Sometimes the idea behind the music is just as interesting as the music itself…the music on this album “…explores the relationships between mechanical structures, organic beauty, and identity.” …Wallin Huff presents three unusual compositions that tackle some intriguing ideas and topics… Her music is quite complex and unusual and yet…very easy to absorb and appreciate. There’s a lot to take in here… Our favorite is the wonderfully moody and subtle “Gypsy Wanderer”…nothing short of breathtaking.
It is the third piece “The Oracle” that is the crème de la for me with its incredible depth and creative complexity. Dynamics take deep hold here with sudden bursts and calming moments. I really hear the room when flute and clarinet parts elevate along with the brilliant staccato keyboard hits. There are moments when time seems to fall apart and then strings back together in a wonderful interplay among the musicians.
…the [Book of I] soundtrack composed by Sarah Wallin Huff stands out as both a powerful album, taking its listener on an emotional journey of beauty, despair, and hope, as well as a fascinating study of the composer’s visceral and intellectual connection to the source material. Featuring the stellar work of musicians Darrell Peries, Caleb Barnes, Cathy Alonzo, Jenna Ford, Lainey Elizabeth White, Brett Bird, Jonatas Mostacato, Ayla Draper, and [Wallin] Huff herself, the album is a stunning collection of gorgeous, orchestral selections comprised mostly of string instruments that are, at times, vividly haunting but always entirely engrossing. [Wallin] Huff, who previously released her own album, Soul of the Machine, earlier this year, clearly has a passion and a gift for sharing every ounce of her mind, body, and soul with the listener, as if providing a warm invitation for the listener to share the same in response.
Sarah’s music has a classy, understated sound, yet it is baroque and ornate, tipping the hat off to genius composers like Debussy, but also tipping the hat off experimental ideas and cinematic scores. Opening number “Intrepid” is a very dynamic composition with a unique color, almost echoing the work of modern composers like Yann Tiersen.
Weeping Willow, featuring “Michael Jung,” is one of our favorite tracks on this release. I love the romantic, dramatic high notes of the string section, as well as the timeless sound of the sparse piano melodies, almost flirting with shades of Tango, in the vein of Astor Piazzolla. A true masterpiece, with so many nuances. The album is also home to a suite extending over 3 tracks, “Leviathan of the Ancient Deep.” These songs also features ambient samples, as well as electronic elements and ornate percussions, making for a really diverse set of colors.
The year old film, was produced for the LA 48 Hour Film Project to write, produce and finish a film in only 48 hours. In addition, several parameters were given: A character named Austin or Ashley Cheevers who is a winemaker, a wallet for a prop, and the line of dialog “We only have a few minutes” must be included. The genres were drawn at random from a hat, the team drew “Martial Arts/Buddy Film” and we could combine them or use one or the other. (Source)
This adorable short film, a frequent Audience Favorite at screenings, was a crazy, fun project I was brought in to create the music for… in only 6 or so hours…!!! Read more about the experience here.
“The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” represents our main character, forced to live everyday with his mental illness, unsure who is real and who is not… Though that’s not entirely true– all the characters are very real to him.
Here’s how I put the work together; it’s really my most formulaic of the whole suite, which I think suits the mental state of our character…
This track represents one part of the two-fold heart of the main character’s ultimate saga, in my musical interpretation of it. Essentially, this track is comprised of an increasing hodge-podge of melodic fragments — ripped violently from the original works in which they are first found (from “I Know What Death Sounds Like,” “Faces in Foam,” and The Everyman and Her Majesty themes at the beginning of this present track) — that swirl into an angry and frustrating mass of sound and angular textures, up until the very end, when they merge together into The Whiteness of Teaston’s mind. My next track will strive to illuminate musically the flip-side of Teaston’s disjointed thoughts, and the ways in which he attempts to come to terms with his schizophrenia….
Technique-wise, I assembled these fragments by first labeling them both alphabetically and numerically, then, taking seven of Teaston’s own chaotic fragments of thought from random places in the book (“Ever will I?”; “Can I?”; “Consumption”; “Hello Blood”; “The Cliff, Thanks”; “And the Water”; “Even My Face”), I used the letters and syllables of these phrase-lets to “spell” out and overlay the musical phrases.
How many of the phrases from these earlier tracks can you recognize, rushing and overtaking Teaston’s poor troubled mind?
I am fascinated with this work but I have yet to be happy with a performance of it… it’s just such a wickedly tricky work!
There are two versions you can listen to at this point: a live version that’s not entirely accurate but has a lot of heart, and a digital rendition that is spot on as far as accuracy goes but is missing a little bit of the humanness to it… See what you think! 😉
This piano miniature was composed just last year, in 2017. I originally wrote it as part of a larger set of background music for a bingo game app developer. While the rest of the album consists of electronic tunes, I just had a hankering for pulling out this little song for piano in an almost spoofed, pastiche-ed way.
