Andy Sim is the winner!

Congratulations to Andy Sim for winning the Roderick Buchanan Soundtrack
competition.  Central Station, Savalas and Roderick Buchanan are very happy to
announce the winner and we are really looking forward to working with Andy
at Savalas Studios over the next few weeks to develop his ideas and realize
an amazing soundtrack for Roderick Buchanan’s new Films ‘Lament’ and
‘Tattoo’.  Below is the selection process that led to our decision.

The shortlist

We managed to shortlist 6 composers out of over 50 entries which took a bit
of doing and actually was a pretty unique experience for myself and Roddy
and Paul.  Generally the standard was pretty high with some people obviously
putting a lot of time and effort into scoring the two very different films,
‘traffic’ and ‘out’.  We always aimed for the results of this process to be
very much part of the overall body of work.  The results were a real insight
into how sound can effect the appreciation and meaning of the films.
Amongst the myriad of entries varying from the movie soundtrack to sound
design to a more esoteric sound art/Musique concrete approaches, there were
a number of stand out scores.  What seemed to work best was not trying to
make a movie soundtrack but something more sympathetic to the films which
were made without a soundtrack in mind.

Daniel Paddens soundtrack for ‘Traffic’ worked beautifully in capturing and
delineating the constant variation of scenes whilst keeping a coherent
creative flow to the piece.  His use of juxtaposing music and found sound
captured the nostalgic ‘found’ nature of the piece.  We were impressed with
Lu Sisi’s beat driven cut up track and the fact that he edited the pictures
which then fitted the music showed a boldness and presence of mind and
captured the illusive equal partnership between picture and sound.
Nils Meisel’s soundtrack to ‘Out’ brought a smile to our face.  Its uniqueness
and bold approach revealed a strong underlying creative process.
Jonnie Commons electronic rendition for ‘traffic’ was very effective giving a real
sense of movement and momentum.  It had an organic nature sympathetic to the
film.  The use of scribbling effects also showed this originality and a real
openness to what a soundtrack could be beyond the stereotypes.
Martin Rebelski’s lovely piece for Traffic was really evocative and complimented
the images in a really hypnotic way.

Andy Sim’s score to traffic had a really quirky musicality and we like his
thought process.  The slightly folksy sound worked well and we thought there
is more than meets the eye (ear) from this guy.

Selecting the winner

So to the finals.  On April 9th Roddy presented 4 outlines.  All of which
were potentially very interesting but not all of them suited the kind of
budgets and timescales we are on.  The 2 rejected ideas were inspired by the
imminent world cup in south Africa but would involve a lot of field work
which was just not practical – we will just have wait a few years for these.
The 2 selected ideas, ‘Paddy’s Lament’, a juxtaposition of a 19th century tale with
a 21st century youtube movie exploring the ‘us and them’ paradox and
‘Tattoo’, part of Roddy’s ongoing work with Parkhead Republican Flute Band,
an animated presentation of body imagery.  These  were formed in light of
the soundtracks we had been hearing. Roddy makes films without a
‘soundtrack’ or at the very least a simple location sound so the requirement
of a soundtrack and the specific musical ideas flying around his head after
listening to 53 pieces of music for his other films helped form his ideas
for the films he devised.  To me this is important as it follows the agenda
of this project that the sound and music influence each other as opposed to
simply adding sound to a film. The challenge for Roddy is his self confessed
unfamiliarity with the language of film music and his dislike for the overly
dramatic preferring creative expression to be a distillation of reality.
The ideas presented for the final selection were generally excellent.  Time
was tight  for the composers and for Roddy, Gaia and myself to select the
finalist. There were 2 very strong contenders for the gig but practicalities
meant there could only be one winner.

Sadly Daniel Padden and Lu Sisi had  to pull out which left us 4 contenders
to choose from.

We all felt that the winner, Andy Sim’s score for tattoo was very strong,
complimenting the work very well and employing a well thought out creative
process.  With a very effective use of sound design and music exploring
innocence of rivalry contrasting playground sounds with football cheers and
an underlying abstract musical texture.  This had a lot to say and
contributed to the images whilst standing up as a coherent piece.  There is
great possibility with this piece.  Andy’s Lament was a little more spare
and underdeveloped but the use of the latin dance clapping reference was a
great creative analogy and again showed real potential.

Martin Rebelski’s Score for Lament I felt worked really well and was a very
close runner up.  It had a very hypnotic use of fragments of ‘film music’
and nicely panned horse hooves.  Subtle but effective.  As the big drums and
innocent music box sample came in, it evoked something of the peculiar
juxtaposition between the relationship building and standing ground in the
situation and introduced the youtube movie really well.   The score for
Lament was also strong the violin bowing sound and guitar worked well in
creating a backdrop which introduced the drums which built really well
through the piece.  The music reminded me of Sumu Yakoto – no bad thing!

Jonnie Common’s soundtrack for Tattoo was also strong.  The flutes had a neat
connection with the subject but created an ‘other worldliness’. His blog
described using windup marching toys which sounded interesting. We were not
sure where the soundtrack was going with the cut up beats towards the end
however it sounded musically strong. His score for Lament was much more
sparse, it was an interesting perhaps a little too sparse.  He had some
strong concepts behind the work (using tape loops) which, I didn’t quite
come across in this rendition.  The creative thought processes were strong
and given some time some very interesting things could come out.

Nils Meisel’s Score for Tattoo’s was very different to the other entries
with a bold use of piano sound fragments.  As an improvising pianist this
was right up my street and was very captivating.  The introduction of sound
effects was interesting and obviously a lot of work had gone into this. The
end result sat firmly in the sound art domain which was not quite where
Roddy wanted to take the piece. In my opinion, a very strong piece. Nils
Lament was very evocative and sucked you in with a lovely piano arpeggio and
using real sounds to set the scene was a nice touch.  The sound didn’t
really evolve and as such lacked a certain dynamic we were looking for.
Having said that it was a great sounding score and the production values
were second to none. We were impressed with really all the work gone into
giving options of stereo and surround mixes.