This is an attempt to make a 2010 version of the score for Forbidden Planet in honour of Louis and Bebe Barron. To keep things spontaneous I made the score from scratch and didn't redo the original score. So, it's A COMPLETELY NEW SCORE. This music is made entirely with the type of soundgenerators and modulators they used back in 1954. Well at least the same type of technology. I just used analog equipment like noisegenerators, the mighty noisering, the wogglebug, oscillators, lfo's, FILTERS, ring modulators, voltage dividers, tubes, feedback circuits, lab equipment, spring reverbs, tape delay and an occasional sequential switch.
Lucky enough I had Pro tools to put it all together, imagine that Louis and Bebe had to do it all with tape!
In the track i tagged the scenes in the movie, well i tried to, because actually i never saw the movie.
I have the plan to update this piece now and then on irregular base and put up new mixes with of course new scenes added to it.
I was thinking that maybe other people are interested to contribute to this piece. You could send me your files.
However to keep the score original and pure I formulate these rules:
- all sounds has to be electronic
- all sounds has to be analog and made with analog equipment, no digital sounds
- just original electronic sounds, no samples
- give me a name of the scene you contribute
Just to give you an idea, this is how Louis and Bebe worked on their piece:
The 1948 book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, by mathematician Norbert Wiener from MIT played an important role in the development of the Barrons' composition. The science of cybernetics proposes that certain natural laws of behavior apply to both animals and more complex electronic machines.
By following the equations presented in the book, Louis was able to build electronic circuits which he manipulated to generate sounds. Most of the tonalities were generated with a circuit called a ring modulator. The sounds and patterns that came out of the circuits were unique and unpredictable because they were actually overloading the circuits until they burned out to create the sounds. The Barrons could never recreate the same sounds again, though they later tried very hard to recreate their signature sound from Forbidden Planet. Because of the unforeseen life span of the circuitry, the Barrons made a habit of recording everything.
Most of the production was not scripted or notated in any way. The Barrons didn't even consider the process as music composition themselves. The circuit generated sound was not treated as notes, but instead as 'actors'. In future soundtrack composition, each circuit would be manipulated according to actions of the underlying character in the film.
After recording the sounds, the couple manipulated the material by adding effects, such as reverb and tape delay. They also reversed and changed the speed of certain sounds. The mixdown of multiple sounds was performed with at least three tape recorders. The outputs of two machines would be manually synchronized, and fed into an input of a third one, recording two separate sources simultaneously. The synchronization of future film work was accomplished by two 16 mm projectors that were tied into a 16 mm tape recorder, and thus ran at the same speed.
While Louis spent most of his time building the circuits, Bebe did all of the composing. She had to sort through many hours of tape, and as she described it, "it just sounded like dirty noise". Over time, she developed the ability to determine which sounds could become something of interest. She may have invented the tape loop too, as she did not recall ever having heard of it before. The tape loop gave the Barrons' sounds rhythm. Together they mixed the sounds to create the otherworldly and strange electronic soundscapes required by Forbidden Planet.
For Mike 'Livewire' Brown ♱
- Electronic Tonalities