Archive for August, 2010

Hallogallo 2010

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by roarvis

I was pretty excited when I heard that Michael Rother and Steve Shelley were touring together. Rother was the guitarist/keyboardist from German pioneers NEU!, and was an early member of Kraftwerk. Shelley is of course the amazing drummer behind Sonic Youth. While I discovered NEU! fairly late in the game (around the time of their Astralwerks reissues in 2000), their music was instantly familiar to me, as they were a profound influence on many bands I had listened to for years (Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Th’ Faith Healers, Unrest).

Today I found this link to a complete performance of the new Hallogallo 2010 band, featuring Rother, Shelley, and Aaron Mullan of Tall Firs (on bass). The recording sounds great, and the performance exceeded my expectations. This is fantastic music, combining minimalism, drone, and driving beats in a way that has been copied many times but still sounds unique. Crank it up and enjoy!

Hallogallo 2010 Live on No Cover

48 Hours Later

Posted in Film, Music with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by roarvis

I remember being a toddler and touching a piano for the first time. From the instant I plunked those first tentative, out of tune, creepy sounding notes on the keys, I’ve wanted to make the soundtrack for a horror film.

As I got older, I developed an interest in minimalism and atmosphere in music, and nowhere were these techniques put to better use than in the horror film soundtracks of the 1970s and early 80s. While I eventually focused my energy on playing rock music, I never completely forgot about wanting to compose soundtracks.

Last week, I found the opportunity I was seeking. My friends Ryan Stockstad and Jon Rosenberg were discussing their plans for the upcoming 48 Hour Film Project, in which contestants are tasked with creating, filming, and editing a short film over the course of one weekend. I naively offered to help out with the soundtrack, figuring this might be a good way to get my feet wet. But since we wouldn’t know the genre until that Friday, when it would be literally pulled out of a hat, there was a chance that we would be stuck with an awkward category like “romantic comedy.” Needless to say, we were all praying that we’d draw “horror” instead.

And that’s just what happened. Ryan S. pulled “horror” out of the hat, and Jon set to work writing a screenplay about zombies. The cast and crew pulled a couple all-nighters while I tinkered maniacally with my giant bank of synthesizers (OK, I only have one, and it’s slightly larger than my computer keyboard, but still). Luckily, my piano skills have not improved much since I was six years old, so I was easily able to tap into the same minimalist vein of my earliest compositions. By Sunday, we had our film.

It’s a five minute short, written and filmed more or less under duress. But I’m proud of what the cast and crew accomplished, and that I was able to participate. Seeing my music matched to images of zombies wandering the dark alleys of Los Angeles validated my ambitions somewhat, and whet my appetite to do more work like this in the future.

I’d like to send a shout out to everyone involved, specifically Ryan and Jon, who created this little monster, and Damon Packard, who stayed up all night editing and also did a great job of placing my music within the context of the film.

A Tale of Two Zombies screens at 9:30 at the Santa Monica Laemmle Theater next Tuesday, August 24th. There will be some sort of contest to determine the best entries from Los Angeles. We’re figuring we at least have a shot at “best makeup.”

Here’s the trailer:

I’m Alive

Posted in Film, Music, Podcasts, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 10, 2010 by roarvis

Howdy, strangers! It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been relatively busy. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on an album that’s been in the works for some time now. Hopefully soon it will see the light of day – or at least the pallid glow of the Internets.

My leisure time has been spent watching a lot of the New World/Roger Corman Blu-Rays released by Shout! Factory, which are amazing. I’ve also been listening to a ton of Neil Young, especially the “Ditch Trilogy.” I may or may not write more about these things in the near future.

Oh yeah, and I got married. Woo hoo! Cecy and I will return with Episode 8 of our ground-breaking podcast once we are done staring lovingly into each others’ eyes.

I promise to delve back into deep blogging soon (eew, that sounds gross). In the meanwhilst, check out this interview with Amanda By Night of Made For TV Mayhem. She won the prestigious “Versatile Blogger Award,” and in turn listed a few blogs that she loves. I’m honored to report that Blanked As Ordered made the cut!

It’s always nice when someone acknowledges and appreciates your writing, especially when you do it as a hobby/obsession/unpaid internship. I should probably follow this up with links to some of MY favorite blogs, but I’m too damn lazy. So check the links on the right hand column of the home page, and follow my Twitter feed – I try to repost whenever I find a really fantastic blog entry, although you may have to wade through lots of bad jokes and passive aggressive political activism.

I’ll be back with more enthusiastic ruminations on pop culture before you know it (or want it, or want to know that you want it).