PHABRIK Magazine


Art, Music + Travel

Living the Better Life

By Avery Kremer

Navigating the Electronic Music World with Better Living DJ’s Music has always been a key indicator of the characteristics that define a decade. The 60’s saw The Beatles pave the way for popular culture and the 90’s saw Nirvana lead the underground grunge community to mainstream praise. It’s now 2015 and like clockwork, music is showing its cultural flags. It’s the electronic music decade. And house music, the genre’s originator, is back in full force. Here, 4/4 beats and bass propelled grooves fill the musical landscape. Pair these constructed tones with house music’s broad drops, melding rhythmical patterns and layered vocals and the result is contemporary electronic music. So where does Edmonton-based DJ and production duo, Better Living DJ’s, fit into this electronic music declaration? Well to start, the resumes of members Kurtis Schultz and Keith Walton read like a how-to book for an aspiring DJ-producer. Their strength as a pair is easily heard in their most recent release, the EP "Love Alive" from Vancouver-based record label Filter Records. The track, featuring vocals by Canadian singer Julie Adams, is bound for international attention if the strong buzz surrounding its release is any indication. As part of their 2015 plan, Filter Records will also release the original production "Game Tight," which features a remix by John Glassey. Add the March 2015 launch of the duo’s EP "Take Me Higher" that features another performance by vocalist Adams, and Better Living DJ’s are prepped for expansion. "2015 will really define a new direction for us," said Walton. Loving The Underground They’ve had their sights set on this moment since their 2012 inaugural year, one that found both men out of typical employment after they chose to pursue music full time in lieu of "working for the man." Both Schultz and Walton quit their nine-to-fives and immersed themselves in the world of music production. At the duo’s initial encounter at a friend’s rooftop party, a partnership blossomed instantaneously. Schultz explained, "Monday morning we were in the studio working on our first track. Since then, we’ve been working together continuously." Schultz’s history as a drummer naturally brought out the four-beat rhythms necessary for a pursuit in house music production. His previous producing partner had moved to L.A., leaving an opening that Walton quickly embraced. Walton’s entrance solidified the pair’s direction as house music producers. "As soon as we got together, it was obvious that house music was what we were going to be making," Schultz said. "It just felt natural." Easily falling into the rhythm of the genre, Schultz elaborated on the skills he acquired from his drumming background. Walton’s admiration for the music was formed on the dance floors of early underground house shows. He remembered, "I felt like every DJ I saw had a different message. After, I realized I had a message of my own and wanted to take people on a musical journey." Their backgrounds brought the contrasting dynamics into their production procedure and were a necessary component in the music that began to flow from their studio sessions. "Keith and I have strengths in different areas musically," Schultz said, "so it’s been great to help each other along the way. We each bring something unique to the table." Not to be overshadowed by her male collaborators, Julie Adams provided the powerful vocal touches that drive many of Better Living DJ’s productions. She was an essential part of the track’s overall direction. Recalled Walton, "Julie is one of the most talented vocalists we’ve ever encountered. After listening to her perform with her band Unwed Mothers, of which Kurtis is also the drummer, it seemed inevitable that we would collaborate in the house music realm." Outside of the studio, weekly residencies and continuous show bookings keep their schedules full and serve as a platform to test their personally-produced material. "There’s nothing better than playing out your own songs to a responsive crowd," Schultz expressed. "It changes what DJing is, because you’re not just playing someone else’s tunes anymore; it becomes a performance." It is these performances that both men consider to be their artist outlets. Walton explains, "It’s raw and poetic. It’s a form of communicating without ink." Like the musical heroes that shaped the decades before them, house music artists, including Better Living DJ’s, are driving this generation’s musical direction. As awareness for the genre grows and electronic music tracks are accepted into rotation on mainstream radio stations, these two guys are standing in the perfect position to take this house music trend to new heights. There are new rules and formulas for success as fresh players emerge to elevate the entire game. But it’s a game that these two fellas sure know how to play! Now that sounds like a better-lived life to me. Good luck guys—house music anxiously awaits your next production.

