Ultimate Tutankhamun Decoded

*** July 2013 Update *****

The entire film is now available to watch online at PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/episodes/ultimate-tut-watch-the-full-episode/1049/

*****

A terrific documentary that I scored last winter is airing in Canada and the U.S. next week: Secrets of the Dead: Ultimate Tut (U.S. title), also known as Tutankhamun Decoded (Canada). In composing the soundtrack, I enjoyed combining traditional Egyptian instruments, like Sonokinetic‘s Kemence, Sultan Strings and Desert Voice, with orchestral and electronic sounds, to underline the drama and the mystery of this story.

The documentary was produced by Handel Productions and Blink Films UK, and the host is Egyptologist Chris Naunton.

PBS: Secrets of the Dead: Ultimate Tut airs Wednesday, July 10 @ 8pm

History Channel Canada: Tutankhamun Decoded airs this Sunday, Jul 07 at 9pm, and Friday, Jul 12 @ 8pm

 
Chris Naunton

La Musique du Téléroman O’

** Please scroll down for an English version **

Cet hiver, j’ai composé la musique du merveilleux téléroman O’. Produit par Sovimage et réalisée par Éric Tessier, cette série nous fait découvrir la famille O’Hara, avec tous ses hauts et ses bas. C’est la première fois qu’on m’a confié une série dramatique et ce fût une joie totale! La qualité des textes, le jeu des comédiens, la direction photo, le montage, la direction des acteurs, etc – tout est de si grande qualité que je n’ai eu aucun problème à trouver ma muse, mon inspiration. La seule contrainte (si on peut appeller ça une contrainte) fût d’avoir une écriture très mélodique. Éric m’a donné beaucoup de liberté quand au choix des instruments, des couleurs et après seulement deux ou trois semaines, le monde musical de O’ a pris sa forme finale. J’ai surtout utilisé ces instruments : piano, guitare et basse électriques, violons, violoncelle, hang drum, dulcimer et de textures synthétisées (Omnisphere de Spectrasonics). Je suis très heureux de savoir que je fais partie de l’équipe pour la deuxième saison – j’ai déjà hâte!

Pour entendre des exemples de la musique, veuillez visiter ma page à Soundcloud.

© TVA, Serge Gauvin

This past winter, I composed the music for the wonderful Quebec television series O’ (TVA). Produced by Sovimage and directed by Eric Tessier, this series follows the highs and lows of the O’Hara family. This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to work on a dramatic series and it was a total joy! The quality of the writing, the acting, the photography, editing, directing of the actors, etc, was so great that I had little trouble finding my muse, my inspiration. The only restriction (if one can call it that) was that the music had to be very melodic. From the outset, Eric gave me much freedom in the choice of instruments, colour, and within 2 or 3 weeks the musical world of O’ had been defined. I mostly limited myself to the following instruments: piano, electric guitar and bass, strings, hang drum, and synthesizer textures (Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere ). I’m very happy to know that I will be back on the team for the second season – I can’t wait!

If you wish to hear some of the music of the series, please visit my Soundcloud page.

Curiosity – What Sank Titanic? My New Score

I’m excited to share my latest score, for the Discovery television film Curisosity – What Sank Titanic? The film looks at what really happened on the ship, based on true accounts from the survivors, and is narrated by Bill Paxton, from the hit series Big Love. I had the great pleasure of working with the British Emmy-nominated production team Dangerous Films (Zodiak Mediagroup), and in particular the terrific music supervisor Richard Todman. The music is a combination of virtual orchestra, synthesizers and percussion, and features the young Montreal vocalist Fletcher Bryce. It is only playing on US television, and available on US iTunes, but it will go worldwide in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

You can view some video excerpts by clicking here

Next showings-
Sunday, Sept 04 Discovery US
Thursday, Sept 08 Science Channel

On iTunes US

My Latest Film Score, on NBC: Who Is Simon Miller?

I’m thrilled to report that my latest score, the soundtrack to the TV film, Who Is Simon Miller?, will air on NBC, Saturday August 6, at 8pm.

This is a family-friendly thriller set in various parts of Europe, and it features Christine Baranski, Skyler Day, Loren Dean, Robyn Lively and Drew Koles. It was true joy working with the production team from Montreal’s Muse Entertainment, and getting a chance to sit and work with the talented director, Paolo Barzman. His directions really helped shape the sound of the soundtrack, which features dramatic virtual-orchestra cues, rocked by guitar and driving rhythms. Here’s the promo (not my music):

Scoring CBC’s 18 To Life

For the past few months, I’ve been composing music for a new CBC prime-time domestic comedy, 18 To Life. The producers and I decided early on that the music production and performances should not be too slick. I opted for some country-blues inspired music, along with simple jazz-blues riffs and rhythms. I bought or rented a bunch of great instruments for this truly fun project: national steel guitar (also known as a Dobro), harmonicas, a banjo, a late-70s Gibson Les Paul, a kazoo (!), etc. I also rely on software instruments like Spectrasonics’ new Trilian basses, RMX with Cajun and Jazz percussion/drum loops, AcousticsampleS‘ Kawai piano, SAM Symphobia and LASS strings.

