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Composition Insights

Lawrence Composition Blog

    Movie Music Musings

    • The Ten Best Film Scores of 2014

      The Ten Best Film Scores of 2014

      Putting film music year-end lists together tends to be the fun version of “work.”  Before I actually have to sit down and write the damn piece, making the list just means listening to mass quantities of music.  Sure I jot down the occasional no…
      - 22 Feb 15, 2:41pm -
    • Inherent Vice – Film and Score Review

      Inherent Vice – Film and Score Review

      Inherent Vice: Film and Score Review Man, was I looking forward to Inherent Vice.  Like many people of my generation who got into film in the late 1990s, P.T. Anderson is a giant; he’s our exhibit A whenever we need to argue that we have auteurs w…
      - 12 Feb 15, 4:24pm -
    • 2014 International Film Music Critics Association Award Nominees
      I realize things have been quiet at Movie Music Musings of late – this will change soon, with some end-of-year features and other reviews on the upcoming slate.  Until then, however, I’d like to share with you the International Film Music Critic…
      - 5 Feb 15, 1:25pm -
    • Now Streaming on NPR: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s Gone Girl. Plus My First Impressions.
      For anyone who missed it, NPR is now streaming the entirety of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score for the David Fincher’s upcoming film, Gone Girl.  You can listen to the score here: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/25/350948108/first-listen-trent…
      - 25 Sep 14, 4:08pm -
    • Introducing the Critic: Paul Cote Interviewed by The International Film Music Critics Association
      Recently, I was featured in the International Film Music Critics Association’s ongoing interview series, Introducing the Critic. This was a wonderful opportunity; while I frequently analyze specific film scores at Movie Music Musings, I’d never…
      - 2 Sep 14, 12:07pm -
    • Boyhood – Film and Score Review

      Boyhood – Film and Score Review

      Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the biggest critical darling in recent memory – indeed, it’s the only film on Metacritic to reach a 100% approval rate on its initial release.  I struggle to add anything to the conversation that hasn’t alread…
      - 27 Aug 14, 12:06pm -
    • For people in the Long Beach/Los Angeles Area: Come See a Great (Free!) Show from The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble
      I know I don’t usually plug things on the blog, but this upcoming show is too awesome to ignore. For anyone in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area who’s looking for a great way to spend next Saturday evening, I strongly recommend checking out this fr…
      - 4 Aug 14, 10:50am -
    • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Film and Score Review

      Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Film and Score Review

      The Film: Very few people were especially looking forward to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the second attempt at rebooting a franchise that seemed to have long since run its course (for more on that subject, see my Planet of the Apes retro…
      - 29 Jul 14, 12:42pm -
    • Pitching Planet of the Apes to a Studio in 2014: A One-Act Play (and/or Planet of the Apes Retrospective)

      Pitching Planet of the Apes to a Studio in 2014: A One-Act Play (and/or Planet of the Apes Retrospective)

      In anticipation of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I was initially going to compose a straightforward feature reflecting on the original films and their scores.  After sitting through all five of these films again, however, I’m in too much of a st…
      - 11 Jul 14, 5:44am -
    • How to Train Your Dragon 2: Film and Score Review

      How to Train Your Dragon 2: Film and Score Review

      The Film: Few aspects in Western culture are as immune from criticism as our love for our pets.  You can be the world’s most jaded, intellectual, cynical hipster and still rest easy knowing nobody will judge you for thinking your dog is the bestes…
      - 4 Jul 14, 3:44pm -

    Sheepish Music

    • How To Get Motivation To Practice Regularly

      How To Get Motivation To Practice Regularly

      There are some people that seem to have the ability to practice for 10 hours at a time regularly and get in their 10,000 minutes required to master something.  I on the other hand have a hard time staying motivated to practice at times.  Even when…
      - 7 Apr 14, 8:10am -
    • You Are an Inescapable Part of Your Art
        I have an interesting dilemma for you.  Imagine you’re out on a morning Saturday run, and you’re starred songs on Spotify/Ipod/music playing device on as your soundtrack. Now, half way into your run, you’re in a brilliant flow,  your phone…
      - 15 Feb 14, 6:04am -
    • Album #2 – Update 1

