Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Having a ball

I don't know that you'll remember, or want to remember, but I'm writing a new soundtrack to our movie[^]. As much as I'd love to write something as pretentiously over the top as a 'Lord of the Rings' style soundtrack I very much doubt I have the talent or the time, and certainly not the experience.

I've opted for something mainly electronic - lots of wierd synthy sounds, but with plans to use an orchestra where I think it'll be appropriate. There's an amazing amount of good free stuff out there if you know the terms to use and how to make Google sit up and sing.

When we did the first version of the movie soundtrack, 19 years ago, it was all quite different. There probably were computers out there capable of rendering a soundtrack but methinks they were way out of our price range. We did it the hard way, sifting through hundreds of commercial movie soundtrack libraries (there is, or at least was, an entire industry in writing 30 second and shorter tunes in particular styles), listening to each piece and deciding if it might fit whatever part of the movie we were editing on the day. We'd argue, the three of us, over this piece versus that, and we'd speed it up or slow it down a little to try and make the music fit the cues.

I think we did a pretty good job. Heino thinks we edited the video to fit the sound but that doesn't agree with my memory of the process. As I recall it, we did video first and then found music to fit. On the other hand, we *did* edit video to a rhythm to help it fit with the music we hadn't yet found.

Nearly twenty years later I'm glad it was cut that way; it makes it somewhat easier to fit a completely new soundtrack to the old video. The bank robbery at the opening is still giving me hell; I wrote the first half minute or so (for a 2 and a half minute scene without dialogue) using an insistent beat and heavily overdriven bass guitars and sent it off to Heino and Gary to have a listen. They liked what they heard. My problem is that one can only do 'duh duh duh duh duh duh' accompanied by 'whaaaaaaaaangggg' for so long - two and a half minutes is about twice too long! How to maintain both the tension and the listeners interest?

But we'll get there. I'm having a ball. This is almost completely new to me - apart from Mike Oldfield and Pet Shop Boys I haven't listened to electronic music in over thirty years.

I understand that Heino was somewhat nervous when he sat down to listen to that first thirty seconds of music; was it going to be Bruckner? I suspect he was surprised!


Anonymous said...

'duh duh duh duh duh duh' accompanied by 'whaaaaaaaaangggg' - cant do that for 3 minutes? I must intoduce you to a chap call "Glass" one day :)

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

thanks for swinging by O'Dynes blog with the answer to the link error.
I had followed it myself and got a shock.
will fix.
Glad to hear you liked Tubular Bells - I was very close to the only distributor of it in Melbourne and we really 'shipped product' as Cashbox would say.

Rob said...

F G - I was somewhat late to Tubular Bells - I think I first heard it around April of 1974 - ten months after release.

I remember having immense difficulties locating a copy of Mike's second album - Hergest Ridge - after passing up the chance to buy the only copy at the record shop in Williamstown it seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth. I didn't get to hear that album until about 1980.

The good old days!

Anonymous said...

Well bugger me, MANDO where the hell you been old mate? How the hell are you? Cooked a lamb roast lately? Want me to make the gravy? We old Aussies gotta stick together my friend.

Kalkon .. aka David