December 24, 2012

Waveplant Composer Joel Corelitz Blends Traditional and Non-Traditional Musical Elements For Sublime "The Unfinished Swan" Videogame Soundtrack

Recorded With A Full Orchestra, Evocative Score Perfectly Captures The Mood Of Acclaimed Game Designed For Sony Playstation

CHICAGO, IL - The new Sony Playstation 3 game "The Unfinished Swan" is all about exploring the unknown. The same is also true for composer Joel Corelitz of Waveplant Studios, whose personal creative journey with the project found him writing some 60 minutes of original music that blends traditional and nontraditional elements into a wholly original score.

"People in music often talk about film and TV scores as either being traditional or non-traditional, with non-traditional frequently being characterized as at odds with a classic, melody-based score," Corelitz says. "I wanted to create something that felt like a mix of both, a blending of organic instruments and ambient sound design that would feel fresh ten years from now."

Set in a mysterious black and white landscape that grows more colorful as the game progresses, "The Unfinished Swan" centers on a lonely 10-year-old orphan named Monroe who follows a swan that has stepped out of an unfinished painting and wandered off into a surreal, storybook-inspired kingdom. Each chapter brings surprises, new ways to explore the world, a host of bizarre (and sometimes dangerous) creatures and encounters with the eccentric king who built this empire.

Finding A Balance:
For Corelitz, who Is perhaps best known for his work in advertising and film/video installations, such as LOOM, the interactivity musical installation work for HP, as well as traditional ads for Dodge Dart, Pop Tarts and Kelley Blue Book, one of the key challenges centered on taking the game's moody narrative and composing a score that didn't sound too minor key. The goal, he says, was to use those emotions and build on them with music that also captures a sense of wonder at this strange world.

"There's a sad backstory to the main character," Corelitz explains, "and we needed to bring those emotions to the table, but it was equally important that we infuse the music with a sense of curiosity and playfulness."

With that in mind, Corelitz's score features an array of plucked acoustic instruments, such as harps, marimbas and violins, layered onto a bed of ambient sound design and ethereal synth tones. It's a blend that effectively borrows from traditional film scorers and non-traditional mood purveyors.

"As you play the game, the music is constantly evolving," Corelitz says. "It's never quite the same no matter how many times you play. The music is not just background noise, it's part of the world, it's part of how you feel, how the character feels. We didn't want those things to be separate, we wanted it to be all one experience."

Recording In Nashville:
The music was recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, TN, and for Corelitz hearing his score performed live by both a 25-piece orchestra and a simple string quartet was a powerful moment.

"Ocean Way is an amazing studio housed in a 100-year-old gothic church," Corelitz says. "Hearing my music performed by this orchestra in this studio was amazing. 'The Unfinished Swan' let me spread out creatively and flex musical muscles that haven't used in awhile. It was an amazingly satisfying project to be a part of and I'm proud of what we accomplished."

About Waveplant:
Led by Composer Joel Corelitz, Waveplant transcends classification in its design-oriented approach to composition - creating a seamless sensory experience. Fusing music and sound design, Waveplant produces audio for advertising, broadcast, gaming, film and live installations. Firmly believing that truly special projects deserve originality in every aspect of their creation, as well as the idea that being hired to work on something should never preclude the incorporation of heart and soul, Waveplant is a haven for original sound. For more information go to

Web Resources:
Click here to hear Waveplant's score for "The Unfinished Swan":

Click here for more information about Waveplant:

Click here for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "The Unfinished Swan" music:

December 23, 2012

IKA Collective Teams With Discovery Networks On Premieres For "American Chopper" and "Deadly Affairs"

Hybrid Creative Studio Crafts Powerful Promos For Popular Shows

 From the "American Chopper" (left), and "Deadly Affairs" (right) promos, both produced by IKA Collective for Discovery Networks.

NEW YORK, NY - "American Chopper," now in its ninth season on the Discovery Channel, remains one of cable's most popular reality shows. When the network needed to promote the much-awaited new season it turned to frequent collaborator IKA Collective, the creative strategy, production, post hybrid studio led by Ian Karr. The conceptual spot, directed by Chris Stifel, centers on the rift between father and son and the rebuilding of their relationship.

