Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reflections on 'Monochrome'

For the past couple of weeks, I've been writing the score for Markwell Presents' 'YAiR' project, titled 'Monochrome'.

The play is about a class of highschool teenagers making websites to explore and communicate their most profound fears, dreams, and desires. They basically aim to recreate the stereotypes of highschool - the brooding quiet sociopath, class joker, annoying philanthropist, etc. The characters are played by a cast of 15-18 year olds, and they're all nice kids and good actors.

I was brought into the creation period a little late - the project has been running for 10 weeks, and I've been here for 2. Over those two weeks I've been drafting music which practically revolves around one motif. I call it 'Emma's Candle', and it's this soft, sweet tune which reemerges all over the place. The audience probably won't hear it, but it was in the trailer, appears in 2 darkroom scenes, once at the end, there's an ambient track with the same chord progression, and it's played backwards as the 'antagonist's theme.

Aside the main theme, there's a 'Victims' tune which emerges to add sympathy to characters. The songs the directors love are the piano tune, a specific dark drone for a character, and this gothic/tedious piece which starts with a single chime which evolves into a grotesque clash of guitars and piano. Its the only song which made them go 'Wow', and they've pointed out several times how it enhances the scene wonderfully. I'm very happy that they appreciate at least a couple.

My influences for this have been really varied. I had to create a piece that was bittersweet - soft and thoughtful, since there had to be a sound which reminded me of school days. The rift itself was inspired by Dupéré (of course) and my recent infatuation with The Banquet OST (Tan Dun with Lang Lang). The electronic effects were influenced by The Social Network and Black Swan. The recording quality was directed at Balmorhea's 'Constellations' album. A really strange blend of sources.

The process has been a little tricky. I actually recorded all the piano pieces on my iPhone, and although we discussed possibly using a recording studio, we ran out of time. The other music is frustratingly, and obviously, synthesized. I need to get a new program, and/or a new microphone that cancels out noise. The only tune I didn't write was the hip-hop frog music theme which plays when the actors introduce themselves and the characters.

All in all, when I finally heard the score tonight, paired with the video, acting, and lighting, it was delightful. I'm thrilled to have been in the project, and it will look great on my resume. The preview is tomorrow night and Monochrome plays until Friday night at Judith Wright. Great to finally have something off my chest. Now, still need to finish Process and get started on Creative Indistries. =|

Markwell Presents and the YAiR ensemble present 'Monochrome' at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Tickets are $15, and is showing until May 27. Book by visiting Judith Wright's website or by calling (07) 3872 9000.

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