French Trailer Music — To Defeat Them All

Jonathan Mayer

I knew if I said French, you wouldn’t be able to resist . . .

Born into a family of artists and musicians, French composer Jonathan Mayer studied violin as a child, then in high school moved on to electric guitar. But it was when he first heard the music of John Williams that Mayer discovered his passion for film music. Movies like Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park inspired Mayer first, and only a few years ago, he discovered that he “could play an orchestra” by himself with soundbanks.

In our back and forth, Jonathan Mayer told me that originally, he composed for fan films—which made me think of authors who’ve honed their writing skills on fan fiction. Then he wrote music for companies who needed it for educational trailers. Now, he’s branching out into commercials and Android video games, and recently an agency in New York contacted him about using his music for TV.

Love this screen shot of To Defeat Them All

Screen Shot To Defeat Them All

We’re quite lucky to have caught Jonathan Mayer at this stage. He ended our last email conversation by saying,

“Here i am now, very busy, but that’s what i looked for.”

Then he apologized for his English, but I found it charming.

Mayer was generous enough to contribute several pieces to the Sirenstories SoundCloud and he sent me a couple of tracks privately, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time listening to his music. Epic, mysterious, bold, moving—it’s all deep and dramatic. In other words, excellent writing music.

SInce it was so hard to decide what to post, I’m adding one more of Mayer’s pieces for your listening pleasure—the name alone made me love it: Biocode.

Those who speak geek might like to know that on Biocode, Mayer uses Spectrasonics omnisphere, Projectsam orchestral brass, EWQL stormdrum 2, symphobia 2 and cinematic strings.

I’m a musician and all but—yikes.

 

Jonathan Mayer

Musicians and composers, please connect with Jonathan Mayer on his facebook page.

Thank you.

 

Arise

AGARTHA

Sorry the Sirens have been so silent, I’ve been busy writing and haven’t had a chance to post.

But I have been listening to lots of new music.

Wow.

Some new artists have joined the Sirenstories SoundCloud and they are amazing.

If you’ve checked out some of the previous posts, you might know I love to listen to music while I write. Arise, a gorgeous piece from Lyubomir Yordanov, a Bulgarian born composer and producer who writes for film and TV, is excellent writing music. It’s excellent music in any case, but the latest scene I wrote for the lovestory/ghoststory I’m working on nearly popped right off the page because of Arise.

Arise is intensely emotional, epic even. Evocative of something ancient, there’s also something sleekly modern about it, as if it might be the distant cousin of the chill track your favorite Seattle coffee shop used to play. Arise is short, just a little over a minute and a half, (I’ll have to drag it into Garageband and loop it if I want to keep using it for the soundtrack of my novel!), and that’s because it was created as trailer music. I’d go see any movie or read any book that used Arise in its trailer.

Arise is from Lyubomir Yordanov’s 2013 film inspired album Agartha, which Yordanov recorded, mixed & mastered himself. The record  was 
orchestrated by Hristo Manolov, and Denica Serafimova
 contributes the dramatic vocals, which are lovely and powerful. It took me several close listens to realize that when Denica Serafimova’s voice first comes in, it reminds me of Björk. Beauty edged in darkness.

If you’d like a copy of Agartha, you can get it on iTunes.

Or, you can connect with Lyubomir Yordanov on fb.

It looks like you can find also find Lyubomir Yordanov at www.ama-sound.com and possibly commission him to create a piece for your own book or movie — but I bet he’s busy . . .

Boy Meets Girl. Cities Burn.

Soundtracks can be a great source of inspiration for writers.

If you’re writing a scene today with a lot of conflict, check out Final Battle (The Gates of Kronos) by Peter Mor. Final Battle is a minute and a half of epic drama, perfect for book three of your paranormal trilogy, when good and evil go at it.

Dotted with hits of quirky synth sound that come in for the first time around the fifteen second mark, you can use Final Battle as the background music for your YA dystopian, too, or to help you get that sci-fi novel you’ve been thinking of out of your head and onto the page. Focus on the vigorous strings if your characters need to flee, or the sustained brass part if you’re writing your hero. The insistent, driving drums guarantee you’ll have a sweeping setting if you let your muse listen to Final Battle and allow her to have her way, although she might talk you into writing a historical novel, something you promised yourself you’d never do, because it’s just too much work.

Peter Mor was born in Volos, Greece, and comes from a musical family. He began classical guitar lessons at the conservatory at age seven, but his favorite instrument is the electric guitar. I’m pretty sure he loves movies, and Sirens. This pic was on his site.

