On September 27th, La La Land Records will release a 2-CD limited edition soundtrack of my fully orchestral score for The Cape. The first 150 orders through the label’s website will be signed! The sale begins next Tuesday at 1pm Pacific Standard Time. The autographed copies will go fast, so check early in the day.
A digital release is scheduled for later in the year.
This album represents my most grandiose and lyrical orchestral writing yet. The story presented me with a rare opportunity to explore sweeping superhero music, in the style of my favorite scores when I was growing up. There are whispers of Elfman’s Batman and Williams’ Superman in here, yes, but my biggest influence by far was Shirley Walker’s scores for Batman: The Animated Series. In fact, this CD is dedicated to her memory. (more…)
In tonight’s blog entry, I look back on the remarkable experiences I had recording my score for “The Cape” each week with world-class musicians. At our largest orchestra session, for last week’s The Lich Part 2, these musicians surprised me by presenting me with a beautiful award for “outstanding contributions to the art of film scoring” and for “continued commitment to bringing live music to television.” I was very touched by this honor, and can share the moment with you all in this week’s video blog:
I’ve culled together a few of my favorite session photos, taken by Andrew Craig, and posted them here, starting with this amazing 360° panoramic taken from the center of the orchestra:
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This week’s episode of “The Cape,” The Lich Part 2, picks up right where last week’s left off. However, this story feels grander, darker and more epic than last week’s setup episode. So, I went from the smallest orchestra I’ve ever used on “The Cape” to the largest, as you will see in this week’s video blog:
The average orchestra on this series is about 65 players. The leap up to 90 players was not a huge difference. However, what made this session so remarkable for me was recording the entire orchestra together. Normally, I divide up the strings from the winds and brass, recording them separately to retain control in the mix. I discovered that the experience of making music in the studio like this was even more immediate, visceral and thrilling.
A perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the score to this week’s episode, The Lich Part 1, is the darkest and most horrific I’ve written yet for the series. Surprisingly, the brooding clusters and searing atmospheres were achieved with the smallest orchestra I’ve ever used on “The Cape:”
Instead of our typical 60-piece ensemble, The Lich Part 1 was recorded with an intimate group of 6 strings and 7 woodwinds, with a separate session covering percussion and solo French horn.
This week’s adventure pits The Cape against two oddball assassins named Goggles and Hicks. The story poses the age-old question: why do assassins always try to kill you on your day off? I wrote a theme for them featuring the tuba, as you’ll see in this week’s video blog:
SPOILERS BEYOND: The majority of this week’s score is built around variations of The Goggles Theme:
This week’s episode of “The Cape” features one of the most exotic orchestral scores I’ve written yet. I explored new textures and colors with the ensemble and found sounds I’d never created before: dreamy atmospheres, rumbling thunder, shimmering glass and roaring waves. All of this was accomplished using traditional orchestral instrumentation, but in ways I hadn’t before.
SPOILERS PREDICTED AHEAD: Dice introduces a new villain, the telepathic assassin calling herself Dice, played by Mena Suvari (American Beauty). Like with all villains on this series, I set out to write her an original theme that would form the foundation of the episode’s entire score. (more…)
When Vinnie Jones’ character Scales was first briefly introduced in the pilot, I accompanied his grand entrance with a rockin’ metal / electronica theme. With such little screen time I really didn’t have the chance to develop his theme much beyond that. When I saw the title of Scales on a Train I knew right away I’d be incorporating his theme into the score in a big way.
There are many moments in this episode where the Scales electric guitar, bass and drum groove are stated very clearly. However, there are also subtle moments, where distorted electric guitars are merged into the orchestral strings and brass. The mere presence of rock instrumentation makes this score distinct from the previous episodes.
And I even altered the orchestra itself, to give it a heavier sound, more appropriate for Scales. We ditched all violins and violas and replaced them with three sections of celli and a bass section. The resultant sound is an aggressive, bottom-heavy sound that was perfect for the train-engine-inspired action cues. However, celli in their upper register would also prove useful for the emotional passages the episode required. (more…)
SPOILERS AHEAD: This week’s episode of “The Cape” introduces the previous owner of the cape, Gregor Molotov. He did not use the cape for good, however. He is a criminal and murderer, and has spent the past twenty years in Russian prisons. From the beginning, I knew he required a villainous musical theme.
The Carnival of Crime and Max Malini Themes both drew from Eastern European influences, so it was fitting the origins of the cape hark back to that region. I knew I wanted the Gregor Theme to feel similar, but in a more geographically specific way. I composed a melody inspired by Russian folk music, and added male choir, accordion and a balalaika ensemble: (more…)
Superhero adventures have been an essential part of my creative life for as long as I can remember. I grew up consuming Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Justice League, The Tick, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men and Watchmen. Some of the earliest music I ever wrote was inspired by the brassy fanfares of John Williams’ Superman and Danny Elfman’s Batman Themes.
I always suspected I had my own superhero score buried in my imagination somewhere, ready to dig out when necessary. That opportunity finally arrived when I was brought on board NBC’s newest drama, “The Cape.”
I first met with creator / executive producer Tom Wheeler and writer / producer John Wirth last summer, to discuss what the music for this series could sound like. I knew little about the concept; I only knew it was a superhero show. But, that fact alone prepared me with a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” I felt would make for great superhero television scoring. In a way, I was already writing the score in the back of my mind, before I even watched the pilot. (more…)