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In this episode, Carl King shares Filmmaking Lessons (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Buckaroo Banzai, Dual), gives tips on Goal Setting For Creative People, Answers a Listener Question “How To Mix Orchestra + Metal” and names Secret Chiefs 3 / Book of Souls Folio A as Headphone Album of the Week.
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SHOW NOTES / LINKS
Carl King on YouTube
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) on Amazon
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Through The 8th Dimension On Amazon
Dual on Amazon
Synecdoche, NY on Amazon
Lalle Larsson / Seven Deadly Pieces on Vimeo
Mats / Morgan Live With Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra
The Aristocrats / Stupid 7
Secret Chiefs 3: Book of Souls Folio A
I’m Carl King, and this is The Carl King Podcast, where we learn about music, filmmaking, and the other creative arts. To support this podcast, head over to Patreon.com/carlking, and join for just $1 or $5 per month. Special thank you to my Illusionist $51 level patrons, both Hank Howard III and Chewbode.
Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media. All 5 of those companies make amazing musical gear that I love to use.
Now let’s start to prepare to start getting started!
In this episode… we’ve got a the Mandatory Carl King The Human Update. Then we’ll talk about THREE films, from the years 1978, 1984, and 2022. Then we have a FEATURE SEGMENT on Goal Setting For Creative People. Then I’ll answer a Listener Question on the topic of Making Music, and then we will wrap it up with a Headphone Album of the Week. What the heck is a Headphone album of the week? You’ll have to wait and see. So let’s get into the Carl King The Human Update.
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE
1 – First bit of news. My new animated pilot Dragontooth Inn is moving along through production. On Friday I made it through a rough audio edit of Act One, with sound effects and score. It’s just about 8 minutes long, with superb acting by both Dan Foster and Stephanie Southerland. Once I’m done with the audio portion of the process, I hand it over to Lance Myers for storyboarding and animatic. If you wanna hear the demo, it’s inside my Patreon RIGHT NOW. I’ll be uploading mixes as the project progresses, so sign up and get access to everything. patreon.com/carlking.
2 – Second, you can help this podcast GROW.
We are, possibly as I am recording this, about to reach 1,000 subscribers on YouTube. There won’t be a video version of the show this week, while I am upgrading some more gear in my studio. But go to YouTube.com/carlkingdom and subscribe to see future episodes. I upload full-episodes as well as all of the individual segments.
And if you are listening on Apple Podcasts, will you do me a favor? Write the show a cozy little review. Just a few kind words will help other listeners find us.
3 – Third news item: I am tweaking the podcast format slightly this week. Folks, fooolks, this thing is always evolving. If you’ve been listening to the past dozen or so episodes, you’ll know I’ve been doing Film Reviews. But I want to make the content more specific… and more USEFUL. So I’m now going to call those segments FILMMAKING LESSONS. The goal will be to highlight a KEY TAKEAWAY or LESSON from each film, to better understand the art of filmmaking. So… let’s get into them RIGHT NOW.
FILMMAKING LESSON #1 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers
First up, Filmmaking Lesson #1. We’ve got Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1978. Written by WD Richter based on the novel by Jack Finney. And Directed by Philip Kaufman.
Starring Donald Southerland, Brooke Adams, Jeff L. Goldblum (that guy again), and… Leonard Nimoy?
I think this was the first time I saw Spock in a non-Spock role. It never occurred to me that he could be non-Spock.
Here’s a cool thing: The first 5 minutes during the opening credits shows you exactly how the Body Snatchers arrived on Earth, without saying a single word. No voiceover, no narration. These days there would be heavy exposition, some scientists talking, probably a rapid montage of TV news segments and conspiracy theorists. Half the planet exploding. But nope, we simply watch it happen through that handy tool of the experts called a Montage.
And here’s another cool thing: Once it gets rolling, I love how throughout the film, random people can be seen running through the background of establishing shots. Because… maybe they’re already running from body snatchers? It sets up a subconscious feeling of panic.
