Earlier this week we mentioned how Ori-Ben Shabat’s short film Piece of Mind made it to the top ten in YouTube’s “Most Creative” award category. Not only that, but in the fall of 2006, the soundtrack composer for the film, Colin Janz, won “Best Original Score” at the Canadian Awards for the Electronic and Animated Arts (CAEAA). Preview and download the track here and you’ll see why he won: The music works seamlessly with the film, and it’s a complete mind-blower on its own.
We also asked Colin to describe how he made the track, and his answers appear after the fold.
When asked (this morning!) for a comment, Robert Grieve, Head of the Sound Design department here at VFS, had this to say about Janz: “Colin Janz is one of our most talented VFS Graduates. When I saw ‘Piece of Mind’ I was blown away. I only expect great things from him in the future.” And Grieve should know, he’s worked on 65 feature films!
And in Colin’s own words, here’s the story of how he created the score:
“I had originally done sound design and music for another movie called ‘Spook’ for my final project at VFS, but two weeks before it was due, I decided that I didn’t pay $28,000 to complete a final project that I wasn’t particularily proud of. Then along came Ori and ‘Piece of Mind.’
“The main programs I used for ‘Piece of Mind’ were Reason, Absynth and Pro Tools. The main melodic element, as well as all of the arpeggiated elements are actually affected versions of my voice, which I sampled the crap out of and stuck in a sampler in Reason. Absynth was used for most of my ambient textures and surround effects, as well as some granular affectations on my voice.
“The song I started with sounds nothing like the finished product. I would probably say 30% of this project was the composing, and 70% was editing in Pro tools and a surround setup. It wasn’t until I brought the elements to the 5.1 theatre at VFS that the song began to take shape. It really came down to meticulous editing and intense sync with Ori’s picture– I tried to break every rule and faux pas I learned in my year at VFS, like continually riding the LFE (the channel in 5.1 that feeds the subwoofer) with a 52 Hz sine wave at 0dB (aka minor earthquake).”
VFS: Awesome. What are you up to now?
“At the moment, I’m writing a number of more mainstream tunes in hopes of putting an album together– having listened to groups like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Bjork since I was a teenager, the whole guitar/bass/drums/band-thing for me is quite invigorating creatively. It’s one heck of a challenge to remain creatively and integrally committed to one’s art in a medium like mainstream/pop because of its restraining, unforgiving and ultimately financially-driven nature. For me it’s sort of like mountain-climbing– I want to see if I can do it, because it’s there. At the same time, I’ll always be writing more avant-garde electronic tunes on my own to share with my friends– who knows, maybe one day I’ll release some of it.”
Here’s a couple pics of Colin playing live at the old Can-Am building in Burnaby.