Friday, March 15, 2013

Putting Sound and Music to Ray Lewis, Part 2

         E:60’s profile of Ray Lewis in 2012 called for music and sound to match the dark hues of Lewis’ story.  Producer David Salerno focused on Lewis’ relationship with his father, distant and troubled in youth and early adulthood.  Only in recent years have they reconciled.

Marlon Hidalgo

          Marlon Hidalgo of Anderson Productions edited the piece and explains the music.  It starts with Lewis meeting children in Harlem for his charity foundation.  A music cut, “You Will be Home”, runs for about 30 seconds.
          Hidalgo: “Very light and neutral for that part of the story.”
          Then Lewis answers his cell phone.  His father, Ray Jackson, is calling.  We hear Jackson singing a gospel tune, “I Feel Like Going On.”  At 1:05 the story moves forward with the reporter’s voice-over.  Lewis’ career success is summarized before his ordeal as a quasi-fatherless child is introduced.  The section uses four sound selections that start with a driving percussion and end with mysterious-spooky. The four cuts are called “Jump Cut”, “Antarctic”, “Harbor”, and Incantation.”
          Hidalgo: “I love to combine songs and audio design on my own.  The next four cuts were used for a total of 45 seconds.  I used them to jump from a fast-paced action to pensive and reflective mood.”

          The story transitions to Lewis’ Florida childhood at about 1:55.  The music is “Travels”, a light piece with strings.
          At 2:10 Lewis’ father is introduced as an absent figure in and out of jail for drugs.  The music, “Rainy Days”, a dark piano cut, runs for about 10 seconds.
          Hidalgo: “We thought it fit the mood.”
          At 2:45 come details of the father’s drug habit.  The tense music,  “The Basement”, is followed by “Mist on the Lake”, to 3:15, wherein the story turns toward Lewis’ fatherless childhood.
          Hidalgo: “We go from a dark mood to a mood of uncertainty.”
          Lewis’ loneliness and yearning for his father, and his immersion in athletics, is underscored by a melancholy piano in “Still Water” at 3:25 to 4:05, followed by a slow horn in “Earth Drama” at 4:15 and a soft percussion and ‘whistling wind’ in “Pensive” at 4:30 to 5:00.
          Hidalgo: “We went from a mood of emptiness to a resentful mood as Ray started training to forget about the pain his dad left in him.”
          Lewis coped through athletics at Kathleen High, and erasing his father’s achievements from the school record books.  This covers two cuts, “Floating Current”, and “Adventures in Relaxation”, from 5:30 to 5:50.
          Hidalgo: “They are both sort of atmospheric cuts that went well with the training and pain Ray felt in high school.”
          Lewis’ career advances to the University of Miami, where he becomes an All-American linebacker.  He begins to see more of his father, but their meetings tend to upset Lewis.  The music, “Future World”, runs from 5:52 to 6:15.
          Hidalgo: “It is a neutral cut that finishes with a down side.”  
          At 6:25 Lewis’ career takes off with the Baltimore Ravens, but still he craves a relationship with his father.  The music,  “Reading Your Words”, runs until about 7:00.
          Hidalgo: “A dark and somber cut.  Ray never got to have a father/son conversation at that time in his life.  Song was perfect for that.”
          The story becomes darker, as Lewis’ father flits at the margins of Ray’s life, mooching money but avoiding a relationship. 
          In 2000 Lewis is convicted of obstruction of justice, and in 2001 he wins a Super Bowl, but his father remains distant.  “Call for Help” runs from 7:16 to 7:36.
          Hidalgo: “A mysterious cut.  Ray testifies about the stabbings -- we thought the cut fit the mood.”
          The father talks about his relapse into drug addiction at 7:55, to a sound called “Suspensory”.
          Hidalgo: “It has a sort of dark investigative mood.”
          At 8:15 the father rejects Lewis’ offer to pay for treatment of his addiction, and determines to do it on his own.  The music, “Great Salt Lake”, which runs to 9:00, is “very dronie and a little dark”, Hidalgo said.
          The reconciliation of Lewis and his father began with a six-hour motor trip to visit Lewis’ grandfather and Ray Jackson’s father.  “Sun Rise and Shine”, at 9:15 to 9:30, is described by Hidalgo as “very reflective”.
          From 9:30 to 10:45, as Lewis’ father recounts how, during the drive, he poured out his guilt and remorse to his son, and Lewis recounts how he received it, no music or sound is used.   Catharsis begins in this segment.
          The story advances to their meeting with Lewis’ grandfather at his North Carolina home.  Lewis had never met his grandfather, Shadie Ray Whitehead.  The music, “Earth Rise”, was “another reflective and mysterious cut,” Hidalgo said, that ran for about 45 seconds.  As three generations talk of the family “curse” of paternal abandonment, and Lewis vanquishes his bitterness, catharsis is achieved.
          The mood swings upward at 11: 55 as Lewis vows to be a good father to his six children and to help disadvantaged youth through United Athletes Foundation.  Hidalgo used “The Waiting” because it is “reflective and light”.
          The story comes full circle at 12:35 when it returns to Lewis taking the cell phone call from his father, who belts out “I Feel Like Going On”, by The Five Heartbeats.  The tune gets a 20-second run, and then reappears at 13:45 as the story wraps.
          Hidalgo:  “The best cut of the piece.  This is Ray’s Dad singing and it fits the mood of the whole piece.  We all thought it would be the perfect way to end a father and son feature.  It is very powerful and has a great message.  It gives the perfect ending.”

Posted by Steve Marantz on March 15, 2013.  

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