…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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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!
I had so much fun putting together some music for a retro video game project — I love being able to bring the “bleeps and bloops” from my childhood into the present “literature”… ^_^ Enjoy taking a listen!
Share your enthusiasm for “Leviathan” with this beautiful, custom tee or sticker! This lovely t-shirt (courtesy of Teespring) features an artistic rendering of Sarah Wallin-Huff’s own 6-string, dragon-shaped, electric violin, on which she has performed her Leviathan Concerto, and lots of other music and styles! Click to view slideshow. All funds raised go directly toward the recording…
Now, the beautiful art-book and epic poem that completes the Leviathan Experience is available on Amazon! It’s an imaginative way to get a deeper understanding of the music’s story, and to make a solid connection between the changes in the Concerto and the scenes of the story they represent.
This season is bringing with it a most amazing opportunity to record some of my more challenging pieces with live musicians. I have always said that I would rather hear my work done by even mediocre live players than by a computer. To be fair, of course I want to present my work accurately, too. 😉 But there’s something raw, visceral, and alivethat human players bring to the mix that a computer just cannot equal.
A couple Saturdays ago, I and four of my talented friends got together in a gorgeous, echoey church sanctuary to record the live performance of my “tarot quintet,” The Oracle.
It was a most wonderful session! There’s something about the colors and nuances of each unique instrument in the player’s hands, when it melds and mixes and (sometimes) clashes with the others, that just can’t be duplicated by a computer.
A central lesson of acoustics is that, the more instruments you have, the less the lack-of-human-nuance is noticeable in digital playback. Take my “Madrigal, for Orchestra,” for example. This recording was made with my own digital playback, with the few solo lines in the middle and at the end recorded live by myself. When a piece is written for full orchestra, the individual player’s nuance disappears into the mass of sound. So a computer can recreate this wash of sound better than it can for any kind of a chamber group, where there is only one player per part. With chamber music, everything is so open and exposed that our ears can tell when it’s not a live player on the recording.
And, wouldn’t you know it, my most favorite forces to write for are various chamber groups!! Good thing I have wonderful friends I can call upon to play my music! 🙂
Coming up next in this adventure toward a new Summer 2017 album is the April recording of my neo-Romantic work, “Of Roses and Lilies.” It calls for full string orchestra, soprano recorder, english horn, piano, small women’s choir, and soprano soloist. It’s pretty epic–it’ll be so wonderful to have an official recording of this work done! Then in May, we’ll record three final chamber works…
Lots to look forward to! Whenever you get the chance to support live musicians, please consider doing so. We do what we do because we couldn’t imagine not making music. 😉