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Halloween Rears Its Creepy Head

When I started this blog I asked that all contributing songwriters and composers submit two songs to the Sirenstories SoundCloud, in case I wanted to feature them twice. I love featuring new musicians, but I’m always interested in hearing what the lovely Sirens of Sirenstories.com are up to, so when the artists began to submit additional tracks, I gladly listened. Every artist on Sirenstories will probably end up being featured twice, but so far, since there have been so many wonderful pieces posted in the Sirenstories SoundCloud, most artists have only been featured once.

Today, I’m going to break all my rules—I just have to. Halloween is coming and, well, I thought you all might appreciate something somewhat seasonal. No, I’m not posting Five Little Pumpkins, the song that used to give me laryngitis every October when I taught music to elementary school children, I’m posting Into the Fray by Proofsound.

Into the Fray is the third piece I’ve posted by Proofsound. That’s the rule breaking part. You can hear more of their music and read about the duo here and here.

Into the Fray is a gorgeously gothic creepy sounding piece. Horror writers, you know that sacrifice scene you still have to finish? Into the Fray ought to get you pumped for that. If your horror story is already written, you’ll probably want to use Into the Fray your book trailer. If you’re not a writer, well, Into the Fray is definitely pumpkin carving music.

I couldn’t resist sharing Into the Fray, I hope you enjoy it. (After you’ve checked under the bed for monsters, of course.)

Ovenbird

The best titles, whether they are created for books, or chapters within books, movies, or songs, are often miniature works of art. Tiny poems that are thought provoking or evocative. Eye catching and quirky, Ovenbird is exactly that. It’s also great to say: Ovenbird Ovenbird Ovenbird. When I first read the word, it was new to me, and I found it both  familiar and strange, which is exactly what makes it a wonderful title for this understated love song by Patrick McCormack.

Back in ’08, when I moved away

Settled in well, but I was afraid

I mistook every slightest noise for knocks on my door

Good morning, again.

Soon found a job, but it had my time

Forgot my friends, had I lost my mind

I jumped the turnstiles just to get home, and I hadn’t a phone

Good morning, again.

I sang alone to you from stage

I’d do it all again today

I meant every word that I ever sang

And every chord I played

So leave me all wrinkled and lost in the sheets

Dreadful is the morning that takes you from me

Still got the same old mattress today, but you wont complain

Good morning, again.

 

As you can hear, Ovenbird is a sweet celebration of love written in triple meter and reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith. After Patrick McCormack uploaded the song to the Sirenstories SooundCloud I asked him to please share his inspiration for the tune. (Secretly I just wanted to know what the title meant — KIDDING. I love the song and wanted to know everything about it.)

“The lyrical inspiration for Ovenbird drew from the beginnings of my independent life.  I was broke, jobless, and living in a new city (Chicago.)  So there was quite a lot of stress, but rarely was I angry or miserable about it.  I had a great partner every step of the way, and she’s the real meaning behind those lyrics.  She was always at my side with a great positive energy; I think that’s what comes through on the instrumental bridge.  Something as simple as waking up together really lessened the blow of my day-to-day.

“The title comes from a side project that my girlfriend (Katherine) and I were working on during that time period.  She would illustrate a national bird, and I would make a corresponding instrumental song.  Argentina’s national bird is The Red Ovenbird, and I had an instrumental track that later became the bridge of Ovenbird.”

Confession: Before Patrick McCormack joined the Sirenstories group and uploaded Ovenbird, I had heard the song before. Filmmaker Edward Burns who, in his words, “makes those small talky New York movies about the Irish guys from Long Island” ran a contest on SoundCloud to find a song for his work in progress, Newlyweds. 

Usually singer songwriter PT Walkley writes the music for Ed Burns’ films, and he wrote the majority of the songs for Newlyweds. However Patrick McCormack‘s Ovenbird fits right in, as if he wrote it specifically for the movie. If I told you why Ovenbird works so perfectly in Newlyweds, I’d be dropping a spoiler, so watch the film for yourself and listen for Ovenbird. It’s perfectly placed.

I’m sure many more of Patrick McCormack‘s songs will be well placed. A multi instrumentalist and composer from Vermont, McCormack’s diverse, poppy songs, and instrumental pieces that are sometimes spare, sometimes spacious, make his music a great choice for film — indie and commercial. I urge you to explore his recordings by clicking on the covers below.

PS I also encourage you to check out Newlyweds. In Newlyweds, as in all of his movies,  Edward Burns shows us familiar people with familiar traits in familiar relationships, and yet somehow, he gives us something completely fresh, funny, and profound. We know Burns’ characters, but they surprise us.

I watched Newlyweds by myself, but I didn’t feel alone. Maybe that’s because I saw my friends in the movie, or maybe because I saw myself. Ed Burns’ movies might be small, but they express universal truths, which is also a good description of Patrick McCormack‘s songs.