I mean, just look at this opening tempo marking; it has so much attitude, full of dramatic imagery!…
By the time it was all done, it had a weird charm that I absolutely fell in love with. I just always grin when I hear it… ? Pianist extraordinaire Mike Jung has played it live, and had a super awesome compliment for it: it’s fun as hell to play! ?
Enjoy this digital representation below (hopefully I’ll get the chance to record Mike’s rendition of it someday!):
If you’ve enjoyed these so far, why not help a neighbor out and share them with those you think might like them, too? And, of course, if you can’t wait to find out what happens next to our characters, pick up the ebooks or paperbacks here!
“You’re not really listening. Can you hear the angular melodic twists?”
“That’s what death sounds like, I know… It’s like a leitmotif; it keeps coming back to my mind.”
This track from Music for The Book of I was actually the first track I completed when working on this OST. So in this work for string orchestra and solo violin is where I birthed all that would comprise the themes of our main character, Teaston, and his trials.
I sought out a sense of haunting poignancy and drama in this work… angular in shape, mysterious, beautiful and grotesque, all at once… it’s truly a unique piece and one that speaks well to the main character, I think.
Way back in 1994, I started writing a sci-fi series that would become, “The Kesher Chronicles.” About 20 years later I finally released book 1 and (a year after that) book 2 to the public.
I’m super proud of all this “Kesher-verse” has become and what it’s evolving into; there will be audiobooks on the horizon, but until then, I want to give those of you who love audiobooks something to chew on while we wait. 🙂
So, I hope you enjoy these installments of live reading from The Kesher Chronicles – complete with a bit of background music, sound effects, and accompanying pictures!!
If you can’t wait to find out what happens next to our characters, pick up the ebooks or paperbacks here!
Today’s tune is our next track from “Music for The Book of I” — Faces in Foam, which is actually the opening track for the whole “Book of I” experience.
The woman sits at the edge of the cliff looking out to the sea…a daughter of North Africa perhaps. Her cheeks reflect olive light. She looks at me, carving her face in my memory…the step towards the rocky edge…I listen to the lines forming her face…I return to the melody still dancing in the air… Lucio…had a delicate face…sharp angles, oblong eyes, and a classic Greek nose. I saw his face before the rocks disfigured him…he has the face of the forgotten… I try to paint him… I take a Renaissance approach, depicting him in a diaphanous light, like an angel… I know those faces are…around me… They joined the sea because they had no other choice. Their faces are washed of past concerns. …If I…attempt to render them as ex-living people in my canvas, the white foam is quick to reclaim them. That is why all my canvases turn white–the frothy sea swallows them.
I knew several things when I started writing this track: I wanted to feature “the Olive Woman” with a pseudo-African or -Egyptian feel; I wanted to also feature the little, angelic, Greek boy Lucio; and tying it all together with the rest of the album, I wanted to create a Herrmann-esque wave of crashing drama that called forward to the central track, “I Know What Death Sounds Like.”
I love the “African” drive of the first part of the work. But I very much love the latter part–Lucio’s part. I tried to create an open, early Greek aesthetic with the intertwining lines of muted and plucked strings. And then, “Lucio himself” sings (in this recording it’s the wonderful voice of countertenor Caleb Barnes); it’s a haunting setting of the Alma Redemptoris Mater:
Sweet Mother of the Redeemer, the passage to the heavens,
The gate of the spirits of the dead, and the star of the sea, aid the falling.
Mother of Him who cares for the people, have pity on us sinners.
This final cry by Lucio just sums up the whole work beautifully as the “Faces” Teaston encounters get swallowed by the “Foam”… and we move forward into the rest of the story…
Phillipy refers to himself in the third person, as if existing as a separate entity from his very self. I find the habit interesting, a sport of sorts, a way of explaining one’s actions from a distance. Phillipy knocks at the door…three times… “…three times, that’s all Phillipy can take.” He can tell when thoughts are tangled. He may speak in the third person but he is linear, he follows one thought with the next…
In creating this track, I wanted to really feature Phillipy’s autistic obsession with precision and the number 3 in the following ways:
the work features a solo trio (violin, viola, and cello) against the backdrop of the string orchestra.
the main sections “plunk” along with pedantic and clockwork rigor
at around 1:58 in the recording, the accompanying harmonies are outlined with ascending triadic arpeggios… (meanwhile, the harmonic progression is descending… pretty cool, right??) ^_^
at two points in the recording (1:58 and 3:48), the main theme is broken up by two variant themes that move the rhythm along in 3/4 as opposed to the methodical 4/4 we started in.
at around 2:58 in the recording, the solo trio plucks out the dissonant “knock three times” motif that is one of Phillipy’s compulsions — and they repeat this three-note motif…three times in a row…
And finally, toward the very end of the work (around 4:04), we hear the descending glide of the violins as Phillipy “goes to meet his mother”… and we finish with a stark, triplet rendition of the main theme from “I Know What Death Sounds Like“… a theme that tends to emerge everywhere you look in this Suite… 😉
Enjoy the recording of “Phillipy is Fragmented” below — featuring Darrell Peries on solo violin; Cathy Alonzo on solo viola; and Jenna Ford on solo cello.