Pretty Young Things

By Danielle Fuechtmann

An artist's exploration of youth + beauty Beauty and fashion can feel like a fleeting thing, escaping from the grasp of your fingers as you try to catch on. Artist Fiona Maclean has been exploring this feeling, offering her interpretation of youth and sexuality in her vibrant paintings. A life long artist, Maclean was originally from New Zealand and is now based in Australia. Maclean describes her art as an attempt to capture something intangible, using the canvas and paint to immortalize the image and keep it young forever. Influenced by music, the persona of the subject, or even her own sentiments, her art is dynamic and focuses the viewer on an emotional experience. Looking back, moving forward Growing up, she loved creating art and had a great fondness for books and images, using drawing as a doorway to a dimension of imagination and otherworldliness. This element of fantasy is still alive in her art today, but now accompanies her technical accomplishments gained from her studies at art school. Maclean pursued an artistic career early, painting large-scale paintings of famous people in her parents' living room as a teenager. She transitioned from living room portraiture to honing her skills as a fashion illustrator, contacting magazines and working for free, getting featured in local fashion magazines. Maclean received recognition from several international fashion illustration publications including Great Big Book of Fashion Illustration and Cutting Edge Fashion Illustration. She decided to concentrate more on painting and fine art and started attending the Parsons School of Art (The New School) in New York City in 2005. Though her studies were interrupted by a family tragedy and her art career put on hold for a couple years, she completed two Artist Residencies in Painting and Illustration at the New York's School of Visual Arts in 2010, thus allowing her to take a new direction in her career. In the last few years, Maclean has been catching the attention of the art community with her paintings, helping her gain more recognition as an artist. Currently, she is combining her artistic explorations with her travels, producing such work as her Barcelona-inspired La Chica de El Born series. Next, Maclean plans to pursue some new ideas for projects, reintroduce fashion illustration and experimenting more with large-scale paintings and illustrations. She hopes to combine her artwork with collaborations with the fashion houses and music industry that provide so much inspiration to her.

