I will never forget the summer of 2009, when my unique band, The BSG Orchestra, rocked out on a crowded stage in San Diego during Comic Con, performing my score for Battlestar Galactica, just months after the epic series finale aired. The venue was bursting with my brilliant musicians, many of the cast, crew, writers, producers, and executives, as well as fans from around the world. Together, we experienced a collective euphoria, because we all loved the show with the same intense passion. After the last encore, the crowd erupted into an unprompted chant of “So Say We All,” a moment that remains one of the most magical and memorable of my life. As the house lights came up and the crowd dissipated, I collapsed into a sweat-soaked heap on the couch in the greenroom and realized that, for the first in my life, I had no new cues for the show to write. Battlestar Galactica had been the most significant part of my life for six years, and now, with this concert complete, it was over.(more…)
While Outlander fans wait with bated breath for 2017 to deliver new episodes, I can perhaps ease some “Droughtlander” anxiety with today’s release of my new soundtrack album, compiling tracks from the epic second season. The album is available today, in both digital and physical formats, in a collaborated release from Madison Gate Records and Sparks & Shadows.
“Outlander: Season 2” is without doubt my most diverse album yet, and presented a real challenge to pull together as a satisfying listening experience. The score ranges from the ornate halls of Baroque Parisian courts, to muddy Scottish battlefields during the Jacobite uprising. While I do not always feel soundtrack albums must play in sequential order, I found that this season absolutely had to be sequenced that way.
The album feels almost like two different albums played back to back. The first half presents music from Paris, beginning with the French version of the “Skye Boat Song.” Track 11, the “Jacobite” version of that same song, shifts the tone radically to music from the Scotland episodes. Some tracks don’t perfectly fit the structure, such as “Leave the Past Behind,” a score cue that is not French in any way, coming from the premiere episode before we saw Claire and Jamie arrive in France. However, it still fit the flow of the musical storytelling, so I left it at the beginning. To me, that track almost feels like an opening overture before we dive into the Parisian material. (more…)
Today, Sparks & Shadows has released my soundtrack for Black Sails, the ambitious new pirate drama from Starz and Michael Bay that premiered last weekend. To celebrate the release, I have posted my first in a series of eight video blogs chronicling my voyage on this unusual series. This week’s vlog, “The Sound of Sails,” offers a glimpse of the unorthodox recording sessions that led to this unique sound:
Ever since Battlestar Galactica, my writing has become more and more structured, culminating in the first season of Da Vinci’s Demons which was, in essence, a five-hour symphony woven around a meticulously constructed musical palindrome. That style of classical composition would have utterly destroyed the gritty realism that the producers strove for in Black Sails. I needed to revert back to a primal creative state: my goal was to create music that sounds improvised by an exhausted crew aboard a ship navigating choppy waters. I wanted the audience to sense dirt beneath fingernails plucking jangly mandolin strings, to feel urgent strains of a hurdy gurdy crank, and to smell stale air wheezing out of old accordion bellows. To achieve this, I had to rethink my entire creative process and unlearn the results of a lifetime of classical music study. (more…)
I almost let 2013 slip by without a blog entry about one of the most unique projects I scored this year, “The World of Steam – The Clockwork Heart.” Here is the complete short film:
“The Clockwork Heart” is the first episode of “The World of Steam,” a new webseries by Matt Yang King. The concept is elegant: a “Twilight Zone”-style anthology series set in the steampunk genre. During its run on Kickstarter, where it set a record for webseries fundraising, the pilot was endorsed by some very well known geek trendsetters, including Wired, Buzzfeed, Grant Imahara, Felicia Day (with whom I worked on “Eureka”) and Maurissa Tancharoen (with whom I work on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”). However, none of these people had any influence on me deciding to score “The World of Steam.” I scored this film because it is just really damn good. (more…)
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Hoping to make your holiday shopping a bit easier, I’ve compiled all the records and merch that I’ve put out this year into one blog entry. Any soundtrack geek on your ‘Nice’ list will dig this stuff. And geeks on your ‘Naughty’ list as well! 🙂
I’m thrilled to announce that Sparks & Shadows has released t-shirts of my iconic “Bear McCreary: Thirteen Notes” design. Originally unveiled during my 2009 “Music of Battlestar Galactica” tours, these notes are in the frakkin’ ship! 🙂 Fans have been asking for shirts for years and thanks to the good folks at S&S, its finally happening!
