Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A new addition to "Assorted Fistful": George Shaw

J-ok'el is not about Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. Although that would have been interesting.
I wish A Fistful of Soundtracks had more Asian American listeners. On my station, I stream a lot of '70s scores that Asian American beatheads would get a kick out of (as a longtime beathead, it's impossible to resist the themes from say, for example, the original Assault on Precinct 13 or Superfly, which are in rotation on AFOS of course). I think I know why film and TV score music doesn't appeal to many Asian American listeners, besides the fact that it can be an acquired taste for listeners of any color. It's because there are barely any Asian American film composers for listeners like the folks from the Boston Progress Radio crowd to follow and support in the same way they follow the API hip-hop, spoken word and indie pop artists who get airplay on BPR.

The world of American film and TV music is a very white world. So it's always wonderful news for us aspiring writers or filmmakers of color (who want to see more diversity behind the scenes) whenever an up-and-coming film composer of color comes along, and he's really good at it. George Shaw is one such composer, so I've added some of his score cues to "Assorted Fistful" rotation. I've only seen one feature film George wrote score music for (the James Kyson Lee rom-com Asian Stories), but I've heard his cues from low-budget thrillers like J-ok'el and Marcus and enjoyed those pieces. "J-ok'el" and "The Search" from J-ok'el and the Black Christmas-esque Marcus cue "Carol of Death" can now be heard during "Assorted Fistful" on AFOS.

I can count on one hand all the Asian American film music heads who are active on the blogosphere. There's me... and George. He's such a huge John Williams fan that he made a brief shout-out to Williams' Superman: The Movie score during a moment when an actor referenced the Superman character in J-ok'el.

There are a few things I regret about my absence from BANANA (I'm glad I'm not the only blogger who thinks the event name makes little sense--that's like if a panel of African American bloggers called their event "HOUSENEGRO"(*)--or maybe Lac Su and Steve Nguyen were being wry). One of those things is not getting to meet George face-to-face. I'm sure we would have talked about politics (we share the same political views) and film music. Here's George discussing the craft of film music:

(*) "Banana" is slang for an Asian American Uncle/Auntie Tom, and none of the panelists who were there are Michelle Malkin-style Toms.

I bet George will someday overtake Gary Chang as the most prominent Asian American film composer. He's that talented.

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