Mnemonics and music and Skype

Yesterday I had a Skype session with the Clemson University orchestra, courtesy of Dr. Andrew Levin.  They are playing “The Blue Chevrolet”

What totally surprising questions!  One question that a cellist asked:  “What are your thoughts on translating memory into music?”  He was not referring to songwriting or anything with lyrical content, He was talking about the completely abstract orchestral piece that they are playing. A far more difficult question.  Yes, “The Blue Chevrolet” is unabashedly autobiographical.  But I have never been so confronted by the clear evidence of this process, and my nearly complete lack of understanding of how I do this.  There is probably a very good doctoral thesis in just that one question.   Maybe abstract painters have a better handle on this?  I wish I could have come up with a slick answer to this.  As it is, I will be thinking about this for the next three years.  I will get back to you on this. 

I wish I could be there to hear the performance.  Good luck to the orchestra and thank you again to Maestro Levin for playing this.

Amy Winehouse

I listened to the entire Back to Black CD yesterday.  It really hit me all over again that we lost an amazing, singular voice in Amy Winehouse. But whoa!  what a totally weird production on that record. And  an incredibly strange mix.  I realize that the in choosing to work with the Dap Kings and going for a vintage “Dusty in Memphis” sound she was making a bold retro statement.  I guess what made me sad was the obvious fact that we will never get to hear her really get to the bottom of the sound she was looking for.  The next CD would have been spectacular.  RIP Amy.

Film Scoring Hell

I was just talking with the estimable Peter Fox and he reminded me of a producer comment.  We were both in the room and can verify that we both heard the very same thing.

Peter was at the console recording a score I had written – this was in his home studio. We were listening to a playback.  Two producers were hovering over us shouting meaningless directives.  And at some pivotal point, one of the producers said ” Can’t you make it more edgy? You know, just add some more sharps and flats.”   All I can remember of Peter is his face as tears came out of his eyes; he was shaking he was laughing so hard and biting his fist so he wouldn’t laugh out loud.   I can’t remember one other thing about the session: not the music. that the name of the film. Not the producers names ( thankfully, because I would have used them here). Nothing but that line. 

Gia Mora Show in LA

Got to play Gia Mora’s show in LA last week.  She is an amazing talent.  this was a cabaret show at the famous M Bar.

She has ice water in her veins. In the middle of a Joe Jackson song called Fools in Love… she found a place to include a tap dance break! 

Mark my words: This girl will be a known national talent within three years.