Have you noticed anything different about Los Angeles lately? Something unusual, out of place? An infestation, if you will, but one…that is musical in nature?
For the past couple weeks the city has become home for the latest installation of Play Me, I’m Yours, a sprawling, free public art installation, where 30 pianos painted by local artists will be placed in high-traffic public spaces around the city – and anyone can play them! The project was conceived by a London artist, then went to NYC, and is now in Los Angeles. You can view all the piano locations here – most of them can be found Downtown, but there are a few mid-city, a couple in Santa Monica, even ones in Torrance and Burbank. The piano I would especially like to point out to you is outside of the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
It’s no big secret that artists need to have solid live show to be successful. Similarly, it’s always a disappointment when a great album does not translate to a dynamic live show.Los Angeles quintet Vanaprasta does not have that issue. For the past few years the band has built a strong reputation almost entirely by their larger than life stage presence. They are a fixture on the music scene here, turning heads at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010 and impressing audiences at their Satellite residency this past November. Nor are they strangers to the national arena; Vanaprasta made waves at this year’s CMJ Festival and have played at least a couple shows at every SXSW since 2009, really taking the festival by storm in 2011 with a total of eight shows during their time in Austin.
It’s not a secret that Jason Reitman loves music. His first major breakout film success also yielded a hit soundtrack that reached number #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. He is a big supporter of Los Angeles public radio station, KRCW. Not to take away from any of the amazing music supervisors who have worked on his films – Margaret Yen and Peter Afterman for Juno and Thank You For Smoking, Randall Poster for Up in the Air, and now Linda Cohen for Young Adult – but the fact that all of his films have the same musical personality is a testament to his influence on each soundtrack. Conversely however, composer Rolfe Kent has been with him for all of the above referenced films except for Juno. In all of them, the musical choices feel deliberate, even at first viewing. Songs are not jammed in where they shouldn’t be; the score enhances certain moments, but allows others to bask in the (calculated) awkward or tender silence. As a result, each song or score cue feels that much more important to the story being told.
That said, I knew to have a pen and paper on the ready as I watched Young Adult. I was both surprised and unphased by the fact that there was no musical support for the first five minutes or more of the film. It was only after Mavis decides to go back to her small, Minnesota, hometown and begins packing her bags, when a few mischeivously quirky score cues snuck in.
It’s been a big year both personally and professionally for Tadpole Audio – exciting new content, growth of valuable relationships in the community, revamped logo (you’ll see the full one soon enough) – and I’m just feeling very grateful for all the support we’ve gotten through it all. Thank you to everyone reading this now, and everyone who has ever taken the time to read an interview or listen to a mix featured on this site. I’m confident that 2012 will hold even more exciting new developments and I cannot wait for them to unfurl. So stay tuned for that, but for now please enjoy this tasty Thanksgiving mix – the perfect pairing for that leftover turkey sandwich I know you’re eating.
The thing I love most about The Features is that every song is different. It is quite refreshing when many bands these days seem to excel at an overall “tone” with their music, but all the songs are pretty identical. The Features do a fantastic job at blending genres, techniques and diverse instrumentation, so that it is impossible to get bored.