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Scorefront:  Karl Preusser


Composer Assaf Rinde

Assaf Rinde has scored over twenty films, many of which have screened in prestigious international film festivals and been broadcast over television worldwide, including Daheli Hall's new comedy which was selected for broadcast on HBO. He has also worked as a contributor in film and long-form dramatic television, such as the films GHOST RIDER and SPIDERMAN 3 with composer Christopher Young, the series SUPERNATURAL with composer Christopher Lennertz and the ABC hit show LOST with composer Michael Giacchino. 

Official Website

The Quick Eight:

1. What was your first memory of music?

My life was always surrounded with music. My mom had her piano in the house where I grew up, even before I was born. I started to play simple melodies I heard on the radio when I was 3 years old (with one finger on the piano) and even before that, I always got all kinds of toy instruments. I had basically a Guitar, Harmonica, Melodica, Accordion, Xylophone (toys) and a real piano before I had my 3rd birthday…I remember my Mom and her Mom (my grandma) sitting with me next to the piano and teaching me some children’s songs. But if I’m really trying to answer this question, I think my first two memories of music will be me with the Melodica, and sitting next to the turntable listening to highlights from Carmen LP.

2. Who has had the greatest impact on your music?

Growing up in Israel had a great deal of impact on my musical influences, listening to basically everything from Bach, Rachmaninoff, traditional Jewish and Arabic music, Jazz, MTV, Sting, Dire Straits to John Williams, Alan Silvestri and Ennio Morricone. So I think the weird blend of all of the above is what really shaped my music vocabulary.

3. How did you come to work in the film / video game music industry?

My writing was always very melodic and very orchestral, and my first composition was created when I was 13. During that period, I visited a real recording studio for the first time. I had been recording since I was 5, and at that point I had a 4-track tape machine and some midi equipment, but visiting this studio made it all very clear to me. I knew my working environment would not be the concert hall, nor the room with the piano. I always needed something more than that. It had to be the studio, and all the tweaking/editing/mixing possibilities there made it even more charming.

I also played a lot with an old VHS camera we had at home. I was always attracted to visuals and sounds (sounds came first), but I think I was 15 or 16 (1993) when I really noticed for the first time how the music works to picture on movies like Back To The Future, ET, Star Wars and later on The Rock. At that point I had no idea how it all worked, but I knew this is exactly what I was going to do in my life. So I started to taping movies from TV, “cleaned” (deleted) the entire audio track from these and took some scenes from movies like James Bond and other action movies and rescored them. So after I played with this long enough, I already felt like I knew how it all works. But it took some time until I got my first movie in 2001.

4. What film or game scores have had the greatest impact on you?

The answer is definitely Cinema Paradiso with music by Ennio Morricone and a love theme by his son Andrea Morricone. It has a real charm to it but at the same time is very melodic and emotional. It really touched me and it works amazingly with this beautiful story. I love the movie and really adore its score. I think that the score to ET and Close Encounters of The Third Kind will have to follow this one on this list. One more theme that really touched me many years ago was Christopher Young’s theme for Murder In The First.

5. What is your current hardware / software configuration for composing?

I should answer this one with lots of details, and being the “gearhead” that I am I should know better, but the most honest answer will probably be the acoustic piano. Every good melody I have ever composed started there. It is like writing the script and the storyline, before you cast/shoot the movie.

After the idea is ready on the piano, I take it into my Apple G5 (which is loaded with Logic/Protools/Finale and tons of different samples). Then I get this idea to a position where it is presentable on the highest level so I can start a discussion with a director in a way that no guessing has to be involved on how it is going to sound like on the final dub of the movie/video game. I have one Mac and two PCs connected to each other with lightpipes and MIDI over LAN and on my PCs I run Gigastudios together with some other mastering and restoration audio tools. My G5 has the Motu 2408 on it as the main interface.

But to be honest, I think the most important part in the whole configuration will be the actual idea. I had a discussion with a sound engineer many years ago, and he said it with a big smile on his face, “I’m not responsible as to what comes into the mics but once it’s there, I can definitely help...” I think he is right for the most part. You can have every piece of equipment known to man in one room, but you need to know what to do with it and how it can enable your idea.  I LOVE the technology! I can’t live without it, but I think more time should be spent on the music itself and not what software you compose on.

