Recording; Kirsanov prep

July 3 – watched Menilmontant and Brumes d’automne this morning; these films are on one of the discs of Avante Garde, a multi-disc DVD set of experimental and avante garde art films in the Rohauer collection that came out a couple years ago. Watched them films with sound off, to better hear any music or thoughts that might bubble up while watching the films.

Menilmontant has a lot of abrupt and extreme mood shifts, especially in the the first 10 mins. I grabbed a couple pieces of cover stock (lighter than card stock but thicker than regular paper, great for notes or printing out music that doesn’t flop around or fall off the music rack) and a sharpie, and made a list of the moods and the last thing that happens in the scene just before the mood shift. I know I’ll be able to create music during the show, but don’t want to get caught with my pants down – several times – being behind the picture when it shifts mood drastically…that would call attention to the music and to me, and that wouldn’t serve the picture and the work Kirsanov and he crew/actors put in 80 years ago.

Not worried about Brumes d’automne; it’s a 12 minute mood piece and will take care of itself.

Spent part of the afternoon recording a score for a Keystone one-reeler, one of several comedy shorts I’m doing for a set AllDay will release before the end of the year. Sometimes these just happen, and sometimes they take several takes. Depends on the day, my energy, focus etc and just luck. David Kalat did a nice job on the transfer speed on this one; most Keystones when run at the right speed (21fps or thereabouts) are actually a lot of fun and have more levels of character to bring out, and aren’t just a lot of scenes of people throwing stuff at each other and falling into lakes. By holding back a little musically, and finding ways to draw the viewer in to the characters and what they want and not just playing ragtime or mickey-mousing the action, a 1914 Keystone short can really come to life.

Also recorded a “freebie-of-the-month” for a music score for Knight Duty (1933) starring Harry Langdon. Yeah, I know it’s a talkie, but most earlie talkie comedy shorts have long stretches of pantomime that cry out for underscoring. Bruce Lawton and I included a Keaton Educational on a program a couple years ago, one that has very little dialog and I played for it, ducking out of the way when there was talking, and it was very effective. In my spoken intro to the Knight Duty track I said that the score isn’t necessarily the answer to everything, but is an experiment to see if having musical underscore here and there helps the film’s energy and flow. I’d mentioned in my phone interview with Donna Hill for her podcast that I might be doing one of these and thought I’d better record one before the podcast airs, so it’s already in place. I doubt I’ll have time to record a score for this month with all my performing and other recording commitments.

The side desk (Quik-Lok WS-550) for the keyboard stand used for the Miditzer has arrived at MoMA, that’s the last of the Miditzer equipment. Can’t wait to use the organ in T1 this month.

Probably won’t post again for a couple of days; tom’w is 4th of July, then Saturday I travel to Berkshires before heading to Amherst on Sunday for Yiddish Book Center show (followed that evening by a show at Bard).

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