January 12th, 2010

Goldsmith (film composer)

Pursuit of Quarry

The idea of making a compilation built around hunting music was one that had been kicking around for a while, but only really became solidified with the Varèse Sarabande release of John Corigliano's Revolution, with its energetic fox hunt sequence. A few months ago I asked for suggestions from the good folks over at the Film Score Monthly Message Board, which turned out to be a great move, because through those recommendations I discovered several scores and delved deeper into my own collection.

I do not hunt, nor am I inclined to do so, but just the concept brings to mind images both primitive and refined, from the pageantry of a fox hunt to the primal fear of being hunted, culminating in the savagery of the kill itself. This compilation spans a wide variety of eras, styles, attitudes and contexts of hunting, and it is that variety which keep it from ever getting bogged down despite the length of the album. They all have one thing in common, however: energy: a hunt is defined as a verb meaning "to chase for killing," and so the stakes for at least one party in each of the sequences included is survival. As a result, this album has a momentum that rolls you straight to the finale without looking back.

This is the first disc to be completed in the new year (although work began on it late in 2009), and my first new mixed compilation (as opposed to a revision of a previous disc) since Excelsior!, made almost two years ago. While I have spent quite a bit of time tweaking the master once I had assembled it, the general structure of the album was in place once I started to sift through potential inclusions. The selection process was rather quick mostly because it is easy to spot the word "hunt" in cue titles. This actually created something of an issue when it came to labeling tracks, as at one point (purely by coincidence), four cues in a row were called "The Hunt." Rather than change all the track titles to something else, I instead decided to emphasize the film title instead. In another break with personal tradition, this disc makes extensive use of music that I had already included on other compilations, although I think the nature of this mix justifies the duplications.

The cover art was another fiat accompli. This painting was in my friend Raz's computer room, where many a late summer night was spent with Tim and/or John listening to Men Without Hats. It was unthinkable to me that I would make a compilation about hunting and not use this image. The compositing for the final artwork was mostly done in Photoshop rather than Pagemaker.

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