Art from the Heart

By Tracey Ellis

  Hidden away in a subtle corner of South Florida lives an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve. So, it is only fitting that he is known for his creative artwork featuring hearts. Meet Salvatore Principe: an artist extraordinaire who is a creator, sculptor and painter, as well as an entrepreneur, wine label designer, fashion designer, home décor designer—and much more.   Abstract, modern designs of the ever-lasting symbol of love are dotted around Salvatore’s studio in every colour, shade and hue. How many hearts can one man paint? The answer is infinite when each one is created with sentiment and spirit, each stemming from the inner depths of the artist’s personal journey of heart-rending as well as heart breaking experiences. Salvatore’s Signature Heart Collection began as a tribute to his mother, whom he lost to cancer. “She had such a big heart, and was my biggest support system. I wanted her to live on through my art, through my heart,” he described. His dream to “paint the world with love” began with hearts painted freehand on canvas in natural, muted tones. Soon, he started experimenting with colours and shades, and backgrounds and textures, giving each heart its own distinct style and impression. Though each heart Salvatore paints is different—some with a thin outline and bold colours, others that are more curvaceous and abstract, washed down with watery, pastel hues, and still others with heart-warming, simple sentiments, such as ‘Live Through Love’—they are all imbued with the same notion: that we all have a heart, and each is shown in unique ways. Salvatore’s Heart Collection was an instant success, attracting buyers across the world, including celebrities and art collectors. At auctions, his original pieces have accumulated into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. More than just a beautiful piece of art, these “heartworks” touched many people on a deeper level. This inspires Salvatore to spread his ideals of love and positive energy in everything he does. Salvatore’s first favourite artist was Robert Rauschenburg, the American painter known for working with non-traditional materials who helped promote the pop art movement. Other artists whose influences trickled into Salvatore’s work include Jasper Johns, de Kooning, and Franz Klein. Even before he began his trademark Heart Collection, these artists helped shape Salvatore’s inclination to create abstracts and three-dimensional art. “I get overwhelmed if I’m in a corner with few materials. I need to have a whole play land of them: papers, metals, wood, wire, rope, small objects, anything. I built a sculpture table where there is a constant flow of random objects I’ve collected to use in my art,” explained Salvatore on his ‘anything goes’ attitude with artistic materials. Without any formal training, Salvatore’s art career began untraditionally in the dark recesses of iconic Studio 54 in New York City, when he was only 19. Working around the rich and famous, he mingled with some of the most creative icons of our time, artists including Mick Jagger, Calvin Klein, Valentino Garavani, and Andy Warhol. Salvatore described those days as a “party in an adult candy store.” Being around famous people who had no limitations made him realise that art is also limitless. Everything he saw in the club was art in some form: pliable and interesting, all with a potential to be transformed into something creative and expressive. Soon, his visionary traits and ambition led him to a position of a light technician at the club, allowing him to tap into his creative energies with the aid of illumination. “Lighting up the dance floor in spectacular ways fills up the soul,” he said. Watching people dance and move with the music and light every night inspired him to create illuminated light sculptures on the dance floor by experimenting with filter gels and projectors. “Lighting is everything,” he explained, “You can illuminate anything with light and bring it to life. Lighting equals life.” This luminary inspiration has stayed with him today in his studio loft, an artist’s haven of painted canvases, sculptures, and eclectic furniture, all magically lit up to create a groovy lounge vibe, like somewhere you would find in the trendy New York or Paris, but very discreet and by invitation only. Each month, Salvatore hosts a social gathering in his loft for friends and clients to come view his latest work while enjoying wine and canapés. He loves engaging with people, interacting with them in a relaxed atmosphere, and often paints or creates art during his socializing. Through these events, Salvatore combines his latest venture, wine, with his art in the most appealing way. “Wine is an art form,” he remarked, “it activates imagination, spurs conversation, and brings people together.” Always the entrepreneur, he explained that he decided to try printing out some of his artwork on labels and attaching them to wine bottles just to see people’s reactions. It worked. Prestige Wine Group wanted his art and name attached to their wine imported from California, Italy, New Zealand, and Argentina. They created a special edition wine collection sold in various supermarkets across the United States that display Salvatore’s Heart Collection on