Recorded at The Village – Almost Famous: Soundtrack

AHThe intersection of rock n’ roll culture and Hollywood can make for a particularly dynamic pairing (and occasionally leave us with a killer soundtrack!) Cult favorite “Almost Famous” is one such film. The story – centering around a teenage writer for Rolling Stone – provided the perfect backdrop for an eclectic mix of songs. In fact – the Grammy award winning soundtrack has held up remarkably well in the almost (13!?) years since the films debut.

So how does The Village factor into the Cameron Crowe helmed film? Several of the songs featured on the award winning soundtrack were recorded right here at The Village! Specifically – America, Sparks, It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference, Feel Flows and Fever Dog were all recorded right here in the studios. Making the release even more special to us – Village staple Nancy Wilson (Heart) worked extensively on the films music (including the films main theme)!

If you have never seen the film – get your hands on a copy and check it out over the weekend! At the very least – crank the soundtrack to create the perfect nostalgic vibe!

 

Spoon: Live at Village Studios – Hosted by KCRW

SpoonHailing from Austin, Texas – Spoon have become widely recognized as legends of the indie rock scene. Fronted by Brit Daniel (also of Divine Fits) – the four piece band has lead a career to much critical acclaim. In fact – Metacritic named them the “top overall artist of the decade” in 2009 – due to the consistently high marks the band had received over the previous decade.

It was recently announced that the band were back in the studio working on the followup to 2010s “Transference” . In the meantime – we have this classic KCRW performance to tide us over. With a setlist drawing from three of the bands albums (Transference, Girls Can Tell and Gimme Fiction) the knockout performance captures the band in top form here at The Village Studios.

 

Recorded at The Village – Elmer Bernstein’s “Ghostbusters” Score

GhostWho ya gonna call?

If you were looking to do the film score for “Ghostbusters” – then the answer would have been Village Studios!

The score for the hit 1984 film “Ghostbusters” was recorded right here at The Village. Composed by the legendary Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape and To Kill A Mockingbird) and performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra – the score was able to perfectly capture the unique vibe of the film. Interestingly – it was the relatively unknown French instrument “ondes Martenot” that Bernstein utilized to capture the scores “eerie” vibe. The ondes Martenot is essentially the keyboard version of the theremin – an instrument best known for its use in The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”.

“…in a curious way, it was my experience in the Special Services that led to my interest in scoring films-I found myself doing music for propaganda films for the Army Air Force. I’d never done anything like that before and I really enjoyed it. And there was a radio show for which I wrote the dramatic music. After I got out of the service I thought, ‘What an interesting thing to do.'” – Elmer Bernstein on his journey to composing

As was common practice at the time – several themes of the score were shelved in favor of more radio-friendly hits from popular recording artists. Notably – the main theme was rejected in favor of the Ray Parker Jr. hit that is now most associated with the film. Unfortunately – this would condemn Bernstein’s original theme to a more obscure fate. However – the decision ultimately proved beneficial to both the films bottom line and its legacy. The Ray Parker Jr. theme was a massive success – being both nominated for “Best Original Song” and adding $20 million to the films box office take in the process.

When your making money like that – it sure ain’t hard to be afraid of no ghosts!

In the end – Bernstein was truly an artist. When listening to any of his scores – the music always seems to compliment the visual tone perfectly. As it turns out – that ideal was always close to his heart. When asked in an interview how he typically went about writing a film score – he offered the following comment. “When I look at the movie the first thing I ask myself is, “What is the music supposed to do here? If we’re going to have music here, what is it supposed to be doing?” Music is basically an emotional art. I’m asking the filmmaker to consult and tell me what is it that we want the audience to feel. That’s what music is really about.”

Get a feel for what Bernstein intended for the audience in the video below – It features Bernstein’s original theme set to video from both Ghostbusters 1 and 2 (which was not scored by Bernstein).

Recorded at The Village – Bob Dylan’s “Planet Waves”

Dylan On DylanBob Dylan recorded his 14th album – “Planet Waves” in Studio A during the fall of ’73. The album was recorded over the course of four marathon sessions held between the 5th and 14th of November. The sessions saw Dylan and The Band move through multiple takes of potential album cuts before arriving at what would become the final 11 track LP.

Interestingly – the version of “Forever Young” that closes out Side A was almost not included on the album. It was Producer/Engineer Rob Fraboni that convinced Dylan to include the take – which Rob described as being “so riveting, it was so powerful, so immediate, I couldn’t get over it”.

Why was Dylan originally opposed to using this take? According to Fraboni it was a result of a childhood friend!
“during the recording…[Dylan’s childhood friend] Lou Kemp and this girl came by and she had made a crack to him, ‘C’mon, Bob, what! Are you getting mushy in your old age?’ It was based on her comment that he wanted to leave [that version] off the record.” 

Though Dylan relented and put that version on the album – the back and forth in his mind would continue over what the best arrangement for the song would be. Speaking on the state of “Forever Young” during the albums third session on November 9th – Dylan told Fraboni – “I been carrying this song around in my head for five years and I never wrote it down and now I come to record it I just can’t decide how to do it.” As a result – during the final session on November 14th – another variation was recorded. It was this final attempt that would go on to open Side B of the album. As it stands – it is arguably one of the “best case” outcomes of indecisiveness in music history!

“Planet Waves” – complete with a hand drawn cover by Dylan himself – was released on January 17th 1974 after a last minute delay had seen the albums name changed from planned title “Ceremonies of the Horsemen”. The LP would go on to reach Number 1 on the US Billboard chart.

2013 National Braille Challenge

Untitled 3Each year the Braille Institute hosts the National Braille Challenge here in Los Angeles – The challenge is an academic competition for the best and brightest visually impaired students in the country. Broken into two stages – the contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with a fun-filled, but challenging, weekend of events.

This year – The Village Studios were proud to have been able to work with the Braille Institute by hosting the recording session for “Challenge Maybe” here at The Village. The track (a clever spin on the Carly Rae hit “Call Me Maybe”) was recorded by the talented Caitlin Hernandez and is featured in the “2013 Braille Challenge Highlights” video.

Everyone here at The Village would like to take a second to thank the Braille Institute for the immensely valuable work they do and the lives they impact each and every day. Please visit bit.ly/17bI8CP to learn more about this wonderful organization.

Check out the “2013 Braille Challenge Highlights” video below –

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