      Album #2 – Update 1

      Apologies on the long time without a new blog post.   So after much huffing and puffing I finished the 2nd draft of lyrics for Sweet Surrender.  It’s still got a few rough edges, but I like where it’s at so far.  I did a live performance of it…
      - 11 Feb 14, 8:31am -
    • Not So Low after all…

      Not So Low after all…

      Ok, so here’s the deal.  The peer reviews came in for the awful song I wrote last week, and it turns out… It wasn’t as God awful as I thought it was.  In fact fellow reviewers seemed to like it! before I go any further, here’s the further d…
      - 29 Nov 13, 4:35pm -
    • A Bit of a Low Point

      A Bit of a Low Point

      I mentioned before that I’m part of a free songwriting course right now. Well, this week we were to put together everything we had learned so far and write a complete song.  Being the unprepared git that I occasionally am I left it until the last…
      - 21 Nov 13, 5:11pm -
    • On Developing a Process

      On Developing a Process

      It’s a very romanticised Idea to say that a song just came to you, the melody ‘just flowed’ Freddie Mercury said that as soon as they have a song idea the number one priority is to get it down as quickly as possible to keep the most natural…
      - 19 Nov 13, 4:22pm -
    • RedSheep Album #2 – A New Beginning

      RedSheep Album #2 – A New Beginning

      The time has come my friends, to commit to the next chapter in my musical saga.  I’ve been preparing for months through chordal knowledge, Lyric writing courses, Books, research and grit, but now it is time to put it to good use.  I don’t know…
      - 15 Nov 13, 4:05pm -
    • Some Positive Habits

      Some Positive Habits

      1. Always have a way of capturing your idea within arm’s length. For some people, creativity flows constant and uncontrollably, for others it is a slow drip which you can never predict. I am in the latter camp most days. Song writing is hard work a…
      - 28 Oct 13, 8:41pm -
    • Have Dream Theater Gone Turbo?

      Have Dream Theater Gone Turbo?

      Ok, This right here is the mind-dump of a 7 year Dream Theater fan.  I’ve heard all the albums and follow the changes etc that went on up till now.  My opinion may change, but here goes… Did Mangini Perform? Let’s start where my breath has be…
      - 22 Sep 13, 6:17pm -
    • 6 Places to Use Accidentals

      6 Places to Use Accidentals

      Question answer from http://music.stackexchange.com/questions/11159/what-purpose-do-accidentals-serve-in-music/11253#11253 Knowing when to use an accidental is a difficult question to answer, and the best I can say is Whenever you like. Whatever yo…
      - 10 Jul 13, 4:57pm -

    The Rambler

    • Riot Ensemble Awarded the Ernst von Siemens Ensemble Prize

      Riot Ensemble Awarded the Ernst von Siemens Ensemble Prize

      Today it is a real pleasure to announce that Riot Ensemble has been awarded one of the first ever Ernst von Siemens Ensemble Prizes. I joined Riot in 2016 on the invitation of its director Aaron Holloway-Nahum, becoming a member of the group’s Arti…
      - 20 days ago, 11 Nov 20, 6:40am -
    • Linda Buckley: From Ocean’s Floor
      I’m really enjoying Linda Buckley’s new album, From Ocean’s Floor, released on NMC last week. Until now I’ve always associated Buckley’s music (I interviewed her a decade ago as part of my ’10 for ’10’ series) with a kind of lush, fol…
      - 61 days ago, 1 Oct 20, 11:26am -
    • Bastard Assignments 2: Lockdown Jams

      Bastard Assignments 2: Lockdown Jams

      ‘A welcome reminder of the value of risk in artistic creation’: the way in which I ended my NZfM profile of Bastard Assignments, written seven or eight months ago, might be applied even more forcefully to the group’s work during the Covid-19 l…
      - 31 Jul 20, 5:36pm -
    • Bastard Assignments 1: Profile for Neue Zeitschrift für Musik

