Bear McCreary

San Diego Comic-Con '09


I spent all day Saturday in the San Diego Convention Center, attending Comic-Con with my brother. Once again, an amazing experience.

The first thing we did was make a bee line to the SAE/FSM booth, where I picked up a copy of the Battlestar Galactica Season 4 soundtrack. After that was done, we took a quick walk around the rest of the exhibit hall. This is a pretty damned big exhibit hall, spanning the entire bottom floor of the convention center. With all the people there to push through, it takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

While walking around the hall I happened to find Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, with cover art done by friend Cyril Van Der Haegen. I mentioned this to the guy behind the counter, but he just feigned interest hoping I would buy it! Oh well.

After that I went looking for the Oni Press booth, where I bought my brother the first Scott Pilgrim book. He finished reading it before we left (he was not so interested in Ray Bradbury) so we went down to the floor again and he bought himself the next few books in the series. With any luck, I'll have got my brother hooked on graphic novels! I also went to the Top Shelf booth hoping to pick up a copy of Blankets but they were all out.

The first panel we attended was for Dune, with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. They were discussing their latest novel The Winds of Dune and commenting on the process of making a new book every year. I must admit, I have read many of the new Dune books and although they aren't Frank Herbert material, I have enjoyed most of them ( Sandworms of Dune being a notable exception for having a very shallow plot and invoking several dei ex machina).

BSG 4 Soundtrack

After that we headed back over to the SAE/FSM booth to get the CDs signed by Bear McCreary. We were first in line! At the same time, Bryan Lee O'Malley (author of Scott Pilgrim) was signing at the Oni Press booth—we went over there afterward but the line was so long that we didn't care to try for it. The Bioshock 2 booth was small—basically a small veiled closet with a gameplay trailer playing for 5-6 people at a time. But that trailer made the game out to look pretty awesome. You play the first big daddy, the only one with free will. You can take airlocks to go outside of Rapture into the ocean. You now make the choice to either harvest or adopt little sisters. Adopting them seems to store them inside your suit somewhere, it wasn't too clear on that. You can take them out to have them harvest adam from certain bodies. While harvesting, you need to guard them from hoards of splicers. Then comes something new—your little sister says "Uh oh, I don't think big sis wants me to play with you anymore", and in comes the big sister—these are very quick, super-agile enemies that possess telekinesis.

Iron Man

The second panel we attended was that of Ray Bradbury. He talked of his fascination of space exploration and walking on the moon for the first time. Perhaps most interestingly, he claimed to have total recall of his entire life. He said he was a 10 month baby, and developed hearing and sight within the womb. He claims his memories go back to being in the womb and after birth.

The final panel was for Human Target, the new TV series from Fox. In the show, our main hero (Christopher Chance) gets hired by rich people to solve any problems or threats against them. He is a very intelligent detective, impersonator, and all-around bodyguard. It stars Mark Valley as Christopher Chance, Jackie Earle Haley as Guerrero, and Chi McBride as Winston, with the score done by Bear McCreary. We got to screen the pilot before a short Q&A with the stars and producers.

Human Target has some pretty awesome action scenes, pretty similar to the Bourne series. It is some of the best action I've seen on TV for as long as I can remember. The acting is stellar, and the score sounds somewhere between Caprica and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The characters have a light quirkiness similar to Pushing Daisies. The show is being billed as a procedural with a light sprinkling of serial, which is pretty typical for Fox. They want to give you a new action movie every week. Unfortunately, the pilot had a lot of faults that I hope they steer clear of in the series.

Avatar mech

For one thing, the characters are too flawless. The main characters—all antiheroes it seems—always know exactly what to say, have a perfect plan, and immediately know exactly what to do to keep the plan on track (pun!) from any curveballs. Not once did it show an imperfection, and I had a hard time believing or relating to them because of it.

Another problem I saw was with Guerrero—he had no introduction, and just sort of imposed himself on the story. He is a computer hacker, but it never really showed that process. Most of his scenes were just quick cuts to him revealing some new information that he hacked off screen.

I had planned to meet some friends while I was there, but that was a pretty big failure all around. One didn't pick up his phone. Another didn't wake up until really late and my phone died in the middle of a conversation with him. The one guy I was able to meet I didn't do anything with because he spent the whole day playing D&D.

The BBC America booth featured a lot of Doctor Who trinkets and apparel, with lots of advertising for the new Torchwood mini-season Children of Earth(which is pretty good, by the way—go watch it!). There was an awesome life-sized Dalek on display.

We spent the two hour ride home listening to the Battlestar CD, and it didn't disappoint!

BSG Season 4 Soundtrack details

BSG Season 4 Cover

Bear McCreary has announced track listings and cover art for the dual-disc BSG Season 4 Soundtrack. The first disc includes the haunting "Gaeta’s Lament" sung by none other than Alessandro Juliani (Felix Gaeta) himself, two tracks from my favorite episodes of the season "The Oath" and "Blood on the scales", and the second disc is the incredible entire score of the two-hour finale "Daybreak".

