What I’ve been up to

I think I don’t update as much because I try so hard to edit and perfect each blog post before I upload it… but it might be hindering my creative and thinking process so I’m just going to log a “quick” write.

The weather’s been getting warmer and I guess my mood is somewhat better in comparison to a few months ago, but I still have a lot of stress and anxiety and am having trouble managing it… I’m just grateful to avoid insomnia and fall asleep each night at the moment.  I’ve been working hard to focus on the activities, moments, and events I can join in on in life with friends and other people, it’s a work-in-progress, but isn’t it always, and isn’t that the point of living?

-Went to Girl’s group Saturday morning and then tried to sleep at Allison’s to make up for the all nighter the day before… battling insomnia does suck.  I was really tired and semi-delirious, but Sean’s  BBQ was fun regardless, just socializing and being able to be there.  The burgers were yummy and I mostly chilled and talked to ppl here and there.  Chuen showed me how to relax my shoulder and chest muscles better, and I bugged Caleb about his chinese.

I been trying to advance a lot in reading, getting back into my love for movies, and definitely learning Korean and history.  There are so many sad, tragic events in history… -_- Yet I’m so curious, and the importance of never forgetting is omnipresent in my mind.

I’m kinda drifting away from Spotify and finding new music, kinda like the weird mood I had in the past months of keeping away from movies, not sure why. What I HAVE been super into lately is animations, particularly animes and Pixar-Disney movies that I’ve missed out on.  I watched “Inside Out,” “The  Princess and the Frog”, “Your Name,” “Paprika”, and most recently, “Wreck-It Ralph.”

I have to say, some of my all-time favorite animations is definitely “Tangled” and “Big Hero 6”, but “Your Name” and “Wreck-It Ralph” definitely join the ranks.  I don’t think it’s solely because of their unique animation style and story, as many of these hit those check marks, but their pacing and story telling really stands out… not overly done, and makes you emotionally invested in the characters and their journey- truly, Ed Catmull was right about that.

Next, I am going to watch “Sing” which I believe was developed by Sony Pictures?  Need to double check on that… and now it’s gotten me all excited and curious about the other processes in making a movie, such as how they create the story boards, develop it in animation software, and incorporate music.

Quick shout out to “Paprika”, as even though I wouldn’t count it among my favorites due to its haphazard style (maybe that was the point), it definitely made me feel like one of my favorite movies “Inception” was inspired by its concept, particularly the elevator and dream sequences.

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Best Movie Soundtracks and Composers

When I was five, I began figuring out how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the upright piano.  My mom then heard me play “Memory” from the musical “Cats,” and deemed me a musical genius from that point on.  She sent me to piano lessons, and I played the flute for a couple years in middle school.

Throughout my love-hate relationship with music and piano, it became both a source of peace and stress.  I practiced hours a day before competitions, and my mom and my piano teacher were both one of those strict tiger moms who disciplined me hardcore:  piano and I shared many moments of tears and breakdowns where I wanted to quit.

There is one aspect of music that never failed to cause me grief though, and that was listening to soundtracks.  There is something about the magical realm where my love for film meets music, and deciphering how the composer creates a memorable, distinctive theme that belonged to no other but the movie and its message.  When you hear it, within seconds you know right away it’s Jaws, or Star Wars.

That said, here is a list of the classics and some of my personal favorites.

The legendary John Williams (who often writes the music of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas)

  • Jaws 1975 –   ominous half step, two-note motif
  • Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 – heroic, cheeky trumpet, orchestra, brass, percussion
  • Star Wars 1997-2015 – opening theme – fanfare, welcoming, march
    • +Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) – dark, march of impending doom
    • +Across the Stars (Love theme between Anakin and Padme)-opening by oboe solo accompanied by orchestra: somber, romantic, minor key. Repeated by orchestra, harp
  •  Harry Potter (Hedwig’s theme) 2001-2011 – beginning mysterious triangle (?) theme in minor key, repeated by orchestra.
  • The Patriot 2000 – calm, higher range violin takes melody in counts of 3, legato, slight celtic sound with orchestral back up
  • Jurassic Park 1993 – 2015

Hans Zimmer – experimenting with unconventional ways of producing abstract, ambient sounds (Christopher Nolan)

  • Inception 2010 – brave, wandering, and dreamy, soft timpani with cautious orchestra. Complemented with higher guitar string two-note repeat.  Ebb and flow.
  • Interstellar 2014 – dream-like, piano-organ combination with experimental sounds with woodwind and choral elements.
  • Gladiator  2000 –
    • + “Honor Him” timpani, orchestra, minor key, noble.
    • +”Now We Are Free”

James Horner – (James Cameron) classic, hopeful, hopeless romantic, emotional.   R.I.P.

  • Titanic 1997 “My Heart Will Go On” sung by Celine Dion – originally orchestral, but became vocal; beginning flute trill
  • Avatar 2009 “I See You” sung by Leona Lewis
  • Troy 2004
  • A Beautiful Mind 2002

Ennio Morricone 

  • The Mission 1986 “Gabriel’s Oboe” – hopeful, beautiful, calm; oboe theme also in vocal, cello versions
  • Others:  The Hateful Eight, The Best Offer, other Italian movies

Nino Rota – 

  • The Godfather soundtrack series  1972-1990   – wistful, somber, threatening, sustained melody

Klaus Badelt – 

A. R. Rahman – (Danny Boyle) eccentric, vibrant amalgamation of Asian with European, electronic and acoustics

  • Slumdog Millionaire  2008 – “Jai Ho”- rhythmic, pulsating, blend of Indian Bollywood, Spanish, and other elements
  • 127 Hours  2011 – with Dido- “If I Rise- gentle, ethereal vocal accompanied with quiet rhythm and guitar strumming
    • +”Funeral” – Band of Horses

Mark Isham –

  • Life as a House  2001 No Reservations 2007   –“Building a Family” – homey, piano with oboe, strings

Cinematic Orchestra 

 

TV SHOW THEMES 

John Lunn – 

  • Downton Abbey 2010-2015 – “Did I Make the Most of Loving You”

Bear McCreary – 

  • Walking Dead 2010-current theme – anxiety-ridden, unsettling, orchestra rifts, distortion, apocalypse sounding
    • +”Mercy of the Living”

Ramin Djawadi –

 

And of course, I got to give a celebratory shout-out to the amazing Asian films, especially those that have blossomed in recent years, such as the Taiwanese movie industry!  It all began with the movie that revived it all, Cape No. 7. We also can’t forget the wonderful Joe Hisaishi, who has written so many for the Japanese films, particularly legendary Hayao Miyizaki animations in Studio Ghibli.

  1. Cape No. 7 2008 – “Love Letters”

Joe Hisaishi has his own category:

  1. Kikujiro 1999 – “Summer”
  2. Howl’s Moving Castle 2004 – charming, waltz-like, spiral-y strings with piano
  3. Other notables:  Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away,  Castle in the Sky Laputa

 

Happy listening!!!  Let me know which ones are your favorites and if I missed any 🙂