Tarkovsky, aural illusions, and cultivating transcendent spaces.
“The Zone” from Tarkovsky’s 1979 masterpiece Stalker remains one of the most compelling physical and mental spaces in cinema. Its strength may lie in its vagueness—a meteorite, or perhaps something else, landed there decades ago, and the Zone is now abandoned and forbidden. Strange things tend to happen there, and it’d be extremely dangerous to go in without a Stalker, who cautiously guides seekers of the Zone through its reaches toward the Room, where one’s deepest desires may be granted. Whatever the Zone is, it seems to have a strong effect on anybody who encounters it, though nobody seems to fully understand its power.
Peter Burr’s Special Effect takes direct inspiration from Stalker, with Burr commissioning a group of contemporary animators and video artists—including Brandon Blommaert, Jacob Ciocci, Billy Grant, Brenna Murphy, Yoshi Sodeoka, and Ola Vasiljeva—to create short pieces exploring the Zone. The project took the form of a live show in which Peter acted as the host, guiding the audience through the Zone, punctuated by commissioned animations, as well as that of a single channel film, composed primarily of Peter’s own work plus a few of the commissions. Peter asked me to compose music for his portion of the project, in which three warped digital characters wander through a lush landscape of overgrown, abandoned locations shot in upstate New York. I was already started on my own journey through the Zone when Peter approached me, so naturally I was thrilled to be given a reason to delve further. Lucky Dragons also composed a portion of the music, which ended up being used exclusively in the live show portion of Special Effect.
Years later, we’ve finally released the complete soundtrack to Special Effect as a split LP between Seabat and Lucky Dragons. I got together with Peter Burr, Luke Fischbeck of Lucky Dragons, and my Seabat collaborator Forest Christenson to talk about Special Effect and what it was like composing music exploring our own interpretations of the Zone.[ Read More ]