      Bastard Assignments 1: Profile for Neue Zeitschrift für Musik

      The following text is the original English version of an article I wrote at the end of last year, and which will be published soon in German in Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (3/2020; purchase here). Except for the addition of some links, the text is un…
      - 27 Jul 20, 5:56am -
    • Chaya Czernowin: Infinite Now

      Chaya Czernowin: Infinite Now

      In 2017 I was fortunate enough to attend the world premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s third opera, Infinite Now, at Opera Vlaanderen in Ghent, Belgium. It was a remarkable experience. The opera’s libretto is based on and amalgamates two stories: the n…
      - 20 Jul 20, 11:15am -
    • Some recent writings
      Last autumn, I was fortunate to be asked – separately, but serendipitously – to write essays on five of my favourite artists: Apartment House, Chaya Czernowin, Evan Johnson, Liza Lim and Timothy McCormack,. Although I enjoy most writing, it’s r…
      - 6 Jul 20, 1:13pm -
    • Playlists for the Long Distancing 6

      Playlists for the Long Distancing 6

      I’ve been meaning to put this one together for a long time, and now the time felt unavoidable. This weekend’s listening is an ordered collection of Anthony Braxton’s numbered compositions as far as I can find them on Spotify, from 1 to 377 (and…
      - 13 Jun 20, 5:27am -
    • Restarting, tentatively
      Slowly, live music, in front of live audiences, is beginning to return. In Denmark, critic Andrew Mellor jubilantly announced two weeks ago his first post-lockdown concert, and last night he watched the Royal Danish Opera give its first concert with…
      - 8 Jun 20, 12:02pm -
    • Black Lives Matter
      A playlist of listening for this weekend – and any weekend.
      - 6 Jun 20, 4:17am -
    • John McGuire’s dynamic stases
      In light of my post some days ago on altered times and altered spaces, it feels appropriate to be listening to the music of John McGuire right now. I’m doing so in a work context, but the dynamic stasis that McGuire creates in, for example, his Pul…
      - 25 May 20, 9:03am -

    Performing Songwriter

    • Behind the Songs of John Prine
      Legendary songwriter John Prine tells the stories behind such classics as "Sam Stone," Hello In There," "Paradise," "Dear Abby," and more.The post Behind the Songs of John Prine first appeared on Performing Songwriter Ent., LLC.
      - 8 Apr 20, 3:00am -
    • Marian Anderson’s April 9, 1939 Lincoln Memorial Performance
      On April 9, 1939, celebrated African-American contralto Marian Anderson performed for 75,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after being denied use of a D.C. Hall over segregation rules.The post Marian Anderson's April 9, 1939 Lincoln Me…
      - 9 Apr 19, 3:00am -
    • Remembering Jeff Buckley
      Buckley's legacy is one of a beautiful free spirit who left his promise unfulfilled. As Bono from U2 said, “Jeff Buckley was a pure drop in an ocean of noise.”The post Remembering Jeff Buckley first appeared on Performing Songwriter Ent., LLC.
      - 29 May 18, 3:00am -
    • The Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover: Faces in the Crowd
      As the definitive snapshot of ‘60s pop culture, artist Peter Blake’s Sgt. Pepper cover was unlike anything the world had ever seen—and almost half a century later it's still iconic Beatles.The post The Sgt. Pepper's Album Cover: Faces in the C…
      - 30 Mar 18, 10:00am -
    • The Story Behind “Mardi Gras Mambo” and “Iko Iko”
      Mardi Gras and music go together like red beans and rice and coffee and beignets. Here's the story behind two songs that are Fat Tuesday favorites: "Iko Iko" and "Mardi Gras Mambo."The post The Story Behind "Mardi Gras Mambo" and "Iko Iko" first app…
      - 13 Feb 18, 11:00am -
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