I think the best proof will be all The Beatles’ albums that were mostly recorded on 4-track reel-to reel analog tapes. They got a lot out of that, and any digital software/hardware today still can’t compete with the sound they achieved there.

So I think you don’t really need much if you know what you want to hear at the very end of the process. The secret is to know it before you start sketching it on the computer/piano/paper. And that also depends on what kind of cue you are going to write, because you can’t really have a Techno or Punk music track sketched on your piano or a music paper. Having said that… I feel like I can never have enough equipment. And believe me, I tried!

 Used by Permission


Music Review

Kill Zone
Review by Christopher Coleman

Kill Zone (Soundtrack) by Assaf Rinde

Kill Zone is a super-low-budget action flick that was shot only a couple of hours down the road from me.  Not only was it shot way back in 2003 (and just recently released on DVD), but it was shot for a reported sum of only $20,000 and by a young director, not yet 20 years old at the time.  With all of that in mind, you might expect the musical score (if such a movie could have one at all) would be equally super-low-budget, complete with 8 bit midi or low bitrate mp3s of library music cut in.   You might expect that, indeed, but you'd be dead wrong.

Assaf Rinde's score for the direct-to-dvd-film, is a surprisingly thoughtful and poignant effort.  While offering moments of dark suspense and pensive action, Rinde adds emotional depth through his use of acoustic guitar, piano and occasional lead trumpet.  Musically Kill Zone sounds like a big-city-western; the score evoking images of the spaghetti-western but with a modern-day gravitas. If the lonely guitar solos or trumpet fares are not sufficient for you to conjur such connections, Rinde also adds a solo female vocalist for good measure (31).  Sound like an intriguing blend?  Well, Assaf Rinde goes on to add a nod to film-noir with his jazzy "The Last Dance" (16).  If you think this results in a disjointed mess of a score, again, you'd be dead wrong.  Further credit must be given to the composer for making this all one cohesive listening experience.

Regardless of whether the film should have ever seen the light of a tv-monitor or not, Assaf Rinde's score is a delightful surprise that might easily get passed over due to guilt by association.  Whatever amount Rinde secured for writing the score for this film, he definitely gave them a bargain.  Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of a-list movies of this same genre that have less engaging scores than Assaf Rinde's score for Killzone.  I certainly can't wait to hear what he can do with a big(ger) bugdet.

You can hear for yourself at Amazon.mp3


6. What other musical genres influence you?

Every genre influences me in its own way. I always try to explore new directions and new combinations, and I keep trying to mix weird genres together to create a new one.

For many years I was totally into Jazz, and I think that if I need to describe my musical language it’ll be probably a Baroque-Jazz….Vivaldi meets Keith Jarrett with Ravel on top of it and Drum & Bass groove underneath… and of course not to forget the big hits on some Taiko drums.

7. What is your personal motto or favorite quotation?

“Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.” - Thomas Beecham

“Smile is the shortest distance between people”
- Victor Borge

“The Harder I work, the luckier I get” - Donald Trump

8. What would be your dream project?

The dream project! I can’t wait for it. I must say I had a pretty amazing experience with scoring the movie Kill Zone (directed by Vitor Santos). This experience got really close in so many ways to what I can describe as the best-case scenario project. The movie has very little dialog in it and has lots of space to really bring in music that will play along with the beautiful images that are on the screen. I think that in a way that must be the dream of every Film/TV/Video Game composer. I also had an amazing composer-director collaboration with Vitor on this movie since he not only understands music and its power, but was open to alternative approaches for some of these scenes in this movie; he trusted me and gave me a lot of creative freedom.

But if we are talking about the ultimate super fantastic dream project, it will definitely be a big over-the-top action movie with tons of explosions but with a really good dramatic story (based on a good book maybe) to play on. To me, it is all about the story, so before any impressive CGI effects, I need to truly have a solid story in this project.

As I said before, I can’t wait!

Scorefront Composers:

Penka Kouneva
Assaf Rinde
Stephen Harwood Jr.
Colin O'Malley
Duane Decker
Karl Preusser



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