now to "creating audio life forms that react to sounds... by sampling the sounds of the forest and running them through various computer programs".

Here's a motion art gallery on Thomas's site.


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Monday, July 27, 2015

"Through A Purgatorial Twenty Eleven" Screens At 2015 Square Lake Film And Music Festival

I'm pleased to announce that "Through A Purgatorial Twenty Eleven", an experimental short film by Trevor Adams that I recently scored, has been accepted into the 2015 Square Lake Film And Music Festival on August 8th. It's a real honor to be a part of this program.

I last worked with Trevor on 2014's "McFowl!", which screened at the 2014 Square Lake Festival. This new collaboration refines our previous approach. It's always a lot of fun to accompany Trevor's compositions; in both of these cases he uses Super 8 footage that he's shot himself as a substrate for frame-by-frane animation scratched, inked, and painted into the film. On this outing I've tried to pare back my contribution to less droning and more... particles, if you will.

The film lineup hasn't been announced in its entirety yet. I know that a film by Kevin Obsatz will be featured, but that's about all I got.

The music schedule is out, though, and I'm honored to share the stage (as it were) with artists like Dosh and The Roe Family Singers. In the case of the latter, any band featuring Rich Rue and Dan Gaarder is a must-see.

So if any of this floats your boat, feel free to head on down to Stllwater on August 8th... and you get 50% off admission if you bike there, by the way. Just sayin'.

Update: Apparently Mirrorrorim, an animated piece I scored for John Akre, appeared in the festival as well...

Hoping for some more good festival news soon. Stay tuned!

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jodorowsky's "Dune"

As mentioned in the last entry, I finally got the chance to watch the documentary Jodorowsky's "Dune". And I wasn't sorry I did. It's right up there with "Lost in La Mancha" and "Burden of Dreams" as a tale of epic filmmaking struggle. It's also, of course, a document of monumental failure to make a film-- but as we'll see, it engendered a lot of great stuff that did in fact come to pass.

I wasn't familiar with Jodorowsky's work before viewing this film, but I've gotten a little more up to speed since, partly by means of Hoberman & Rosenbaum's wonderful book Midnight Movies. Jodorowsky's "Holy Mountain" perhaps isn't for everyone, but it does feature some great set design, innovative camera work and visual effects, a sharp sense of satire, a psychedelic score by Jodorowsky himself in collaboration with Don Cherry, and some presentational strategies that evoke the director's background in mime and experimental theater. View trailer

Like its predecessor "El Topo", "Holy Mountain" generated a lot of buzz and secured a much larger budget for the auteur's next project. He decided to mount a cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci fi novel "Dune". What follows is a tale every bit as fantastic as Herbert's. I won't even try to cover all the bases here-- one's own viewing and research will prove far more rewarding. But I'm fascinated by this project's potent, if accidental, legacy.

The director secured talent that included-- I kid you not-- Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali, as well as Pink Floyd to compose the score. Turned off by a meeting with special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull, Jodorowsky caught a screening of "Dark Star" and decided to bring Dan O'Bannon, author of that film's visuals, on board. The team also included artists H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud (aka MÅ“bius).

This design team produced piles of memorable work; in many cases (all perhaps, though I'm not sure), this art was their first work in film.

The project fell apart due to budget concerns and lack of studio interest, but anyone familiar with the design staff of subsequent major sci fi franchises will recognize many of the above names as prime movers thereof. O'Bannon went on to write the screenplay for what became the first "Alien" film, thus bringing about one of my favorite film franchises ever. This research gave me an excuse to sit down and watch the special features of my beloved Alien Quadrillogy DVD set again, and indeed there's O'Bannon, talking about how he first met many of the folks who went on to create "Alien"'s classic look.

To be fair, the "Dune" series has been a huge inspiration all on its own. But it appears that with his particular effort, Jodorowsky inadvertently exerted huge influence on the look of sci fi for years to come, as his project's visual concepts reverberated through "Star Wars", "Alien", "Blade Runner" and beyond. It's my (potentially flawed) understanding that this strain of Giger's iamgery, originally generated for "Dune", finally made its way into Ridley Scott's "Prometheus", released in 2012:

Speaking of Ridley Scott, I discovered something reading "Midnight Movies" that I hadn't learned from any of these other sources: that Scott actually took a crack at adapting "Dune" just after "Alien", post-Jodorowsky and pre-Lynch. Yet another failed attempt: the novel seems to resist all attempts to film it. What's happened in the meantime, though-- this documentary included-- has been pretty darn sweet.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Studio Time with Junkie XL

If you're looking to feel inadequate as a composer and technician, "Studio Time with Junkie XL" is for you! Walking through the process of composing for "Mad Max: Fury Road", a film that I think is really going to become popular one of these days, Tom Holkenborg unveils his massive template and demonstrates the advantages of the Cubase/ Nuendo workflow. I'm only a few episodes in, but I recommend it highly!

My favorite aspect of the series so far: Despite all the latest technology deployed, he still uses a mouse that's cabled to the computer.

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Recent Listening/ Viewing 7/15


Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo: "Prince Avalanche" OST

Brian Reitzell: "Hannibal" Season One OST, "Watch Dogs" (game soundtrack)

Metric: "Synthetica"

Goldfrapp, "Tales of Us"

St. Vincent: "Actor", "Marry Me", St. Vincent"

Soundtracks: "The Monster Music of Hans J. Salter & Frank Skinner: Son of Frankenstein / The Invisible Man Returns / The Wolf Man"


Jodorowsky's "Dune"-- I'll probably post a separate entry about this soon... highly recommended documentary about the most epic film never made.

Holy Mountain

The Babadook

One Million Years B.C.

Prehistoric Women

All Is Lost

Margin Call


The Wolf Man

The Invisible Man

(These last two, as well as the soundtracks listed above, are research for upcoming music and sound design work on Curse of the Invisible Werewolf-- a tribute to classic Universal horror of the 1940s in production as I write this... more on this soon as well!)

Mike Hallenbeck home page