Composer and U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet Band trombone player Brian Sadler’s score for the online Flash-based video game Ace Pilot: Infinity Drifter was one of my surprise scores of last year. Exciting and bursting with great thematic material, I have been waiting to hear what his next project would be. UK animator and concept/storyboard artist Jonny Lawrence’s 2-minute stop-motion animation, Maker vs. Marker, has had great success on YouTube, having had (to date) almost three million hits. The film sees an animation (based on typical Street Fighter character) taking on his animator – in the form of a stop-motion rendered hand – in a whiteboard-based 2-D fighting game sequence (influenced by Dragon Ball Z and Super Smash Bros. Brawl).
When it came to finding a composer for his animation, Lawrence looked for someone who could provide him with the style of music that would add an intensity to augment his frenetic animation. Sadler’s love of “writing action movie-style music” fitted the brief exactly. Written predominantly for strings and brass to provide the energetic action scoring needed, Sadler adds a variety of Asian influences (flute, drums and additional percussion) in keeping with the whole Street Fighter feel of the animation. The exciting music plays both as a great score, but also as a great piece of music when heard away from the animation itself. There is an ebb and flow to the piece (mirroring the on-screen action) that adds a dynamic property and the composer is able to “hit” key moments in the animation (e.g., at gun shots, “body” blows between adversaries) whilst making these hits feel a part of the whole structure of the track itself. As a final thought, use of strings and brass for the action scoring and the occasional reliance on drum-kit driven rhythms does remind me of Murray Gold’s music for Doctor Who and the final fanfare, heard once the winner of the epic battle has emerged, is reminiscent of Sadler’s Ace Pilot.
Jonny Lawrence’s Maker vs. Marker is a great little animation and deserves the attention that it has received. In addition to the ingenuity of the animation, a large part of the success of the film can be placed with Brian Sadler’s excellent score. The music is an exciting piece independent of the film as well as within it and is another example of Sadler’s ability as a composer. Here’s hoping that the popularity of the film brings his music to the attention of those in Hollywood (and beyond) seeking someone who can compose interesting, thematic music. Sadler’s music is available at a variety of online stores as a digital download. Lawerence’s animation can be viewer HERE.
An audio sample can be found HERE.
- Maker vs. Marker (1:53)
Brian Sadler (2013)