Orquidea Del Amor

On a brisk fall morning I thought I would write my own version of “end credit” music.   When the credits roll at the end of a film there is music that may highlight some of the musical themes that were heard throughout the movie.  For there to be end credits to write music for, there had to be a movie so I made one up.  It was dramatic love story that took you on a whacky adventure through France and Spain with a run in with gypsies along the way.

I had finished my musical sketch and the piece ran about 4 minutes.  But my focus was drawn to one theme.  It was a mix between tango and polka.  I became obsessed with this piece and abandoned the others.  I began orchestrating and tweaking then left it for a few months, then tweaked it some more.  Worked on it for a day then left it.  Tweaked it, left it for a year then tweaked– you get the idea.

The other ideas I came up with for the end credit medley may resurface, but I fell in love with this piece and titled it Orquidea Del Amor.

Fleeting

Mr. Scott Mawhiney once again asked if I would write music for an animation that he had done.  This was a little different than Exit Strategy in that it was rooted in surrealism.  Scott gave me a run down of what it was about and the symbolism involved in the piece.  When I watch it now it makes total sense, but the fun is looking at the film and trying to figure out what it all means.

In writing the music I wanted to reflect what was happening as we follow the character through the different scenes.  Feel free to leave some comments with your interpretation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Fleeting.

Animation Block Party

The tenth annual Animation Block Party is going to be held on July 25-28 2013.   Slothfulness by John McGowan has been selected to appear in this festival. This is exciting news!  Animation Block Party is one of the best animation festivals in the United States.

Slothfulness is going to appear as part of the Animation for Kids Program.  Here is the full schedule.

Read the post on Slothfulness here.

Owl Salad

Avast ye matey!  I present to you Owl Salad, a comedic radio show.  I was asked to create a backing track based on the song ‘Shiver My Timbers’ from the Muppet Treasure Island movie written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.  This musical number would appear in one of the Owl Salad episodes and I can’t think of anything more entertaining than singing pirates!

The credits for the Owl Salad show are as follows:
Written and directed by Jordan Sewell and Adam Benarzi
Edited and mixed by Jordan Sewell
SFX design by Jordan Sewell and Adam Benarzi
Music for “Money Ho” arranged by Elliott J. Marshall
Performed by Christopher Ryan, Matthew Swanson, Jordan Sewell, and Adam Benarzi
Recorded at Dan’s Pet Shop

Prepare to be swashbuckled!

Exit Strategy

In early 2011, I composed music for an animation called Exit Strategy.  It’s about a man’s journey through the afterlife.  The animator is Scott Mawhiney and since then I’ve written music for another animation by Scott called Fleeting.  Stay tuned for an update on that one!

Here are a few of the tracks from Exit Strategy. Enjoy.

 

Here is the animation!

Slothfulness

In the spring of 2012 I was contacted by John McGowan, a very talented animator.   He asked me to compose music for his animated short Slothfulness.  It’s a story about a young sloth who wants to fly more than anything in the world.   Here’s a clip!

Slothfulness appeared as part of the 2012 Glovebox Film Festival and received a High Score award and was the Glovie Animation Runner Up.

To listen to the full soundtrack of Slothfulness click here.

Status Update

Update:

This spring/summer has been a busy one.  Most of what’s been happening has been in my personal life.  Just moved to a new house and doing some small renovations, my first child will be born any day now and, of course, work work work!

Soon you will see a snippet of an animation I composed for called “Slothfulness”.  It’s a fun tale about a flying sloth.  Stay tuned for that as well as a few other compositions.

Thanks to all who have helped over the past few months and to those who have been checking in.  It’s much appreciated!

tiff.

I’ve just received word that ‘Sheard’ will be appearing in tiff. kids this year.  You can click here for details.  Maybe, I’ll see you there!

“Sheared”

In April I finished composing music for an animation called ‘Sheared’ by Nik Ilic, a then fourth year sheridan student.   I was contacted by Nik back in October 2010 and was asked to work on the animation.  He had sent me a rough animation in black and white with a temporary soundtrack.