the labels, making the bottles themselves works of art. It has been an impressive artistic evolution for someone who initially struggled to make a start in New York City. Nightclub life eventually took its toll on Salvatore, and he longed for a change to something more fulfilling. He wanted to contribute positively to the world, and to do this, he felt he had to reinvent himself. “I had this overwhelming need to create,” he described, “to escape this party life that was bringing me down.” One sleepless night, Salvatore decided it was the time to make a change. “I lay in a very still place and asked for help and guidance. Whatever it is I choose, I want to love it. I want to be an artist,” he recounted. In that moment, Salvatore felt some anxiety because he didn’t know what kind of artist he wanted to be. He remembered, “A voice inside told me to relax; it will come. Everything in front of your eyes that you can see is material you can create with, there is no limitation. I opened an imaginary box in my mind, using anything I could see to create. That was thirty years ago, since then I have been creating nonstop.” Salvatore took to the city streets in New York for inspiration and raw materials, collecting items from the trash and transforming them into artistic sculptures. Using paints and glosses, he turned cardboard into abstract metallic-like sculptures that reflected the grit of the city fused with its cosmopolitan beauty. This creative recycling led him on the path to artistic success. New York’s streets and buses became his mobile gallery. He took large and bulky sculptures on the bus with him that caused people to take notice and interest. “I’d have a six foot sculpture next to me on the bus and people would talk to me. I’d talk back to them as if I was delivering it somewhere. I would look for office buildings and various places where I thought I could display my art,” he related. This clever form of subtle self-promotion led him to Bergdorf Goodman, Manhattan’s most prominent department store, to present a proposal to dress their windows. He won a three week contract, which propelled his career to other department stores and led to exhibits with shops such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany Jewellers. “You have to make your own trail if your art can’t be in a great gallery to sell. You need to know how to sell it. Learning a little bit about business enabled me to be more enterprising,” he observed. Salvatore’s self-made trail led to his aunt’s in South Florida, a place to reflect after his mother’s death in the early nineties. “I saw there was an opportunity to do what I do in more space,” Salvadore recalled, “It was easier and cheaper there. The recession was at its height in New York, I had just lost my mom, what was I going to do?” Trading the harsh winters of New York for Florida sunshine, Salvatore fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened his own gallery, the Heart of Delray, in the trendy beach town south of West Palm Beach. Not only an art gallery, the Heart of Delray was also his studio and later, a local hangout for the creative and artsy crowd that lived there. “I created a gallery that brought people together. I would lure people in with music, food and wine, giving them an experience of the artist first hand,” Salvatore described. Unlike the quiet, stuffy galleries in big cities, his was an open, welcoming venue for people to browse, drink wine, socialize, and, most uniquely, meet the artist himself and watch him at work. The Heart of Delray contributed to the launch of the creative arts district in Delray with its progressive approach. After nine years, Salvatore moved his gallery to the Pineapple District, where his Signature Hearts Collection became a symbol of the town. He continued there for three years before moving closer to Boca Raton. Today, his studio is far more understated. Off the beaten path with no large signage out front, it would be difficult to surmise that the artist’s studio existed in the industrial area of town, nestled between Boca Raton and Delray. However, Salvatore prefers it that way. As an established artist with a revered, celebrity clientele, his work is sold by reputation and word of mouth. His art is exhibited in window displays of renowned department stores across Florida, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. Further, Salvatore has merged fashion with art to create his own clothing line, Heartfelt. Using models as his canvas, it is creative venture in which his art is printed directly onto clothing, resulting in chic, wearable and fashionable pieces. A collaboration with Katherine Kin of Marc Jacobs, the Heartfelt clothing line is a colourful mix of eighties funk and retro pieces such as strapless dresses, crop tops and miniskirts. Salvatore’s next step is uncertain, but flooded with potential collaborations and endless visionary ideas. He has his eyes on textile designs next. He mused, “I see a furniture line, more fashion, candles, perfume, stationary, bedding, home —the options are endless to combine with my art.” As an artist who is never static and an opportunist who has a constant desire to keep reinventing himself, Salvatore’s not likely to stay still for long. But wherever his path leads next, hearts are sure to follow.

