GUT: Creating a Feature Score. Entry 04: elaborate nothingness

I wrote my last blog entry about the GUT score back in Jan. 21st. Today, roughly 6 months later, is July 26th. I won’t win any awards for most updated blog but at least I can say that the music for the film has been completed. Completed this past weekend as a matter of fact… apparently I felt the need to finish this project during the hottest weekend of the year here in NYC. So with frozen water bottles on my lap, sitting in a sweltering 105 degree apartment with no air-conditioning and sweat streaming constantly down my face and onto my equipment, I sat down to complete this long running endeavor.

The problem for me when writing anything is having some form of emotional consistency. I don’t feel the same from day to day, and when I don’t feel the same the music isn’t going to sound the same. The great thing about scoring a film is that that stuff has been intensely mapped out for you. I watch the film… the film injects feelings… I translate that into a (hopefully) meaningful moment of music that helps to convey the already emotionally complex moments in the film just a smidgeon better. GUT is a very personal film with a lot of internal emotions both for the character and internally for the writer/director Elias.

I have had the benefit of knowing Elias for just over half my life now… I was there for the first film and I’ll probably be there for the last. I’m not a stranger to the things he and his characters feel. We’ve all had the same arguments and highs and lows. We’ve screamed at one another the same way his characters do to each other. One might think this would make the task of creating this stuff easier, but that’s far from the truth. I have an intense personal need to not trend down the same path twice. I’m always looking for new routes and ways to express things and if anyone is going to know if I’ve successfully done this or not, its the guy I’ve been working with since my teens. I don’t want or need approval from many people, but if he didn’t have the same response I had while making the music I would have considered it a failure. This music is a reaction to his work and it has to tap into what Elias was feeling, or what I end up with is just meaningless shit noise that gets in the way of the film. This brings me to silence.

In my opinion, there are few things stronger than silence in music. GUT was screaming for simple, and the last thing I wanted was to get in the way. I left a lot of space in GUT, and in the end I think the results were effective. We’ll see if that carries on to the viewer when the movie is released.

For those technically curious, here is the total list of equipment used for the GUT score… which amounts to little more than a few plucks of a guitar string here and there. I don’t know if it was all needed or not, but I like gear, and creatively it takes me places, so I’m not gonna sit on that too hard.

The list:
Instruments:
Schecter Damian FR, Stylophone, Waldorf Microwave XTK, Sequential Circuits Six Trak and the Red Sound Dark Star

Effects:
Tech21 Sansamp, Tech21 BoostDLA, Tech21 BoostRVB, Ibanez Time Machine AD190, Knas Ekdahl Moisturizer

Recording and amplification:
Peavey Studio Chorus 210 (amplifier), Shure SM-57 (microphone), Real Traps Portable Vocal Booth, zoom r16, Focusrite Saffire Pro 10i/o.

Software:
Cuckos Reaper 3.76, Waves L1 and the Voxengo Gliss EQ.

The entire soundtrack was recorded in mono and approximately 57 minutes of music was finished for the film.
You can get all the info you need on GUT at gutmovie.com and biffjuggernaut.com with occasional updates and screenings listed here as well.
-Chvad SB

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