Sandman - The Doll's House (blg3-bk10)

For the benefit of anyone stumbling onto this or subsequent posts for the first time -

Sandman is a series of 75 comics written by Neil Gaiman. There are 10 volume's/collections/story arcs and I am composing original music to them.

Currently I'm uploading them to Soundcloud and youtube upon completion, and then moving them to for archival/sustained availablity. As such some soundcloud links may be dead when this is read - if so, check for the current location..

If I can find a better means of distribution I'll utilize it, but for now it's the best I can do.


The Dolls House, Book Two of The Doll's House

I had a good but terrible idea to do The Dolls House entirely as a punk-rock record. Good but terrible? Let me explain: One of the great things about working with a virtual orchestra is that you don't have to do any mixing. There are some minor adjustments to levels which you usually work out as your composing but that's about it. Doing a punk-rock record requires mixing. Mixing is hard time intensive work. It's an art form onto itself and literally it takes as much time as composing and recording. I admire the craft but it's really not something I'm really good at, nor something I want to put a large amount of time into. (and unfortunately that often shows in my work.)

It was a good idea - The Doll's House is very much centered around the character of Rose and she's a rebelleous kid growing up. But I decided to go in another direction to avoid the pitfals of having to mix. I made a creative desicion to work around a technical limitation.

So then I do "Desire of the Endless" and I like it. It's sort of tongue in cheek and it suits the character. But it's not really orchestral based..

Next I start working on the Dream Sequence that is "We've Arrived".. I get the introduction slipping into sleep bit done and then I get stuck. The orchestral stuff isn't working. I'm working around the Imperfect hosts stuff.. (it's our introduction to the dreaming and I figure it makes sense just use it as a theme.) .. and it' just not working.. so I put it aside and start working on a "Version 2".

What does this sound like? Rose's Hair.

What does this sound like? Rose's Hair.

What does this sound like? f**k.

She's riding in a car. It makes sense that a radio would be on.

It's HER dream - it makes sense that she would dream in the music she listens to.

I just happened to listen to a Hives record for the first time and liked it.

I already know the direction I'm going with "Moving In".. and it lends itself to a bit more of a pop oriented approach.

It WOULD help distinguish The Doll's House from Preludes and Nocturnes. (which is pretty high on my list of priorities)

So I didn't go punk persay, but I did go "what might this girl listen to?"

What is this girl's soundtrack to the events on the page?

And then there was Christopher Nolan's film Inception. If you remember one of the devices of that movie was to cut out sections of story to give it that dream like "I don't know how I got here, but I'm going with it" feel. I stole that idea for We've Arroved in that I jumped between songs with the page turns.

And then I made it sound like it was coming from another room.. and here's where I learned something - I needed something to put over the pop songs to make it sound more like a background.. a bit that sounded like the page and not nessisarily what was going on in the page.. I decided to go with the intro "falling into dream" motif.. and at some point I realized that THAT is Rose's character. With everything from Preludes and Nocturnes I sort of aimed at creating music that described the character's facade or what was happening in the story.. or their actions - with this bit for Rose I realized that I was describing her state of mind. I think it works really well. It helps to build a connection to the character from the viewer/listener that music that describes the plot just doesn't do. It will be interesting to see how this affects my composing for the rest of The Doll's House, and for the rest of the project in general.

On the book itself - The Doll's House has one of my favorite scenes in the whole series and one of my first exposures to what Comics can do as a medium that other art forms can't: The dream sequence. Later I'd read From Hell and some other Alan Moore stuff that so excellently uses the format to the story's advantage. But the act of turning the story sideways into sleep and then snapping it back into wakefulness with the "They were looking at me" line. Fantastic stuff.

Another observation after reading the story over and over was how lost the Rose character looks. The drawings setup her story arc for the remaining story in a very subtle way. Kinda awesome.

Download The Doll's House tracks here:

And download Preludes and Nocturnes here:

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