There is what feels like a super slow and long take at 6 minutes in. Two characters are down a hallway around a corner talking. As the camera slowly dollies in. all you can see of them is their feet poking out and their vague reflection in a window. What a choice. I would have never thought of shooting that scene, that way.
There’s a scene where Donald Sutherland’s character is cutting out a newspaper clipping. The headline says: “Webs Shroud the Bay Area. Spider Colonies Fall From Sky.” It made me wonder, what’s with this guy, cutting up newspapers? I think he had a bunch of them on his wall? It caused me to take note of that. I wonder if it was related to an alternate cut or earlier version of the film. Because it didn’t entirely make sense.
Here’s something that stood out: there’s a powerful scene early on where Brooke Adams does this weird eye-wobbling thing. I read that the director made the actors sort of fool around and make faces with each other, stuff that was off-script, to give the characters more texture and realism. And that moment definitely established the deep friendship and intimacy between Sutherland and Brooke Adams.
Let’s talk about two of the other main actors:
Leonard Nimoy came off as possibly the worst acting in the movie? Although it kinda worked, but I’m not sure it was intentional. He was so controlling. He’s interrupts EVERYONE and shouts commands. He also wears an unusual sort of half glove, a style I’ve never seen before. I don’t think the glove was ever explained, and I’m left to also wonder if that was part of an alternate version of the film.
And then there’s Jeff L. Goldblum who of course throws a temper tantrum. Classic Goldblum. I don’t know why, but he’s in everything I watch lately.
Here’s another textural oddity. Donald Sutherland’s windshield gets smashed in one of the initial scenes. And he drives around for the rest of the movie with it broken. He doesn’t bother to fix it. It was never addressed again, and wasn’t related to the plot.
I’m also not sure it really mattered that Sutherland and Adams worked at the San Francisco Health Department. That whole early scene of Sutherland investigating a restaurant doesn’t have much to do with the plot, but it does add some texture to the story.
So I’m going to hold onto my suspicion that large amounts of this movie were rewritten and reshot, and patched together into the final version. There are just way too many non-sequiturs and unexplained production design details. Or, maybe that was just to create more intrigue.
The third act turns into a straight up running away from zombies movie. And it wears on waaaay too long for my own personal tastes. Running and running and running. The bad guys are coming, run over here. The bad guys are coming again, run over there. It seemed to go on forever.
But I will say this: that ending was ACTUALLY unexpected. I can’t think of a twist ending that happens in such a SHORT, SINGLE shot like that. It might have even been a freeze-frame.
Speaking of shots and cinematography, this is the department where things get SERIOUS.
The Cinematography throughout this film is incredible.
There was so much coordination between the actors and the camera. If you watch, the actors will often leave the frame and the camera will zoom in and focus in on another object before cutting away to the next scene.
But here’s what blew me away. The camera is almost NEVER placed in an obvious spot. It creates a sense of mystery and unease. Maybe even fear.
There’s a scene were Donald Sutherland calls the police from a bookstore. And his friend Jeff L. Goldblum shows up, because he ALWAYS shows up. So those two guys are, for no reason, standing in front of a funhouse mirror on the wall, and it distorts their faces. First of all, what kind of bookstore has a funhouse mirror on the wall, and second, why would the director think to do that?
I loved it, because almost every shot in the film pushed boundaries. Characters melding into darkness, Dutch angles, landmark buildings looming outside windows.
Now, I read that this visual style was borrowed from the ORIGINAL Bodysnatchers movie from 1956. But I checked out the 1956 version. And this 1978 version was lightyears ahead in the adventurous camera work. So I think all the credit should go to Phillip Kaufman and his cinematographer, Michael Chapman.
So here’s the Filmmaking Lesson I extracted from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, 1978:
When you’re storyboarding or setting up a shot, take chances. Don’t always default to the obvious placement of shots. Had they not taken all those creative risks, this wouldn’t have been such a powerful film.
I gave this film 5 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd.
FILM LESSON #2 – ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION (1984)
Up next we have The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, from 1984.
Written by Earl Mac Rauch, and directed by WD Richter.
WD Richter happened to be the writer of… HEY, Invasion of The Body Snatchers from 1978. And Big Trouble In Little China from 1986.
This film stars Peter Weller, the dude who went on to play Robocop just 3 years later. Also John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and of course, Jeff L. Goldblum, before his public scandal.
This film is nutty. In fact it is so original I can’t think of anything quite like it. Truly an anomaly. In its complexity, and in its genre.
I have to wonder, going back to 1984… what was the context in which this movie was produced? How did they get away with making this odd mixture of high and low budget. Why did a studio agree to it? And what did they all think they were MAKING?
So here’s how it all got started. Try to follow this. According to Wikipedia, the director, WD Richter, liked a novel written in 1974 by a guy named Earl Mac Rauch. So years later, the director convinced the writer to move out to Los Angeles. He PAID that writer, who had never professionally written a screenplay, $1,500 to develop it. And somehow, in all of this, the producer of all the Rocky movies, Irwin Winkler, paid the writer’s RENT for 6 months.
The movie got made, on a $17 MILLION budget, which would equate to $48 MILLION in 2022. So it wasn’t exactly a low-budget production. It’s unbelievable that they were given that much money to make this thing. I can’t imagine that anyone at the studio understood it.
Unfortunately, the movie bombed at the box office, and made less than HALF of its budget back? And the writer, Earl Mac Rauch, only wrote one movie after this one, which is a bummer.
Here’s something wild: They put a LOT of detail into the background of the shots. For instance, John Lithgow has a pyramid of photos onto his wall. A photo of him on top of the pyramid that says ME and then EVERYONE ELSE.
And this stood out to me: there’s also a notable moment where a butterfly net falls over and John Lithgow completely stays in character and completes the scene. Doesn’t turn to look, no reaction.
Production Design was a BIG DEAL in Buckaroo Banzai. They went overboard. And part of that was complicating the characters.
For instance, they had a President of the United States. Well, why not give him some more detail? They asked, what if the president has a bad back. Okay, sounds good, but let’s take it to an extreme. We can put him in this big rotating device, a hospital bed that lift up into the air and tilts very far forward, flipping him upside down. Oh, and there are side mirrors from a car attached to it. People have to squat down on the floor and talk UP to him.
It’s more like they came up with an idea — and kept piling onto it. Maybe nothing in the entire movie was NORMAL.
They crammed each set with background detail. Junk piled up everywhere. Books, fast food containers. Cobbled-together low-budget electronics and machines. You can see all the duct tape and cheap materials they used.
They even made high-tech goggles that look like they’re made out of bubble wrap.
The characters are all like collectible action figures with unique costumes. For instance, Jeff L. Goldblum is dressed as a Cowboy. I didn’t pick up on why. They all have their own individual outrageous character themes, like the Spice Girls or KISS did.
The end credits are like… a fashion show shot in the LA River. All the characters get together and strut along to dance music. I wonder if that could have been an influence on James Gunn’s Peacemaker opening credits. I read that Life Aquatic borrowed that style for their end credits.
So now we’re down to the Takeaways.
Here’s ONE Filmmaking Lesson I extracted from this thing. The casual dialogue. Buckaroo Banzai contains SO MANY sentences that had never been spoken before. There are far too many to name, but one that made me laugh was: “I’m barely holding my fudge right now.” Try to come up with ways to customize your dialogue. That is, if you want to make a movie as unusual as this one.
But the BIGGER Filmmaking Lesson is possibly this: if you get ahold of tens of millions of dollars, be as imaginative as you can. Don’t make the same movie someone made before. Get away with making what you want. What these guys did was put a point WAY over THERE on the map. Because no one’s ever been there, and maybe that’s where we want to go.
I gave this movie 5 stars on Letterboxd. Because of course I did.
FILMMAKING LESSON #3 – DUAL (2022)
Up next we have Dual, written and directed by a person named Riley Stearns.
Dual stars Karen Gillan. You might remember her as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. That sort of blue, alien half-robot lady.
Now this was shot entirely in a small town in Finland, which, to American audiences might give it a small-town midwestern feel. But you can’t really tell what year it is. Because the UIs on their computers and cellphones are kind of monochrome 80s retro-looking. So it’s a bit anachronistic.
The opening scene is a winner for me, because guess what: it has no dialogue. Carl King always loves a scene with no dialogue.
Wouldn’t that be something, to make a podcast with no dialogue? How would I communicate an episode entirely visually? What if bands went on tour and did silent concerts? They would still jump around and make faces like they were playing, but you had to imagine the music. I would pay to see that. Oh boy, would I.
Now hear this. Something that makes a good film is starting the viewer off with Incomplete Information. We go into it, and we can sense it: something is going on here. Something is off. You don’t yet know what it is. It takes time to put it all together. No need for an explanation. We don’t need a scrolling exposition. We’ll figure it out. That’s the fun of it.
Now this film is SLIGHTLY spoiled by the movie poster and marketing. Otherwise that first scene would have been even more impactful.
You might recall there are other movies where someone is going to die of a disease, so they replace themselves with a clone. And then they have to kill the clone. One recent example was Swan Song.
And on the surface, it would appear to be that same concept, but Dual is a DRASTICALLY different style. AND plot. There is WAY more going on with this story. And there’s a DOUBLE Twist ending!
In its tone, Dual reminds me of a 2008 film by Charlie Kaufman called Synecdoche, NY — In which the lead character believes he’s dying, and is emotionally detached.
Because as Karen Gillan says in Dual: “Why aren’t I crying?”
To me, this film is about the experience of depersonalization, de-realism. Feeling a lack of connection to yourself and the world around you.
Like any sci-fi, we’re given a “what if” situation. A parallel world similar to our own — but with slightly different rules.
So here’s a strong, specific stylistic thing that writer / director Riley Stearns executed like a master: Both Karens in this film talk fast and flat and robotic. In complete, correct sentences. In fact, ALL of the characters do. It’s a culture-building thing, and it adds to the surrealism.
We’re shown a universe where everyone speaks in a painfully on-the-nose manner, like Ayn Rand characters, or Data from Star Trek. It’s as if everyone has Asperger’s. They make rapid changes of subject from something disturbing to something casual.
I was waiting for them to reveal an in-world reason for that style of speech. But NO. That’s just HOW IT IS AROUND HERE.
And the things they accept in their society are shocking to us. Like all the cloning and duels to the death are a normal daily occurrence they broadcast as a reality TV show.
If you were to only watch the first few minutes, or maybe just one scene, you might think… this is REALLY bad writing and acting. But there’s more to it than that.
It’s very much like that scene in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet when Jeffrey Beaumont finds the ear in the field. So he takes it to a detective.
Jeffrey: Coming through the field, I found an ear.
Holds up paper bag.
Detective: You did? A human ear?
Jeffrey: Yeah, I thought I should bring it to you.
Detective steps closer. Too close. Pauses.
Detective: That’s right, let’s take a look at it.
Detective opens paper bag.
Detective, smiling: Yes, that’s a human ear alright.
So if you can appreciate that David Lynch, fat dialogue surrealism, check out this film because it’s done through THE WHOLE THING.
So here’s the Filmmaking Lesson I extracted from Dual: As a screenwriter, you can play out emotional meaning through a cockeyed, alien world. The physicality, or the culture of the world might be much different, but the emotions are universal. And this film is a perfect vehicle for communicating the experience of depression.
I gave this one 5 stars and look forward to seeing the other films by Riley Stearns.
Now, onto our Feature Segment.
FEATURE SEGMENT – Goal Setting For Creative People
If you are a “Creative Career” person, you probably have goals of some sort. (Or at least things you consider to be goals.) If you don’t, it can be hard to get motivated. You might feel like you are floundering. Why am I doing this? Am I doing enough? What should I be doing right now instead?
Over the past 30 years I’ve released a lot of projects into the world. Some got attention, some didn’t. Some of them had specific goals, and some of them I simply did for the heck of it. As the years go on, I like to consider the goals for each project. Here’s how I think about it.
I’m going to use “Publishing A Book” as my example here, but it applies to any other type of creative endeavor (like filmmaking, music, art, etc).
First let’s differentiate between Intrinsic and Extrinsic goals.
INTRINSIC VS. EXTRINSIC
Intrinsic goals are about doing things for yourself. “I want to write a book because I’d enjoy the process and it would feel good to have completed it.” It’s totally fine if these are the only goals you want to have.
Extrinsic goals have more to do with the secondary results. “I want my book to make me rich and / or famous, get me dates with models,” etc. (Some argue against having extrinsic goals at all, but I am not one of them.)
There’s nothing wrong with either type of goal, of course. At different times, in different situations, for different projects, we might find ourselves motivated by a mixture of these.
Here’s my advice for setting goals:
1: Be reasonable and specific. Quantify it. For instance, “I want a lot of people to read my book” is too vague, and will probably lead to open-ended anxiety. (Trust me, I spent years in that state. I would do a thing and then feel like something is supposed to happen now, right? Come on, I did a thing! Why isn’t something happening?) So get it clear, write it down. Try to come up with a number, whatever that number ends up being. According to Wikipedia, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos has sold over 5 million copies. The average book (through a traditional publisher) seems to sell between 1,000 and 10,000 copies, depending on who you ask. (That also means that most books are going to sell far less, considering the behemoth bestsellers at the top that sell millions.) Look at comparable books and consider how well they sold. Is there a realistic market for your book? If your subject is obscure, can you expect to sell a lot of books? Maybe yes, maybe no. But this is not something you can actually control. They’re more like expectations or preferences. Instead of focusing on those vague desires, I recommend that you…
2: Set goals you can CONTROL. For instance, you can’t control how many copies of your book will sell. But you CAN do these things: make a book trailer, host virtual events, hold online contests, send your book to press, ask bloggers for reviews, write your own blogs on the topic, make YouTube videos about the book — anything that helps reach your intended audience. These are standard “book publishing activities” you will be expected to do. You can even try something that no one else has done before. And by the way, be specific about those things, too! “I’m going to contact 25 of the top bloggers who write about this subject and send them my book by the end of the week.” Make a spreadsheet. Work through it.
Most importantly, if you’re going the Extrinsic route… think long and hard before you even write a book. Is this a book a lot of people are craving? Is there a pre-existing audience? Are you really helping anyone out there? If not, you’re going to have an uphill battle. (Hat tip to Cal Newport and Seth Godin.)
THREE PRIMARY THINGS
Extra credit: here are 3 primary things you can control every day. These all happen to be, surprise… Intrinsic Goals!
1: Your Attention. Don’t waste time and get distracted from your big goals. Avoid video games, social media, news, complaining, and anything else that sucks away hours of your day. Don’t be surprised that you aren’t where you want to be, when you spend 4 or more hours a day on these addictive, waste-of-time activities. That’s equivalent to a part-time job, and you can do the math to realize how much you’re paying to waste time.
2: Your Effort. Put in the time and energy. Plan your day. Invest in things that pay off: education, practice, research — and plain-old TIME SPENT WORKING. What? WORK? Yes. You should work at least as hard on your creative projects as you would if you had a boss nagging you.
3: Your Mood. Steve Vai once said, “What you perceive in the outside world is a reflection of how you feel. No exceptions.” I agree that being in a good mood has a massive impact on our creative output (and our life in general). Here are some things that can help your mood: exercising, eating healthy food, hanging out with your family, playing with your pets, going outside, cleaning / organizing, saying affirmations, getting good sleep. If you are not doing those things, delete the other unimportant things on your schedule until you are.
So there you have it. If any of those ideas resonate with you, leave a comment or send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now let’s move on to the Listener Question of the Week.
LISTENER QUESTION: How to Mix Orchestral and Rock Music
This week’s Listener Question of the Week is from… Brave Sir Jon The Gentleman. Well, Brave Sir Jon The Gentleman sounds like a PALADIN. THAT is a PALADIN name. I’m pretty sure.
Brave Sir Jon The Gentleman’s question is: How do you mix orchestral and rock music together?
