My explorations on Soundcloud have revealed a lot of similarity in the approach of film score artists which I really feel is to their detriment. One can hear the same sample banks and software in so much of the work with the music itself being fairly perfunctory. I don’t mean to be scathing to the trade as I understand from my own various wage earners that very often clients are seeking something relatively “off the shelf” even if they think they want something bespoke and innovative. That and of course scores are in the main designed to be complementary to films rather than pieces in and of themselves.
What I loved about this mini documentary is how it shows the successful combination of innovation (using the “wrong” instruments for the rustic feel) and the fact that Kevin does not use the usual coterie of sample banks or indeed synthesis at all.
This approach to instrumentation coupled with a fantastically tight brief (the show is a western) has resulted in something remarkable. I think the work and the approach can certainly be compared to the greats – John Barry and Ennio Morricone – who created music that both met the brief but is in and of itself bestowed with a listenable beauty that makes it enjoyable on its own.
For those of you on Spotify here’s a playlist I found of the first series score of Hell On Wheels. It’s really worth a listen after watching the film. http://t.co/Rbk7oD2mMi
Kevin was then not virtuosic in his approach to the Guitarviol (he probably is now !) but this is more than made up for by his inclination for innovation in using the instrument. There’s some cello and fiddle in there but even a lot of that I think can be done with our chosen medium with work and love.
On the Guitarviol
Kevin highlights one of the best attributes of guitarviol – it’s familiar but different. This is really part of the joy of working with the instrument. You can make it like a cello or viola but it’s not quite like that with it’s sonorities. Partially due to my still underdeveloped bowing, nobody has ever thought my recordings were samples!
AcousticLabs et Fin
I really love the approach that Acoustic Labs takes to using acoustic instruments to create non-typical but familiar soundscapes. I think anyone anchored to their computer while composing should closely watch what he does as we can definitely take something from it. There is much more immediacy and ultimately more love in the results. The primary brief of any movie composer is to evoke, amplify or instil the emotion of the scene in the viewer. If we can’t achieve that in the process then how can we hope to authentically communicate it to the viewer?
Composers to Note
Here are some of my favourites and I’ll add more when I can!
A fellow Irish man, Hugh’s music seems to follow the aesthetic I’ve discussed mixing the artificial and the natural to excellent effect. His Soundcloud is compulsory and compelling listening
I asked Rafi today how makes music. This says it all