02
March 2018
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Cue of the Week: “From Fields to Towns”

Empires Apart, launching this month, is a real-time strategy game that revisits the genre with beautiful stylized visuals.

RTS games start peacefully, as the player begins constructing a town in a relatively unsettled natural environment, then pass through phases I call “bustling society” and finally “all out carnage” as other players get involved.

I wrote this track to accompany early gameplay for players who opt to participate as the French. The music draws from European folk traditions and makes use of instruments such as the mandolin and dulcimer.

16
February 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Driving While Inspired”

Sometimes the flow of a film requires a very short musical cue. These are surprisingly tricky to write. An entire scene may be emotionally defined by one musical phrase, which creates pressure to come up the exact right one from countless possibilities.

Usually when writing micro-cues I reprise a fragment of existing musical material. However, for the moody driving scene from the film Craving Greatness I came up with a standalone theme just for that moment. In retrospect, I wish I could have made it longer!

09
February 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Craving Greatness (Opening Sequence)”

This weeks’s selection is a two-part cue that opens Stephanie Keefer’s film about the joys and struggles of the creative process. (I featured the closing cue in a prior week’s post.)

This cue introduces the film’s main theme, meant to evoke the quiet satisfaction that creativity can bring. Following that is a jaunty section for the film’s depiction of some of the amusing realities of a writer’s life: disorganization, scatter-brainedness, and the occasional fit of expletives. To match the film’s intimate perspective, I stick to piano throughout the score.

19
January 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Write On”

When my friend and collaborator Stephanie Keefer approached me about her quasi-autobiographical film about inspiration and the creative process, I immediately became excited. A mere two or so years later (we were both busy) I delivered this accompaniment for the film’s conclusion.

As Craving Greatness is a personal statement, I decided to approach the score with just piano. The instrumentation matched the intimate perspective, and on an emotional level just seemed to click.

16
January 2018

Music recommendation: Kikimora (Anatoly Liadov)

Anatoly Liadov didn’t write much for orchestra, but I’m very fond of the works he did create. In Slavic mythology, a Kikimora is a kind of dark female spirit. Liadov’s tone poem of the same name depicts her with both poignance and raucous energy. To my ears this piece feels spiritually akin to film music, because of its use of orchestral color and storytelling quality. What I love is not just the turbulence, but the haunting sadness of the opening.

05
January 2018
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Cue of the Week: “Egon Escapes”

Happy New Year! We’re back after a holiday break spent… well, mostly in the studio. (Occupational hazard.)

This week’s selection comes from an interactive title that was halfway between a game and linear story, The Penguin Who Wouldn’t Swim. The cue itself is what game composers call “sad ending music”.

08
December 2017
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Cue of the Week: “The Shaman”

Some film music cues are melodic and hummable, others more atmospheric. When writing an ambient cue, such as this disquieting accompaniment from the film Healers, I like to add and remove quiet instrumental layers so as to create a sense of ongoing motion. This piece features thrumming muted strings, twin bassoons, and the low register of the harp, which I’ve always regarded as an under-utilized timbre.

01
December 2017
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Cue of the Week: “A Dark Discovery”

This week’s music includes a happy accident, sonically speaking. While scoring a suspense film called Healers, I found an old mandolin sample whose file had become corrupted, resulting in a ghostly, distorted sound. I decided that it was perfect for this cue, and included it as a rhythm element. You can hear it around the one minute mark.

Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  1. Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  2. Emerald, Texas // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  3. Mythic Battle // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  4. The Yard Sale // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  5. Investigations // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  6. Home Room // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  7. Sands of Arabia // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  8. Spider Cult // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  9. Poker Night // HOMEPAGE MUSIC