September 20th, 2009

Screen Sound: The Australasian Journal of Soundtrack Studies

Number 1, 2010 Sound Tracks the Place

Screen Sound n1, 2010

Individual Articles

  1. Cover
  2. Publishing Information
  3. Contents
  4. Editorial — Sound Tracks the Place: Australasian Soundtrack Studies
    Rebecca Coyle
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: This is the inaugural issue of a new open access journal of screen sound studies. The aim of Screen Sound: The Australasian Journal of Soundtrack Studies is to investigate, analyse and document sound as it occurs in relation to screen images, on the large or small screen, in installation or online. Sound elements, functions and production are included in their various forms. The journal is multidisciplinary in its remit, accommodating music, sound, media, cultural, marketing and economic analysis.
    Keywords: Soundtrack, screen studies, Australasia, journal


  1. Undead and Its ‘Undecidable’ Soundtrack
    James Wierzbicki
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: Michael and Peter Spierig’s 2003 feature Undead is a curious production that is both a comic riff on zombie movies and a serious science-fiction story. This article shows that the film does not simply alternate between the two plot modes; rather, in many instances, it simultaneously features elements of comedy and drama, with one intruding into the territory of its opposite in such a way that the narrative often seems to be hovering—like the classic zombie that is neither dead nor alive—in the liminal space between the two modes. More significantly, the essay argues that, while Cliff Bradley’s (extra-diegetic) score enables the film to shift smoothly from one mode to the other, it is largely Peter Spierig’s subtle sound design that allows the film to be both comic and serious at the same time, to have the zombie-like quality of what Jacques Derrida, in his writings on literature and politics, calls ‘undecidability’.
    Keywords: Spierig, Undead, zombie, undécidabilité, soundtrack
  2. Numinous Ambience: Spirituality, Dreamtimes and Fantastic Aboriginality
    Philip Hayward
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: Peter Weir’s apocalyptic thriller The Last Wave (1977) drew on aspects of Aboriginal culture and spiritual beliefs to construct a highly atmospheric fantasy of indigenous ‘otherness’ enacted in contemporary Sydney. This article analyses the film’s score and sound design and, in particular, the manner in which it creates sonic ambiences and dramatic emphases within the narrative. The article commences with discussion of the Aboriginal concept of the Dreamtime (and how this has been interpreted by Western writers) and then proceeds to consider how Aboriginality has been represented in film scores, with particular emphasis on the role of the iconic Aboriginal didjeridu. Following a consideration of how US popular fictional texts (such as Philip Kaufman’s 1983 film The Right Stuff) have engaged with aspects of indigenous Australian spirituality, the main body of the article looks at the ways that score and sound combine in particular moments in The Last Wave, the nature of the musical sounds (and cultural associations) deployed and the film’s ‘sonic conclusion’.
    Keywords: Aboriginality, Dreamtime, Peter Weir, numinosity, ambience
  3. More Than Noise: The Integrated Sound Track of Noise
    Nick Hadland
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: Conventional discourses accounting for film music’s subordination and the vertical stratification of image, sound and music have been superseded by more integrated and complex scoring approaches. Contemporary Australian films utilising a hybridised or interdisciplinary approach and, influenced by new technologies and media, adopt a more unified method of ‘sounding’ their narratives. Analysing Matthew Saville’s Noise (2007), this article will highlight the operation of sound and music in relation to the film’s principal themes, exposing the complex machinations of the film’s auditory components. It will discuss these complexities with particular reference to the new perspective they provide to the film noir genre.
    Keywords: Australian film, film noir, film music, sound design, Noise
  4. Sounding East Of Everything: Australian Television, Music and Place
    Liz Giuffre
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: East of Everything is a contemporary Australian television drama series shot on the New South Wales North Coast in and around the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay. In addition to utilising the region’s visual beauty—a cinematographic technique commonly employed in Australian drama—East of Everything has harnessed the musical culture that has developed in the area over time. The series relies on its soundtrack to create a sense of place and illuminate the program’s dramatic progression. This article will explore the use of music to ‘place’ East of Everything, examining the incorporation of pre-existing and specially commissioned material. I will show that the sonic representation of place through music has been key to the program’s success, and that place in the Australian drama is revealed sonically to be as diverse, emotive and striking as the region’s visual landscape.
    Keywords: Television, Soundtrack, Australian music, Byron Bay, Surfing Culture

Shorts and Trailers

  1. The Brian May Collection: Two Decades of Screen Composition
    Michael Hannan
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: Brian May (1934-1997) was a pioneer of the Australian feature film revival period. He was one of the most prolific composers in this period, writing the scores for 22 Australian feature films (from 1975 to 1994), in addition to producing music for Australian television projects and a number of American feature film scores and television series. Brian May bequeathed his collection of music manuscripts and other related items to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. This article outlines the contents of this collection, the gaps in the collection and problems associated with sorting the many thousands of items. It makes a case for the national heritage significance of the collection and its value as a resource for the research of Australian screen music.
    Keywords: Brian May, screen composition, music manuscripts, archival research, national heritage
  2. Documenting Sound: An Interview with Screen Composer Trevor Coleman
    Henry Johnson
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: New Zealand composer Trevor Coleman has created over 70 documentary film soundtracks, primarily with Natural History New Zealand. Besides composing for film, Coleman is a pianist and trumpeter, and leader and performer for various jazz fusion bands working in and around Dunedin. The article centres on an interview that covers the composer’s background and compositional process and style.
    Keywords: Trevor Coleman, documentary film, composition, New Zealand
  3. Music for The Silent One: An Interview with Composer Jenny McLeod
    Riette Ferreira
    [ Abstract ] [ Keywords]

    Abstract: The Silent One is a significant film in the context of New Zealand (NZ) cinema for several reasons. It was the first New Zealand drama feature film directed by a woman and the first using a Dolby stereo soundtrack. Its incorporation of underwater film sequences played a vital part in portraying the world of the film’s central character, Jonasi, a deaf-mute. Jonasi’s vocal inability allows for other sound elements to play an important role in the narrative and emotional content. One such element is the music score provided by Jenny McLeod who discusses her work on the film in the following interview.
    Keywords: The Silent One, Jenny McLeod, film score, New Zealand film
  4. Contributor Profiles


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