Tuesday 22 October 2013

Andrioux - My New Alter Ego

I always count myself lucky that I grew up as a child of the 80's.

I suppose if anybody is friends with me on Facebook or Twitter, - then they would know that I love the 80's, and that I grew up on electronic movie scores.
I loved the futuristic design, and colour and illustration, and the movies and music of the time were thoroughly unique.

For the last few years, I've either been touring - playing guitar for somebody else, or putting together music for films that ultimately belong to somebody else, so I haven't really written any new music for a while.

I had previously (2006 - 2010) written 5 albums, which were mostly theatrical music played between the movies for FILM4 FrightFest, - London's massive 5-day annual horror movie festival, which is held in Leicester Square each August.

The material was mainly ambient and atmospheric sound design incorporated into four or five minute song type formats - and it was all very 'horror' themed, which was fun to do, but also has creative limitations.

All of the tours I have played over the last few years have been as guitarist for popular rock artists, and of course the sets were a catalogue of their biggest and most popular tunes.

At some point during a tour last year, I made a decision that this year I wanted to spend some time developing some of my own music, and just enjoy writing again for the simple pleasure of writing.
and maybe put together a short EP.

I've had the idea for the last few years to do a more electronic conceptual type thing, but talked myself out of it every time - for all the right reasons.

Anyway, here we are.
I decided to just get on with some writing, and see what happened.

I spoke to my friend Nola about creating some new visuals - and very soon, she created the most awesome fantasy, sci-fi pieces of artwork which really helped me to start getting a vibe down.

I really wanted the music to be exclusively electronic and synth driven, because it immediately transports me back to nostalgic times and the discovery of a whole world of new movies.

It still (hopefully) has cinematic themes and vibes, but I've made a conscious decision to avoid any aggressive themes, because I've done lots of it over the last few years.
So . . new music, new look - and a bit of a change of identity.

Come and say hi.

Monday 2 September 2013

Making The Sixth Sense - with Alex Chandon.

Hi folks, it's been a while since my last blog, but here we go again!

I recently worked again with my friend Alex Chandon on a competition film, which was our first film together since Inbred in 2011

The rules of the competition were very strict and very challenging.
6 lines of dialogue, 6 cast, 6 crew (including post production) a maximum budget of £666
6 hours of shooting time, - and the whole film couldn't be longer than 3 minutes.
Oh, and on top of that, there were only 6 titles to choose from.

Alex chose '6th Sense' for his film, and we got to work.

Starring Dominic Brunt (Emmerdale, Inspector Morse & director of Before Dawn) - it was shot in Yorkshire, and told the story of a female psychic spanning several decades of bizarre events and inexplicable phenomena!

As well as score and sound design - I was on-set to help out wherever I could, which this time around included lighting, silly-string spraying, set-building / decoration, lending a hand with some make-up effects (incredibly executed by Graham Taylor) and some gory late-night limb throwing - which I think we all participated in.

Once it was edited together, Alex send me a rough version as usual, and I started with music score and sound design.
Alex gave me pretty much free rein to do whatever I wanted, which was plenty of fun, because it gave me the chance to totally play with music, and go nuts with my own sound effects.

The Music:
Aside from a short synth-pop tune for the 80's section, the vibe was mainly sci-fi and suspense for each short section of the film, and if you get the chance to see it, you will understand why.

The Sound Design:
Aside from the usual foley stuff; footsteps, pops, bangs etc - the design was everything from flying fish to floating plasma orbs, with some splashy full-body explosions and nuclear blasts too, so 'eclectic' is probably the word I would choose to describe that.

6th Sense was chosen for the final six movies of the competition, and was screened on Sunday August 22nd at the biggest cinema screen in the UK - The Odeon in Leicester Square.
It played well to a full house of over a thousand people.

We came second place, out of over 150 other competition films!
Pretty cool all the same, and loads of fun to make.

Monday 7 January 2013

Scoring Lee Hardcastle's An Alien Claymation

As mentioned in the last blog - I had previously worked with Lee Hardcastle on his earlier film, Chainsaw Babe 3D, so I was pleased when he got in touch, and asked me to score his newest  sci-fi / horror opus, 'An Alien Claymation' - which featured animated extra-terrestrial horrors, the likes of which you've never seen!

Lee didn't want the soundtrack to be too threatening this time, so instead I put together something with more of an old-fashioned 8 bit game sound to the music, instead of modern layers of sound design.