An Invitation into the Fashion + Graphic Design of Jean Paul Gaultier

By João Paulo Nunes

In the intimate spaces of the Fashion Space Gallery, a short walk away from Oxford Circus in central London, the exhibition ‘Jean Paul Gaultier: Be My Guest’ is on display. This exhibit is the first presentation to ever feature the French couturier’s graphic design work. Considerably smaller in scale than ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the sidewalk to the catwalk’ being shown a few miles east at the much larger Barbican Art Gallery, this compact exhibition features approximately sixty examples of printed invitations to runway shows and parties, as well as advertising images conceived by Gaultier himself. It is a rare opportunity to have a glimpse into the creative mind of one of the most famous and prolific fashion designers in history. Items on display include a crudely designed invitation to the presentation of his first women’s ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 1977, graphics produced in the late eighties influenced by Russian Constructivism and Dadaism, photographs used in the advertising campaign for his women’s and men’s collections for Spring/Summer 1989, and promotional imagery for his iconic ‘Tribute to Frida Kahlo’ collection for Spring/Summer 1998.

Exclusive Weekend in Paris

By Angela Jelicic

A unique and interactive experience for you to get close to independent filmmakers not only to enjoy their aspiring work but to get up front and personal with them and industry professionals. Make Paris your first stop for the European Independent Film Festival . The 7th Annual event is set to launch April 1 – 3, 2011. This year’s line up has some amazing offerings for you such as Damian Nenow’s, “Paths of Hate”, a powerful short animated film about the demons that slumber deep in the human soul and have the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rag,” states the press info or the delightful, “Scottish Bob”, by Director Darren McFarlane, an entry competing in the new ECU category of Non-European Short Films. President and Founder of ECU, Scott Hillier declares that, “The European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU) has established itself as a fantastic arena for independent filmmakers from around the world to screen their films to large audiences made up of a cinema-loving public who are seeking alternatives to the offerings of major studios, as well as to agents, talent scouts, production company representatives, distributors and established producers looking for new projects and raw talent. Of course several hundred independent filmmakers from around the world will be in Paris to participate in the ÉCU.” Hillier founded the prestigious event in 2006 as “Europe’s answer to the Sundance Festival.” Hillier, hailing originally from Australia, has a string of professional credits in his long career in the film industry, and most formidably his work as director of photography on the Academy Award winning documentary, “Twin Towers”. The exciting part for festival goers in addition to seeing some of the most cutting edge work is the chance to participate in workshops, screenwriting labs and discussion panels. Unlike the Academy Awards and other high end functions, ECU allows attendees to get up front and personal with filmmakers. “I thought it was really great the way it started, cramming all the directors onto a boat and forcing us all to meet each other. So often at festivals you don’t really do that, by the last day you sort of know people but here it is different,” comments Josephine Mackerras, director of “Diva”. “I just thought that was brilliant. I’ve met a lot of people who are from other places in the’s sort of a global community...I’d highly recommend this festival!” The 2011 Official Selection will “showcase the very best independent films from around the world,” says Eva Bearryman, assistant English language editor. All submissions will compete in 12 categories including features, shorts, documentaries, animation, music videos and experimental films. “While ÉCU’s goal is to bring worldwide attention to European independent filmmakers, there are also four foreign categories open to independent filmmakers from the Americas, Africa and Asia,” says Hillier. One lucky winner will walk away acclaimed as Europe’s Best Independent Film. The event will be held at Cinema 7 Parnassiens, a cultural extravaganza in the heart of Paris. A fantastic location in a beautiful city, in spring, at a world renowned festival! Hope you can make it for a truly extraordinary experience. You can check out submissions at or visit the festival site at

The Works Art & Design Festival

The outdoor temporary arts festival is a relatively new trend in the presentation of art across Canada, but it’s not a new concept. Since 1986, The Works International Visual Arts Society has produced The Works Art & Design Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, offering over 250 exhibits, performances, and special events to the public, and attracting artists and patrons from around the world. At the start of every summer, The Works boosts the energy and imagination of downtown Edmonton by showcasing cutting-edge design, fashion, media, art and interactive installations alongside traditional visual arts such as glass, painting, drawing and photography. Artwork can be found in hotel lobbies, commercial spaces, office towers and public buildings, as well as larger than life installations outdoors on Sir Winston Churchill Square. The Works also partners with local galleries and interdisciplinary arts presenters to bring focus to the city’s year round art scene at a time when over 300,000 patrons from all walks of life are excited about art and design.  Here are the top 5 reasons that you should visit The Works this summer: It’s all there: the artwork ranges from traditional to interactive and immersive. The Works offers culturally diverse programming including contemporary indigenous artists in The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist program. The Works’ main festival site has a multidisciplinary Street Stage, with ten hours of programming every day and an all ages licenced patio to sit and enjoy a variety of performances in between exhibits. Site #1 also features a market of Canadian made arts and crafts, culinary offerings from local restaurants and food trucks, and opportunities to create artworks for new and experienced artists of all ages. You will learn something: The Works integrates Education into everything it does, from the trained exhibit attendants and tour guides offering insights, to the artwork on display, to the opportunities to try your hand at a new arts technique. Each Spring, students and emerging artists from across Canada compete to participate in the Works to Work Program, one of the Enbridge art internships offered at The Works. In Works to Work, students learn the practical and theoretical aspects of arts presentation and administration, and then return the following summer to learn more and participate in teaching new recruits. This is the team that works alongside the presenting artists to bring the festival to life every June. It fits with your life and vacation plans: The Works is thirteen full days of free outdoor presentations and entertainment. All of the exhibits are on display for at least this length of time, with many holdover exhibits extended through the summer! With a bit of planning, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see them all. It’s great for creatives: whether you are a professional designer, an emerging artist starting a studio practice, or a hobbyist looking for a new project, you can take advantage of meet the artist opportunities, volunteer with artists on site, see something new, and meet with other creative visitors to inspire your own work. The Works is the perfect opportunity to get out of the studio and collaborate with the public as a presenter, test out an idea, or make connections with people in your own and neighbouring disciplines. Did we mention it’s totally free?  The Works runs a pay what you can donation program to support education programs and the continued accessible presentation of art and design in public. You’ll find opportunities to donate at exhibits with interpretive attendants, as well as on the main festival site, and no one is turned away from the public stage presentations, indoor or outdoor performances, exhibits, and even scheduled tours. With that, there’s almost no reason not to go, so plan ahead and add Edmonton and The Works to your summer festival schedule.

