Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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John Williams to score Ready Player One (and next Star Wars, hopefully)

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Celebrated film composer John Williams, 84, who scored Star Wars, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., and so many more, says that he will be writing the music for Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," based on the marvelous 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. After that, it'll be time to return to a galaxy far, far away to score the next Star Wars film.

“If I can do it, I certainly will. I told (producer) Kathy Kennedy I’m happy to do it, but the real reason is, I didn’t want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley,” he told Variety.

Last night, Williams received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, the first given to a film composer in the award's 44 years.

Here's classic video of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops performing the Star Wars Main Theme:

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You can now own the Fez soundtrack on gorgeous translucent colored vinyl

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Disasterpiece's remarkable soundtrack for Fez has been released on beautiful pollen-colored vinyl, alongside a striking red-and-gold physical release for the game itself.

Sun City Girls' Alan Bishop shares his love for Ennio Morricone

Alan Bishop, bassist/vocalist of Sun City Girls and global music collector, wrote an excellent post about his favorite film scores by legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Read the rest

World's finest soundtrack reissue labels merge (and 2001's lost score!)

My two favorite soundtrack reissue labels, Death Waltz Records and Mondo, have united, and the vinyl gods are pleased. Read the rest

The Hired Hand soundtrack (1971) by Bruce Langhorne

The Hired Hand is a 1971 western directed by and starring Peter Fonda. I've never seen the film but today I heard the score and it is absolutely fantastic. The composer is Bruce Langhorne, a veteran of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, and the inspiration behind Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Also of note, Langhorne lost two fingers on his right hand as a child but clearly that doesn't impair his playing. The Hired Hand OST is a beautiful collection of atmospheric ghostly banjo, lapsteel, violin, and piano. Dig the cinematic blues:

The Hired Hand by Bruce Langhorne

Recently released by Scissor Tail Editions, the music has been compared to contemporary electronic experimentalists like Black Dice and Boards of Canada! Along with a digital download, Scissor Tail Editions sold 1,000 copies on 180-gram vinyl. I teared up when I realized they are completely, utterly sold out.

Have a listen and buy the digital album for $10 here: "The Hired Hand" Read the rest

Classic horror soundtracks on vinyl

Death Waltz Recording Company deals in exquisitely-curated horror/cult movie soundtracks reissued on vinyl in gorgeous packaging with newly-commissioned cover art.