You Shoot I Score

Composer Ned Bouhalassa's Blog

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

July 25, 2011
nedbouhalassa

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):

The Roland SH-5: Starship Synth

November 19, 2010
nedbouhalassa

Every time I play with my Roland SH-5, I feel like I’m taking the controls of a spaceship of some kind! What an amazing chameleon, this mid-70s synthesizer is: soft, harsh, simple, complex, funky, spaced-out, out-of-control, sweet sounds can be easily coaxed out of it with a little love. The filters are particularly musical, rich, and the ability to mix 5 different sources allows me to create a whole range of tones. Of course, there’s no patch-saving of any kind, so every sound you create remains the same only as long as you don’t touch anything… which is impossible! So I hit ‘record’ and twist away madly, joyously lost in the ever-bountiful ocean of analog waves.

Here’s an example of what its filters sound like:

18 To Life Picked Up By US Network CW

July 22, 2010
nedbouhalassa

I’m thrilled to share that the series I composed music for last year, CBC’s 18 To Life, will air in the US this summer, on the CW television network. CW is now the 5th largest network after the big three and Fox. 18 To Life will air in back-back-episodes from 9 to 10 pm, on Tuesday nights starting August 3. Read more here.

Improvising With The iHolophone

May 3, 2010
nedbouhalassa

I’m in love with Amidio‘s new iPhone app, iHolophone. You play this virtual instrument by dragging your thumbs around two circular controllers that resemble an analog cassette and video game virtual controllers or life counters. You can tap for short sounds or leave your thumb on for sustain. It feels totally fresh, a new way of making music. The app comes with a limited sequencer, hundreds of samples, 160 patterns, etc. Although the accompanying beds are OK, the app really comes to life when you jam with the two controllers. With iHolophone, Amidio, makers of Noise.io and JR Hexatone, confirms its place amongst the leaders in touch-screen music apps.

You can read a good review of iHolophone on the excellent promusicapps site.

Favourite iPhone/iPod Touch Music Apps

April 30, 2010
nedbouhalassa

As a user of an iPod Touch, I’ve been trying a bunch of different music creation apps. Here are a few of my faves:

Sonic Wire is so strange, it could only have come out in 2010! A fantastic synthesized-sound generator, it allows me to create a long, looped trace of finger gestures that can then be manipulated in 3D space, with various scales. You can see a video demonstration of it on Zach Gages’ website.This app is based on a real-life interactive installation by Amit Pitaru, exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.

Backline Calc is like the Swiss-army knife of audio-related calculations. If I need to figure out time in samples, tempo or bars or beats in seconds, minutes, etc, compare tempi in percentage change – it’s all a breeze, and it even includes a very useful file-size calculator.

I’m also enjoying Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers’ Trope, making ambient soundscapes with a few gestures that automatically loop, and jamming over them with my Korg MS2000 (not an app!). There are a dozen moods to choose from which correspond to various musical keys and modes. Like his other apps, Bloom and Air, the experience is as beautiful to look at as it is to hear.

Changing patches in Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere is now made even easier with their app, Omni Live. I sometimes will load 8 different Rhodes patches and switch between them in real-time while noodling, to quickly assess which is the best sound for the cue I’m trying to nail.

And for a little old-school fun while waiting in line somewhere, I break out technoBox, complete with an 808/900 drum machine, a 303 bass-synth clone, and some useful effects. There’s chaining of sequences and saving/loading of sessions (songs). After playing with it for a few minutes, it’s hard for me not to dance!

Scoring CBC’s 18 To Life

December 7, 2009
nedbouhalassa

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

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