Thursday, 8 September 2011

Pierre est heureux

I woke up this morning at 6:50 am. Not even four hours sleep, since I stayed up late, chatting merrily in a bar with a friend until 2 or 3 am. But I felt rested and happy. The weather is getting cooler, I can leave the windows open and let the fresh come in during the night, instead of using the fan or AC. The whole week has been devoted to the film score. It may have taken me more than two months to figure how the music should intervene in the film, but now that I have set my focus on it, it flows out with so much ease. I'm even surprised...
I had a recording session with Emily yesterday and last Friday. The cello has become a prominent part of the score. I first intended to use a violin as well, but time is running out. I had the violinist's number but somehow I didn't chose not to call him. I may ask him for another project. 
Emily is really a great joy to work with. At first, what you see is a beautiful and very elegant girl, always wearing long dresses. Then you discover a passionate musician. One masks hides another one, as I eventually found out that Emily was a very wacky and funny person, which came out as a surprise to me.
We worked in a rehearsal studio which belongs to a small music company. They manage various kinds of musicians, ranging from classical to jazz.  I played her what I had done with all the parts I had recorded and she was quite astonished by the sound of the cello. Even for her own album, the cello didn't sound as good. What I had been using for more than a year now is this Zoom recorder. It's a musician friend of mine from Paris, an oboe player who showed me that wonderful tool one day as we were having lunch. He plays in a few contemporary music ensembles and had been recording his rehearsals and even his concerts. The quality, he said, was amazing. He demonstrated for me and I was won over as soon as I heard the first notes of the oboe. 

I had prepared for Emily the score for the last scene. I had woken up this morning with a totally new idea for the final scene and rushed to my computer to record the piano part and add a rhythmic section.
To the ears that are familiar with my music, it will not be new territory. It' could be a slowed down version of Second breath, with this impressionistic, Sakamoto-esque mood. The cello is superb on it. But I was very excited.

Now most of the music is done. I couldn't believe I would manage that in a week. There might be a couple of more scenes to write for, but the main chunk of the score is done.
I will complete in Paris the remaining two songs which will require a vocalist. 


Bryan has just come with his producer partner to discover the music. I was very nervous. "And what if he doesn't like it at all?" I had been asking myself during the whole time I was working on it.
I had imagine the worse scenario: big scenes, fights, long arguments, diva scenes. Then I stopped. There was no reason I should let my old demons play such tricks on me again. 
I had taken great pleasure penning the score and collaborating with Emily. There was no reason the joyfulness of the process shouldn't translate. But I still had in mind how FangYi had rejected all the new music I had done for her a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping such a situation would not repeat itself with Bryan. I'm so sensitive to rejection...
And he loved it! He had only a few remarks regarding the opening titles, objections I had to agree with. Too much tension coming from the strings, which also creates a tiring mood. 
Bryan particularly loved the finale I had entitled The final Journey, where we see the main character, Pierre, finding out that he will never go to France for his friend Luc had had a drug overdose. He wanders aimlessly in the city and eventually comes back home where his mother - the only sensible and grounded character in the film, is sitting alone on the sofa. 
The cello by Emily is just wonderful. I take pleasure listening to that piece over and over.

There will be more music to record. But I think it can wait until I come back. Emily just told me our session tomorrow can't take place at the studio, for the room is already booked. 
I will think about Bryans remarks and requests and let them grow in my head.
CJ and Jay Chern had been telling me about a vocalist who would be good for the song which is played during the first club scene. I wanted the number to sound like a blending of The Ting Tings and M.I.A. Don't know whether I'll find a female vocalist who'd be able to pull it off like that. 
Another song which will require a vocalist is the song whivh features during the make-believe visit of Paris scene, where the two boys pretend they are in Paris and speak French to each other.
I'm thinking of having one verse in French and one in English. In the book of photographs that Yves sent me as a thank you gift for the re-composition of Kawaita Sabaku I did for his project, I found a beautiful poem written by Theresa Chuc Dowell, his literary partner on the project. I love her use of words. She said she would be happy to work on songs together. Maybe that could be the start...

Bryan really liked the second club scene when Pierre is having his hallucination/fantasies. I used an old track I wrote for the opening of the concert at the Café de la Danse in 2006. The track was itself a reworking of a song, minus the vocals. A minimalist techno track which travels musically through the world: Europe, India, China then New York. I refashioned it to fit the scene in the film, asked Emily to play some cello parts, added some synths and the result is delicious.

I can now prepare for my trip to Paris. 

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