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Special Radio Hour: The Cloud Photographers

March 27th, 2009 · No Comments

The Cloud Photographers

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A special post highlighting a pet project of Nicholas Gurewitch, the man behind the Perry Bible Fellowship. This particular pet has been groomed for a long time now, and is only now emerging for the show room.

Nick is an artist-chameleon extraordinaire, and has adapted the persona’s of Robert Crumb, Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey. Now he has taken the cloak of yet another, this time in a medium outside of his typical graphic arts.

Since Bottle Rocket, the soundtracks in Wes Anderson films have both enchanted listeners and raised eyebrows in skepticism. Some believe that his music overpowers his scenes, and force feeds emotions on the audience. Others feel that they endow a sense of magic within his stories. Either way, Mr. Anderson has etched himself a musical signature that is immediately recognizable in the world of film soundtracks. Enlisting the help of Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo, Rugrats) and music geek Randall Poster, Anderson’s soundtracks have evolved into a signature taste. On the face of things, his selections don’t seem much more inspired than your garden-variety college free-form DJ’s selections: Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Cat Stevens. But I suppose it’s the application that counts. And count it does. Recall Richie Tenenbaum’s love-struck face as Margot exits the bus accompanied by Nico’s (Jackson Brown penned) These Days. Cue slow motion.

It’s an unforgettably romantic scene.

So now, Wes is four films deep. What’s going to happen next?

Enter Nick Gurewitch. Here we have a speculation on the soundtrack for the next Wes Anderson film. It’s entirely fiction, but yet so plausible.

The Cloud Photographers

The Cloud Photographers – Cumulus

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The Cloud Photographers – John Cale – Paris 1919

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The Cloud Photographers – Itzhak Perlman – Caprice #2 in B Minor by Paganini

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Here’s a little interview I did with Nick explaining what this is all about.

MN: What is the story of The Cloud Photographers? Who stars?

NG: The Cloud Photographers is mainly about the trials of a de-revolutionary group called “R.A.M.R.A.T” – The Royal Association for the Militant Reclamation of American Territories. It stars Alec Guiness as a senile ex-war general.

MN: How did you formulate the track sequencing? Are there any specific scenes that you envision accompanied by a specific song?

NG: For some reason I envisioned “Andrew’s Waltz”, performed by Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Maxwell and Mosher, happening over the opening credits. Probably over a photo album featuring the cast. Now that I think of it, I think I positioned all the tracks in filmic sequence. Especially the climactic ones toward the end.

MN: How would you characterize a song that has an Anderson-esque feel to ti?

NG: Anderson music has a lot of whimsy to it. It’s also almost always kind of trapped in a specific bygone era- like a lot of his characters. Often very fancy, with a high or fantastical ideal. Music from the British invasion is a touchstone in his films. That kind of angst. It might have something to do with the British loss of dignity over the years- coping with that. Royal Tennenbaum is a good example of that; a king who’s lost its crown. This probably, now that I think of it, definitely contributed to the idea of the RAMRAT organization.

I’m most pleased with the tracks on this album that combine British pop music with classical elements. There are a couple of them that are just drenched with the feel of his films.

MN: What was involved in assembling this project and how long did it take?

NG: Well, you helped me with a lot of it. You clued me into some great tracks- like the Mike Berry song, which sounds like its right out of Rushmore. The project ended up taking a really long time because I kept hearing music that I thought would make a great addition, and it kept me postponing the final track listing.

I came up with the idea for a CD mix club about 2 years ago. I’m 2 years late with actually sharing it with the members of the CD club. I’ll do that soon, hopefully.

The Cloud Photographers

Unofficial Soundtrack

Stream the full soundtrack

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1. Cumulus
2. Donovan – Hi It’s Been a Long Time
3. Andrew’s Waltz
4. The Kinks – So Long
5. Les BorĂ©ades – Piggies
6. Paul Simon – The Obvious Child
7. Artur Rubenstein – Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini – Var. #7
8. Belle and Sebastian – Fox in the Snow
9. With a Chance of Rain
10. Mike Berry and The Outlaws – Don’t You Think it’s Time
11. Hindi Beatles medley
12. The London Double Bass Sound – Moses Fantasy (paganini)
13. Ion Laceanu – Briu
14. The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper
15. The Flight of the Bumblebee* (Sinfonia Lahti Cello and Bass Ensemble) (Rimsky-Korsakov)
16. The Zombies – Beechwood Park
17. John Cale – Paris 1919
18. The Who – Can’t Explain
19. English Chamber Orchestra – Water Music Suite No. 2 in D
20. Sparks – Whipping and Apologies
21. Itzhak Perlman – Caprice #2 in B Minor by Paganini
22. The Damned – Jet Boy Jet Girl
23. The String Quartet – Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground)
24. Sigur Ros – Olsen Olsen

Everyone will have their own take on what makes a Wes Anderson soundtrack. Lend your tracklists and ideas in the comments section.

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