artwork by Melissa Turner
Frank D and I had fun recently talking about the old days of producing music with hardware synths. Here's the link to that thread, and if you haven't listened to Frank's music posted there - you just gotta!--
"Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score"
Those posts inspired me to choose a track from one of my biggest projects from my pre-soft synth era.
"Metropolis" is a cult-musical by J. Brooks and D. Hughes. It's based on the great silent sci-fi film by Fritz Lang. The musical played in London in the mid-80's, but extravagant production costs, and heavy competition from other big hit musicals of the time, like "Les Mis," caused it to close early. It hasn't had a major pro production since, and was never officially published or handled by any publishing house.
In 2002, I directed a production of the show here in Salem, featuring music tracks I produced. It was a gigantic undertaking - producing the music as well as putting the show on stage. I worked closely with Joseph Brooks, the show's composer, communicating every day by email and telephone for 6 months. I had to do a lot of my music production work by picking things out by ear from the London cast CD. Brooks had bits and pieces of badly scribbled scores for me to work with also. What emerged was a unique version of the show, with some new songs, re-writes and variations. People still contact me about the production, because "Metropolis" has its fervent followers all over the globe. The show's fairly obscure, but its fans are still many, and fiercely loyal to it.
Here's my instrumental track to Act Two's opening. I worked with a hardware sequencer and a bank of hardware synths. A guitarist friend added guitar bits throughout the show's tracks, sometimes playing duet with my synth guitar tracks.
As you'll hear, it's pop rock, with a heavy emphasis on retro-disco in this Act Two opener which is actually a medley of two songs. There are passages in the first song which are in the odd time signature of 7/8. The second half is a disco reprise of a major theme from Act One. Both sections are dance numbers featuring the full cast as the decadent "Elitists" who live above ground in the glistening Metropolis while the city is kept going by over worked, under privileged slaves who languish underground.
METROPOLIS- Opening of Act Two
And here's the same music with my cast singing. I've cut this down to just the sung sections which start at 1:00 and 2:55 in the full length instrumental track:
METROPOLIS - Vocal sections from the opening of Act Two
If there's interest, I'd enjoy posting another track or two from this great cult musical.