The Composers Diversity Collective, which represents composers of diverse backgrounds working in visual media, this week releases an album showcasing the music of a dozen of its members.
It’s a co-production with the Helix Collective, a chamber-music ensemble that has been active in live-to-picture film-music presentations in Los Angeles. Called “Shoutout,” it’s “an opportunity for members who might not otherwise have an outlet to write and record music they can share with the world,” says Tony Morales of the CDC.
It’s an appropriately diverse collection of music, all performed by the five-member Helix Collective — oboe, flute, cello, piano and percussion — that the CDC hopes will “shine a light” on that segment of the Hollywood music community that has often been overlooked by filmmakers.
This wasn’t the original plan. The Helix Collective had hoped to perform CDC members’ music in a live concert. When the pandemic put those plans on hold, Helix secured a grant from the L.A. County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund and shifted its focus to a recording instead.
“We would love to introduce these composers to filmmakers, to get to know their work, but we’re also highlighting the power of the small ensemble for independent, and intimate, films,” says Sarah Robinson, flutist for the Helix Collective. “The beauty and the sound of a relatively small chamber group is something we love.”
The 12 pieces on “Shoutout” – all two to three minutes long – were recorded remotely in December, with each player recording his or her part at home, then mixed by Helix Collective music director (and oboist) Phil Popham. Beyond that already complicated audio component, they also video-recorded themselves and the result will be 12 separate videos of the musicians performing each piece.
All were newly composed and are not previously existing film, TV or game cues (even though that is what these composers already do, or aspire to do). All will be available starting March 31 at helixcollective.net and on YouTube, with eventual placement on Spotify, Amazon and Bandcamp.
The music ranges from Morales’ charming fairy-garden piece “Sapphire and Eliana” to the jazzy “Bla Bla Land” by South Korean composer Jina Hyojin An; from the wide-open-spaces “Old West” by Sid De La Cruz to the sweetly romantic “A New Place” by Middle Eastern composer Ghiya Rushidat; from the moody urgency of “Crossed Paths” by Mexico City-born Kevin Smithers to the edgy chamber-music sound of “Le Collapsus” by Taiwanese composer Cora Chung.
Other composers represented include Canadian-Filipino composer Mary Ancheta, recent USC Screen Scoring graduate Zong Chiang, Mexican-born Pablo Langaine, and American-born composers James Goins, George Shaw and Matthew Wang.
“Give a composer a small chamber group and you’ll see what he or she can do to manipulate sound and create a mood,” says Popham.