Produced by Montreal’s Galafilm, the series will premiere January 4, at 8 pm.

Here are a few examples of my cues:

Close The Blinds


Down Home


Flirting On Bench


Kazoo Boogie


Refugee Hop


The Proposal


Un Cargo pour l’Afrique at Montreal’s World Film Festival

poster_afrique

I’m thrilled to report that Roger Cantin‘s Un Cargo pour l’Afrique is in the official competition of the Montreal World Film Festival. I composed part of the soundtrack, which includes as well the beautiful songs and voice of Oumar Ndiaye. The music I wrote features traditional african instruments like drums and kora, alongside orchestral strings. I attented the premiere last night, and it was a rousing success! The film features the superb acting of local acting legend Pierre Lebeau, and will be out in Quebec theatres in the second week of September.

While writing the soundtrack, I met and became friends with the very talented Senegalese singer/songwriter Oumar N’Diaye. His infectious joie de vivre, his professionalism and amazing voice make any musical collaboration a real joy. Here are a couple of recent photographs, taken by my wife Brenda Keesal:

oumarndiaye

oumarned

YTV’s In Real Life Soundtrack

irl_talon_madd

For the past few months, I’ve been composing the music for YTV’s new reality-tv competition series, In Real Life. The music is a mix of action orchestral and power-pop, and it’s been a fantastic challenge for me to keep ramping up the musical adrenaline! Produced by Montreal’s Apartment 11, the series features 12-14-year olds competing in various incredible challenges. I couldn’t have created this music without these amazing tools: Nine Volt Audio libraries, Stylus RMX, StormDrum 1 and 2, Tonehammer instruments. Keep a lookout for new YTV episodes on Wednesday nights, at 7 pm.

Here are some examples of the music I created for the show:

Running Out of Time


Watch Out For Teeth


Battling To The Finish


Hanging Out


Tonehammer Strikes The Sampling World

Tonehammer

An exciting new player has arrived in the world of sample libraries. Tonehammer, the brainchild of composer Troels Folmann and sound designer Mike Peaslee, offers very affordable, out-of-the-ordinary deep sample collections for the Kontakt virtual instrument. What is ‘deep’ sampling? Most of the instruments offer up to 10x round-robin, assuring that you’re always going to get new sound variations when you strike the same MIDI note twice. Furthermore, many of the instruments/objects were sampled in interesting acoustic spaces. This combination of real spaces and multiple variations adds up to an organic sound. These are truly musical sample collections. The ‘instruments’, of which there are far too many to list here, include sneakers, museum railings, bamboo sticks, whale drum, coins, hangdrum, bathtub, yells, marching band percussion, a sofa, etc. The official website features superb demos. For more info, click here.

Titanic Documentary

I’m very busy these days on the soundtrack for a UK/Canada documentary on the crew’s role in the sinking of the most famous passenger ship of them all, and how this tragedy could have been avoided. The iceberg is also a key protaginist – so much so that I have composed my very first iceberg theme! Directed by Patrick Reams, and produced by Pioneer Productions and Handel Productions, this Channel 4 commission features a combination of drama, documentary and CGI footage. In writing for my virtual orchestra, I have been inspired by the music of Philip Glass, particularly the soundtrack to Notes On A Scandal.

Next month, I will be starting work on the soundtrack to a Sci-Fi/Muse tv movie entitled Rise Of The Gargoyle, featuring Eric Balfour. More on that in a few weeks.

Raymond Scott

Recently, I found out about US composer and inventor Raymond Scott for the first time. This has been quite a revelation for me, as I had never heard of his inventions, nor did I know that he was responsible for many of the classic Looney Tunes scores (he did not write music for the cartoons; Carl Stalling licensed songs like Powerhouse). A true genius who was a mentor to another giant, Robert Moog, Scott invented one of the early synthesizers (Clavivox), pioneered the use of a monitor over a keyboard for film/tv score work (Videola), and created a mysteriously complex sequencer called the Electronium, pictured below. You can hear many of his electronic pieces and read about his life in the accompanying book that is part of the set entitled Manhattan Research Inc. There is also a rich and fascinating website devoted to Scott, his music and inventions which you can visit here.