Thursday, August 19, 2004

Jon Brion on the score to I <3 Huckabee's

This makes me veddy, veddy happy indeed.
I know that motherfucker is sitting on dozens of completed songs and is dragging his feet on releasing another proper album... this will more than tide me over.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

"I began the soundtrack by creating what I would call typically good
soundtrack music. (Director) David Russell's reaction was that he
wanted more 'good' feeling in it -- more feeling, in general. David
and I had a conversation about how disgustingly gratuitous song
placement in the movies has become, and how most soundtrack music
doesn't have a sense of song to it. It has gotten to the point where
you really feel, as a viewer, that almost every song placement is
really just a marketing scam.

I had been remembering some older film soundtracks that were
iconographic and had a sense of song to them -- such as
(1961's) 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. David was open to the concept (of
creating a tune-driven soundtrack). Then, just as a way of getting
myself out of 'soundtrack guy' mode and into 'songwriter guy' mode, I
began playing some melodies on the piano from some songs of mine.
(Russell) exclaimed, 'what's that?' I told him it was something of
mine that was never released. 'Can we play that to picture?', he
asked. Boom -- instantly, we were both totally happy; it gave the
film a sense of playfulness with an emotional undercurrent.

For the soundtrack, I used very intimate arrangements, not big
orchestrations. Bells ended up being prominent. There are a zillion
different types of bell sounds; glockenspiels, hand bells, hollies
and bells off the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Using that instrument felt
special because it had actually been created for use in the movie
theaters but, of course, stopped being used after sound came along.
You can instantaneously make finished orchestra pieces! Other than
bells, (the score) is a mostly acoustic guitar and acoustic piano-
based soundtrack. There are also some brush drums and bass and old
chamberlain -- which is a weird instrument I play now and then.
Essentially, it is all very small, except for the Mighty Wurlitzer.

What was nice for me in working with David was that we tended to have
the same emotional response to certain tensions in the film. When I
saw tension in the film, I would write a song about it, and he would
immediately relate the song to the tension. This made me happy
because it meant each of us was thinking about the film in the same
abstract way. The fact that an entire score such as this would be
populated by unreleased songs sans lyrics via complete serendipity is

People in the movie are trying to come to grips with the fact that
you have to accept things as they are. It was appropriate that the
music have a sweetness, openness and intimacy to it. Here we are,
having this sweet conversation about the raw deal that is being born -
- and embracing both things whole-heartedly. It worked out because
there was a sense of the question of how to be OK with just being a
creature in this universe, without merely becoming apathetic."


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