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Starship Invasions OST (1977)

Listen to the whole sound track here.

Another rare find! The AMAZING soundtrack by Gil Mellé—a soundtrack that its film does not deserve! 😹 I feel like it belongs with some epic city crime drama…

This soundtrack from 1977 by jazz composer and artist Gil Mellé is an amazing, colorful work of art. What strikes me is how this music got involved with the 1977 Canadian sci-fi film “Starship Invasions” (starring Christopher Lee!!!).

When watching the film, it was a typical B-movie experience, except for the fact that the music continually struck me as beautiful and clever and engaging–nonetheless, the music does NOT match up with any of the vibe or story of the film! It was a surreal experience!!

When listening to the music alone, I imagine some gritty, city, detective drama. And, musically, it is a joy to listen to! So, I’ve taken the available synthetically-made stereo tracks (it feels like these were taken from the original reel-to-reel, that perhaps wasn’t stored too carefully, and then manipulated on early equipment), and I ran them through my up-to-date basic mastering system, to at least try to breathe some fullness into these tracks. 

It’s still not the greatest quality. Someday, I may track down the original mono files and just build them up from scratch… I like the music enough, I may just do that someday. But for now, I hope you’ll enjoy this symphonically jazzy soundtrack masterpiece by Gil Mellé!

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The 1946 Musicwriter

In the course of teaching my “History of Technology in Music” class at Cal Poly Pomona, I was alerted to the fact that the music department actually has an old Musicwriter typewriter lying around!! Many thanks to our department technician who retrieved it for me!

Now enjoy a small walk down History Lane and check out this cool bit of mid-20th century music tech!

(PS: if you like the background music, it’s track #3 on this album.)

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New Single Available

Now available on all your favorite platforms is the single, “La Partita Electronica”!

J.S. Bach gets groovy!

Based on an unaccompanied violin partita variation from the eighteenth century by Bach, layers of electronic elements breathe new life into this classic. Also appearing on this release is “Sonata Moderna (Remastered)” from 2010. “Sonata Moderna” is based on a piece from the seventeenth century (“Sonata sopra la Monica” by Biagio Marini). It was the May 2016 Akademia Winner for Best Ambient/Instrumental Song. Featuring two violins and cello with rock rhythm and chords, the past is united with the present in this driving work.

Enjoy this little amuse-bouche of mashed-up music! 🙂

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On Super Bowl LIII TV!

I don’t know if you happened to catch a glimpse of a certain Super Bowl promotional video that aired about an hour and a half before the start of the game. But if you did, you might have caught a glimpse of me playing with the CMG Music Recording orchestra on site at Warner Bros. Studio, at the famous Eastwood Scoring Stage, where all the famous composers of the Golden Age of film recorded their music!

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The grand finish!

It was a unique experience and I am so honored to have been asked to participate. 🙂

Check out the full video below, and enjoy not only the video screenshots but a few backstage shots as well!

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A Note About Cognitive (Musical) Bias

Disclaimer: Please note, I’m not in any way knocking the budding talent of young Alma. This particular instance only serves as an interesting example of the cognitive bias we all encounter at various points in our lives…

Also note– the mistake elaborated on below could be as simple as her mind seeing B as B-flat– in old-school German notation B is B-flat, and B-flat is H

So here’s an interesting discussion– at the very beginning of the video, the first random note given is a B, not a B-flat. And she does call the B, “si” which is the accurate term for Fixed Do Solfege. Even so, she plays and sings a B-flat.

It’s very natural for musicians and composers to fall into this kind of “cognitive bias“, hearing/seeing the note you really want to, instead of what’s actually there. How many times have we as students and performers done this? ;-P

One time I wasted an entire part of a recording session because I was playing an original folk melody all in a minor tonality, even though it was written in major!!! Luckily I realized my mistake in time to re-record everything–I would have hated to have the composer hear the recording of their work done in an entirely “opposite” mode from what they had intended!

The human brain is powerful but subject to limitations. Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain’s attempt to simplify information processing. They are rules of thumb that help you make sense of the world and reach decisions with relative speed. (source)

Initially in the video, Alma mistakes the B for a B-flat, then, I think seeing the E-flat later reinforced that notion for her.

