It seems as though the 54th Annual Grammy Awards have received more flak from the indie community this year than any other year (in my memory at least). Weren’t we all over “Grenade” by last February? Didn’t Mumford and Sons Sigh No More come out in 2009? Bon Iver for Best New Artist? For Emma, Forever Ago was released in 2008. And if the music community scoffed (mostly) anonymously into the social media ether, Justin Vernon made his reaction public.
Navigating the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, congested with both cars and billboards everywhere you look, staring up Jack Black’s crotch or being forced to accept that Khloe and Lamar are indeed “famously” in love, it’s often hard to remember that being a celebrity used to look quite different.
It’s not that the old Hollywood is gone, you just have to pay attention. Just glance past the flashing lights at the Hollywood sign, drive by Culver Studios, grab a bite at the Formosa Cafe, and even if it’s cheesy, go to the Walk of Fame and see if your hands are as small as Gloria Swanson’s. I might work at a film studio, but sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights day in and day out, I often feel as close to “Hollywood” as Ron Livingston in Office Space.
So when composer/orchestrator/arranger/all-around-great-guy, Joe Trapanese asked that I meet him on one of the great old studio lots for our interview (I would tell you which, but I’m sworn to secrecy), it was painfully hard to act cool about it. While I probably said something to the effect of, “Great. Please send over parking instructions. Looking forward to it.” In my mind, I was squealing like a tween.
DJs have always fascinated me. It’s a job that seems so easy from the outside – how hard can it be to make a playlist and crossfade from song to song? – but just stand behind a really talented DJ for a few moments and you can’t help be overwhelmed by how much is actually going on. So many moving parts that all need to be perfectly balanced lest the flow be ruined. Being a DJ is an art requiring intense concentration, a delicate hand, and real musical sensibility.
Last Saturday November 20, I was privileged enough to attend a conversation between TRON: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski, and music supervisor, Jason Bentley, hosted by Los Angeles public radio station, KCRW, at Apogee Studios in Santa Monica. Bentley, also the KCRW Music Director, and Kosinski discussed key role of music in the film, what it was like to work with with legendary electronic artists (and robots) Daft Punk on the score, and even shared FIVE previously unheard tracks.
Now you can stream the entire event (tunes included) on the KCRW website. I’ll be honest, I was definitely surprised by much of what I heard – both about the process and the actual score cues. Here are some tidbits you may not have known about the TRON: Legacy score….
According to my copious research the thing that separates humans from animals is rational thought, or the ability to control one’s instincts. I suppose I buy that. I mean, a lemming doesn’t elect to plunge off a cliff to it’s watery doom with rest of it’s kind. Nor does a dog decide what tree to pee on based on what’s the most popular poplar. No, those animals make decisions purely based on instinct and survival. It is only we humans with the gift of judgement. We can choose to follow the same trends as our peers, pee on the biggest and best tree we want to, and chase unattainable men/women until they destroy us. So three cheers for reason and logic – let’s all head to the Cabo Cantina and celebrate the superiority of our species over 10 tequila shots.
And honestly it’s hard for me to articulate why this particular video came to mind for “humans.” It’s definitely not a kids movie. It’s not conventional. But it is about the evolution of a very distinctly human quality – the ability to love. And it’s a heartbreakingly human film and theatrical production.