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Be the Mule Blog

Film Music

Its important for me to keep searching for new ways to write music. I've gone through periods where I feel I'm writing the same song over and over. Thats not what I want to do.

A few years ago I decided I would only listen to Monk, when what I heard was in my control, for a month. That created new ways of thinking about music and phrasing that helped. At other moments I've tried to put poems of Bukowski, or Billy Collins, into sound as a beginning for a song. The idea doesn't always strike you, you have to strike it.

Recently I've been watching films for their music. There is a storytelling quality, or story accompanying quality in music for cinema that I am drawn to. Whether the film exists or not, there is a distinct way the music lives. "Discreet Music", an ambient music of Brian Eno's, is a record I love that has this quality, but no film. Something about patience I think is what distinguishes the music from other to me. The sound is allowed to develop into something and tell a story, it is not rushed. 

How do I accomplish that patience, or intend to?

We find ourselves in a hurried modern world, with the idea that we are somehow going to win or have success, and this must be achieved with urgency, otherwise we "fail". Thats false of course, but often requires some tricking of the self to transcend. If I compose with an image, film, something, visual in mind, I am freed a bit. Knowing the music can depend on the image takes some of the weight and expectation off the composer of having to accomplish the entertainment piece. We can just compose in sound and let the visual piece do the entertaining or attention commanding. Compose that way, then take the image away, and beauty can come new.


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