In thrillers, building tension is the name of the game. For my re-imagining of the score of Hangman, I took it upon myself to squeeze the images for every drop of tension they had.
Beginning with a horror-infused flourish, our central theme is introduced right at the beginning of this clip. This melody sees itself steadily rising and rising, working to literally heighten the tension within the score.
As the action kicks off, the music does too—repeating the initial structure of a rising melody but this time much faster, while high strings descend simultaneously. This squeezing together of the musical spectrum tightens its grip on the scene and us. As the action intensifies, percussion comes in with a punch, bringing the scene’s drama to its climactic end.
As a psychological thriller with few words, Mono provides a playground for a composer. My re-imagining of the score begins with unconventional piano chords underpinning the disturbing psychosomatic emotions of the film’s opening moments. However, below these chords sits a melody which provides a hint of hope—perhaps all is not lost.
As silence is an important part of musical language—it is important to never underestimate its value in the score. As such, the following scene remains nearly silent until a disturbing happening. At this point, tension is kicked into gear with off-kilter strings.
As the man explores the landscape, the music plays on their loneliness-again incorporating lots of breathy gaps to enforce the musical value of silent moments.
Tension quickly build as he approaches a shack, with the melody returning but twisting ever more as hope seems to disappear once again.After the plot twist, twisted echoes of the melody see us out—allowing the melody to provide a clear reflecting point for the film’s progression, as a whole.
Just as animation provides near-limitless possibilities for visuals, animation scores are a playground. The literal, but complex, amusement-park presented by La Détente was an absolute joy to re-score.
During the trench wars of the First World War, a French soldier, paralyzed with fear, disconnects from reality and re-imagines the war as one fought by toys. This war-games approach to coping with the horrors and atrocities of war provides a layered, complex tapestry.
For my score, we begin with a low, threatening piano melody depicting the soldiers’ reality. As the melody becomes ever twisted, our protagonist slowly slips away into fantasy. Throughout this fantasy, the music becomes ethereal and playful creating a bounding, joyful forward momentum that occasionally is brought back to reality with references to the realities of war.
However, this joy doesn’t last, and dissipates as he enters the ominous and chaotic Kaiser’s castle. But as he remains in somewhat of a fantasy, the score takes on the air of a twisted funhouse.As all seems glorious, orchestral splashes of color fall into the fore, uniting the two key melodies into a finale where we are reminded of the grim reality of war.
Jumping between Los Angeles’ underbelly and mega-mansions to Iraq, Armenia, Russia and the UK, The Vigilante Diaries is a high-octane action-adventure.
In my imagining of the prologue sequence’s score, I wanted to ensure that the show met its potential for nail-biting tension, fast paced flourishes and dynamism. As the series is held together by a variety of ‘Diary’ vignettes, sound plays a huge role in selling that moment’s setting, pace, and emotion.
The prologue begins with the character Barrington retrieving files—queue espionage-esque, tension-building electronic percussion and drones which firmly locate the scene in the middle east.
From this, we transition to a groovy beat-driven tone with syncopated brass stabs and massive fill style percussion which take the audience from intrigue to feeling the ‘badass’ nature of Barrington. And finally, as the military arrive the score goes full throttle before closing with the series signature playing.
Tying a number of tones into this one introductory piece help to encapsulate the dynamic shifts which occur throughout the series.
Emotional dialogue scenes pose interesting challenges for composers. Buy and large, there are two approaches—creating a rich, powerful score to overtly reinforce the scene’s emotional impact, or back off and let the dialogue take precedence, underscoring where necessary. For my re-imaging of this scene’s score, I took the former approach.
The scene opens with a charged debate between parent regarding their sick daughter—here, to introduce the conundrum a piano plays a sympathetic and subtle accompaniment to the action, with spells of uncertainty tied into the melody.
As their interaction intensifies, spurred on by fundamental disagreements, strings enter the fray to place some power behind the interaction. Slowly, the father takes back control of the scene trying to reassure the mother that his decision is the right one, despite their disagreement.
The complication of this interaction is played out both on screen and in the score, with the strings, bass and melody all morphing to incorporate the deep uncertainty and dissatisfaction which sees the scene out.
Exploring the memories of the objects that surround us, and the coincidence which produce change in our life, Lichen tells a uniquely non-linear and interweaving story—the perfect challenge for a composition!
Throughout my imagining of the film’s score, I introduce and develop a singular melody which evolves as the relationships between the people and their objects evolve. As the film opens, the melody is introduced evoking the feeling of a joyful city-life. Here the call and response melodies evokes the theme of disparate relationships which will, later in the film, intertwine.
As we transition to night our melody slows down, disjoins and explores new avenues—but without ever completely falling away. Along with the following moments, where the characters accept each other into their lives, the call and response intermingle to create a familiar, energetic and uplifting growth.Tightly pairing the evolution in the music with their growth into a couple.
While the couple develops, through tenderness to passing away together, the score highlights these very emotions, naturally turning from tender joy to touching melancholy. And, of course the score revisits and reprises the major moments as the credits roll.
Scaling icy mountainsides one of a handful of activities where every movement matters. Each and every step, fidget or ounce of misplaced weight could spell death. In my imagining of the score for Himalayan Ice I doubled-down on this nail-biting tension foregrounding three key elements: a drone, a melody and lots of empty space.
The droning strings lay the ominous foundations for the sound design, asserting the ever-present risk that is the mountain’s harsh terrain. This is then met by a comparatively quick, but no less eerie, theme on keys which marks that contrast between the careful ascent and the potential for abrupt, deadly change. Eerie, shrill strings then enter the mix, intensifying the cold, vast and hostile landscape.
Throughout all of this, each element is surrounded by large amounts of ‘empty’ space. This space serves to enforce the vast, violent indifference of the hostile mountainside.As we see the mountain’s sheer power in action—in a rock falling from a great height—the score takes a turn, spacing out even further as the piano melody returns to round off the composition.
I am inspired by stories, whether they be captured on film, explored in an interactive game, or presented in a totally esoteric format. As a music composer, I take great pleasure in meticulously creating scores to help enforce and enhance the stories, themes and narrative thrills housed inside such media.
As a keen collaborator, I have experience fitting myself into a wide range of production frameworks—from getting involved in pre-production to hopping on board in the final stages of a project. Whatever your position, it’d be my pleasure to take the pressure of attaining an effective musical score off your shoulders—while, of course, remaining open to as much or as little creative communication as suits your creative process.
My musical expertise also extends beyond being a film composer, crafting music for films, allowing me to draw on a diverse pool of creative knowledge and experience. Combining this with my passion for the musical cutting edge, my skills and expertise continue to expand allowing me to create novel, immersive and modern scores, and soundscapes.
Through this, I often find myself working across numerous genres—from Orchestral to Pop and Experimental—and within countless frameworks. As such, I have developed the foundations necessary to provide services for:
Whether you are in pre-production or post, if your production is underway chances are it’s a good time to get your composer on board with the project too.
Getting your composer on board early can help to lay out a clear action plan for crafting and implementing the score for your project. Which not only gets the ball rolling but can also relieve a whole lot of pressure from your team.
As a multi-media, video game and film composer for hire, get in touch today and we can start discussing the best way forward for your production.
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