horner

Watch James Horner Play Piano, Talk Overnight ‘Aliens’ Climax

On a very personal note, I’m saddened this week to learn of the news of the death of the great film composer James Horner. See him talk about his approach to scoring Field of Dreams at top for some of his approach. Best of all, you get to see him at the piano. When I was a kid, Horner was one of the people who inspired me to investigate composition. I was entranced with the sweeping romanticism of the Star Trek II score that was his big break – an aching, yearning, but dreamy vision of the future, filled with …

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thx

THX Just Remade the Deep Note Sound to be More Awesome

It’s one of the best-known electronic sounds ever – perhaps the best electronic sound branding in history. It made its launch in 1983 – right before Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, no less. But it seems the THX “Deep Note” was due for an upgrade. And that’s what it got last week. THX called upon the original creator of Deep Note, Dr. James ‘Andy’ Moorer, to remake his legendary sound design for modern theater audio technology. Here’s a look at that history and where it’s come.

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Beauty in Repetition: Listen to Hanno Leichtmann’s Minimal Studies

Hypnotic repetitive gestures are perhaps the signature of our generation in music, the legacy of Reich and Glass and Monk and Riley and Young … and tape decks and computers and drum machines. But then, repetition is the very stuff of our bodies, of heartbeats and footsteps and brain waves. Mastering repetition is essential, then, to any compositional practice. It should be, literally, as natural as breathing in and breathing out. And it should have the potential to take on its own voice. That’s the sense I get of this work. Listening to Hanno Leichtmann’s music, you may drift off …

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Fake Your Own Lord of the Rings with an All-Elven Software Instrument

The Lord of the Rings movies have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean the elf sonic action has to stop. Yes, there really is a sound sample library called Shevannai, The Voice of Elves. It’s 3.6 GB of nothing but elven samples, adapted to a Kontakt 5 instrument. From a technical standpoint, it shows what Kontakt can do. For any TV and film composer who suddenly gets a call from a client saying “elves!” (I’m not kidding; I’m sure that happens), it’s an emergency solution that will get you there under deadline. For the rest of us – …

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jagger

Watch Mick Jagger Rock a Moog Modular

Hard to add words to these few moments of Mick Jagger, apparently auditioning for the part of prettiest modular synth operator face ever, in a take from the 1970 promo for the film Performance by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg. Note to self: makeup needed for next performance, clearly. The narrator will likely make you smile a bit, partly for mispronouncing “Moog” like a cow (not that that’s a rare occurrence – rhymes with ‘rogue,’ people), but for the bold claim that a clever-enough operator can make any sound in the world. Much as I love analog and modular, that …

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Music Videos from NYC’s Aurora Halal: Do Video Synths Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dripping with vividly-acidic synthetic analog textures that wash in and out of shot footage, the new music video for Maryland, USA artist Maxmillon Dunbar is a dreamy reverie of light and image. It’s a bath in color, swept up in the warm glow of the single “Loving the Drift.” Brooklyn-based, DC-born artist Aurora Halal is the director. I caught a terrific live set by her earlier this winter as part of her tour with DC’s virtuoso ITAL (see video below), so I can attest that she’s as at home in performance as in the studio. The video here has that …

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Music Videos from NYC's Aurora Halal: Do Video Synths Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dripping with vividly-acidic synthetic analog textures that wash in and out of shot footage, the new music video for Maryland, USA artist Maxmillon Dunbar is a dreamy reverie of light and image. It’s a bath in color, swept up in the warm glow of the single “Loving the Drift.” Brooklyn-based, DC-born artist Aurora Halal is the director. I caught a terrific live set by her earlier this winter as part of her tour with DC’s virtuoso ITAL (see video below), so I can attest that she’s as at home in performance as in the studio. The video here has that …

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Music Visualization, 1938, All in Paper: Oskar Fischinger’s Masterpiece “Optical Poem”

Oskar Fischinger – Optical Poem (1938) from Avant-Garde Cinema on Vimeo. Before digital animation, the early works of abstract pioneers constructed meticulous sequences of images that transformed music into synchronized visual for the first time. These works didn’t simply predict computer animation. They helped create it. The works we make now are heavily indebted to the ideas about abstraction and visualization that these works first established.

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Music Visualization, 1938, All in Paper: Oskar Fischinger's Masterpiece "Optical Poem"

Oskar Fischinger – Optical Poem (1938) from Avant-Garde Cinema on Vimeo. Before digital animation, the early works of abstract pioneers constructed meticulous sequences of images that transformed music into synchronized visual for the first time. These works didn’t simply predict computer animation. They helped create it. The works we make now are heavily indebted to the ideas about abstraction and visualization that these works first established.

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TDZ_1

Rock Zebra2 Like Hans Zimmer: Dark Zebra Pairs Soft Instrument, Dark Knight Sounds [Video, Screens]

A shadow was unquestionably cast across the film by tragic events last week in Colorado. But while it became an unexpected stage for terrible events, The Dark Knight Rises itself is also a cultural object from artists we care about, and as musicians and sound designers, we value every chance to express ourselves. Composer Hans Zimmer and synth sound designer Howard Scarr are today releasing some of their work in a unique piece of software. It’s simultaneously a work of engineering – one of the most sophisticated software instruments available, Zebra2, and sound designs for that tool – and a …

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