December 21st, 2015

Screen Sound: The Australasian Journal of Soundtrack Studies

Number 5, 2015 Soundtracks across media, genre & series

Screen Sound n5, 2013

Individual Articles

  1. Cover
  2. Publishing Information
  3. Contents
  4. Editorial — Soundtracks across media, genre & series
    Natalie Lewanowski

Theme Features: Soundtracks across media, genre & series

  1. ‘We Can’t Sleep in the Movies Any Mre’: Talkies and the Legitimization of Australian Jazz
    Bruce Johnson
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords ]

    Abstract: My interest in this essay is not so much in the way improvised music might be deployed in film, as in the way it has been represented. More specifically, I wish to investigate a transformation in the cinematic representation of the most durable and influential improvised music of the twentieth century: jazz. It is the transformation of jazz from being a despised foreigner to becoming a respected citizen, and this transformation took place in virtually every international diasporic destination. This enquiry began with the question: how and why did jazz, a music identified so closely with both ‘primitive’ blackness, and with US modernity, become assimilated to national identities in most of its diasporic destinations by the late twentieth century? In almost all those destinations jazz was initially regarded as deeply disruptive to the traditions on which local identity was built, yet within decades became fully at home in these diasporic ‘marginal’ sites. How was this radical reversal achieved?
    Keywords: Jazz, improvisation, diaspora, The Sydney Harbour Bridge
  2. Hard Boiled Music: The case of L.A. Noire
    Iain Hart
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords ]

    Abstract: A lot can change in six decades. L.A. Noire (Rockstar Games, 2011), a video game developed primarily by Sydney development studio Team Bondi, is set in Los Angeles in 1947. The game is ostensibly an interactive film noir, or at least a tribute to the noir aesthetic. But the style signified by the term film noir has developed over time, perhaps as much as the city of Los Angeles itself, and L.A. Noire’s “noire” is noticeably different to the style at its 1940s inception. To a player familiar with classic noir the promise of becoming a modern-day Marlowe is on shaky ground. Comparing L.A. Noire to notable examples from film, television and literature, this article discusses the game’s explicit attempt to be an authentic jeu noir and its musical accompaniment to crime and justice in 1940s Los Angeles. By exploring the origins of the game’s musical aesthetic, this article determines L.A. Noire’s relationship with the noir tradition. Although the game’s strong links to period noir film are unsurprising, L.A. Noire’s nexus of period style and open-form gameplay connects the player to film noir’s earliest influences, allowing exploration of both a constructed history and the notion of ‘noir’ itself. Accordingly, L.A. Noire should be considered as a progression, rather than a derivation, of the noir tradition.
    Keywords: Video game, film noir, period, hard-boiled detective fiction, jazz
  3. The Scent of Success: Image-Sound Relations and Audio-logo-visuality in Baz Luhrmann’s two promotional films for Chanel No.5 perfume
    Philip Hayward and Matt Hill
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords ]

    Abstract: This article analyses Baz Luhrmann’s two short promotional films for Chanel No 5 perfume (2004 and 2014) in terms of the aesthetic styles deployed for their promotional functions. The article begins by providing a contextual introduction to Luhrmann’s oeuvre and to aspects of Michel Chion’s notion of ‘audio-logo-visuality’ (2009) relevant to the director’s oeuvre. Section I discusses Luhrmann’s first Chanel No 5 commercial, made in 2004, the nature of its music track and the role of narration in the production. Section II considers Luhrmann’s reworking of the song ‘You’re the one that I want’ (from the 1978 film Grease) for his 2014 promotional film. Our discussion of the latter details the manner in which the audio-lyrical text is complemented and extended in the visual text to promote its product through a complex cluster of associations. The analyses identify two contrasting approaches to the use of music in the films’ promotion of the perfume product and two distinct patterns of audio-logo-visuality.
    Keywords: Baz Luhrmann, audio-logo-visuality, advertisement, Chanel No.5
  4. Sound Across Series: Theme tunes as leitmotif in Chris Lilley’s television series
    Liz Giuffre and Mark Evans
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords ]

    Abstract: Australian writer/performer/composer Chris Lilley has developed a distinctive style of satirical screen storytelling. So far he has written, produced, appeared in and composed music for five series, We Can Be Heroes (2005), Summer Heights High (2007), Angry Boys (2011), Ja’mie Private School Girl (2013) and Jonah From Tonga (2014), and while much has been written about his comedic use of dialogue and visual characterizations, to date there has been no analysis of Lilley’s distinctive use of sound to brand his work within and across his series. This paper looks at Lilley as a character comedian and composer, focusing on his use of sound to comment on urban Australia and its cultural sensibilities. We argue that his use of sound, particularly original music, has helped him brand individual series as well as create a cross-series form of sonic identification.
    Keywords: Television, theme tunes, music, comedy, genre

Additional Features

  1. Picturing Sound: An Interview with Screen Composer Graeme Perkins
    Henry Johnson
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords ]

    Abstract: Graeme Perkins is an eclectic musician. Based for much of his career in Dunedin in the south of the South Island of New Zealand, and working as a freelance performer, arranger, composer and director, Perkins spent several decades composing documentary film music amongst other television and film music work. This interview article highlights his compositional activities through his own voice in order to reveal information about his background in music, his introduction to working with film music, compositional techniques and style, equipment and musical identity. Each of these themes is explored as a way of providing information about Perkins’ creative processes when producing sound for screen, and to reveal some of the musical and social dynamics that are a part of the collaborative process of producing screen sound more broadly.
    Keywords: Documentary film, film music, Graeme Perkins, New Zealand, Dunedin sound
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