My Corndog and Me

The latest release from comedy troupe The Beans centers around a man and his love for corndogs.  Well, not just any corndog – he seems to fall in love with one specific corndog to the point where it inspires a dream sequence of courting, making love to, having babies with, growing old, and eventually dying alongside this corndog.

It’s ridiculously silly, campy, and generally pretty stupid.  That seems to be the point.  The director decided that the corndog love story should be told with only images and music, which put the score front and center as a crucial element in the action.  Musically, it was a real playground for me.  Since it is very short with scene changes every 5-10 seconds on average, the music had to keep a certain amount of motion while still being diverse and unique to each sequence.  I decided to write a few themes that would occur throughout the score, but then stretch myself genre-wise with each change of sequence.  So, in a two minute short I attempted to write music in the style of dub step, cheesy orchestra swells, 70’s funky porno music complete with slap bass, a Lifetime-esque piano/synth “feel good moment,” and a jug band with the approximation of a drunken kazoo frontman.  It was a lot of fun, and hopefully it works for you.  If it doesn’t, then maybe you’ll just never understand the love between a man and his corndog.

Dog days of summer, but some excellent music

As the summer comes to a close, I’ve been really fortunate to see some excellent music in the last few weeks.  My run of concerts started out amazingly (and surprisingly) well, when I won tickets to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band at my favorite Philly venue – The Tower Theater.  Seeing an 11-piece band playing swampy funk, blues, and soul music from the 3rd row (!!!) was an incredible experience, not to mention that Derek Trucks might be the best guitar player alive right now.  However, this is truly an all-star band.  Susan Tedeschi’s voice is like raw honey – sweet but a little gritty, and I think Oteil Burbridge is one of most tasteful yet virtuosic bass players on the scene.  The band’s encore consisted mostly of a medley of Sly Stone songs – no argument here.

The following week, I went to see My Morning Jacket at the Mann Center, which is a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre in Philly.  I’m ashamed to say I had never been, but was really glad I chose this show as my first venture to the Mann.  MMJ does a crafty blend of psychedelic rock, folk, and indie that they manage to make very appealing.  It can be epic and then intimate, and the Mann was a proper venue for the vibe of this band.

Locally, I went to see my good friend Tim Wolfe, Jr. play with pianist/composer Jason Newman at a great cafe in Newtown Square.  This was a preview concert for their upcoming album, and I was completely impressed.  The trio (with a drummer) played an entire set of Jason’s tunes, which sound like a mix of The Bad Plus with a more contemporary/classical structure and harmonic language, and with moments of Radiohead spaciousness.  Those are all things that I love, and the group pulled it off flawlessly.  I’m really looking forward to that record when it comes out.

Which brings me to last night.  Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound continued their monthly residency at the Tritone with a great set of tuneful, yet highly dissonant big band music.  And I mean big, like 14 players big.  Their last release, “Ceremonies of Forgiveness,” is in my collection and I listen to it regularly.  It’s got flavors of the Mingus big band era in that it is highly compositional with big brash, unapologetic motives, but Zankel is not at all derivative – he’s got his own thing going on that I highly recommend.

What was the point of this post?  To gloat about the awesome live music I’ve seen recently?  An appeal for people to go see more live music?  An attempt at saying that good music is still being made, you only have to go find it?  Maybe all of the above, maybe none.

Also, I’ve got some projects on my desk that I’m pretty excited about, including an experimental mixed media piece and scoring a comedy about the love between a man and his junk food of choice.  More on that later.