Thursday, January 17, 2008

Musician: Karl von Kries and "MASKS"

(photo on left: Karl von Kries and Pat Smith during a visit to Karls studio in Pismo Beach, CA.) Three months ago "Masks" was nearing completion, and then COMPLETELY TRASHED, we can thank Karl von Kries for this. Karl wrote a piece of music which was compelling enough for me to ditch the "man on the street" interview-based concept in favor of an abstract, bizarre, symbolic story. So over a year of hard work and a ton of money wasted. thanks Karl.

Karl von Kries music style is a bit like The Shins getting beaten up by the Afghan Whigs while Radiohead and Jeff Buckley sulk in the shadows. Our first collaboration was on my first film "Drink", and I think the music got more attention than the animation! (photo on right: Karl and Pat recording the sound effects for "Drink" back in 1999) What stands out with Karl is his willingness to experiment and record things that nobody else would, creating atmospheres that match. ie, the music for Drink was fully comprised of sound effects, from yelling to smashing and cracking vegetables. The next film he scored was my 2003 short "Delivery", which was a heck of a lot more traditional in the music sense, but Karl still maintained the bizarre, thoughtful, and perhaps disturbing vibe that was so vital for the context of the film.

For Masks, Karl is at the helm in terms of deciding the pace and timing of the story. The original point of this particular collaboration is that the music will dictate the action. Karl has posted a preview of what to expect on his blog. The story is a tale of exploitation of the weak and the consequences of that ferocious exploitation. In addition, Karl is giving away his 2005 album "Secret Service", check it out at