Tag Archives: Word Food

My Latest Addiction: Pogo Remixes

2 Apr

I think it was my dear friend Dr. Splanchett who first introduced me to Pogo, a couple of years ago. In case you are unfamiliar with Pogo, he is an electronic musician (real name: Nick Bertke) who samples sounds from movies, television shows, and real life to create entirely new music.

My favorite pieces of his include music/sounds/dialogue from Disney movies such as Alice in Wonderland and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alfonso Cuarón’s A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, The King and I, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and an assortment of Pixar films, among others.

I’ve been listening to his stuff a lot recently while editing, cleaning, cooking — pretty much everything. There’s a lot of motion to Pogo’s remixes, which keeps me motivated and moving. His music is also by turns ethereal and incredibly catchy; I often find myself humming his strange, made-up melodies as I go about my day.

And the best part is? It’s the kind of music that doesn’t distract me from what I’m doing. In fact, it almost lulls me into a productive trance.

Check out some of these fantastic remixes:

I think his A Little Princess remix, “Whisperlude,” is my favorite. The music is dreamy and lovely, and the music video itself is just gorgeous:

Not only are the remixes fun to listen to, the accompanying music videos are awesome as well — especially that last one, the animated Wizard of Oz!

I highly recommend checking out Pogo’s website. You can purchase high-quality MP3s of these and other remixes for super cheap. He also posts fascinating behind-the-scenes videos demonstrating how he crafts these remixes.

Enjoy!

Music Post: The Firefly + Serenity Scores

7 Nov

A couple of years ago, my roommate introduced me to the wonderful world of Firefly, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it changed my creative life forever.

It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, a delightful mishmash of genres that shouldn’t have worked but did — because of the heart in it, the soul, the chemistry amongst the impeccably assembled cast. Everything from the special effects to the lovingly crafted sets to the elaborate world-building is top-notch. If you haven’t watched this show, and its accompanying film, Serenity, you really, really must.

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the show, at least for me, is the score. The music for both the television show Firefly (composed by Greg Edmonson) and the film Serenity (composed by David Newman) is full of just as much passion as every other element of the show. Like the storyworld they accompany, these scores combine Asian, western, and traditional science fiction elements to create a musical palette unlike any other. Whenever I listen to this music, I feel immediately comforted, like I’ve come home after being away for far too long.

Although Edmonson and Newman bring their own unique flavors to their scores, and it’s impossible to confuse the two, they are both utterly, unmistakably Firefly.

Check out these tracks:

“Main Theme” - This beautiful opening sequence showcases a theme song written by creator Joss Whedon himself. The lyrics are poignant, wistful, bittersweet, and perfectly set the tone for the score (and the show!) to come.

“Big Bar Fight” – For a prime example of Firefly‘s western flair, check out this track, accompanying — you guessed it — a bar fight in which people are thrown out holographic windows and our heroes are rescued by fake spaceship guns.

“The Funeral” – Although this music accompanies an extremely moving scene in the episode “The Message,” the real story behind this track is even more poignant. Edmonson wrote it as a farewell to the show after learning of its cancellation.

“Inara’s Suite” – The mysterious Companion Inara Serra is one of my favorite characters. I don’t think she’s one of the more popular characters with most fans, but I find her incredibly complex. If the show had had the life it deserves, the exploration of her character would, in my opinion, have been one of the most fascinating. This track is sumptuous, exotic, and, like Inara, seems to hold a secret sadness that we may never understand.

“Dying Ship/Naked Mal” – The opening of this track is solemn and elegiac, from my absolute favorite episode of Firefly, “Out of Gas.” The second half of the track is more cheerful, more tongue-in-cheek, and ends the album on a positive note, from a scene when we see — ahem — a good deal more of Nathan Fillion’s Captain Malcolm Reynolds than we have ever seen before.

~*~

The score for Serenity, as I previously mentioned, is in some ways very different from the Firefly score, and in other ways, obviously related. One unique thing that David Newman did for this score is omit the use of woodwinds. What we’re left with is brass, strings, percussion, and electronics, without any of the woodwind instruments’ characteristic warmth — an interesting choice for a story set in the cold black of outer space. But the presence of those trademark Firefly fiddles keeps the score accessible and familiar.

