This haunting animation about the origins of Cuzco, Peru is by one of my favorite Chicago filmmakers, Gus Gavino. Check out more of his work at middle mind project (I especially love his music videos.)
My main focus with this score was tone. It features a lot of accordion.. but more for mood than melody (e.g. the “breathing”, key rattling, shakes..) Other elements instruments included: string bass, a few woodwinds, harp, faint whistling, and some close mic-ed “low sighing” for the skulls scene.
Thank you Richard Howarth for assisting with sound design on this one! With this piece especially, the sound FX are just as important as the music in making the piece feel right.
Also, my old intern Alex Wand (who gave a very inspiring MFA graduation recital at CalArts on Wednesday by the way) was kind enough to translate the text of the story:
The story begins with the telling of the founder of the Incan dynasty, Ayar Manko. Legend has it that he turned to stone once he got old. Others say he magically flew away to a place where he continues to protect his town. His Successors maintained that they were children of the sun and in this way, they were able to secure the obedience of the nations of Tawantisuyu.
The text then explains how the Spaniards, who came with an ambition for gold, conquered the land. (i.e. barbaric mistreatment of women, murders, destruction of sacred monuments). Manko II attempted to retake Cuzco from the Spanish, but ultimately lost.
Finally, thank you Mike Ambs for letting me use the audio from his project The Lonliest Mix in this animation. It’s the wonderfully low sound of a “last-known hybrid blue whale” which sings at 52 Hertz… much higher than its fellow whales, whose calls fall in the 15 to 25 Hertz range- hence the nickname, “The Lonliest Whale.” Beautiful… you’ll hear it for a few seconds starting around 1:03.