Theory-wise, she probably “hears” a B-flat, because it will go so much more easily (tonally) with the E-flat two notes later. That interval is a Perfect 4th. The B-natural to an E-flat is a Diminished 4th — much more challenging to work with, especially with an A in the mix, creating sort of a lowered 7th scenario if we were in B Major. In fact the A to the Eb is a Tritone that, again, is easier to “explain” in traditional theory if the B is flatted. (For more on intervals, visit my Music Nerds video on the topic.)

Personally I love the idea of using the Eb as, say, a lowered third in the realm of C Major or A minor (thereby keeping the B natural) and would have loved to see how she might have handled it. But kudos to her for playing with notes and music patterns as she does!

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Huntington Library Adventures

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of exploring the Huntington Library for the day. What a throughly refreshing and calming experiencing! I recommend anyone who’s in town go and see it! 😉

I’ll post a gallery of all the photos I took that day at the bottom of this post, but there was one specifically amazing exhibit I took video from and that I wanted to share…

NASA’s Orbit Pavillion

Satellites that study the Earth are passing through space continuously, collecting data on everything from hurricanes to the effects of drought. What if you could make contact with these orbiting spacecraft, and bring them “down to Earth?” Visitors can do exactly that [at] NASA’s Orbit Pavilion… [Orbit is] an innovative “soundscape” experience representing the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth Science satellites. Inside the large, shell-shaped sculpture, distinctive sounds are emitted as each satellite passes overhead…

I have always loved the sounds of space, ever since I first heard the “interstellar music” of the complete Voyager sound recordings in the ’90s. So, when I experienced the Orbit exhibit first-hand, I can’t tell you the total joy and enthrallment I felt encountering it… I tried to capture just a taste of what I was experiencing with this short video you can view below… I hope you enjoy it! ^_^

 

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“Shady Oaks Takedown” – The Trailer

UPDATE: We were selected by the audience to go on to the second round of screenings for the Audience Award!!!! Check out the details here!


Presenting the trailer for “Shady Oaks Takedown”, the super fun, collaborative bonding experience that comes from creating a short film from scratch in 48 hours!! I had the immense honor of being asked to create the music for our buddy-comedy, martial arts genre film… That is, 5 minutes of music, created on the fly in only about 8 straight hours, watching the film for the first time and composing music for each scene and hit at the same time, all starting in the wee hours of the morning before dawn, haha!

Want to join us for the screening of our 48 hour film? Get your tickets for Screening Group G here, and join us for the event TOMORROW at 5pm in L.A.!!

And, as a special treat, you can listen to all my “Shady Oaks” film clips at the Novel Soundtrax Audio Page for a limited time!

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New “Leviathan” Multimedia Experience!

UPDATE: This ebook is now available as a multimedia, online presentation! Experience it for free here!


Did you know about the extensive, mythic story behind the 2008 electric violin concerto, “Leviathan of the Ancient Deep”? Well, now you can enjoy it in epic, literary form AND support the official recording project!

Announcing the newest addition to the Ultimate Leviathan Recording campaign

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Get the eBook today – name your price; all funds support the recording project!

 

Explore the myth behind the Leviathan concerto in this artistic ebook! Available in both epub and mobi formats.

This original picture-book and poem by Sarah features the three movements and subsections found within her 2008 concerto for 6-string electric violin, EWI, synth, and orchestra, “Leviathan of the Ancient Deep,” allowing the reader to dive into the mythology that built the musical work. This ebook even includes audio clips from both the digital demo recordings and the room recordings of the live performance premiere, illustrating each section of this poetic epic with its matching segment found in the Concerto.

Name your price – all proceeds go toward funding the Recording!

Enjoy a few preview pages below… Thank you for your support! 🙂

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“The Oracle” – An Experiment in Aleatorism & Formula

I’m in the middle of composing a real neat piece right now for a July 1 deadline… I’m calling it “The Oracle,” and it’s for flute/piccolo, Bb clarinet, violin, cello, and piano.

matrixoracleWhat I’ve done is set up a complex set of “rules” that guide my writing based on the random drawing of tarot cards… But it’s turned out to be both an aleatoric and a highly flexible process that leaves me with a lot of artistic possibilities, though I’m being guided in the overall structure by the cards I draw and their placement in the spread I’ve chosen.

As you might imagine, knowing me, I’m having a ton of fun with this. There’s something thrilling about the mixture of using both a pre-compositional process that prevents me from fully anticipating the outcome of a work combined with that process allowing for a vast amount of contextual freedom!

Enjoy a sample of the work at the end of this post…

Continue reading “The Oracle” – An Experiment in Aleatorism & Formula