Over at sister network, Investigation Discovery, Karr himself directed the launch promo for "Deadly Affairs," the new series hosted by Susan Lucci that tells real-life tales of love gone terribly wrong.

"Both of these projects are very different, but perfectly showcase the range of services IKA Collective brings to our clients," Karr says. "For 'American Chopper' we were there to support Chris's vision and delicately handle the real-life estrangement between Junior and Senior. Conversely, 'Deadly Affairs' was a project in which we were asked to pitch the creative strategy and execute it."

Tension In Orange County:
As any "American Chopper" fan will tell you, the Teutul family is a complex one, especially since the high-profile rift that saw Junior leave his dad's famous motorcycle shop, Orange County Choppers. Their fractured relationship was a big consideration for Karr, who served as Executive Producer on the project.

"This is a big show for Discovery and everyone wanted the new season to begin with an epic promo," Karr says. "We found an old airport hanger at Stewart Airport in Orange County, New York, that perfectly captured the gritty look Stifel and DP Pete Konczal were after."

Set in a dramatically lit shop, reminiscent of OCC's humble beginnings, the spot begins with audio echoes from past arguments between Senior and Junior, as we see the two enter and walk toward the center of the garage where a motorcycle sits on a table covered by a tarp. Facing each other, Senior says, "under this is where it all started." "And now we're going to rebuild it," Junior replies, laying out the story arc for this pivotal season.

The production faced numerous challenges, including shooting in a hot, leaky TSA-monitored hanger located next to a live tarmac with constant plane traffic.  In order to make the day, it was necessary to create multiple sets for simultaneous shooting.

"We pre-lit the entire spot to minimize on-set time for Junior and Senior," Karr says. "After we fired up the cameras and the guys stepped in, you could feel the electricity in the air. With such great on-camera chemistry, it's clear why the show is such a hit."

Deadly Direction
For "Deadly Affairs", the new real-life soap on Investigation Discovery that looks at love triangles gone terribly wrong, IKA's creative team pitched several concepts for the promo. "The only mandate from the network was that they wanted an ending with a twist, just like in the show itself," Karr notes. "We had to strike a balance between dark and light, entertaining the audience without minimizing the tragic nature of these true stories."

The winning concept from IKA Collective and Creative Director Robbie Chafitz, begins with a woman entering her home, walking past a mantle and walls full of happy family pictures as a warm female voiceover says, "He's the love of your life, the father of your children, the man you share your bed with." The mood then turns sinister as the wife opens the bedroom door, revealing her husband with another woman. As she raises a gun toward the fearful cheaters, the voiceover adds, "and yours is the last face he will ever see."

The spot ends with the sound of a gunshot, smash cutting to host Susan Lucci who buttons the spot by saying "first comes love, then comes marriage...and sometimes murder."

In addition to the live action, Karr photographed a series of family portraits -- wedding photos, a fun day in the park, soccer games, etc. -- that served both as props in the home and as backstories for the characters.

"This was a fun scene to create," Karr says. It's partly an homage to Stanley Kubrick. I've always loved the way he used camera placement and motion to evoke a mood.

Karr adds, "The whole spot is shot using a Steadicam. It begins with us happily following the wife around, but when we cut to the scene outside the bedroom, the camera becomes more voyeuristic and you quickly sense that something's off. Then she enters the room and we reveal she's the murderer, not the victim. Sometimes the best way to tell the story comes down to where you put the camera and how you move it."


About IKA Collective:
Founded by noted brand strategist/director Ian Karr, IKA Collective is more than a production company. Rather, they're creative collective of writers, producers, editors, directors, composers, digital artists, fashionistas, foodies and horror film fanatics who love to tell stories. Whether it's an ad, a network promo, a digital media project, or their own original content, IKA Collective is all about communicating in a way that entertains and gets results. Our facility includes a live insert stage, five edit rooms, digital color grading, graphics, compositing and audio mixing suites, allowing us to deliver great work at budgets that make sense in every medium. Recent clients include Fox TV, Discovery Channel, Continental Airlines, Hallmark Channel and Penguin Publishing. For more information go to

Creative Credits:
Client: Discovery Channel
Project: "American Chopper" promo

Agency: Discovery Channel, New York
Creative Director/Director: Chris Steifel

Production: IKA Collective, New York
Director: Chris Steifel
Executive Producer: Ian Karr
Producer: Robbie Chavitz
DP: Pete Konczal