Well, from one knight to another…
I can’t tell you which EQ and compression to use. So I’m going to instead explain WHY doing what you are wanting to do is so difficult. And nearly IMPOSSIBLE.
The problem is that Orchestral Music and Rock Music exist in TWO vastly different ambient environments.
A foundational element of orchestral music’s STYLE is that it is performed in a GIGANTIC acoustic concert hall. By its nature, it is very WET. Reverberation levels are high in relation to the original instrument signal.
If we think of musical styles on a spectrum, on the far left being in a very big ambient space, and the far right as being totally dry, Rock Music would be somewhere maybe 3/4 of the way.
And Metal would be ALL THE WAY to the EXTREME RIGHT. Metal music is VERY dry, lacking reverb, particularly the drums. While there is reverb applied to certain instruments, overall it is highly transient and IN YOUR FACE. You don’t want a kick drum or chugging guitars sounding far away, unless you’re using it as a special effect.
And about 1/4 across the spectrum, to the left, would be something like traditional jazz.
And that’s why traditional jazz music can blend well with an orchestra. The drums aren’t expected to be UP FRONT in the mix, ripping your ears off. Jazz was a style developed before there was modern micing and recording and mixing techniques. All of that, let’s put each instrument on its own channel and totally isolate it.
Curiously, these styles developed in historical order along the reverb spectrum. Lots of reverb a long time ago, very little reverb today.
Now here’s a striking thing: when listening to music that is at any point along the spectrum, your brain will adjust to the sound of that space.
For instance, if you listen to a piece of classical music for a bit, you’ll forget how wet it is — that it’s in a big hall with all the instruments bleeding together. But Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power would sound AWFUL in that environment. Try putting a 2 second reverb on Mouth For War and see what I mean. Imagine a metal band playing on the other side of an auditorium with no drum mics. And that’s kinda what you’ll hear.
Orchestral music sounds bad when it’s dry, and metal music sounds bad when it’s wet.
So if you try to combine them, ONE or BOTH of them is going to get SERIOUSLY compromised.
If you compress the heck out of orchestral music, and squash it into a loudness-maximized metal music mix, you lose what was special about a big-ass orchestra. All the dynamics, subtleties, articulations, and basically, the art we call ORCHESTRATION.
You end up with something that is orchestral-ISH, but it’s more like a thin keyboard layer. It might give the IMPRESSION of being orchestral to a general rock audience, but it’s really not. Anyone that is attuned to classical music is going to hear how thin and lifeless it is.
So what you are suggesting is very, very tricky.
Brave Sir Jon The Gentleman.
I have noticed you can add a few electronic instruments like theremin or synth or guitar to an orchestral piece. In the way that Bernard Hermann did. But once you add up-front heavy drums and try to make it a rock production you’re screwed. Either the drums are going to sound bad, or the whole orchestra will sound bad.
If you’re a rock musician who wants orchestral sounds, save yourself the nightmare. Instead of hiring 30, 50, 80 people, just use samples. Otherwise, you’ll only end up sounding like Yanni. Unless you like Yanni, then go for it.
When most popular bands get on stage with an orchestra, it’s mostly just a visual gimmick.
Sometimes, switching between the two ensembles can kinda work. But rock and especially metal music takes up too many frequencies, and is so heavily compressed, there’s no room left.
I can’t think of a single example where a metal band and an orchestra coexisted in a mix, neither losing their own special strengths. If it has been done, I haven’t heard of it. If it has, let me know. Leave a comment or send me at email: email@example.com.
Anyway, I can think of some examples of SMALLER orchestral ensembles being successfully blended with a rock band. Here they are:
1 – Lalle Larsson’s Seven Deadly Pieces. This was a live concert he put on in Sweden in 2002. It’s Lalle himself on piano, a basic 4 piece metal band, 4 orchestral percussionists, a string quartet, a trumpet, and a flute. I count 15 players total? Now that can totally work. And here’s why: all of those instruments sound good in a drier rock mix. And it’s far from being a 60 piece or 80 piece orchestra in a giant concert hall.
