15
January 2021
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Cue of the Week: “The Crossroads”

In a late scene in the film Lady Usher, Morgan desperately tries to persuade the conflicted Roderick to join her in escaping the Usher family estate — and its domineering Lady.

A prior cue from the score introduced the “relationship theme”, which here is mixed with restless accompaniment from the strings. What used to be a reflective and intimate melody has become something more urgent. As elsewhere in the score, you can thank the talented Tom Strahle for the sensitive guitar solo.

18
December 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Gardener”

Next from the score of the film Lady Usher is this textural theme for the Ushers’ gardener, Gordon. Hiding his face behind a beekeeper’s mask and speaking in halting fragments, the enigmatic figure evokes both nervousness and pity.

The strings here express the character’s gentle response to Morgan, but also the poignance of his broken psyche.

11
December 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Funeral”

Sometimes a composer’s job is to not write music.

I put a lot of TLC into this cue accompanying Lady Usher‘s funeral scene. (Name of deceased redacted in order to prevent spoilers.) The score attentively follows the motion of the camera and the emotional dynamics of each of the bereaved. Well done, self.

But when I experienced the scene with sound design, including the distant tolling of a bell, I realized that the moment didn’t need music at all. So even though the cue was written, recorded, and edited, I petitioned director George Adams to omit it. The end result is a scene that breathes more naturally, and lets the performers carry the emotion.

The soundtrack, per tradition, will provide a home for rejected cues, as will this blog. Enjoy!

04
December 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Shower”

This music from Lady Usher accompanies a reflective moment in the shower which becomes visceral with the arrival of an unwelcome plus one.

The hair-raising effects at the end are entirely acoustic, with no processing other than reverb. One of the reasons I love working with live strings is because they’re capable of creating these kinds of alien sounds for moments of tension.

24
November 2020
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A sneak peak of the “Dice Legacy” score

One of my favorite scoring projects this year has been music for DESTINYbit’s game Dice Legacy. (Follow that link for a sense of this beautiful and visually striking RTS game.)

Two featured instruments on the score are cello and nyckelharpa. You’ve probably heard of the cello; the nyckelharpa is a Swedish folk instrument with a distinctly raw and expressive sound. Plus, it’s visually fascinating to anyone who hasn’t seen one.

Speaking of seeing one, here’s a short video of Mats Wester recording some of the score. With the pandemic shutting down much music recording, I was fortunate to find Mats whose experience as a recording artist allowed him to lay down his tracks in Sweden and send them to me in Los Angeles.

Keep an eye out for Dice Legacy, coming soon to Steam!

Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - Highlights
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