Scene from “Needle in the Cotton”

Final scene from “Joan in Owl Land”

Needle in the Cotton - Title Sequence

Theme song for Love Alexi, a Nerdist Industries podcast

Bradley Turner

In today’s fervent media age, music is often an afterthought. With limited budgets, limited time, and more visual media to churn out than at any point in human history, production teams have little choice but to relegate soundtracks to the realm of royalty-free dreck, sound-alike libraries, or procedurally generated nonsense. These commercials, corporate videos, and sponsored snapchats feature music that is created specifically to go unnoticed, to exist in the sonic spectrum merely because silence would be jarring.

For creators who want something more, a new kind of composer is required. Filmmakers and directors are trained to understand that score should be inseparable from the film, that it produces the magic of cinema just as much as a great shot or an explosive narrative. Score should be made with the same expertise and care that goes into the cinematography, the lighting, the acting, and the writing.

A lifelong fan of the art of film, Bradley was drawn to film score by the iconic works of his formative years. Jon Brion’s work in Eternal Sunshine and I Heart Huckabees, Wes Anderson’s collaborations with Mark Mothersbaugh, these all informed an aesthetic that holds that music should function as another component of directorial voice. Music should deepen the audience’s understanding of the film, not merely reinforce or insist on a stale reading.

Acting as a studio engineer, a string quartet, a bassist, guitarist, piano player, composer, percussionist (you get the idea), Bradley works quickly and with much enthusiasm. Seizing on an idea like a team of lions might attack a zebra’s hindquarters, he launches into the writing and recording process with aplomb, performing and recording instruments, crafting sounds, and arranging a unique conglomeration of voices until the music achieves dialogue with the visuals. True harmony.

The result is a product that sounds uniquely handmade, with all the quirks and warmth of real recording and performance and the potential to stick in the audience’s memory.