The Unseen Hand: Music For Documentary Film
- Western Wishes Intro
- Justin’s Theme
- The Strip
- The Arena
- Mike’s Theme
- Gone Too Far
- A Simple Prayer
- Eight Seconds
- Adriano's Theme
- Western Wishes Outro
Digital download includes
- Ranch Life
- Organ Piece
Limited pressing of 330 numbered copies on black vinyl.
SESSION 1: THE WAREHOUSE - LONG BEACH
There wasn't much of movie to speak of at that point so Wil, Tim and I headed into Hollywood to John’s apartment and watched some raw footage of cowboys getting tossed around by bulls. We didn't get much direction on what to do, only what not to do. Our first job was to give John some music to cut to. So we started on what would be the first of three sessions.
My friend John Haskell's dad had a warehouse down at the docks in Long Beach to house his boats and ancient cars. It was a big open space with high ceilings and wooden beams hanging above us. We also made records in there. There where a few pianos, a hammond b3, a bunch of guitar amps and a coffee maker. The office became the control room. I remember a couple of fax machines.
The very first thing we did was check the levels on the piano. I sent Wil to play something on the baby grand and he proceeded to perform what would become the basic theme for the entire movie. I'm still not sure where that came from. We where off to a good start. After a while Tim threw a microphone inside the piano and set up his pedal board and connected it to one of the amplifiers. Tim's natural inclination is to continually turn things inside out and destroy. That was a long time ago but I remember recording a lot of good stuff those couple of days. The last thing we did was an organ duo. I remember playing a couple of chords over and over while Wil sat next me and voiced the chords higher and higher on the keyboard. That piece would eventually become the intro piece to the movie.
SESSION 2: EAGLE ROCK
As the film progressed, I knew we where going to need something a little more traditional for certain parts of the film. The Wild expansive music we made in Long Beach would lose its impact if we didn't have something to ground it. I remember seeing a photograph somewhere of Neil Young recording some acoustic instruments with the musicians sitting in a circle around a few mics. I was inspired to try that approach.
My friend Eric Heywood had a beautiful little house on top of hill overlooking Eagle Rock California. Lots of light and beautiful white washed wood floors. We set up in the circle, this time with Eric on his pedal steel and a bunch of guitars. I always loved the sound of multiple guitars intertwining. We went around the circle with each of us starting a little idea while letting the piece slowly develop into whatever it would become. We went around a couple of times and that was it. I have a lot of fond memories of that neighborhood and those days. I was engineering for producer David Trumfio back then and when things where slow we'd hit this Mexican food place at the base of the hill and sit there for hours drinking margaritas getting nothing done.
SESSION 3: THE ICE HOUSE - PHOENIX, ARIZONA
We now had the completed film and needed one last session to fill some of the gaps. We needed something with a big space to fill the expansive feel of the bull riding ring. John had to recreate the sound from scratch during the competition scenes.
There is this great building in Phoenix called the Ice House. Back before refrigeration the ice would be delivered via train and stored in one central location. The room we recorded basically looked like an airplane hanger with elevated arched ceilings. Since we had a finished cut I was able to project the film onto one of the walls There is this great building in Phoenix called the Ice House. Back before refrigeration the ice would be delivered via train and stored in one central location. The room we recorded basically looked like an airplane hanger with elevated arched ceilings. Since we had a finished cut I was able to project the film onto one of the walls creating a very cinematic atmosphere. We added percussion and relied on our electric guitars for the last session. At one point we started the film and had the drummer Rob Moore improvise over its entirety. I don't think any of that ended up in the film but i wish it did, it was probably the best stuff.
John and his editors came out for the sessions and I'm not sure what happened the night before but they basically slept on the concrete floor most of the session. I think they just wanted to to get out of LA for a few days. - Michael Krassner, Spring 2014