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From Stage to Screen: Movie Soundtracks by Musicians

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A great movie or song, alone, can inspire powerful emotions. But combined, sounds and images can amplify the sensation. The Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr, who worked on the soundtrack to Dennis Hopper's film Colours in the late-1980s, said he enjoys working on movies because “You're not restricted to working on something between three and five minutes long … It also can be quite solitary and it's nice not to have to please four or five other people.”

Film and sound existed separately in the early 20th century, but they ended up cementing a lasting complimentary relationship with each other, from the first feature length sound film in 1927, The Jazz Singer, to music videos today. Our minds love that sync of auditory and visual senses – whether it’s unintentional, like The Wizard of Oz synching with Dark Side of the Moon, or intentional, like the music and movie collaborations that follow: Jónsi (Sigur Rós) – We Bought A Zoo (2012) Some music seems to conjure up movies instinctively, as in the instrumentally and emotionally rich soundscapes of Sigur Rós, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson. For those of us wishing that Jónsi would follow us around playing a soundtrack to our lives (and have to settle for iPod daydreaming), we got the next best thing – he scored a movie, We Bought a Zoo. Director Cameron Crowe encouraged Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and the other actors in the film to listen to specific Sigur Rós songs so they could create the right energy for a scene: “the actors listened to the music during their takes; it quickly became part of the film’s DNA.” When Matt Damon finally confronts the iPhotos of his deceased wife that come to life around him in a sonic and sentimental crescendo, a little watery DNA can’t help but moisten the eyes of the audience as well. Trent Reznor (with Atticus Ross) - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) After winning a 2010 Golden Globe and Academy Award for their work on The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross decided to pair up again to take on another David Fincher film, the highly anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Delicate chimes and thin pianos mixed with ferociously plucked strings and ominous bass create just the right amount of foreboding tingles the movie calls for. As the founder of Nine Inch Nails, Reznor seems naturally drawn to the darker side of the music spectrum. This especially comes out in his raw cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” with Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ singer Karen O during the movie’s opening sequence with a vigor that carries on throughout the film. Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) – There Will Be Blood (2007) If the images in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood don’t scare you, the 80-piece in-your-face string orchestra will. Expanding on Radiohead’s already instrumental-heavy technique, guitarist and composer Johnny Greenwood’s score was well received and nominated for a Grammy. From the brooding lows to the quivering highs, the dissonant, disturbing and always loud strings act as a separate character in the film, adding an eerie personality to an already unsettling setting. Neil Young - Dead Man (1995) Leave it to Neil Young to score a psychedelic western starring Johnny Depp as William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland, as well as Jared Harris, Billy Bob Thornton and Iggy Pop in a dress all sitting around a campfire cooking beans. Improvising on guitar, piano and organ as he watched the film alone in a recording studio, Young provides the perfect rugged and deep jolts of music to go along with the story of a man who wrote his poetry in blood when the west was still young. David Bowie (with Trevor Jones) – Labyrinth (1986) The 1980s were an age of synthesizers. Trevor Jones and David Bowie couldn’t resist mixing the wide-ranging electronic instrument with orchestral ensembles in a hodgepodge almost as strange as the Jim Henson and George Lucas production they scored, Labyrinth. Starring Bowie as both the Goblin King and the film’s composer, the soundtrack has a fittingly ethereal, surreal feel. But the movie’s musical spell is often broken when Goblin Bowie and his minions break out into raucous songs that categorize the film in another '80s cliché of cheesy. Queen - Flash Gordon (1980) Queen’s melodic-dramatic overtures provide a natural soundtrack to a movie – especially one shot in the 1980s about a super hero, like Flash Gordon. And what better way to mimic the film’s ka-pow energy than with extensive use of electrifying synthesizers and overpowering harmonies. After all, Freddie Mercury’s music and performance carried with them a certain theatrical thrill fitting of an action movie. The theme song of the movie, “Flash” is a sonic comic book complete with character dialogue and laser beam sound effects over shouts of “flash!” accompanied by complimentary cymbal crashes. Pink Floyd – More (1969) From Dark Side of the Moon to Ummagumma, Pink Floyd has always voyaged into new and strange sonic territory fitting of futuristic movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Roger Water actually turned down the opportunity to score – something he later regretted. Pink Floyd, however, applied their experimental approach to Barbet Schroeder’s More, a film about a German hitchhiker who falls for an American girl addicted to heroin. Their avant-garde instrumentals and some of their heaviest songs are the perfect backdrop to this mind-bending trip. Be Sure to check out: Per_versions - Vitamin String Quartet Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails Vitamin String Quartet: Strung Out On OK Computer Rusted Moon: Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Neil Young Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to David Bowie Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