Definitely go and watch Lalle Larsson / Seven Deadly Pieces. You can see the trailer for it or rent / buy the entire concert on Vimeo. And I will ask my team if we have the technology to add an html hyperlink in the show notes.
Lalle Larsson / Seven Deadly Pieces on Vimeo
2 – Mats / Morgan Live With Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra. In Sweden, of course.
In 2018 or so, Morgan Agren and Mats Oberg got together with a live orchestra to perform and record some of their music. And it worked. Here’s why: it was a jazzy big-band sound. Which is only about 1/4 of the way across that reverb spectrum I mentioned. Like a Lalo Schifrin score.
You can see the entire concert on YouTube.
Mats / Morgan Live With Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra
3 – The Aristocrats With Primuz Chamber Orchestra
In 2021 or 2022, The Aristocrats, a band made up of Bryan Beller, Guthrie Govan, and Marco Minnemann collaborated with a group called the The Primuz Chamber Orchestra, a group of strings from Poland, I think. And here’s why THAT worked. It’s a small string ensemble. 23, according to Bryan Beller. The string players were fit into the context of a rock band mix. If it had been a full orchestra with brass, percussion, woodwinds, not so much. But some strings can work well, because it doesn’t compromise the dry, close-mic’d rock band sound. As long as everyone is dynamic and mindful, strings are relatively easy to fit in.
Check out Stupid 7 on YouTube.
The Aristocrats / Stupid 7
Brave Sir Jon The Gentleman, thank you for hand-delivering that scroll.
And NOW, onto The Headphone Album of the Week!
HEADPHONE ALBUM OF THE WEEK
This week’s Headphone Album of the Week is…
Wait a minute. What is a Headphone Album of The Week? It’s an album I tell you to listen to… through headphones. And I mean real headphones, probably not those little EarPod things. You wanna get the full range of frequencies. The big ones. Put them over your ears. Not while you’re driving. Go home first. Sit on a comfortable stool. Some people like to curl up into a ball. Once you’re ready, turn off the lights, close your eyes, press play, and pay attention to the sounds.
Now that we know how to properly listen to music, this week’s Headphone album of the week is… Secret Chiefs 3 / Book of Souls: Folio A from 2013.
Listeners, I assure you, I have listened to this one MANY times through headphones and I am blown away by the complexity of the instrumentation.
Personally, I like to start with track 2: Nova IHVH. And I am not going to pretend to know what any of this stuff means or symbolizes. There are hints that this album represents a radio station broadcast. Some of the titles like “Post-Identity Hour (AMS World Newscorp)” and “Utopian Weekly Update (HVHI Public Access)” and “Barzakh ID Markers (AIO Radio Narcissus)”
I also notice a symmetry to the album. It starts and ends with a track by one of the Secret Chiefs 3 satellite bands, Ishraqiyun. Ish-rock-ee-oon? Like book ends. And neither of those tracks is Carl King’s Kind of Thing, so I tend to listen from track 2 through track 12. And that’s good enough for me, because this album is a mysterious masterpiece.
How many instruments are on this recording? I doubt Trey Spruance even knows.
Maybe at some point in the future I can corner Trey and dig very deep on the details of this record — although he tends to be a secretive artist. But knowing him, everything means something. If I remember correctly, he intentionally shrouds the meanings of his creations, to keep people from taking them literally.
So you can non-literally get this album on a physical CD through Trey’s Web of Mimicry, at WebOfMimicry.com
I will call my team on the telephone and see if we have the capability to add an html hyperlink in the show notes. Otherwise, just stream it on Spotify or Apple Music like a teenager. But PLEASE. Remember to wear real headphones. Okay? Thank you. And after you listen to it, leave me a comment or send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secret Chiefs 3: Book of Souls Folio A
OK, that’s the end of this Episode of the Carl King Podcast. Remember to subscribe on Spotify, Apple Music, or anywhere else you listen to these dang podcasts. And support the creation of more episodes by joining my Patreon for $1 or $5 a month. That’s Patreon Dot Com Slash Carl King.
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