The Return of Draw Egan
Sunday March 8th, 6PM - 9PM at The North Door
Montopolis is back again with a new show, "The Return of Draw Egan". This silent western film has been rewritten by novelist Elizabeth Jackson and Chad Nichols (Foleyvision) "Mystery Science Theater" style, replacing the old dialogue cards with an updated version that is gut bustingly hilarious. An extra large version of Montopolis will accompany the film, playing excerpts from Ennio Morricone's classic spaghetti western soundtracks. Come early! Before the movie starts, video artist Stephen Fishman will screen a montage of vintage Italian cowboy awesomeness while we rock the Morricone hits with guitar wizard Landis Armstrong. This one is gonna be a real humdinger!
Yakona Live Score at the North DoorMontopolis will be performing a live score to Yakona, a film starring the San Marcos River, at the North Door on Sunday, Nov 16 and Sunday, Nov 23rd. Yakona is a beautiful nature and art film with stunning cinematography that follows the river from our own Edwards Aquifer to the sea. A Central Texas Koyaanisqatsi. String trio, piano, percussion, vocals, and a wide array of synthesizers and field recordings.
Learn more about the film at Yakona.org
Check out the trailer and buy tickets in advance here.
Draw Egan Trailer
Yakona Live Score at the North Door November 16th and 23rd
Purchase tickets here.
We will have a recording of this music available for purchase. Hope to see you there!
2014 has started off with a bang! My first two feature film scores premiered at SXSW, I toured the US and Canada with Okkervil River, produced the score for Trouble Puppet's Crapstall Street Boys, performed with the illustrious Mr. Chris Mills at SXSW, composed for the Golden Hornet Project's Mozart Undead concert, and finally got a decent piano.
I'm starting the summer off by releasing the soundtracks to "Yakona" and "Above All Else". Okkervil River is playing Bonnaroo Music Festival in June, and then I return to Austin to finish the The Man with a Movie Camera Soundtrack recording. We'll have a release party and perform the live score at the ND on July 25th. I'll play the Blanton with a small string ensemble in August, and a new adventure called the Time Machine will be coming this September...
New Montopolis film score: The Serpent
After a great show in Austin, we're headed to Dallas on February 23rd to perform at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff.
See a video clip of Austin show here.
"The Serpent" is the most popular and beloved film of Tsumasaburo Bando, featuring the star at the height of his fame. The film tells the story of a samurai who falls on hard times due to misunderstandings. It features brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, stunning cinematography, and editing that is years ahead of its time and downright psychedelic. The new Montopolis score leans heavily on late 70's punk rock, Bernard Herrmann, and analog synthesizers. And we're bringing a gigantic gong.
Purchase tickets here.
Tsumasaburo Bando (1901-1953) can easily be described as Japanese cinema's first action superstar. From the time he debuted in Buntaro Futagawa's 1924 film "Gyakuryû (Backward Flow)" the actor set himself apart from other jidai-geki actors that had proceeded him. While previous motion picture samurai relied heavily on theatrical techniques taken directly from kabuki theatre (exaggerated facial expressions, striking stilted poses during sword fights, etc.) Bando brought a new naturalness and fierceness to Japanese cinema, plus a highly individual and much more realistic fighting style.
Critical acclaim for the Montopolis "Man with a Movie Camera" score:
"Stunning." "Your summer blockbuster has arrived."
(full article) - Raoul Hernandez (Music Editor, Austin Chronicle)
"An extraordinary experience. Highly recommended." - Laurie Gallardo (producer, KUT 90.1)
Purchase tickets for Man with a Movie Camera, September 14th in Dallas at the Texas Theater here.
Purchase tickets for September 21st at the ND in Austin here.
See a video from the Alamo Drafthouse performance here.
Arts in ContextThe KLRU show "Arts in Context" just did a great documentary on Troublepuppet Theater Company and used my music thrtoughout the piece. Big thanks to Lauren Burton and her crew. Check it out!
Golden Opportunities 2Okkervil River just released a collection of cover songs for free download called Golden Opportunities 2. We recorded them all in one live session here in Austin. I played keys on a few tracks and guitar on a few tracks. Super fun to play, and they sound great. Check them out at okkerviriver.com
North Country SoundtrackI wrote, recorded, and mixed the music for White Road Dance Media's "North Country" which premiered in Brooklyn last spring. They're bringing the show to Austin this month. Go and see this fine dance performance at the George Washington Carver Cultural Center Thursday October 27 to Sunday October 30 at 8pm. Download the music for free below. This soundtrack features Michael St. Clair (horns), Lauren Gurgiolo (lap steel), Lindsay Greene (bass), and Gray Parsons (drums).