Artist Profile: Hayley Wright

By Danielle S. Fuechtmann

 Twenty-four year old Hayley Wright has a unique goal: to bring back the frequently ignored and forgotten art of fashion illustration. Trained in fine arts at the University of British Columbia and holding a diploma in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising from Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design, she’s doing a stunning job. A clear vision is apparent from her artwork; her signature use of ink and watercolours tie her range of work together. Hayley’s fashion illustration strikes a charming balance between capturing detail and concept, and expressing fluid movement and emotion. The subjects of Hayley’s artwork seem like they would be the charismatic cool girls working the room; with cheeky pouting faces and impeccable outfits, they ooze confidence from the paper. As she builds a stunning portfolio, selling prints and other interpretations of her art online on Society6 and independently as Paper & Ink Art, Hayley is becoming increasingly more popular. A simultaneous, albeit small, renaissance of fashion illustration spurred on by independent, art-friendly magazines and rising popularity of illustrators like Danielle Meder is helping to make fashion illustration a household word again. Artwork with personality, like Hayley’s, offers a beautiful alternative to static photography—sacrificing some accuracy captures the emotional essence of their subject. And isn’t art, and fashion, about feeling?  

Music in Film

By Stacey Mullings

  Watching the bustling intensity of the film award season as it came to a close with the Oscars on March 2nd left me in a reflective state. The films that stick out in my mind as gripping and moving have always incorporated strong, standout scores to support the storytelling process and impact the audience’s senses, heightening the experience. Regardless of the genre, a well-crafted, cohesive film score brings deeper dimension and feeling to each scene, and gives the audience a fuller understanding of the tone of the film. Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams, James Newton Howard and James Horner are a few of the big names that come to mind when we talk about film music composers. A common theme we find amongst these composers is the great breadth and diverse involvement they’ve had with music over the course of their careers. Many of “The Greats” are multi-instrumentalists, producers, orchestrators or conductors, and often more than one. They’ve had the opportunity to experience music in various ways: listening, creating and arranging. This profound understanding of music and exposure to it in different forums is paramount to composing moving music that will coalesce with a scene. Think of the ominous and thunderous nature of “The Imperial March” in Star Wars. If John Williams was tasked to compose a piece of music to strike fear in the hearts of men (and aliens), I’d say he certainly succeeded. Three soundtracks that find their way into my rotation frequently are Amélie, Pan’s Labyrinth, and About a Boy. Amélie There is much to love about Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 release, Amélie. The sweetness of this film lies in the depiction of life in the Montmartre arrondissement, Amélie’s imaginative and whimsical nature, and of course, the fantastical compositions of Yann Tiersen. The Amélie soundtrack is comprised of accordion and piano rich instrumental pieces that capture the eccentricity and loneliness that is Amélie Poulain. The closing scene of this film, which is one of my favourites, is a great example of music and imagery working in tandem to convey a feeling. We see Amélie and Nino, two endearing misfits, riding through the streets of Paris, carefree and totally in love to “La Valse D’ Amélie.” For the viewer, there is feeling of relief when Amélie and Nino finally get together. Amélie’s ultimate display of courage to let love into her life is a triumph for her that is fervently felt by the audience. “La Valse D’ Amélie,” with its playful yet romantic accordion melody, contributes to these emotions of triumph and freedom, not only for Amélie and Nino, but also for many of the film’s characters that have overcome hurdles of their own. It is actually somewhat reminiscent of “J’y Suis Jamais Allé,” which plays during the opening scene. This lighthearted but sassy piece is immediately switched to “La Dispute,” a sad, foreboding piano instrumental for the opening credits. In this way, we are introduced to the multi-dimensional nature of the film within the first five minutes. In 2013 it was announced that Amélie will be made into a Broadway musical. However, Tiersen’s music will not feature in the adaptation. Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in a tumultuous post-Civil War Spain and spirals between a dark, bleak reality and an even darker world of fantasy. There are a multitude of happenings and moods conjured up by this tale: the malevolence that marks this era, the cruelty and callus of Captain Vidal, and the spirit and bravery of the rebels and little Ofelia. Javier Navarette, who also composed the score for Guillermo del Toro’s earlier film The Devil’s Backbone, creates a haunting yet magical musical backdrop for the film. Writing a score to mirror a film with this much juxtaposition is likely no easy feat. There is the contrast between the innocence and determination of young Ofelia and her sinister but equally driven stepfather Captain Vidal. There is also this fantastical dark fairytale imagery, coupled with the captain’s macabre killings. Navarette’s score achieves this balance between the wonderful and the sad by employing a wide range of stringed instruments and the chilling hum in the lullaby “Long, Long Time Ago,” probably the most recognizable piece on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack. Through the storyline and graphic imagery, the film naturally evokes a lot of emotion from the audience. I recall leaving the movie theater completely awestruck. Years later, listening to just a few seconds of any track on the soundtrack instantly brings into mind the same harrowing emotions and images as if I had just seen it. About a Boy The UK’s Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, had already experience a great deal of success prior to scoring the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy. The original sound of his 2000 album The Hour of Bewilderbeast, an eclectic collection of indie, folk and experimental songs, garnered Gough a lot of attention and an expanding fan base, which included directors and brothers Chris and Paul Weitz. About a Boy centers around the development of a friendship between a very unlikely pair: Will, a seemingly self-absorbed and emotionally detached man who lives a life of leisure as he collects royalties from a popular song his father wrote, and Marcus, a quirky delight of a boy who contends with bullies at school and copes with a depressed mother at home. While there is a strong comedic presence in the film, there is also an awareness of the seriousness of the issues that Will, Marcus and his mother Fiona are facing. Each of the characters has this lovable peculiarity and it was important for the accompanying music to reflect this. Badly Drawn Boy’s score captures the beauty and friction involved in the burgeoning friendship, off center characters and events. The soundtrack is a mixture of dreamy instrumentals and songs that are more similar to the composer’s style found in his other works that feature his modest husky vocals. One of the most notable scenes is when Marcus’ mother Fiona returns home from the hospital after a suicide attempt. Observing her first interaction with her son after the tragedy and seeing her faced with readjusting to life, “A Minor Incident” plays and as the only real audio in the scene, is absolutely touching. You can just feel the fear and suffering; the lyrical content is spot on. There’s nothing I could say To make you try to feel ok And nothing you could do To stop me feeling the way I do And if the chance should happen That I never see you agai Just remember that I’ll always love you —“A Minor Incident,” first verse, by Badly Drawn Boy A good film score will provide accompaniment and an enjoyable background. Great and unforgettable scores intensify tone, emotion and imagery, as well as illuminate each scene’s narrative. Those are the ones that stick with you long after the ending credits have rolled off screen.

©2013 PHABRIK Magazine