I started fooling around with the sound effects and even composing a little bit before I got the final product to get a sense of what he wanted to hear as well as finding my own voice for this animation.  The deadline was mid-end April and it was exciting to see the evolution from black and white to full colour.  Colour added so much depth to the reality of the world Nik had created.  The challenge I ran into was timing. Because I had done some work with the black and white version there were slight movements that were added to the final colour version and each movement added a second here and a millisecond there causing the music and effects to be out of sync.  I made some adjustments and after that it only took a few small revisions to the score before the composition was complete.

In June I got word that ‘Sheared’ was accepted into the Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival.  Yes!  Then in August it was selected to be in the Ottawa International Animation Festival!  Amazing!!  Last week I was told that it’s in the Linoleum Festival of Contemporary Animation & Media-Art in Moscow! Outstanding!!

Here is a little blurb that accompanied the animation.

I am so happy with the progress this animation has made and proud to be a part of it.  Have a watch and enjoy! 

Next: Watch for ‘Icaria‘!

Guitar Workshop Plus Sessions

I’m sitting at Vancouver airport about to fly home to Toronto after finishing the third session of Guitar Workshop Plus and taking some much needed time off.  Every summer for the past several years I have worked at a summer music workshop called Guitar Workshop Plus.  I attended the workshop a couple of times years ago as a student, yes it is a Guitar Workshop but the ‘plus’ implies that all musicians are welcome so I signed up for drums. It was the first time I was able to be in an environment of pure music for a week straight.  I wouldn’t have another experience like that until college a few years later. Speaking from a student stand point, if you are a student of music and would like to be in an environment where you meet, exchange ideas, play and have fun with other musicians then you should sign up right now!

Each session has guest artists, some I haven’t heard of and some I have. Here are a list of the artist on the bill for this year. Session I included John Finn, Dave LaRue, David Grissom and Vito Rezza. Session II included Orianthi, Rik Emmett, Don Ross and Robert Godin. Session III in Vancouver had Mike Stern, Steve Vai and Dave Martone. The third session had the shortest list of artist but to me this was the best one.

The Vancouver session is not really in Vancouver, it’s in Squamish, BC at Quest University. The facilities are amazing and the view is incredible. In my opinion there is no better spot to have this week long program.

I’ll start with Mike Stern. Because I’m part of the staff I am on task to do what is needed to make things run smoothly and one of them from time to time is to be on hand to get the guest artist what they need, like getting Mike Stern coffee. I had heard Mike Stern play but I had not seen him live. He blew me away and I’m stating for the record that it was the best performance I have ever seen and I never say that. Stern seemed to bring an energy to the stage that infected the faculty members that were playing with them and the audience.  Mike Stern made sure to play duets with all the band members and the attention of the audience was all on them and at the end everyone was on their feet applauding.  Earlier in the day I saw him interacting with the students and he was encouraging and very genuine.

Steve Vai was a different experience. This is a moment I won’t forget and it was one of the reasons why I work at the workshop each year. I went to the stage to make an announcement before the show started and I said, “Are you guys ready for Steve Vai?” and the roars of excitement made by 60 people sounded like a hundred. One student was, I swear, so full of excitement that he was hovering in his chair shaking his arms with anticipation. When Steve Vai came out and played a song the students went crazy. The experience would be like having favourite musician play in your living room. You are that close. He put on a great clinic which was more talking than playing but I found his advice extremely valuable.   When Steve was given the 10 min warning, he decided that he would go on for another 40 minutes.  He answered questions, played a few more songs and made time for a few of the students to get up on stage and jam with him! The student that I said was hovering in his seat was chosen to get up on stage.  He was shaking before he when on stage and I know that he will never forget that moment.

I love music and I love being around others that love music.  I want to thank the director, Brian Murray, for the privilege of working for the GWP each year and to the students who’s excitement and love of music make the learning environment such a fun experience for all involved.