“Into the River” / “Escape” – The first two tracks of the score, “Into the River” and “Escape” accompany the film’s incredible prologue. “Into the River” is eerie and mysterious, as we get some insight into River Tam’s tormented past, and “Escape” is action-packed and suspenseful, accompanying a fantastic escape sequence that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

“Serenity” – This brief but incredible track gloriously showcases the theme for the ship herself, our beloved Serenity. She soars through the stars, a scrappy, inimitable, classy lady, the heart and soul that binds the Firefly characters together.

“Going for a Ride” – LOVE this track! As our heroes set out for yet another caper (which, unbeknownst to them, but fairly predictably for us, turns out to go…not so smoothly), this rollicking track gets their — and our — blood pumping. I especially enjoy the tender moment about three-quarters of the way through that accompanies the little longing glance Kaylee gives to the ever-oblivious Simon.

“River and Simon in Locker” – I really love what Newman did thematically for River in Serenity. Just as Edmonson did in Firefly, Newman creates an eerie yet innocent tone for our favorite…well…perhaps I shouldn’t say for the sake of those who haven’t seen the show. Let’s just say that River Tam is not what she first appears to be. ;)

“Run to Black” – There is some really fantastic action music in Serenity, and this track is one of them. If you sense tragic undertones…you’re dead on.

“Love” – This track is just absolutely lovely, and accompanies a wonderful moment between two of the most important members of the Serenity crew. “You know what the first rule of flying is? … Love.”

~*~

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this show, this movie, and the scores for each. There isn’t anything else like Firefly. It’s a truly special work of art, a world unlike any other and one that you will never, ever forget. Give it a try if you haven’t already, and if you’re a Browncoat and you don’t have these scores, what are you waiting for??

Music Post: The (500) Days of Summer Score

3 Oct

Recently, while working on a new project, I discovered Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen’s tender, poignant, quirky score for (500) Days of Summer. I haven’t seen the film, but if the score is any indication, I’d probably need to watch it with a box of tissues. I included several tracks of it on my playlist for said new project, and it never fails to put me in a pensive, inspired mood.

Check out these tracks:

“Main Titles” – This track begins with a recurring whistling motif that I assume has some sort of narrative significance in the film. The track then continues with brief, lovely statements of themes that recur throughout the entire score, played with painstaking precision by a relatively small ensemble of piano, minimal woodwinds, a few strings, and twinkly percussion instruments.

“Things Were Going So Well” – The beginning of this track, performed on piano, always makes me a little sad, but then things get hopeful and even playful.

“I Want To Get Her Back” – The whistling motif returns toward the end of this low-key track, laced with humor and accompanying what I can only assume must be romantic hijinx.

“Anal Girl” – What begins with a heartbreaking piano melody turns into a relaxed, strolling melody (complete with the whistle motif) that sounds like a pleasant, springtime walk in the park.

“Ikea” – Sounds like, you guessed it, a pleasant stroll down the magical aisles of Ikea! Love this smirking, teasing, coy little track.

“After Dance” – Having never seen the movie, this reminds me of a tender, cozy, perhaps a little tired spell of pillow talk between two people after a night out dancing.

“Serious” – This track’s halting, cautious piano makes me ache a bit.

“87″ - A playful, tender track with lots of TWINKLIES. It actually reminds me of Bruno Coulais’ Coraline score, at parts.

“Art Gallery” – This cheerful, dreamy track will make you feel better about your life and the world in general. Promise.

“I Love Us” – Begins sweet, then breaks your heart, then gives you hope.

“To the Architect” – This is the score’s longest track, and perhaps also the most reflective, and the most heartbreaking, optimistic, and the loveliest.

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In conclusion, this score is divine — some of the purest, most beautiful film music I’ve ever heard. Perfect for listening to while driving, relaxing, writing, wallowing, throwing open the windows for fresh light and getting your mood back where it needs to be.

Also in conclusion, I need to watch this movie. If you’ve seen it, what did you think? Do you recommend?

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