Read more about The Stranger.
Gross Little Worm
Read more about Gross Little Worm.
Trailer for Sleeper Agent
Forest, No Moon
A original composition performed by the Brightwork newmusic ensemble at Chapman University’s Salmon Recital Hall.
A woman packs her car in a seemingly deserted parking lot for a camping trip. A man approaches her, offering help. Nothing announces that he has ill-intentions, but she can’t help but feel something’s not quite right.
The score had to steep the film with uneasiness. Debussy’s Des pas sure la neige provided the inspiration for the film’s theme. Composers tend to either depict snow as lighthearted, a la Christmas music, or as some concerning flurry.
In la neige, Debussy depicts dread. The piece’s mood honors its title in an almost comically literal sense. But taking la neige for what it is, the listener senses that something more than just schlepping is happening in the world of the traveler. Something’s churning beneath the surface in both la neige and The Stranger.
Post-production for this film occurred entirely during quarantine. So it was solely up to me and instruments on hand, one of which happens to be a bowed psaltery. I still haven’t learned how to play it, so it sits there detuning.
Luckily, this is just what I needed for a hit point when the protagonist’s keys come into focus as well as for a subsequent shift point. One upward glissando on the psaltery and some processing in Logic provides the eerie, crunchy color, highlighting the danger she could come under once the antagonist has them in his possession.
Otherwise, sampled and synthesized sound comprises the score. Although Covid restrictions primarily influenced this decision, the bluer palette of synthesizers reflects the film’s environment well, cold and concrete.
I intended the processing during the credits to sound like a tinny, dilapidated loudspeaker in a parking garage, hence the addition of parking garage foley. It’s unnerving in my cultural context as I can’t recall a time where I’ve heard music playing over a PA system in a parking garage. It reminds me of vaporwave (specifically mallsoft) more than anything which always makes me feel surreal.