Pretty much anybody who considers her/himself an artist has been asked to do pro bono work by a friend or family member, another artist, or somebody representing a business or larger production. The act of asking for free art isn’t what’s wrong here–there are scenarios in which this is perfectly appropriate–the problem is when there is a budget but art isn’t accounted for, even when deemed necessary to the success of the production. Event organizers need to understand that if they require professional art for their event (off of which they intend to profit), the artist needs to be paid.
–This is a post I originally put up on SoKillingMan.com, so if you like what you see, give it a visit!–
A big reason why I learned how to transcribe is so that I can write out charts for myself, and other musicians I’m playing with. It seems like there’s always new repertoire for everyone to learn, members to add/replace or a sub to train, and the reality is that not everybody does their homework. There’s not always time, and you don’t always have the $$ to pay somebody who’s willing or able to put in the work and accurately learn/memorize a part.
The above recordings were composed by Adam Conrad, performed by Zachary Scanlan (violin), David Sutton (violin), Erica Burton (viola) and me (cello), and we had our usual all-star team of recording engineers Dane Hoppe and Graham Wakeman, and rehearsal/production assistant Ben Kelly. Adam has organized, conducted and composed music for 5 or 6 of these projects now, and each one runs a little bit smoother and produces a better product.
Here’s a quick rundown of some stuff I’m really excited about lately:
Bloodshed Love (September 12-13)
My composer friend Adam Conrad wrote the musical score for a fantastic short film directed by MCTC student Mason Makram, and enlisted me to play on the recording. Adam and I have worked together on quite a few projects like this and they keep getting better and better, no exception here. Adam likes working with me because I give him everything I’ve got (including tons of constructive criticism haha) and I keep coming back because he always writes me cello solos and he’s a tolerable person. There’s really nothing like recording a film score without a click, conducted to the film with the full ensemble. It’s a huge rush, and huge pain in the ass, and so worth it. I just attended the premier at the St. Anthony Theatre the other night, having only seen snippets of the film, and I was totally blown away by how it came together. Keep checking back into the Bloodshed Love <facebook page> for info regarding the movie’s release on DVD and/or other media.
(for background on this project check out quoted text below)
About a week before the premier of Harold Crumb (short film) Adam invited me into the studio to record some credits music, and the night before our session he emailed me a scanned copy of the part:
I am in the thick of a Fringe Fest musical drama production called ‘Nightmare Man, A Musical.’ Here’s the information I pinched from the facebook page:
Lulu’s Playground just had a rehearsal last night after a seven-months-long hiatus and, as they say, absence [most certainly] makes the heart grow fonder. Trumpeter Adam Meckler literally proposed marriage to the band and brought up recording an album. Those were actually two separate events, that literally occurred. But the point is that I am incredibly excited to be playing with these fellas once again! Here’s a little video we made of our first time through a new tune I was just showing them – it’s only the very very end of Positive Rays, which I’ve already posted an audio file of.
This is going for more of a hardcore, “I’m dangerous” kinda’ vibe. To me the cello almost sounds like a bari sax, which is hilarious, while at the same time terrifyingly awesome. There’s a lot more I wanted to add to this, but I’d rather see what the dudes come up with, rather than ruin it myself. haha
Working title = 2hundred
And here’s the hilarious version that I did for fun
Here’s a really simple loopy thing that might make a good tune – it’s just a bunch of Ma7 chords planing around but I think the complementary rhythms sell it. One problem is that it’s really difficult to solo over, another is that it’s horribly repetitive – but it’s going to be a hip hop beat so nbd.
Working title = Familiar Mistakes
(Vanessa Voskuil - photo by James Sewell)
This collaborative work of challenging-to-describe art was organized by Zachary Crockett, and served as the dissertation for his PHD in music composition (at the University of Minnesota). Months before I entered the process Zac joined forces with choreographer Vanessa Voskuil, and at her suggestion invited visual artist David Mehrer to the team. They’re all amazing so check out their respective pages!