Tag Archives: dave darlington

NYsferatu – Symphony of a Century

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When artist Andrea Mastrovito told me about his upcoming project NYsferatu I was instantly convinced that it would be quite an experience to write music for it, but I didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what he looked to achieve. Only a few days later it hit me.

This whole project is HAND-MADE (sadly, a word quickly disappearing from our vocabulary) – it took Andrea and his assistants more than 3 years to draw the whole film by hand, for a total of over 35,000 drawings. The drawings were then assembled in a sequence with the Rotoscope technique to give movement to the frames. Each background scene has been entirely redrawn three times to set the film in present day New York City; far from the original story by Murnau (1922) based in Mittel-Europa (Transylvania and Germany), Andrea’s version sees New York and Syria as the two landscapes for the story. Mind-blowing!

NYsferatu questions the classical interpretation of the vampire, seen here as the prototypical outsider, while it addresses the many obstacles encountered by immigrants who often escape war and hardships at home only to face challenges such as economic exploitation, discrimination, and xenophobia in their new country.

While writing the music I enjoyed so much noticing quotes and contemporary references wisely placed throughout the screenplay,  across the thousands of movie frames… I felt spontaneously involved, in no time I was completely integrated into the story, as an immigrant myself. I chose to live in a modern Nosferatu world for 2 months (for the joy of my loved ones), realizing that I had no choice but to fully immerse myself into this universe.

I made it a point to hire certain musicians for this soundtrack: for the Syrian scenes I really wanted and specifically looked for performers who were born and lived in Syria – two among all the great players I worked with are Kinan Ednawi on Oud and the wonderful Bisan Toron on voice, who instantly understood the concept of the film. No additional instructions from me were required while recording, it was nothing short of magical to see these performers teleport themselves and whoever was listening to another world.

We presented NYsferatu – Symphony of a Century at the 12th Rome Film Festival a week ago, with live music (me on piano and Bisan Toron on vocals) over the projection of the film and it was an incredible experience.

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Simone Giuliani and Andrea Mastrovito at “NYsferatu – Symphony of a Century” European premiere at the 12th Rome Film Festival, November 3, 2017

Words are not enough to thank Andrea and his whole team and the talented Marco Marcassoli, and especially the amazing Micaela Martegani/More Art NY, producer of this once-in-a-lifetime project. Thank you Andrea and Micaela for letting me do my thing and trusting me blindly.

A big shout out to my magicians/musicians for this soundtrack:

Bisan Toron – Voice
Kinan Ednawi – Oud
Tareq Rantisi – Darbuka, Percussion
Nino Errera – Drums, Percussion
Kali Singh – Foley artist
Timothy Loo – Cello
Janine DuBois – Cello
Hyo-Jin Le – Violin
Danielle McKellen- Violin
Adeline Moreau – Viola
Robbie Angelucci – Electric Guitar
Pino Annarella – Acoustic Guitar
Simone Giuliani – Piano, Synths, Bass

And to engineers Dave Darlington and Jason Soda: thank you for letting me use your beautiful studios and for your super natural skills! (respectively Bass Hit Studios in New York and Palomino Sound in Los Angeles).

Here are some snippets from NYsferatu’s recording sessions in New York and Los Angeles and from the live show in Rome, enjoy!

Til next time,
Simone

 

 

 

 

Recording with Toshiko Akiyoshi & Lew Tabackin

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Hello everyone –

I’m very pleased to tell you that I recently recorded with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Lew Tabackin.

Toshiko and Lew are two incredible musicians and the most wonderful people. For those who are not familiar with their work, their big band is one of the most legendary in jazz, Toshiko is a 14-time Grammy nominee, they have written some wonderful music through the years and are still kicking! Highly recommended music.

The session was done at MSR Studios, recorded and mixed by Dave Darlington. Special thanks to Brad Leigh and Monday Michiru. Big ups to the musicians: an excellent group of string players, Lew Tabackin on flute, Paul Gill on double bass, Aaron Kimmel on drums, Toshiko Akiyoshi conducting and yours truly on keyboards.

Looking forward to more sessions like this one, this is why I love what I do…

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Monday Michiru is Brasilified!

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I am very happy to announce the release of Monday Michiru‘s latest project, ‘Brasilified‘.

Working with Monday has been a unique experience and I feel honored to be the producer of this record.

I’d like to tell you how wonderful it has been to work on this album, Monday is an incredible writer, singer, musician and artist all around and has a deep understanding of the meaning of working with others, making this record was making music at its best!

None of this could have happened without this super team: Masa Shimizu (guitars and bass), Itaiguara Brandão (guitars and bass), Mauricio Zottarelli (drums and percussion), Alex Sipiagin – who did a terrific job arranging the horns and playing trumpet and flugelhorn- , Seamus Blake on sax and master Dave Darlington at the mixing board.

I have written two songs for Brasilified, and here goes a special mention to my long-time and über-talented friend Zé Luis Oliveira, with whom I co-wrote ‘Things I Say’, one of the songs in the album. Zé Luis is a terrific musician, producer and composer who has worked with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Cazuza, Gal Costa and many other incredible artists.

Brasilified is released by Billboard Records and Celebrate (Parabens) – one of the songs from the album – is already climbing the Tokyo Hot 100 chart in Japan. Go Monday!

Here’s a very nice short film about the making of Brasilified. Check it out!