Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper music update, so I thought that I’d take the time to do one. You got a pretty good idea if you happened to read my “Life of Brian” blog here, but there’s some updating to do beyond that.

With October comes my annual horror movie marathon, now in its’ fourth year. The horror movies in my collection get brought out (not all get watched, but many do), and the genre flicks in my Netflix Queue are elevated to the top of my list, and I spend the month trying to knock them out, revisiting some of the genre’s greatest highlights and experiencing some of the lowlights- inadvertantly- along the way. It’s been a slow going so far (just haven’t really been up for jumping into it this year), but with it started now, look for me to move through them fast and furious. What does this have to do with me musically? The past two Octobers, inspired by the sights and sounds of the genre’s past, I’ve been compelled to compose works that fit the bill for being able to unsettle and evoke a similar feel or mood in the listener, along the lines of early pieces like “Mysterious Realms” and my “Chant of the Vocoder” trilogy of pieces. In 2004, I created “Otherworldly March”, and last year, composed “Gothic Twilight”, two electroacoustic works I’ve come to consider among my best. Earlier this week, I began work on a third piece in this vein, one that will hopefully be as compelling to listen to as the earlier pieces are (in my opinion at least). More on that (and my October horror movie marathon) at the end of the month.

Along with this year’s “Halloween” Piece (as it’s currently known, sans title), two other pieces- “Sonic Contemplation” and “Weightless Waltz in D” (a companion piece to “Weightless Waltz in F”, released online in July)- are yet to be recorded, one because I haven’t yet acclimated myself fully yet with my new recording setup on my computer (“Weightless Waltz in D”), the other because I’m in the middle of notating it in Finale before I record it proper and search for a trombonist to perform it (“Sonic Contemplation”). “Contemplation” will likely not be heard until 2007; “Waltz in D” should be available by year’s end.

Still on the table for 2006 are three short film scores to be written- “The Case: Chapter Four” and “Chapter Five,” and the music for the first movement of “Unwinnable Hand” (expect another blog on this soon, if not this weekend)- and one- “The Case: Chapter Three”- to be completed recording once I line up a trombonist to record the parts for that score. With luck (and more than a little elbow grease), all three might be heard by year’s end.

This year, though, the most effort has been put forth towards getting my music heard outside of the Internet. In May, as has been mentioned, I joined the Society of Composers, Inc., a resource for composers to let them know of performance opportunities such as festivals, concerts, and commission opportunities. In June I submitted two pieces- “Otherworldly March” and “Gothic Twilight”- to an electronic music festival in Memphis, Tennessee; neither was selected unfortunately. In the past couple of weeks, though, more has been done to further this front. I submitted an application to Kronos Quartet’s Under-30 Project, a commission contest where composers submit examples of their work to Kronos- for those who aren’t aware, one of the premiere string quartets in the world- who will select one composer to write a piece for the ensemble, who will premiere the piece in performances at Carnegie Hall and at the Pop Montreal Festival in 2008. I think I put my best foot forward in my application CD selections. I’ve also made submissions of works to two other electronic music festivals. The first was to an electronic music festival in Gainesville, Florida, to which I submitted “Otherworldly March” and “Peaceful Meditation”; the festival is in April, so it’ll be some time before I hear about that. The second is the Spark Festival- another electronic music festival- at the University of Minnesota, to which I submitted “Weightless Waltz in F.” The deadline is next week, and the festival is in February, so I should find out in the near future about that opportunity. I’ll keep you posted on any further news on this and other fronts.

As you can see, I’ve got a lot on my plate that I want to finish up and accomplish by the end of the year. Further updates will be made in the future on the status of all of these happenings. Hope everyone is doing well.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
Brian @ Society of Composers, Inc.
Brian @ MySpace

Categories: News, News - Music

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