Please support original music and add to the buzz about Patrick McCormack‘s music by ‘liking’ his fb page. Thank you.

Do Sirens Wear Sensible Shoes?

I love this lyric:

Moving Day, I tore up your picture and packed the frame.

Check out Moving Day by Sensible Shoes.

Catch Sensible Shoes tonight at the Orchard House Cafe, NYC.

Read my earlier blog to learn more about the Vermont based band Sensible Shoes the group film director Jonathan Demme says, “Rules the blues news!”

Click on the poster to connect with Sensible Shoes on fb.


Some Inspiration for All of You Sirens

Sirens, how do you fill the well?

Singers, songwriters, authors, painters, I’m sure all of you artists have ways to inspire yourselves when inspiration doesn’t strike like lightning, but if you need something new, you might enjoy Body of Writing.

At the 2011 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, author Patricia Lee Gauch talked about “letting go into story”. When she quoted Yeats’ poem The Circus Animals’ Desertion and spoke of the “rag-and-bone shop of the heart” and how we must go there for inspiration, her message went straight to my heart. I knew it was time for me to create a workshop that connected two of my great loves, yoga and writing.

Developing a workshop combining yoga and writing had been a dream of mine for years. Starting last winter, I began to carefully design a class series that would combine yoga postures, yogic breathing techniques, creative writing exercises, meditation, visualization, and readings, in ways that would inspire participants to get their pens moving and encourage them to open to the wisdom of their bodies.

I also drew from my own personal experiences over the years in art, music, drama, and yoga workshops, incorporating Deep Diving techniques I learned from artists as diverse as Olympia Dukakis, Rosanne Cash, and Julia Cameron, as well as instructors from The Metropolitan Opera Guild and aesthetic education classes at Julliard.

Finally, in May of 2011, I offered the first version of Body of Writing. The classes I created were one and a half hours long and met once a week at River Road Books in Fair Haven, N.J. Over seven weeks I witnessed the thrilling process of people discovering the stories their bodies carried. Some were obvious, like the tale of a twisted ankle in Paris, the stiffness lingering years later, evoking memories whenever it rained, and stories begging to be told. Others were hidden, stories secret even to those who held them. Working together like seekers of buried treasure, we began to dig.

I was introduced to yoga at age twelve, and according to my father, I sang before I could talk. For many years I taught people of all ages and abilities music, placing the emphasis on songwriting when I could. My last position included teaching students who were suicidal and homicidal. Music and lyrics were a wonderful way to connect with those kids, but to help their teachers I used yoga.

One of the most important concepts of Kripalu yoga, the style that I’ve studied more than any other, is the idea of letting go. In other words, allowing things to be just as they are, including who you are, with the idea that everything is really okay already. Cultivating this kind of acceptance one learns to have compassion for oneself, and thus for one’s story.

Kripalu yoga is the style I teach, but I draw from many other traditions as well. Most styles of yoga have certain aspects in common, such as the idea that yoga is a practice for the body, mind, and spirit. Body of Writing simply adds another dimension: story.

Body of Writing can help you find the stories you hold within and teach you how to allow yourself to release them onto the page without criticism or judgment.

Of course later, you’ll have to edit. Now that’s a wicked posture to hold.

Body of Writing will be offered Saturday Sept. 24th & Sunday Sept. 25th noon—5:30 pm as an intensive two-day workshop at Brahma Yoga Spa in Sea Bright, N.J.

For more info: http://www.mimicross.com

To learn more about Kripalu yoga and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, visit http://www.kripalu.org

Check out the ‘About’ page on this blog to learn why I’m qualified to create and teach Body of Writing.

The Ominous Beauty of The First Meeting

Sirenstories takes you to the movies today with The First Meeting. Romantic and hopeful, sad, mysterious, and slightly tragic, this beautiful piece was composed and produced by Copenhagen artists Paul Bjørling and Michele Brustia who work under the name Proofsound.

The First Meeting is a story, and maybe you have one that matches. I’ve talked to a lot of authors lately who are making book trailers and need good music. There’s a lot of music out there that’s canned, and you want to be careful when you’re making a trailer that you don’t use musical clichés. Maybe Paul Bjørling and Michele Brustia have a piece that’s perfect for you. Click on their photo to visit their site.

“We use both acoustic and electronic sound sources. We have an extensive range of cutting edge sounds and synthesizers that we love to blend together with real instruments.”

The First Meeting can be found on the album “Screenplay” (Apollo Publishing – APL 127).

Previously on Sirenstories  Music for Film Featured on Sirenstories

Back to Book Trailers, The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister

My favorite things: music, books, movies. The order varies, but the list explains why I love book trailers.

