This year has been a pretty good one for me on several different levels. There were some rocky patches here and there, but they were transitory and, in the end, ended up making me a better person for it.
Working on The Early Mixes has been incredibly rewarding. In addition to getting back into something that I love doing, I have been doing so with people who are motivated, believe in the project and are giving me their best. I had a conversation with Dan last Friday about what we're going to do when we're finished with The Early Mixes, and he agreed that with this crew we can do quite a lot. We're currently canvassing to find projects to embark upon upon the completion of this film.
While the slow passing of The Bronze Mist was indeed sad, The Executor is a much nicer vehicle, more comfortable, better luxuries and, most importantly, it actually moves both forward and backward. It is now tricked out with a GPS, the E·Z Pass and my stereo with the iPod connection. This last has been a great boon; with the exception of a few CDs in the glove compartment from before I had installed my own stereo in the car, there has been no need to stock the car with discs. It was always the CDs that were the pebbles that start the avalanche with respect to the mess in my car. I've had The Executor for three months now, and she still hasn't become a mess. This is a new record.
- HOME THEATER/SOUND SYSTEM
One week after I bought my combo player, the war was over and Blu-ray won. This actually worked out for me because that meant a bunch of people started putting their HD-DVDs up for sale for dirt cheap prices, allowing my transition to high definition to be faster than I expected. Meanwhile, despite projections by many (including myself) that physical media was on its way out, Blu-ray is going pretty strong. I am quite pleased with the improvements in picture quality, but what has really been jazzing me has been how much better they sound than DVDs did... all of the power of a laserdisc but with the advantage of being multichannel... I'm in heaven. Meanwhile, I have also been rediscovering vinyl, both in terms of sonics and programming.
- FILM MUSIC
Holy sheepshit, what a year it's been for archival releases! The Blue Box, the Indy box, the Shaft box the MGM Soundtrack Treasury, the Batman: The Animated Series, John Barry's Mary, Queen of Scots, Robin and Marian and Star Crash, Elmer Bernstein's Heavy Metal, Bruce Broughton's The Blue and the Gray and Ice Pirates, Bill Conti's Masters of the Universe expanded further, and both North and South Books, Maurice Jarre's Shōgun and Grand Prix, David Newman's Jingle All the Way, Miklós Rózsa's The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Dominic Frontiere's The Stunt Man, Jerry Goldsmith's Baby, The Cassandra Crossing and The Boys from Brazil, Mario Nascimbene's The Scent of Mystery, Chris Young's Species and Invaders from Mars, not to mention the fabulous Kritzerland Herrmann releases... I know I'm missing some, and that's not even mentioning the new recordings of Bernard Herrmann's The Kentuckian and Williamsburg, Miklós Rózsa's El Cid and Max Steiner's She... a good year. And an expensive one, but it's been worth it.
- LOVE LIFE
This has been the biggest change. Over the course of this year, I found myself evaluating what has been keeping me stagnated and addressing them. I have since found possibilities I never thought I would have, and while I am by no means the "slut" Saadia is amused to refer to me as, there has been significant improvement (translation: I have gotten a few phone numbers, been on a few dates and have even gotten laid a couple of times). I'm not exactly where I want to be (that would be in a relationship) but there has been a positive sea change in this arena.
With the exception of the period of time during the collective bargaining, work has been pretty stress-free. My manager tends to leave me alone for the most part and the work itself rarely throws me for a loop. The only issue I have at present is that I have a new digital Sidekick meter which I haven't quite figured out how to use yet, but I got that after the New Year, and so it falls outside the purview of this entry. I am still weirded out by the fact that one of our union reps is a dead ringer for Brick Top from Snatch, though.
I added quite a few entries to my mix list this year:
- Rivers Always Reach the Sea
- Hollow Sky
- You'll Believe A Man Can Fly
- Gotham Avenger
- The Vice of Killing
- Sandcastles and Breadcrumbs
- Just Talkin' About Shaft
- Father To Son
- Love and War
Despite the fact that there were three projects which could be called mere revisions, You'll Believe A Man Can Fly, Gotham Avenger and The Vice of Killing, all of these were built from scratch and therefore could be considered completely new. I made two rock mix tapes, Rivers Always Reach the Sea and Hollow Sky. I made two discs with significant crossover appeal; Just Talkin' About Shaft being an R&B album with film score overtones and my Bill Lee compilation Father To Son being for all intents and purposes a jazz album. Love and War was a massive undertaking not only because of the massive amount of source material available from the North and South mini-series, but because I re-watched the series in preparation for the disc. But the two star discs of this year were the exciting Sandcastles and Breadcrumbs and the propulsive Excelsior!. And on top of that, there were the assemblies I made of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and the Indiana Jones scores. That was quite a lot of work (despite a slow start to the year), and as the tools I use become more sophisticated, I am able to accomplish more than I was able to before. I've found that "genre" collections on the whole are less rewarding to create than discs that follow a particular composer, tonal thread or film series, and so this year's batch of discs reflects this.