I can't wait!

One Epic Battlestar Concert

Bear McCreary

The first of the previously mentioned Battlestar concerts occurred this last weekend in downtown LA. Truly an amazing show, I don't think I've ever been as musically satisfied as I was in those three hours. I met a friend and his family there and we all had a blast!

BrEndAn's Band opened the night with four songs, including the rocking "Ain't We Famous" which can be heard on the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles soundtrack, and "When Will the Work Be Done" which can be heard on the Battlestar finale "Daybreak".

A night of firsts! We were the first to see performances of "Gaeta’s Lament", "Dreilide Thrace Sonata No. 1", and "Prelude to War". "Gaeta's Lament" is the song that Gaeta sings near the end of season 4. It will be the first track of the season 4 soundtrack. "Dreilide Thrace Sonata No. 1" is a piano piece we hear from Starbuck's father in the show, but never get to hear the full thing. Finally, "Prelude to War" is a incredible action piece from season 2 that Bear thought was too complex to perform in concert, but massaged it into something that would work. The violins were infused with metal, a very noticeable difference from the song on the soundtrack—but not a bad one.

The night ended with a surprise appearance, with Katee Sackhoff making a very stealthy cameo on the piano to lead us into the finale, "All Along the Watchtower". Just like she did in the show.

The opening act:

And finally the set list:

Videos thanks to Films in Focus. You can find a lot more information and pictures on Bear's blog.

Check out this cool pic!

Me, ShakaUVM and Bear

That's me on the right, Bear in front of me, friend from Quake "ShakaUVM" in the back, and his family on the left.

Composers, everywhere!

I went to a signing event yesterday, with 15 or so big name composers. I talked with a lot of cool people: Michael Giacchino (Lost, Star Trek movie, Up), Stu Phillips (Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider), Ron Jones (Superman, Star Trek: TNG, Family Guy), and John Murphy (28 Days Later), that I can think of. Probably one or two I can't remember right now (I've been awake for a long time). I'm ashamed to admit if there wasn't info displayed for them, I would not have known who most of these guys were.

The whole reason I came, though, was to meet Bear McCreary—composer of the modern Battlestar Galatica. It was a real treat to meet him, and as a surprise his beautiful wife to be Raya Yarbrough (who can be heard on some BSG tracks) was there too.

While I was there I picked up an advance copy of the Caprica soundtrack and got it signed. I'm really enjoying this album—it feels like BSG, yet at the same time something completely different. Like the show, BSG's music was very character-driven. Nearly everyone had their own theme, and what you'd hear on scene would either be a variant of a theme or action music. Caprica's music feels much more scene-driven. You can feel drama and emotion in them, often times picturing a scene to go along with it. It is more suspenseful, more sorrowful, more adventurous.

It was also much softer than others. The TT Dynamic Range Meter averaged around 12, with some tracks going as high as 19—compare this to the new Green Day album which manages a measly 6. ReplayGain actually wanted to raise the volume—something I haven't seen in a long while! This is really cool to listen to on good headphones :)

Now, on to the concerts.

Terminator: TSCC and Caprica signed by Bear McCreary

Bear McCreary to score Capcom’s Dark Void

8-bit Dark Void

Bear McCreary, composer of Battlestar Galactica, let out the information today that he is scoring Capcom’s new game, Dark Void. I remember some videos of this coming out a while ago, from E3 maybe, and it looked like a pretty fun game but after so much time I had forgotten about it. These new videos make it look as awesome as ever, though, and with Bear scoring it, you know the music will be amazing!

If you like his music, consider posting at Capcom where Bear is trying to get authorization to release a soundtrack CD.

Battlestar Galactica coming to a close, but Caprica remains inbound.

A few weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I watched a TV episode twice. Back to back, with no break in between. Blood on the Scales, for me, was pure gold. The story was incredible, especially if you got the chance to see the webisodes that supplied important context for it. The acting was top-notch. Alessandro Juliani in particular, who has had a relatively small amount of screen time before now, really stepped up to deliver a wonderful moving performance. The music—oh my sweet god the music. Anyone who knows me well will know my love for the BSG soundtracks, but the music in this particular episode spoke to me on such a profound level that I literally missed dialog at points and had to rewind to hear it again. I will be shocked, pleasantly, if I ever watch another episode of any other TV show that affects me like this one.

This Friday begins the final countdown for Battlestar. It will be the first in a three episode arc to end the series. On one hand I am sad to see it go. I will miss not just watching it, but hopping online afterward to read Bear McCreary’s enthralling behind-the-scenes summary of the score. But on the other hand, I would rather see it get the strong finish it deserves than see it become the proverbial Old Yeller like Stargate: SG-1 did.

But Caprica will be starting early next year, so maybe all is not lost. I worry about them milking the mythos to death in it, but these guys transformed a corny 70s show into something amazing, so I have a lot of hope. Earlier this month, Bear gave an early preview performance of the music of Caprica.