LOVELOCK, CA – David Joseph Wesley

Original Review by Alan Rogers

One of the advantages of the digital download route for the release of music is that small-scale projects can be made available for the world to hear. This option is becoming more and more important in the film music genre; music composed for small-scale films is finding an outlet and an audience that, in the days where CD was the only option, would have been impossible. Lovelock, CA is a 20-minute short dramatic film that features a short score written by composer David Joseph Wesley. Wesley has been composing music for film (short films such as Vanished Acres and Firemount), television (including American Idol, WWII In HD and Hunting The Lost Symbol) and video games (Saboteur) for over 10 years and his original music has also been featured in several big budget films including Robin Hood and Transformers: Dark of The Moon. Using his experience gained playing with a wide range of groups and ensembles, Wesley has composed a bittersweet jazz/blues-influenced score that is based around an excellent main theme that acts a prelude for the film’s plot of a convicted murderer who is released from prison and who, at his homecoming dinner, is the catalyst for his brother and sister to face their past secrets.

“Opening” launches the 13-minute Lovelock, CA score album with a full statement of the main theme on solo piano (played by Scott Healy). Before the theme begins in earnest Wesley opens the track with a short, repeated motif that instantly conveys a sense of suburban life: tired and lifeless, mundane in the extreme. The theme itself has a beautiful waltz-like quality to it that’s almost dreamy in nature and seems somehow at odds with the mundane feel of the first few seconds of the track. The “Closing Credits” features a short restatement of this main theme but this time it is played by flute (played by Alex Budman) and is supported by piano, bass (Greg Swiller) and some delicate drums (Bill Wysaske using brushes in preference to drum sticks). The bluesy jazz feel that the music and ensemble generates gives a bit of an upbeat feel to the conclusion of the score. Has the story had an upbeat ending? Or does the music represent a return to the routine of suburban life that is now free of the family secrets aired during the course of the film? Whatever the reason, Wesley’s theme is a great listen and is very memorable, lingering long after the album has ended.

From start to finish (from “Opening” to “Closing Credits”) the score runs to just under five minutes, with the remainder of the score consisting of a third track (“Truth Is A Matter of Perspective (Part 1 & 2)”) that features a series of short piano ideas laid out and ending with a hint of the main theme. Two “bonus tracks” at the end of the album feature expanded versions of the main theme written specifically for the album. Freed from the confines of the film itself both these tracks are allowed to expand and explore variations around the main theme (each instrument in turn has its spot in the limelight, including a bowed version on the bass in “Theme Is A Matter of Perspective (Lovelock Theme Alternate”). Pianist Scott Healy (who plays keyboards in the US late-night TV talk show Conan‘s house band The Basic Cable Band) has several bands/ensembles of his own in which both Greg Swiller and Bill Wysaske play. The experience of these musicians playing together regularly shows in how relaxed these pieces feel and sound. They are great tracks that work very well as stand-alone listens and are worth the price of the album alone.

Regardless of how it works in the film itself (the music seems to mainly serve as a scene-setter for the unfolding drama rather than as a support of the drama itself), David Joseph Wesley’s theme is an excellent composition and is well worth hearing. The tired, jazzy feel to the theme’s rhythm puts me in mind of aspects of David Shire’s theme and score for The Conversation. Though short in length, Wesley’s music lingers much longer in the memory than a lot of scores that are heard in many of today’s big budget films. The composer’s music for Lovelock, CA is exactly the sort of project that should be embracing the opportunities that the digital release offer. The score is available for purchase at digital online stores such as iTunes and Amazon. I do recommend that people take a listen.

Audio samples can be found HERE for samples of entire album or individual tracks.

Rating: ***½

  1. Opening (2:41)
  2. Truth Is A Matter of Perspective (Part 1 & 2) (1:02)
  3. Closing Credits (1:00)
  4. Lovelock Theme (4:09)
  5. Theme Is A Matter of Perspective (Lovelock Theme Alternate) (4:03)

Running Time: 12:57

Vanishing Angle (2011)


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