Month: January 2019

Outlander: Season 4

OUT4_LOGO

Outlander Season Four chronicles a dramatic journey: from the bustling streets of colonial era Wilmington, across vast stretches of Appalachian wilderness, to Cherokee and Mohawk lands. This journey leaps from the modernity of the 1960’s to the simmering pre-Revolutionary tension of eighteenth-century America. These settings present a challenge for a composer, because each era, culture, and geographical location offers potential musical influences for the score. My goal was to assimilate all these ideas into a score that helps the audience follow the various narrative threads and still supports the drama. Oh, and I wanted to use banjos now too!

BAGPIPES AND BANJOS

My work began as I set out to rearrange a new version of “The Skye Boat Song” for the season’s Main Title. Changing a series’ Main Title is relatively rare in television, and yet this marks the sixth, arguably seventh, iteration of the beloved folk song I have produced for Outlander. (The previous were Season 1’s original, Season 2’s “French” and “Jacobite” versions, and Season 3’s “After Culloden” and “Caribbean” versions. I also produced an “Extended” version for the Season 1 Volume 2 soundtrack album, though it was never used in the series itself.)

(more…)

Welcome Home

WH08

“Welcome Home,” the new erotic thriller starring Aaron Paul, Emily Ratajkowski, and Riccardo Scamarcio, gave me the opportunity to compose a sinister, lyrical, and melodic score. In the film, Bryan (Paul) and Cassie (Ratajkowski) vacation at a rental home in the Italian countryside, and gradually suspect their neighbor, Federico (Scamarcio), might be a threat. Their strained relationship buckles under pressure as their paranoia ratchets up. My score crescendos, powered by a war between a viola da gamba and an upright bass!

LIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: While the film is anchored by intense performances from the three leads, it was actually the cinematography and location that first fueled my musical imagination. My initial creative conversation with director George Ratliff took place over Skype while he was still on location in Italy, finishing principal photography. Even at that early stage, it was clear the titular “Home” was one of the most important characters in the film. The way Ratliff and DP Shelly Johnson glided the camera through the old building’s candlelit stone halls gave the entire house a strange sense of being alive, as if it were watching the drama unfold. (Spoiler: it is!)

(more…)