CLICK HERE TO ORDER. Shirts are available for $21.98, in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and they ship internationally.
The first time I watched Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse,” I was completely blown away by the animated series’ perfect combination of humor, breathtaking art, long-form storytelling and searingly hilarious insight into the process of making music. The band in the show, Dethklok, had a fantastic heavy metal sound, and I immediately heard influences of Queen, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Ennio Morricone and Basil Poledouris.
Digging through the show’s credits, I was shocked to realize that this incredible music was written and produced by the show’s executive producer, writer and star Brendon Small. I tracked Brendon down through mutual friends and we hit it off. Because we share similar musical tastes, but come from entirely different backgrounds, we found a number of opportunities to collaborate over the years. We produced and performed a Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, he played guitar on my single “Maverick Regeneration,” and he contributed heavy metal guitars to my score to the upcoming film “Knights of Badassdom.”
I appreciate Brendon’s guitar contributions to my projects, but always hoped for the chance to return the favor, to be able to add my own style of orchestration to his music. That opportunity finally arrived when he called me to discuss his newest project, “Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera.” (more…)
I am proud to announce the second physical CD release for Sparks & Shadows: “Da Vinci’s Demons” Original Television Soundtrack, Collector’s Edition. The two-disc limited edition album is available starting TOMORROW, OCTOBER 22, through Amazon.com and other digital retailers. The first 360 orders through La-La Land Records’ website will get an AUTOGRAPHED BOOKLET! These exclusive signed copies go on sale at noon PST and usually sell out very quickly, so be ready to move fast to snag yours.
As I wrote in my mission statement when I founded Sparks & Shadows, I still believe in the physical format as a way for collectors and fans to treasure soundtracks. Our initial focus for “Da Vinci’s Demons” was in getting a digital album released quickly, so fans could download the music while they were still watching the first season on the air. I always knew I wanted to go back to this material and release it in a physical format. (more…)
This summer has been very exciting! I was recently announced as the composer for Joss Whedon’s new series, Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as well Starz’s epic new pirate drama “Black Sails.” That same week, I was nominated for an Emmy for my Main Title Theme for “Da Vinci’s Demons.” My record label Sparks & Shadows shortly thereafter released my new soundtrack for the theatrical feature “Europa Report,” capping off a successful series of albums including “Da Vinci’s Demons” and two albums of “Defiance.” Plus, I directed a music video and co-wrote a new song for a breathtaking time-lapse video! With all that happening to blog about, something very important silently slipped through the cracks, an event I’ve been eager to announce for several years: the release of my expanded soundtrack to the full series “Caprica.” I am thrilled to partner with my friends and La-La Land Records (for a fourteenth time!) to make this music available to fans in a two-disc limited edition CD (Click here to purchase). (more…)
My second “Defiance” album is available now on iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers! This record contains songs and score from the SyFy television series, and acts as a companion piece to the videogame album released in April.
The “Defiance” television soundtrack is unlike any other record I’ve ever released, because it includes a substantial number of songs in addition to my score. This is not one of those annoying “music-inspired-by” cash-grabs that became so frustratingly popular starting in the 1990’s. I produced or co-produced every song to tell us something specific about the Votan / Human culture in Defiance. I arranged this record to flow seamlessly between songs and score and to provide the listener with a musical guide to this alien, yet familiar, world.
The songs tell us about the culture, while the score cues follow the narrative arc of our main characters. Fans who have already picked up my “Defiance” Videogame Soundtrack will immediately hear the thematic and sonic connections. Where the game score emphasized propulsive action, the television score emphasizes character and melody much more. But, they are two sides of the same coin. Listeners need to hear both records to get a true feeling for the franchise.
“Da Vinci’s Demons” returns after a week-long hiatus, and what a big week it is. I’m thrilled to say that my original score has been released digitally by Sparks & Shadows! This marks the first time in my career that a television album has been released while the episodes are still airing. This has always been one of my dreams and I’m very excited that everyone at S&S pulled it off.
The “Da Vinci’s Demons” album contains over 90 minutes of music, across 26 tracks. It is available digitally from iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. We’re working on a physical CD set for later this year. Interestingly, this is the first television album I’ve ever released where the cues are presented in chronological order. I normally put the cues in an aesthetically pleasing order. However, the development of the themes on this series is so crucial that no other order would have made sense.
Tonight’s episode, “The Hierophant,” is well-represented on the album, and for good reason. (more…)