Rock royalty acts as one-man band

Music for Screens: Fall 2011

When it came time for writer/director Jordan Galland to give his friend and musical colleague Sean Lennon instruction on scoring his indie film, “Alter Egos,” Galland recalls requesting “something that feels like ‘Twin Peaks’ at times and that feels like it’s harnessing the power of ‘The Dark Knight’ at times.”

By then, Lennon adds with a laugh, Galland was already editing the comedy about superheroes who have fallen out of favor with the public, and “he’d just discarded 15 other cues that I’d worked on. And we only had four days to finish the score.”

Lennon wholeheartedly embraced the challenge, even taking up the gauntlet to write a new tune, complete with lyrics, after Galland told him he planned to license an old song. “Sean was like, ‘C’mon man, we can totally write a song that sounds like it’s from the ’50s’,” Galland says of their one co-write on the project.

That tune, “My Hero,” joins 21 other cues composed by Lennon that span a wide array of musical styles from retro to noir to psychedelic to sweeping, tension-filled action. “It was a marathon,” Lennon says, who also played all the instruments on the tracks. Aside from the time crunch, the greatest difficulty was “making something that sounded like a big-budget superhero film with only my computer,”he adds.

“[Jordan’s] scripts are so quirky and different, we had to figure out our own language,” says Lennon, who counts Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone among the composers who inspired him musically. “Jordan combines genres in a way that’s atypical.”

Galland and Lennon have been friends for around 15 years, and have collaborated on each other’s albums. Lennon also scored Galland’s first feature, 2009’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead.” However, Galland was unprepared for how expansive Lennon’s musical palette had become when it came time to work on “Alter Egos.” “I was really impressed with how much he’d grown as a musician,” Galland says.

The 80-minute film includes roughly 40 minutes of Lennon’s score and a handful of needle drops. Galland has submitted “Alter Egos” to a number of festivals and expects it to be released in 2012.

Lennon also has a cameo as a villain in the movie.

Music for Screens: Fall 2011

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