I am privileged to have a couple of friends who always call me when they need a film score. One of them is Dream, a very talented young woman finishing up her education at USC. When she approached me to score a “really weird” art film, I jumped at the chance for several reasons. One, I hadn’t really done anything like it before, and working with a new genre or “flavor” is always interesting to me and is a tremendous opportunity for growth. But also, I saw it as an excuse to finally bring my insanely talented mother onto one of my projects!
My mother, Tracy T. LaGuardia, is a phenomenal classical violinist. She is concertmaster of the Arapahoe Philharmonic and one of the most in-demand gigging musicians in Denver. The reason for this isn’t just that she’s well trained in classical music. She can also fiddle with the best of ’em, improvise with a Jazz trio…her versatility is a sight to behold. This is precisely why I wanted her on this project, because strange aleatory so often demands versatile, creative players – especially in a solo situation!
Initially I was going to record a full string quartet doing all kinds of wacky things, essentially building up my own sample library. However, I quickly realized that not only was that woefully inefficient, it was also unnecessary and a gigantic pain for a low-budget situation. I also got to thinking: why would I want more? There are sample libraries for the truly large sounds, and this whole film is a study on loneliness, so a single, solitary fiddle was starting to seem more and more appealing.
As the liner notes to the album suggest, I don’t actually want to explain the film too much, but I would like to share some insight into the recording process. The two moments where the soloist goes absolutely bonkers are both sex scenes. These were temped with similarly strange and frantic tracks with a crazed accordionist, which immediately communicated to me the unsettling cognitive dissonance of what was going on, as well as the frantic, primal energy. I did not write a single thing down for her. All I said before we started was:
Go completely insane, like a Death Metal soloist or a Ligeti Violin Concerto. Lots of double-stop tritones, crazy portamento and psychosis.
Fortunately, she also threw in some fiddle influence as a result of her extensive experience improvising in that manner, and it turned out even better than I hoped. She got both sequences in one take! The beauty of what she did here is that it captures that unsettling and primal energy, but also throws in a couple of other elements that are equally appropriate: some fiddle influence, because nothing says hot sex like music that makes you want to go “yee-haw!’, and finally the sort of “Devil’s Instrument” vibe that you can only get from a violin.
This was a truly special experience for me. Being able to share my music is the whole reason why I create it, but to be abel to share the creative process itself with my own flesh and blood is so meaningful and heartwarming that I really don’t care if nobody listens to it. It’s enough that it happened, and I hope it happens again!
That being said, the Album is now available to stream on Bandcamp or the Albums page, or you can download it from Bandcamp for a modest fee. Have a listen!