“lots of ambience and mood… a distinct feeling of desolation and claustrophobia
… fascinating, and very well produced … Give it a try.”
“particularly effective use of his own haunting, guitar-heavy score
… Fessenden could probably pursue a career in music if the challenge of film-making palls”
“an impressive debut with an equally impressive score”
STRAY BULLETS original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Now Available from Lakeshore records
composed and arranged by JACK FESSENDEN
additional composing CHRISTIAN NOLL
producer LARRY FESSENDEN
recorded at UNDERGROUND AUDIO, NYC
engineer, mix and mastering MATT ROCKER
additional engineer WILL WHATLEY
keyboards, guitars, percussion JACK FESSENDEN
bass MARK LERNER
electric guitar CHRISTIAN NOLL
cello ASA SPURLOCK
violin CYRUS SPURLOCK
“Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert
recorded at DUBWAY STUDIO, NYC
engineer and mix RUSSEL CASTIGLIONE
thanks AL HOUGHTON
piano ROGER PELTZMAN
vocals LUCY KATHERINE GHEGRAE
FROM THE COMPOSER
Even after Stray Bullets picture-locked, my biggest creative challenge still lay ahead: composing the score. I had used pieces by Cliff Martinez, Brian Eno, and Philip Glass, among others, as temporary music in my edit to help myself understand what mood I was hoping to evoke with the score I would go on to write.
I worked with Christian Noll, a fellow musician and friend from school, to help get started with developing chord progressions and sounds for the music, and soon felt confident enough to continue on my own and compose the entire feature film’s worth of tracks. We recorded in only 4 days, inviting friends from upstate to come down to play bass, cello, and violin. Asa Spurlock, my co-star in the film, and his younger brother Cyrus made up our string section, and Mark Lerner of Phoenicia, NY offered a unique bass tone that occurs throughout the score. I played most of the other instruments, drums, keyboards and guitar, expanding upon previous ideas and coming up with totally new ones in the moment.
I like to enter the studio with a solid understanding of what is needed and an openness to working spontaneously; I had made crude recordings of several of the main pieces with different parts and instrumentations mapped out, but other themes were less developed, and were discovered and refined in the studio. Never have I handed a musician a sheet of notation; I like to talk with collaborators and get them on the same page and then see what they have to offer, how they respond to my direction. Improvisation, especially with a largely atmospheric and ambient score such as this, is how we found the most memorable sounds. I believe it is in those last minute adjustments and additions that the music can really come into its own.
We mixed the music right there in the studio, Underground Audio on 3rd street next to Hells Angels, and were out of there in the afternoon of the 5th day. Sometimes I question myself before entering into an ordeal like this, fearing that I hadn’t done enough to prepare, but by surrounding myself with like-minded and willing collaborators, meticulously articulating my vision to them and letting them make of it what they will, I was able to shape the material and expand my original themes into the moody score I was looking for.
We Got It Good Here
What Took You So Long
“Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert