Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

I’ll admit to being a bit stuck as to how to approach talking about my creative endeavors for the past year, which is part of the reason it’s a bit late.

-No concerts of my music performed.
-No albums released.
-No completed short films.

A lot of projects in a sort of limbo.

That said, what I was able to accomplish this year, well, took me in some interesting directions artistically. In the end, it was a year marked by chances taken. Some worked (many worked I think), some, not so much.

“Unwinnable Hand: A Thriller in Two Movements” did get several steps closer to completion. I got a lot of filming done, and now only have maybe a day or two left to film before I can start putting the finishing touches on it. The Atlanta Film Festival is out this year, but I’ll hopefully be able to finish it in time for Dragon*Con’s short film festival submission deadline (May 25). I also have a couple of other ideas I’ve been working out post-“Hand.” More on those later.

I did get a couple of scoring opportunities apart from my own work, however, that I’m really proud of. One is for a flash video game my friend Dave did earlier this year called “Word Invaders”. He’s been pretty busy to the point where the tracks aren’t a part of the game yet, but all three pieces I wrote (entitled “Dropping the F-Bomb”, “Words Can’t Be Trusted”, and “Words Can’t Be Trusted 2”) can be heard at my ReverbNation page.

The second score I worked on was for my friend and fellow DIY filmmaker Mathew Timms, who- in addition to his work for me on “Unwinnable Hand”- also completed his own short film entitled “Walpurgisnacht”. You can read my blog on the film and my work on it here, but what is especially important to check out is the film itself (embedded below). To hear my score separate from the film, you can find it also at my ReverbNation page. I hope you enjoy it, and please leave feedback if so inspired. I also decided to film some of my scoring sessions as I was recording the score to give people an idea of my process. That can be found on my own YouTube page.

While I haven’t finished recording some of the pieces, I have finished writing the music for my epic fourth album “Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey”. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s landmark sci-fi film, “Beyond the Infinite” is in the final stages of completion after I finished up the 17-minute opus “Searching for the Mysteries” (excerpts of which can be heard by clicking on this title) and the concluding piece “Angels Watching (Finale to ‘Beyond the Infinite’)”. (Thanks must be given to my good friend Christy Magruder, who suggested the titles for those pieces when I let her hear the pieces without knowing my previously-chosen titles.) All that is left to do is to record the remaining pieces (all hopefully with live performers), commission artwork for the cover, and press CDs and get it online. My hope is to have the album available online by my 33rd birthday (August 3). Wish me luck!

I mentioned earlier that this year has been marked creatively by taking chances. And so it has with the individual pieces I’ve worked on. I nailed down the introduction to a long-gestating tone poem entitled “Calling of a Warrior” using some of the percussion instruments I’ve picked up in recent years, but I also went, shall I say, ultra-minimalist with a conceptual adaptation of John Cage’s infamous “4’33″” I entitled “Cage Against the Machine”. Admittedly, it feels a bit misguided now, but as I’ve become a big fan of Cage’s over the past year, this was my way of paying tribute to him in my own way.

John Cage wasn’t the only artist I attempted to put my own spin on. Reconnecting with my interest in Nine Inch Nails led me to find remix.nin.com, where fans are given the raw tracks to select NIN tracks to do their own remixes of, and post on the website. I’ve heard some pretty great NIN remixes over the years, so when I heard some of their most recent albums, and found that a couple of my favorite tracks off of them were available for remix, I lept at the opportunity to try. I only got to one of them this year- my remix of “Lights in the Sky” entitled “Alone Again”, but hope to have at least one more under my belt by the end of 2010.

In between all of these projects and pieces, however, I did manage to work on a couple of Brian Skutle originals this year. First up was sketching out the form and ideas that make up “Deus ex machina: Pressures of Life”. This is an experimental electronic/live performance hybrid I’ve had the ideas building up for the past couple of years, utilizing sound design, live performance and electronics in a way that was partially inspired by “Searching for the Mysteries.” The idea of a piece that musically depicts the “pressures of life,” or at least the idea of complications that can sometimes drive us over the edge, was inspired by my good friend and collaborator Dawn Echols, who a couple of years ago first put the idea in my head. Look for this piece to be recorded and released in the early parts of 2010.

In a year of incomplete personal creative endeavors, however, I did finish one piece. As I began my annual Halloween Movie marathon in October, the ideas began to form for another Gothic and sonically dark piece in the vein of previous October efforts “Otherworldly March”, “Gothic Twilight”, and “Darkness”. Taking the name of Ingmar Bergman’s classic film, I composed “The Hour of the Wolf”, a piece I used pretty music every form of music making in my arsenal for in putting the ideas going in my head down in MP3 form. You can click on the title to see what I came up with for yourselves; I think it’s a pretty compelling listen.

Well, that’s really all I have to say about 2009 right now in terms of my artistic pursuits. I also established a Facebook Fan page for myself for people on that social networking site to follow not just my creative endeavors but also my movie reviews, and even took my first steps towards sell-out merchandising by creating an online store with shirts, hats, magnets and other items pertaining to Sonic Cinema, my film work, and my music for people to purchase. Now I just need to get myself out there so I can move some of this merchandise.

This is part of what I hope to accomplish in 2010. My goals are simple: complete projects (among them “Unwinnable Hand,” “Beyond the Infinite” and “Deus ex machina”), create new opportunities (submitting “Hand” to film festivals, getting a table at Dragon*Con and other places), and growing my fan base. I’ve come a long way the past year. Now it’s time to bring it home.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com
www.reverbnation.com/brianskutle
www.myspace.com/brianskutle
www.myspace.com/cinemanouveau
www.youtube.com/bskutle
Sonic Cinema Shop
“Creative Beginnings” at CDBaby
“Dark Experiments” at CDBaby
“Sonic Visions of a New Old West” at CDBaby

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