I made this record as part of the 2010 RPM Challenge, where artists are challenged to write and record an entire album--minimum 10 tracks or 35 minutes--entirely in the month of February. I have always loved the 1922 F. W. Murnau film, Nosferatu, and have also always wanted to create a new soundtrack for it. The 2010 RPM Challenge was the perfect excuse to do just that.
The album also includes enhanced content: a digital version of the film--with my soundtrack--as well as my short stop-motion-animated film, Midnight Double Feature.
On February 2nd, I sat and improvised a piano soundtrack while watching the film. Over the course of the following twenty days, I added drums, guitar, bass, upright bass, wordless choir vocals, additional keyboards ("trying hard to channel Lamb-era Tony Banks... possibly a little Emerson, Lord, or Wakeman on organ... "), and my secret ingredient, my good friend David Steadman (Potter, Turtlebone, Floodwatch, My Father's Guns) singing haunting, wordless vocals on three key tracks ("It's all pure Steadman but in context it's somewhere between "Great Gig in the Sky" and the Middle Eastern wordless ululations on Gabriel's Passion album... ").
From my blog:
"Over the last couple of days, I've been tying up my girlfriend's bandwidth downloading a DVD-quality version of Nosferatu. I have a DVD already, but it's a bit sketchy, according to the experts. The first red flag was that it's about an hour long, while the original film clocks in around an hour and a half. Of course, the original original has yet to be fully realized. Apparently, text slides were removed and lost, some sections of the film are supposed to be tinted, etc. This is all because Bram Stoker's estate sued Prana Film and the court ordered all copies destroyed. Yikes.
My plan is this: I will improvise a score on my digital piano while watching the film from start to finish, a la Neil Young's Deadman soundtrack. Once I have this musical road map down, I'll go back and add what needs to be added--upright bass (arco, most likely... the Voice of the Abyss), guitar(s), possibly drums, synth, dijeridoo... whatever. At some point, I'll chop off hunks that call for David's voice and drop them to disc. Then he'll give 'em the MFG treatment, listening and singing in his truck on his way back and forth to work. I might pull my bro in for some Floydian guitar touches. Who knows? Other than broad brush strokes, I have no intention of locking it in ahead of time. The singing will be wordless, although I am toying with the idea of doing the ubiquitous Hollywood end-credits song."