Saturday, October 15, 2005

Phantom of Burma

Tired of standing around at clubs waiting for bands to start and sucking in other people's smoke, cell phone conversations (or watching that text messaging diddling) or trying to reserve that aural/visual "sweet spot" and having some galut and his shrill wife stand in front of you yammering on during the set? Wanna instead sit inside a theater and still listen to some cool music?

Well, there's Alloy Orchestra - Roger Miller (Mission of Burma)'s side project to provide live musical soundtracks to movies. He was doing it long before Kim Gordon made it cool (although in her defense, she also produces the films she accompanies).

They're on tour - alas, no DC dates - we are so culturally impoverished (he wrote mere steps away from the Kennedy Center) but I'm sure they'll get back here someday. They're covering Phantom of the Opera, Hitchcock's Blackmail and Speedy.

From the Cornell Sun:

Ken Winokur [founding member, clarinet, junk percussion] describes Blackmail as “the best of Hitchcock’s silent films” because “it’s fabulous in the way that Hitchcock films are: incredibly tense and on the edge of your seat. The story has a slow development, which inspired one of our first more subtle scores.”

And the score for Phantom? Winokur admits, “This film was unlike any that we had done before.” Because music was already such an established portion of the movie, the ensemble found that they often had to build off of pre-existing, determined aspects of the storyline. According to Winokur, “There was one scene where everyone is dancing to the opera, Faust and it seemed obvious that we needed to utilize that music. So we decided to use several scenes from the opera by Gounod and rendered our own orchestrations to it.”

“The biggest challenge,” explained Winokur, “was not to overwhelm the movie with junk metal procession. We’re playing a lot more melodic stuff but when the big chase scenes come, we’ll definitely bring out the big drums again.”

Phantom of the Opera on DVD


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