An Alien Claymation was a real blast to work on, and this time the score had a much more 80's computer game vibe to it, along with some crazy arpeggiation parts a la Galaxians & various other arcade game machines.

The music / audio was often as over-the-top and bizarre as the hyper-real games themselves, and filled with electronic bleeps, blasts, quirky sounds and sometimes fantastic and intricate little pieces of music to accompany the hypnotic game-play - and fill your head full of maddening sounds.

For the percussions, I filtered down the most basic kick and snare drum sounds I could find, and also emulated rapid game-play sounds from Asteroids and Arkanoid in place of any other percussive sounds.

The film moves very quickly - s
o instead of one long sound design - I put together entirely separate, very short pieces for each scene; each with it's own specific mood (suspense, pursuit, attack, carnage etc) which pushes everything along from scene to scene, and hopefully moves everything along at a deadly pace.

Loads of fun!

See 'An Alien Claymation' for yourself here:

Scoring Lee Hardcastle's Chainsaw Babe 3D

In 2012, I really enjoyed working on two films for cult animator and director, Lee Hardcastle - who gave me free reign to run wild on the sound-tracks, and go for broke in the name of sheer mayhem.

He is the man responsible for the massive internet hit, Pingu's The Thing, and if you've never seen one of Lee's short, colourful masterpieces, then head over to Youtube, and take a look for yourself - or you could just stay right here, and read on!

I wrote to Lee after seeing his pastiche of Pingu the animated penguin, in a bizarre, super condensed 2 minute claymation version of John Carpenter's, The Thing - and I was pleased and surprised when he asked me to score his next film 'Chainsaw Babe 3D' which was a homage and pastiche to Takena Nagao's cult animation, Chainsaw Maid (2007).
I won't go too deeply into the plot, because you can watch the film right here on this blog after you've finished reading.

It was actually quite challenging to do something like this, because it was silent, and also I'd never scored animated clay before, - so it was great to be involved.
On top of that, I was very pleased to be working with Lee, because I like his films so much.

Chainsaw Babe 3D is totally unpredictable in it's manic intent, and because of that, I treated it like a mini feature-film during scoring.

The action scenes have a genuine, dramatic intensity to them, so I made a point of forgetting that they were made of colourful plasticine clay, and treated them like regular actors in a frightening story.
The score works with the story (I hope) rather than being a series of obviously placed, comedic sounds, and the whole film really plays nicely.

Aside from the obvious homage to the original film, there are crafty nods to classic films like Zombie Flesh Eaters, the Evil Dead films and Dawn Of The Dead.

In true video-nasty style, Lee distributed the film in both cut and uncut versions, although the violence is intact in both versions of the film - some of the claymation nudity has been carefully censored!

I hope you enjoy Chainsaw Babe 2D or 3D!

Here is the 2D version (censored for reasons of boobies and nudity)

And here's the 3D version! (censored for reasons of boobies and nudity)

Friday 31 August 2012

Previous Albums Blog.

In 2006, I wrote and recorded my first full album for the London FILM4 FrightFest, and each year since then (up until 2010 inclusive) I have supplied the festival with it's own (mostly instrumental) annual soundtrack CD.

The festival runs for 5 days, so I always tried to keep the material was as wide-open as possible, whilst still exploring the darker themes.
There would usually be some feature tunes, and connective themes to glue everything together.
These albums were all written, performed and recorded at home - just to keep the neighbors happy.

Here is a selection of tracks from each of the albums, which is followed by a few words on each CD.

Use your mouse to scroll up and down over the MP3 player to see each of the tracks.

OSCURO (2006)

This was the first CD I'd ever written, and I still think that the material is (musically) the most accomplished so far from any of the other CDs - perhaps because it was the first time I'd tried to do anything like this.
The compositions have a nice dreamy, ethereal quality to them, and although it was a total experiment, - it just 'worked'.
If I was to re-edit this album - I would still probably remove a couple of tracks for timing and vibe reasons.
Artwork is courtesy of FrightFest, and was created by the one and only Graham Humphries


Much darker material throughout this CD overall, and it's my least favorite of all of the FrightFest scores, - however some of the material led me to my first movie score, and onto other projects.
It's just all too dark, and I over-analysed everything for months - and it just did not flow, perhaps due to the fact that I was very unhappy at that time.
The production wasn't very good, it's really over-compressed and half of the compositions had an unfinished vibe to them, - which was a shame because the other half really worked nicely.
I had obviously been watching Event Horizon at the time, because two of the track titles are based on dialogue from the film.
The lovely vocal performance is courtesy of a friend of mine, called Emma Brown.
Artwork is courtesy of FrightFest, and was again created by the one and only Graham Humphries.


