Movie: Fantasy of Companionship between Human and Inanimate (English) version
1. Sir, what would be your definition of music? How would you trace the evolution of music across mediums? The radio, the television, the screen.
Music always entertains a sense of dichotomy, a dichotomy between abstraction or purity and functionality; a dichotomy between being conceptual and being a technical process at the same time. Music was one of the first creative expressions in humankind, and thus it has always been a live exercise. But over the period of time, we have witnessed technical mediums where the music could be recorded and then played repeatedly for multiple times. As this technology has evolved the audience’s experience and expectations have also started to change. In this rapidly changing sphere of art and entertainment, where music has always played an important role, we believe the power of music comes with greater responsibilities.
2. What genres do you prefer? What would be your recommendations? Is there a specific song that you would hear on loop? Something like a guilty pleasure.
The Lim Fantasy, of Companionship for Piano and Orchestra was created as a modern classical crossover, featuring a classical pianist Tedd Joselson, a 78-member London Symphony Orchestra, a choral ensemble of 36 London Voices, and an electric guitar, bass and drums, plus a solo voice for the last track.
It is a reflection of the composition of our musical team, of composers, creators, lyricists and musicians, who hail from three different continents, each contributing his or her brand of music, culture, and persona into the mix. This is becoming more typical with each passing day, that crossover music, a blend of classical, pop, jazz, country, rock, soul, heavy metal, rap and hip-hop, is here to stay.
As for a song on a loop, it would have to be the ALAN Song chorus, our theme song , a song for all seasons, which we have sung together at all our gatherings, through the seasons, from the mountains, to the high seas, performed in bars, ski resorts, jazz festivals, on beaches, composed in India, lyrics from Singapore, musical arrangement in France, recorded at Abbey Road studios, London, mastered at Sterling Sound, New Jersey, US., in both pop and modern classical genres, it is our song on a loop !
3. Describe the potent role music plays in the astute presentation of a movie. How would you define the impact caused by the background score of a movie?
Technically and aesthetically the music gets half of the job done in a movie. Now, we also have to agree on this that, the definition of music isn’t confined to certain lyrical or instrumental patterns. As there are sounds of music, there also exists music of sounds. The early phase of film history, what we called the silent movies – were they actually silent? There was no dialogue, but music played a pivotal role. Even now, is it possible that a movie that contains no song or instrumental music in traditional sense, can be referred to as a musical one? My answer is, yes, it is possible. Sometime, music is an idea. Musicality could be felt even in a silent moment.
4. About the movie, what was your first impression when you heard the story?
The subject matter of this movie, a future companionship between human and inanimate, and the journey of a soul, offers a plethora of scenarios, subject matter, variety of landscapes, as additionally, the narrative structure dramatically interweaves contrasting time and space zones. There was a tremendous scope to work with in this story. Musical, or performative, or say cinematic practice always looks for conflicts and contrasts, to play with high and low tonalities, to dramatize the pace and to deal with silence, rhythm and chaos. The story of a future companionship between human and inanimate offers us a plethora of circumstances: from a jungle-animal-world to an urban contemporary society, into a science and technology lab, and then moving on towards a futuristic possibility.
5. The story is pretty much told through the song. What were the things that you had keep in mind while composing/ making the song for the movie?
In case of our movie, the narration of the storyline, the production process and the collaborations were integral. The storytellers and creative directors Susan Lim and Christina Teenz Tan are lyricists themselves and much involved in the music production, along with composers Manu Martin, Joi Barua, Ron Danziger and Matthieu Eymard. Here the music is not just a subordinate entity to support a story, but in fact, the music remains the essence.
6. Did you make a conscious effort in trying to conceal the gloomy tone of the story through the song?
The story is not entirely linear. The idea of calling it a fantasy came as it doesn’t address a realism we understand in everyday life. Affection, happiness, despair, pride and excitement- all kinds of emotions assimilate here. In the end, as we are in search of a future possibility, I don’t think a gloomy tone would have justified the film.
7. There is a certain amount of positive energy in the way the song was sung or in that case written. Did you initially see the song as a revitalising force within the movie for the audience? Was this thought retained eventually?
Absolutely. The idea of companionship gradually transforms across the movie. There are momentary periods of anxiety, but nowhere a total despair at all.
8. The movie ends with a line which is full of despair, almost to the extent of accepting the inevitable doom. The volume appears sustained. Was this the all important line keeping in mind the narrative for you?
More than calling it a doom, it’s a sense of departure. When there is a departure, a journey begins.
9. In a movie about Artificial Intelligence, a collision of the mortals against machines, how important was it for you to ensure the opulent presence of spirit in the song that would take the story forward? A feeling of perseverance and resilience was evident in the song.
Yes, you are absolutely right in your observations, a sense of perseverance and resilience is indeed present. Also there comes some aesthetic decision or a logical resolution- whether to tell a story in a linear method or non-linear method; to go in a slow paced drama as a genre, or adopt a more theatrical and stylized way. An energizing stylized narrative build was a lookout for us from the beginning.
10. Finally, what would be your two cents in the debate that states that Artificial Intelligence would see the end of mortals in its entirety?
To put it in a simple way, our communication at this moment, this very conversation , is technologically – mediated, through multiple devices and platforms, and connected through the internet. After the smart-phone generation, we, through our avatars, are now gradually entering into the age of augmented reality, and into the metaverse. These technological developments are inevitable. At the same time we appreciate that human emotion is a mortal trait that should co-exist with intelligence, both sentient and artificial.