Brief primer: “Temp Music” is the practice of putting temporary music into a film’s soundtrack during the editing process before any original music is finished, or even earlier – before a composer is approached. It’s useful to the editor and director in getting a feeling for the pacing of a film, and can occasionally be used to show preview audiences, to see if they like the vibe of the soundtrack. The downside, though, is that often a film production will approach a composer, saying that “we made a film, we’ve edited it down, we have a temp track that we think works really well, and the preview audiences love it — but we can’t afford to license any of the tracks we’ve put in, so would you mind writing something very similar, but not so similar so that we don’t get sued?” Generally, then comes the budget, and the composer pouts / chuckles / smiles and nods.
I mention this briefly because, while writing music for my collaboration with the Freefall Dance Company, I made a little temp music of my own.
For quite a few weeks, I had the dancers make movements to a looped version of the harmonium intro from Jeff Buckley’s Lover, You Should’ve Come Over, which you can hear below.
I tried many times to sit down to write something, but nothing came — until the night before the music rehearsal.
Here, then, is my piece “Buckley Loops”, live recording from the dance show itself, featuring Shoko Nagai on accordion, myself on 6-string, and Ron Caswell on tuba.