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VSQ Master Series: Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon

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VSQ Master Series: Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon Download on iTunes The VSQ Master Series presents renditions from Pink Floyd's famous Dark side of the Moon. String arrangements of epic songs such as "The Great Gig In the Sky" and "Speak To Me/Breathe" breathe new colors into classic psychedelic rock hits making this album a must-have for any Pink Floyd fan. Tracklist 1. Speak to Me/Breathe (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 2. On the Run (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 3. Time (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 4. The Great Gig In the Sky (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 5. Money (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 6. Us and Them (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 7. Any Colour You Like (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 8. Brain Damage (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 9. Eclipse (originally performed by Pink Floyd)

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Us and Them: Exploring The Greatness That Is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

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After five albums of genre and mind bending exploration, Pink Floyd found themselves in the studio once again to complete what would soon be Dark Side of the Moon. The material from the album had actually been written and the concept developed before the recording took place, but the impact wouldn’t be truly felt until it was released. The English band had done something special here, and each new listen seemed to warrant a new side to a song or verse. This album became all things to many people, and with good reason. The entire recording took place at Abbey Road Studios in London over two long sessions. The interludes between songs featured the band doing interviews with various personnel that would come into the studio, even going so far as to interview the doorman, who provided the closing line of the album, "There is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.” The band also used a lot of new techniques in the studio that would be revolutionary to future bands, such as multitrack recording, analog synths, and tape loops. At one point, the album was even mixed into the experimental quadraphonic sound, which never truly caught on, but made the listening experience that much more exciting. Techniques aside, this album stands alone as one of the best concept albums of all time because of its universality. Each song is about an essential part of modern society and humanity, and Roger Waters had originally wanted the album to be about how these things “make people go mad”. Upon listening to the madcap laughter and the central character losing his mind at the end of the album, one could see how this idea comes to life. With songs like “Money”, “Time”, and “Us and Them”, each their own unique tracks that have stood the test of time, its astounding that a band could put together such a cohesive album filled with such hits. The album starts off with a rush of sound and madness right away, and with a sweep of synth and a gentle strummed chord, “Breathe” kicks in and seems to settle the mind right away. It’s all a part of the flow of the album. Each song melts into the next so well, that when they’re split up into singles, they never sound quite the same. Lyrically the album is one of the simplest, yet most intense poetry about everyday subject matter that exists on record. Using countless clichés and then ripping them down happens repeatedly on the album, especially in songs like “Money” and “Time”. Instrumentally, the album is the most compact and polished of the band’s discography. While they may not have believed that this album was the best thing they’d done up to that point or not, they knew that the universal nature and the concise instrumentation was affecting if nothing else. In fact, when Waters brought the album home to his wife for the first time, she burst into tears upon hearing it. They knew they had created something powerful, though they probably didn’t realize its lasting impact that still turns children onto the band each year. Probably one of the most interesting and lasting songs on the album is “The Great Gig on the Sky”, recently deceased keyboardist Richard Wright’s gift to the world. The emotional impact of this song is astounding, and the lexical vocals of Clare Torry are amazing. It’s said that it was done in a single take, one that could never be replicated again. The fragile nature of inspiration and a creative environment overall is hard to come by. The magic that was alive in these sessions is undeniable, and the album still ranks as one of the best selling albums of all time, even in the time of MP3s. There are so few records that need to be listened to in the album format, but everyone can agree that Dark Side of the Moon is one of them. Vitamin String Quartet will soon be releasing a Masters Series tribute to this revolutionary record. Keep an eye on this space for more information in the coming weeks, but until then, “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

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Amazing Cover Bands: Flaming Lips Cover Dark Side of the Moon

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We admit, we may be getting a little ahead of ourselves here since the album will not reach our ears until the 22nd. And no, Flaming Lips are not technically a cover band. But when we heard about Flaming Lips covering Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon we knew instantly that it would be something to get excited about. Not only do we love Flaming Lips, but the project features other amazing artists including Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins and Peaches. The Dark Side Of The Moon tracklist: 1. Speak To Me / Breathe (w/ Henry Rollins and Peaches) 2. On The Run (fw/ Henry Rollins) 3. Time / Breathe Reprise 4. The Great Gig In The Sky (w/ Henry Rollins and Peaches) 5. Money (w/ Henry Rollins) 6. Us And Them (w/ Henry Rollins) 7. Any Colour You Like 8. Brain Damage (w/ Henry Rollins) 9. Eclipse (w/ Henry Rollins)

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