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Jack Fessenden's Stray Bullets
20-Feb-2017 -

Lakeshore Records has released the score for Stray Bullets, with music by Writer/Director/Composer Jack Fessenden.

In upstate New York, two teenage boys are tasked with cleaning out their father’s old mobile home on an abandoned property, but the boys are in for a surprise when they discover three crooks on the run have taken refuge in the trailer.

Note From Writer/Director/Composer Jack Fessenden
Even after Stray Bullets picture-locked, my biggest creative challenge still lay ahead: composing the score. I had used pieces by Cliff Martinez, Brian Eno, and Philip Glass, among others, as temporary music in my edit to help myself understand what mood I was hoping to evoke with the score I would go on to write.

I worked with Christian Noll, a fellow musician and friend from school, to help get started with developing chord progressions and sounds for the music, and soon felt confident enough to continue on my own and compose the entire feature film's worth of tracks. We recorded in only 4 days, inviting friends from upstate to come down to play bass, cello, and violin. As a Spurlock, my co-star in the film, and his younger brother Cyrus made up our string section, and Mark Lerner of Phoenicia, NY offered a unique bass tone that occurs throughout the score. I played most of the other instruments, drums, keyboards and guitar, expanding upon previous ideas and coming up with totally new ones in the moment.

I like to enter the studio with a solid understanding of what I needed and openness to working spontaneously. I had made crude recordings of several of the main pieces with different parts and instrumentations mapped out, but other themes were less developed, and were discovered and refined in the studio. Never have I handed a musician a sheet of notation. I like to talk with collaborators and get them on the same page and then see what they have to offer, how they respond to my direction. Improvisation, especially with a largely atmospheric and ambient score such as this, is how we found the most memorable sounds. I believe it is in those last minute adjustments and additions that the music can really come into its own.

We mixed the music right there in the studio, Underground Audio on 3rd street next to Hells Angels, and were out of there in the afternoon of the 5th day. Sometimes I myself before entering into an ordeal like this, fearing that I hadn't done enough to prepare, but by surrounding myself with collaborators, meticulously articulating my vision to them and letting them make of it what they will, I was able to shape the material and expand my original themes into the moody score I was looking for.





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