Most composers have something that they do especially well–their
style or reputation may be built around this. It can be a genre–
like rock, or orchestral, perhaps contemporary rhythms or techno.
Whatever the tags that a composer may live with or even promote,
there are always tasks that require a composer to stretch–move out
of the comfort zone and grow. This can be a fun challenge, a way to
explore new musical landscapes and increase one’s range.
The wonderful thing about scoring Travelscope for me, is that it presents
this kind of challenge on a weekly basis. Each episode brings
the show to a new location, and at times a different time period.
In that it has no actual story line or recurring characters–other
than Joseph Rosendo as the host, it is the location that is both
the story line and the characters. This requires me to visit the
music of that culture and weave it into to the sound and POV that
I bring to the show as a composer. The music themes that normally
recur on scripted or even many reality shows, do not happen here.
A look at some Season 8 locations reveals the scope we are discussing:
Taiwan, San Antonio, Eastern Europe(Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary),
Germany and Switzerland in a period centric 2 part episode about the
Reformation, Toronato, Tri Valley California, Korea, Thousand
Islands. Each of these has to have an identity that fits the subject
and yet remains true to the Travelscope sound. Each episode often
has moments that lean towards the past or peek into the future–
thus the ethnicity also has to be ‘period’ sensitive.
An example: The Reformation 2 part episode required music like
this opening from part one:
Early Renaissance 1
Or this cue which I created for Luther’s death–it is both period and in my guitar style.
By contrast, few weeks earlier, I created this cue for one of the Taiwan Episodes:
The challenge is to keep all the music sounding appropriate and still be
stylized with my stamp on it.
(contrast to the atmospheres of Biker Build Off a few years back)
The Travelscope ethnic and period centric work has been made much easier having Youtube as a research tool. Imagine going to the
ethnomusicology department at UCLA to hunt down exotic recordings
from what can be almost any culture any week– Youtube makes this
quite doable…Of course, there is the challenge of doing
something creative and professional with the influences one has explored.
Personally, I love it.
Viva la difference!