A much happier writing process on this CD, and the whole thing took just about 3 weeks from start to finish.
After the doom and gloom process of Oblivion, I decided to just write, and not stop until it was finished.
Whatever came out, was how the album was going to sound - hence the name.
I had plenty of fun with these tunes, and it was a real breath of fresh air to write some music without any constraints.
I didn't want to make the same mistakes I'd made on Oblivion.


Just the same as ExPERIMENTAL, I had a blast writing this CD.
I used the same writing ethos from last year's CD, and included a few homages to some movie sub-genres.

I also kind-of opened the sound up on this one a little bit more, so there were more feature tracks.
Complex sequencing has always been one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and I think I really let the sequencer genie out of the bottle on this CD, and just enjoyed some good old fashioned cinematic electronica.
The overall vibe was right back to the first CD, Oscuro - which made me very happy.
I put a little video together for one of the tracks, called 'Wrecks' which hopefully you can see at the bottom of the blog.


Again - I had LOTS more fun with this one, and it has everything but the kitchen sink.
I put in some very late nights here, but enjoyed every second of the writing process.

Lots of musical bugs, devils, ghosts and other fun stuff on here.
Emma Brown re-appears on this CD for another lush vocal performance on Ghosts Of The Sea Lanes, and the ethereal spoken-word vocals are from TV voice-over artist Lucy Thorpe, who was a great sport and a total trooper - delivering my cooky dialogue in fine style.

Friday 9 March 2012

Assault On Precinct 13: Theme Cover Version (with video)

Quick blog!
This is my homage and cover version of the main theme to John Carpenter's infamous siege movie, Assault On Precinct 13.
Carpenter's theme for this gritty classic from 1976 is an exercise in electronic minimalism, for which he and his films would later become associated.

From beginning to end it states loud and clear that this movie means business, and eschews elaborate complexity in favor of a basic musical structure and simple phrasing.

The entire score for Assault On Precinct 13 (as with Halloween) was written in just three days,
and after more than 35 years still stands up as one of the most iconic, recognizable and defining scores from the 1970s.

In order to cover the theme tune, I had to really dig into the various elements section by section.
While doing this, I suddenly heard elements that had previously completely passed me by - especially in the accompanying string sections.
The timing wasn't anywhere near as obvious as I'd originally assumed, and I realized that although I'd listened to the piece dozens of times over the years - I'd never heard what was really going on underneath the recognizable signature bass-line and delayed percussion of this amazing theme.

It made me realize all over again that we / I assume a familiarity with so much music - and our ears deceive us into hearing things that aren't necessarily there, and completely filter out amazing and complex details which have been there all the time.

I've listened to music since I can remember.
Now I wonder if I've truly heard it, - or if I've only assumed that I have.

February 2012: The Official Inbred Trailer

Be afraid. Be very afraid, - because Alex Chandon's all-new horror opus is coming up FAST!

The fantastic Darclight Films are now sales agents for INBRED.
Their catalogue includes such fare as Wolf Creek, the forthcoming Wolf Creek 2, Storm Warning, The Hillside Strangler and many others - so we're in very good company.

Just after INBRED was shot, we very quickly put together a 40 second teaser for online promotion.
Alex cut together some scary information over an ominous, gliding, slow-motion reveal of some young folk doing something very unpleasant indeed, and I knocked together some music over the course of an evening.
Since then, the original teaser has reached almost three million hits on just one Youtube page alone.

In February, I spent some time scoring the 2012 INBRED trailer, which is be the officially circulated promotional material for the movie.

The NEW trailer is a lot more complex, and really lets people know what they are in for.
It was cut together by ace editor GARETH MOLAN, who is also a producer and director in his own right, and he has created a beautifully super-charged piece indeed.

This one took a little bit longer to score, and as usual - I was in regular contact with Alex about the audio content.

So far, the online response has been immense.
It's now at 90 thousand views in just two weeks.

INBRED is here!