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Mar 282010

On October 18th, 2009, seven of us got together and created a new soundtrack to the 1931 film Dracula, directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Legosi.  This is one of my favorite episodes to date.  The orchestration is extremely lush, and the performers were especially good at knowing when and what to play.

Before the show, we paired a performer with a character in the film and had that performer come up with a character theme.  Ken Soper on keyboard provided the theme for Dracula, for example.  Things really started to get interesting when the characters interacted with each other, and the performers had to find ways to mix the themes together.  Aside from coming up with some themes in advance, the show was completely improvised.

You can listen to this episode in sync with the film (and I’ll tell you how in the podcast intro) or you can just listen without the visuals.  If you can get a copy of the film (and the version we use is the 2004 Universal Legacy collection dvd) I highly recommend you use it.  But if you can’t get the film, don’t let that stop you from listening to the show on it’s own.  The improv still works great by itself.

Dracula Improv features Ken Soper on keys and Theremin; Jamison Sevits on Fender Rhodes; Craig Schenker on saxophone and flute; Charlie Rauh on electric guitar; Cody Bottoms on percussion; Melody Holt on musical saw, autoharp, and Theremin; and myself on a circuit-bent Cool Keys keyboard, musical saw, autoharp, and wind chimes. We had a small audience that also participate by making screams, etc.  They were Mara Bissel, Amanda Tucker, Pimpdaddysupreme, and Deklan.  I did the live mixing and post-production.  Enjoy.

Dec 132009

Chaos surrounded me. On November 8th, I stood in my basement, surveying the visual cacophony of cables, music gear, and impatient faces staring at me to get my shit together. We were all set to record the first podcast of the new version of ~ORE~, and we were already one hour behind schedule. We couldn’t find enough headphone adapters, and I didn’t have enough outputs on my headphone amplifiers to send everybody the live feed. On top of that, a near-record of 10 musicians answered the call to be on this show, and I wasn’t prepared for so many.

Luckily, we worked it all out. We divided the episode into segments and let a smaller group perform on each segment. This approach ended up working out splendidly as it let things breath and brought new timbres throughout the show. There’s more variety here than any show we’ve ever done. It also serves as a perfect introduction to what we do here on Theatre Intangible as so many of the players are series regulars.  You might call this an all-star episode.

The 2nd Annual Halloween Extravaganza explores the topic of haunted houses. In preparation we recorded hours of interviews with haunted house creators, attendees, and even live 3d binaural walkthroughs of the haunted houses. (The setup was two SM58 microphones embedded in the head of a Styrofoam skull, appropriately enough.) While using a Porta-Potty outside one of the haunted houses, Cody Bottoms got splattered with sewage when a kid in a clown costume took a running splat into the side of the Porta-Potty.  These are the slings and arrows we must suffer when creating ART!

After assembling the field recordings and interviews, we put out a call for musical participants; and on November 8th, we assembled in my basement to record the show. I instructed the performers to create improvisational, textural sounds inspired by the recordings they were hearing in their headphones (which I live-mixed into the feed alongside the music.) The running-time went over 90 minutes. I have edited and reorganized the recording into a well-paced 60 minutes. What results is one of the most entertaining episodes we’ve ever put out. You’ll learn about the secrets of haunted house management, the psychology of clown-fear, a live psychic reading, and Cody’s fascination with funeral homes. This was the most difficult and time-consuming episode I have ever produced.

This episode features Jamison Sevitts on Rhodes Keyboard and trumpet, Charlie Rauh on acoustic guitar, JP Patterson on keyboard, Anderson Cook on modified electric guitar and percussion, Cody Bottoms on percussion, pimpdaddysupreme on records and vocal intro, Brey McCoy on Ableton Live sounds and wind instruments, Craig Schenker on saxophone, Lauren Estes on percussion, and Anthony William Herndon on theremin and synthesizer.

The episode features a variety of interviews, most notably Nathan Hamilton, founder of Haunted Nashville (comprised of the haunted houses House of Distortion, Turbidite Manor, and Riddles of Horror) . His dialogue became the backbone of the episode, and the show wouldn’t be the same without him. Special thanks to Nathan, to all the interviewees, the musicians, and also to Landon Lee, owner of Death Row Haunted Prison. Both of these haunted houses are extremely entertaining (and scary!), and I most-emphatically recommend you attend them next Halloween. All interviews used by permission.

As with all our shows, this episode is licensed under Creative Commons. You may sample it, slice it, dice it, and appropriate it in your own non-profit work. We just ask that you give us credit and let us know.


Where’s the 1st Annual Halloween Extravaganza you ask? We recorded it on Halloween 2008 on our since-cancelled WRVU show ~ORE~ Theatre Intangible. We will premiere the podcast version of that episode (and many other WRVU-era episodes) later in the season.

 Posted by at 11:35 pm