North Country's Facebook Event Page
Music for Puppets"Music for Puppets" is a compilation of music produced for Troublepuppet Theater Company over the last three years. These recordings include music from their adaptations of Frankenstein (Shelley), The Jungle (Sinclair) , and their newest show - Riddley Walker (Hoban). "Music for Puppets" has been a labor of love and a way to bring together some of my favorite musicians together on a recording. Here's a list of the wonderful people that contributed their time and talents to creating Troublepuppet's music:
Lindsay Greene, Jason McKenzie, Karla Manzur, Gray Parsons, Andrew Beaudoin, Steve Bernal, Will Landin, Rob Kidd, Travis Nelson, Scott Brackett, Patrick Pestorius, Lauren Gurgiolo, Thomas Van der Brook, Joseph Shuffield, Brandon Brown, Will Landin, Wayne Myers, Leigh Mahoney, Jennifer Bourianoff, Johnny Vogelsang, Jonathon Doyle, Kelli Bland, Lacie Taylor, Mark Stewart , Jay Young, Leila Henley, Michael St. Clair, Robert Kraft, Cami Alys, Jessie England, Joseph Smith, Gilbert Ellorreaga, unknown elderly Romanian pianist that Lisa Shawley brought over to my house one afternoon whose name might be Louis, Chip Miller, Wayne Duncan, David McKnight, and Michael Crowe.
About Music for PuppetsI thought people might be interested in how this music was made. Here's a little information about each show's music:
The Frankenstein music was the first score that I recorded for Troublepuppet. I had performed "The Gunpowder Plot" and "The Cruel Circus" live with the troupe in 2007, but my touring schedule in 2008 made it impossible perform the whole run of Frankenstein. In fact, the entire score was recorded in four days in between tours with Okkervil River. I invited people over, rehearsed whatever song it was, put up one microphone (either in the kitchen or the shed in the backyard) and pressed record. I like these songs because they sound like Eastern European field recordings and have the freshness of people playing music they learned an hour ago. I also experimented with a few special effects that proved useful later on. Two of my favorites were the waterphone (a great instrument) and pitching down my roomates' Tuvan throat singing an octave so it sounds like a very large demon/monster. Also, there is one song from the Frankenstein soundtrack that is solo piano. It's not me. It's a wonderful elderly Rumanian gentleman named Louis that my friend Lisa Shawley brought over. Louis dazzled us with his piano playing and stories of his Rumanian childhood and I never saw or heard from him again. I heard he came to one of the Frankenstein shows and was pleased with the music. If anybody reading this knows how to contact Louis, please let me know. I would like to get him a copy of this recording.
I wrote the music for the Jungle the next year, I moved to a new place and had a little more space and a little more time, so a lot of that music is multitracked and recorded with a little more finesse. Again, a lot of the soundtrack was based around Eastern European music, but because the Jungle is a story that is still very relevant I felt it was appropriate to add some more contemporary elements. Gypsy violin melodies are squashed by guitars feeding back and delicate zithers are pounded by aggressive, mechanical drumbeats. I took five strings off an electric guitar and tuned the bottom E so low I could bend it across the entire fretboard with ease. I thought it sounded a lot like a cow getting bashed in the head and then dying slowy and painfully.
So this year I wrote and recorded the soundtrack for Riddley Walker, but I could not be here to install the music in the show. Many thanks to Mark Stewart who edited all the music I had recorded and Eliot Haynes who placed the cues in the show. I watched the The Road Warrior several times while writing the music. I built a drumkit out of railroad ties and scrap metal. I bought a kalimba and an ocarina. I found out I can play neither of those instruments well. Most of the percussion on the Riddley score was performed by the amazing Jason McKenzi and the angelic voice is the very talented Karla Manzur.
Christopher Blay's Time Machine BetaExciting news! Renowned Dallas artist Christopher Blay has submitted our collaboration "Time Machine Beta" to the Fusebox Festival for Spring 2012. Chris does killer art installations and curates art shows in North Texas. If all goes well, we'll be bringing this performance piece to Austin this Spring. Here's some video of the first one (with animations by Leah Lovise).
Time Machine Beta