Scored to the film ‘American Sniper’, the music evokes the triumph and tragedy of the war hero Chris Kyle. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie plays with feelings of anger and revenge, mirrored by the distorted bass guitars and soaring celli. As for the soundscape, the male vocals represent the soldiers as victims of war, underlining their struggles and vulnerability.
With a minimalist approach, the four note motif for the protagonist, predominantly played by the stratocaster (electric guitar), features throughout as the bedrock for each composition, constantly evolving with every scene. With the tragic funeral scene featuring a solo trumpet, this sound is enhanced throughout the score, representing the feeling of pain and loss. Overall, the music acts only to enhance the extremely vivid and complicated emotions portrayed in this stunning true story, about the life of the ‘deadliest sniper in US military history’.
Directed by the Coen Brothers, the Oscar winning film ‘No Country for Old Men’ became notorious for its tension, violence and unpredictability. The lack of dialogue and abundance of silence gave license for the score to augment the tension considerably. Scoring to a nasty film requires nasty music, this can be seen through the instrumentation: out of tune flutes flutter tonguing, piercing violins playing harmonics, gritty percussion layered with metal hits, double basses with excessive distortion and a plethora of grotesque synth-scapes.
The antagonist ‘Anton Chigurh’, is represented through an ostinato, transposed randomly to create a lack of key and unpredictability, underpinning the nature of his persona. The unorthodox film is mirrored by the album, which is unorthodox in the sense of its harsh and vile soundscape, the fact that every track is in the same tempo and same key centre - Eflat minor.
The foreign language Oscar winning film ‘A Separation’, tells the story of a deteriorating marriage and the damaging effect it has on the daughter. This is enhanced with the score, which features a solo female vocalist, representing the daughter and her cry for help. This poetic film, with nuanced acting and subtle dialogue, is reflected in the score; soft muted strings, a subdued piano and delicate woodwind. This album is emotionally driven as is the film, conveying the feelings of love, family and heartbreak.
Based on the aura of the arctic world, the two tracks portray the cold and hostile environment of the icey domain. The music uses sounds of frosty wind, ice melting and breaking, trickling water, pizzicato strings imitating droplets of water and soft synth drones to imitate the climate of the arctic. Moreover, the use of percussion is built entirely upon arctic sounds: treading on snow, ice cracking and icebergs shattering. The solo piano evokes the emotion and empathy for the inhabitants from the cold world, underpinning the isolation and perilous environment they must face.
Scored for a short film about the monumental building ‘Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral’, the film reveals the evolution of this historical building. As the cathedral is being constructed and added to, the music imitates this through constantly layering orchestral instruments; building in construction as well. Overall, the music serves to honour and acknowledge the breathtaking building that is Notre Dame Cathedral.
For the Great Conjunction I was delighted to be asked to fulfill the role of composers assistant to Anthony White. An ageing astronomer plans to watch the Great Conjunction but his plans get disrupted by his teenage grand daughter. What was meant to be a magical night turns into a shocking discovery that changes Kenneth's life forever. The score beautifully reflects the relationship between the two main characters and build tension as the drama reveals it's poignant conclusion.