Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

“Brian Skutle’s passion is for storytelling, be it through music, film, or creative writing, with the story dictating the medium that best brings it to life. In his music, though, it may not be a specific story that inspires him, but a feeling. A sense of longing; of mystery; of tension; of serenity; of sensuality; of something beyond the humdrum normalcy of life, though sometimes, his goal is to just compose for the fun of creating. Inspired by storytellers of all forms, select examples of Brian’s personal expressions, and several of his film reviews and commentaries, are found at”

Seeing as though it’s been a while since I’ve written about my creative endeavors of any medium, let alone music, I felt like a good place to start would be to share my personally-written biography I’ve used when I’ve submitted to possible live performances. Of course, this isn’t so much of a typical bio, but rather, an expression of my personal, creative philosophy. Re-reading it, this still holds true.

The last time I had recorded anything was July 2011. I had written some ideas for a piece in October of last year, but technical difficulties had made it impossible to record anything at the time. Since then, I’ve been dealing with life, mostly. Regular readers will know that I’ve been continuing to watch and review movies on a somewhat regular basis, but my artistic avenues of personal expression have been dormant.

Why is this? Inspiration, mostly. While life has definitely thrown its fair share of curveballs my way– namely, my mother’s premature retirement, and my father’s near-fatal heart attack –I haven’t had much to write about in an artistic sense. I haven’t felt that burning feeling to express myself in the ways that are most personal to me. On the filmmaking front, it’s been more an issue of not just availability, but resources. (The ideas are still, very much, there.) In terms of creative writing, that’s an area where my mind rarely goes for expression; at this point in my life, if I have something to say in words, I’ll typically blog openly.

Musically, I’ll admit that I’ve very much missed the burst of inspiration that leads me to projects like “Sonic Visions of a New Old West” (my 2007 Morricone-inspired album) and “Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey” (my 2010 homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey”), but over the years, I’ve come to accept that such “bursts” are a continual ebb and flow of my creative process. Just because I’m not constantly composing doesn’t mean I’ve used up all my creativity; it just means that the creative portion of my mind is recharging its batteries before the next burst of artistic energy, and that sometimes, life has higher priorities for me.

This October, I didn’t put pen to paper so much as finger to keyboard to release my latest burst of creative expression. Over the years, I’ve found that I’m not composing as much in a traditional sense (writing out parts) as I did for a while. Of course, in some cases (like many of the pieces for “Beyond the Infinite”, as well as my score for the short film, “Walpurgis Night”), that’s the only way to work, but the past couple of years have found me improvising, and feeling my way around compositions more. To the trained ear, I’m sure some of this is quite evident, but it’s been a fascinating process, as well kind of liberating, resulting in some intriguing musical ideas.

As I’m sure most of you know, almost every October since 2003, I have devoted to watching, almost exlusively, horror films. Part of this to rewatch old favorites, but also to discover new movies I hadn’t seen before in this, one of the oldest (and most divisive) of genres. From 2004-2006, my watching inspired me to write pieces that tried to capture not only the moods, but also, some of the orchestrational aesthetics, of what I watched; after a couple of years off, the same thing happened in 2009. It was in this vein that I was trying to continue last year, when technical difficulties presented themselves.

Starting with some of the ideas from my brainstorms in 2011, I created not one but two compositions in my continuation of my “October Horror” pieces, as I’ve come to know them. The first is entitled, “Organ Grinder”, and a bit of a departure from the more classical tradition I’ve been following with most of these pieces. The second is “Labyrinth of Terror”, which is closer to my usual style of writing. Both can be heard by clicking on the titles above, and with the continuation of this series of pieces, I’ve decided that in the future, I will be putting out an album with all of my “October Horror” pieces. (A better title for the album will be chosen, of course.)

To close, I’d like to bring up a couple of future albums; yes, I said a couple. First up in “Storytelling”, which I finished last year, and will be making available in the near future; I’m just waiting to get the cover art for it from the artist, as well as being able to afford to pay to get the album out there via CDBaby (that last one, to be honest, is holding it up more than anything). The second album is actually an EP I did last summer, entitled “Arpeggiations & Atmospheres”. It was very much a “burst of inspiration” creation, all based around the same musical ideas, and the same electronic instruments. I’ll have more to say about this project at a later date. As for when it’ll be made available, I would say to look for it in early 2013.

Well, that’s all I have for now. It’s been great to write about my creative endeavors, and I hope you enjoy what’s to come as much as I did creating it.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
“Creative Beginnings” at CDBaby
“Dark Experiments” at CDBaby
“Sonic Visions of a New Old West” at CDBaby
“Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey” at CDBaby
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