The trailer for Charlotte Agell‘s middle grade novel The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister is one the best I’ve seen.

One of the things that’s so wonderful about this trailer is how true to the book it is. The trailer captures the essence of The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister. In this case, I read the book first then saw the trailer. My review of the book is below.

India is one of my favorite characters in Middle Grade fiction today. She’s even got her own blog, which is adorable and much more organized than mine. Of course India’s creativity might have something to do with her multitalented creator Charlotte Agell who probably gives India a hand once in a while. Click on India’s pic to visit to her blog.

The Siren behind the music for India’s book trailer is Charlotte’s son, Jon Simmons. The music is perfect; it expresses both India’s sweetness and her quirkiness.

Jon is also part of a pop/rock band based in Boston called The Crosswalk Kings. Look for a post about his music soon on Sirenstories

 

I finished reading The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister on the beach. The pages have a little sand in between them now, and I think that would make India happy.

India loves the outdoors, and author Charlotte Agell has included some beautiful descriptions of inland Maine in this entertaining and moving story about a sweet-natured nine and a half-year old girl who takes her fairly complicated life pretty much in stride. In a world full of little drama queens, I found India’s attitude refreshing.

Besides being an excellent and economical writer, Charlotte Agell is a gifted painter. An adorable watercolor portrait of India and the family pet bird, Beatrice Strawberry graces the cover of the book. I’d like to see Ms. Agell put out a version of India with full-blown watercolors of all the characters and their homes. I want to see paintings of things like “the lilac bush hidden in the fog” that India sees when she can’t sleep early one morning and steps outside to sit on her front porch swing.

Wolfgang, Maine, where the book takes place, is a front porch kind of town and by the time I’d finished the book I wanted to go there. Although there are no watercolors other than the front and back cover and jacket flaps–they feature more great pictures of India with the bird and her dog Tofu, the jacket designers obviously knew a good thing when they saw it–the book is full of sketches: clever drawings of India and things she likes, plus–just as important–things she doesn’t like. The sketches are accompanied by comments that made me laugh out loud.

India has a unique voice. Her backstory is rich. The settings are beautifully rendered. The book is colorful in every sense of the word, as is India’s slightly wacky artist mother.

India was adopted, and we learn she has questions and issues around that, but the book isn’t a big drama. Instead, The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister is a story, told by showing us small wondrous details in what seems like a very real little girl’s life.

I found myself wondering what will happen in India’s future, especially as far as she and her best friend, a boy named Colby, are concerned. Snowstorms in June, whale songs, yearning, and insightful comments fill this book that begs to be part of a series. A sequel won’t enough for those of us who have fallen in love with India McAllister.

I checked out this book as a possible gift for my niece who is India’s age. Unlike India, she’s not an avid reader. I’m pretty sure this perfect book of adventures will change that. I couldn’t put it down myself. It’s sweet and funny, and the way India’s small but complicated family comes together in the end left me with a lump in my throat and a smile on my face.

Confession: I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Agell‘s work. Her picture books are among my favorites, and my son, who is five, feels the same. The paintings that illustrate her books are so beautiful, I’ve been tempted to tear out certain pages and frame them.

My son and I love Charlotte’s book To The Island so much, that I used the text, with only a few alterations, as the lyrics for a song. Below is the super rough version I recorded on my laptop, at home, with my son.

I hope to go into the studio one day and do a better recording, but for now, I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed singing it. The words are so simple, but to me, they’re a metaphor for some of life’s more profound passages.

More Music for Film and, Film.

Book trailers are a relatively new art form and the best ones take advantage of both video and audio.

In this trailer for Edie Meidav‘s new novel, Lola California, not only does the video tell a story, but the music does as well. I find both beautiful and haunting.

I also found Edie Meidav‘s articulate description of her book eerie and intriguing. After seeing this trailer, I have to read this book. Do you feel the same way? Is there a book you’ve been compelled to read because of the trailer?

Kevin Salem composed the music for the book trailer, and he wrote additional songs for Lola California as well. Kevin says, “What you find here is the result of three years of procrastination and a couple weeks of cramming which, really, is how music is supposed to be. The music is part soundtrack for the reader, part songs inspired by the text (though I would be loathe to be too ‘on the nose’ about it as Edie’s words speak so eloquently for themselves) and part music inspired by the cultural identity of the novel. That is, we hope that they work together not literally, but like distant cousins who bear a resemblance you can’t quite put your finger on.”

If you click on Kevin Salem‘s picture you’ll be able to hear more gorgeous music for Lola California and read about Kevin’s relationship with Edie Meidav and her novel.