Post: IKA Collective, New York


Client: Investigate: Discovery
Project: "Deadly Affairs" promo

Agency/Production: IKA Collective, New York
Creative Director/Director: Ian Karr

Post: IKA Collective, New York

Web Resources:
Click here to watch the "American Chopper" promo:

Click here to watch IKA Collective's "Deadly Affairs" promo:

Click here for more info about IKA Collective:

December 12, 2012

Stephen Arnold Music Releases 'The Six Strings of Christmas' Album Benefiting Little Kids Rock Charity

Virtuoso Guitar Performances of Holiday Classics Help Non-Profit Organization Provide Free Instruments, Music Lessons to Disadvantaged Public Schools

DALLAS, TX - Stephen Arnold Music, has found a meaningful way to give back in 2012: Record an unforgettable new spin on classic holiday songs, then release them as an album where 100% of the proceeds support the nonprofit organization Little Kids Rock(tm).

Rooted in the company's years of experience creating sonic branding and original music, The Six Strings of Christmas presents a welcome new way to enjoy 16 essential holiday season tunes. Each track is a virtuoso guitar performance - four, six, eight, and 12-string instruments are all represented - arranged and performed by top studio musicians and talent that work with Stephen Arnold Music throughout the year on their many demanding projects.

The result is a collection of fresh renditions of "Joy to the World", "Ave Maria," "Little Drummer Boy," "O Come Emmanuel," "The First Noel," "Auld Lang Syne," and ten more that are magical to listen to. Recorded at Stephen Arnold Music's studios in Dallas, TX, each track captures the nuanced performances of some of the world's top musical craftsmen.

Available on iTunes and CD, The Six Strings of Christmas sells for $9.99, with all proceeds going to Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that transforms children's lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in disadvantaged public schools. Little Kids Rock partners with school districts, training public school teachers in their innovative curriculum, and donating all of the instruments and resources necessary to run full-fledged music programs.

Stephen Arnold Music's work has been central to the identity of such clients as Nexstar Broadcasting, Fox Business Channel, CNN, The Weather Channel, and a full 35% of all US local TV markets. With The Six Strings of Christmas, the company realized it had an opportunity to make a difference through music.

"We've always had a strong belief in the power of music to positively affect the life of a child," Stephen Arnold, President of Stephen Arnold Music says. "We have the great fortune to work with these amazingly skilled musicians, and after we got to know Little Kids Rock it made perfect sense to put it all together this holiday season.

"Little Kids Rock is an all-volunteer organization that's very efficiently run - it's amazing how far they can make a dollar go," Arnold continues. "By collaborating with them on The Six Strings of Christmas, it's our hope that underprivileged kids across America will get to experience music as an anchor, and an inspirational force, in their lives."

With its highly efficient use of funds, Little Kids Rock will be able to make the most of each copy of The Six Strings of Christmas that is sold:

1 CD = One "rock band" lesson for an entire classroom of students
2 CDs = An entire year of music lessons for one student
5 CDs = One brand new acoustic guitar into a classroom
10 CDs = One brand new electric keyboard and amp into a classroom

"Music education is being stripped from our nation's public schools at an alarming rate due to budget cuts," Keith Hejna, Communications & Outreach Coordinator for Little Kids Rock says. "It's up to the adults to stand up for our children's right to rock this holiday season, and ensure that they receive music education, which is vital to their development as students and human beings.

"Stephen Arnold Music has been a wonderful partner to Little Kids Rock, supporting our mission of not only restoring, but also revitalizing music education for disadvantaged schoolchildren all across the country. Since Stephen Arnold Music is donating 100% of the proceeds of The Six Strings of Christmas, you are actually helping Little Kids Rock bring music into children's lives just by buying some for yourself."

"Our future does not lie in our children's hands," Little Kids Rock Executive Director, David Wish adds. "Our future lies in our children's creativity. We appreciate Stephen Arnold Music and all of its supporters and fans for investing in our children, and our future!"

To purchase The Six Strings of Christmas, or to help spread the word, please visit

Web Resources:

Deck The Halls (featuring Stephen Arnold):
Auld Lang Syne:
Ave Maria:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel: