Musical Score By: Troy Herion
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the documentary, 306 Hollywood, Elan and Jonathan Bogarin are filmmakers who also happen to be sister and brother. The two decide to conduct an archeological excavation of their grandmother’s house, sifting through all of their grandmother’s keepsakes and more. They embark from her cluttered New Jersey home to ancient Rome learning about the contents of Grandma’s house and realizing the value of the items loved ones leave behind upon death.
The musical score of 306 Hollywood was created by composer and filmmaker Troy Herion. Herion received classical training from the Princeton University PhD program, studying composition and completing a dissertation on visual music. In addition to lecturing in universities around the country, Troy Herion has been commissioned to create compositions for theatre, ballet, museums and more. Film scoring credits include The Hottest August, The Dog, Mountain Fire Personnel and You Can Go.
In creating the score for 306 Hollywood, Troy Herion had a distinct advantage – he was also one of the film editors: “306 Hollywood was a unique collaboration where I not only scored the film, I am also one of the editors. Having the freedom to cut a scene while writing music allows for deep interconnections between the music, images, and rhythm of the film. I take the view that the film as a whole is musical.” According to Elan Bogarin, “We wanted to create a heightened world, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. So we went all in with the film score – treating the music as a full character in a way that shapes the film far more than a typical documentary. Troy’s magical realist film score brings out the wonder and mystery behind our everyday reality.”
When I first listened to this score, I had trouble figuring out what this movie was about. There was this magical quality brought on by the choir in the first track, Model House Opening. But the next track, Grandma Interviews features a quirky jazz number. Knowing what I now know about this project and then listening to the score gave me greater perspective on what the composer was trying to do. Grandma must have been quite the character (I recently watched a preview for the film and can now say that yes, Grandma was a character and someone I think I would have liked to know). The score features a great deal of that magical styling to it with ukulele, plucking strings, violin solos and choir pieces, such as in Childhood Memories (though that track does wind down rather ominously). Pianos and synths are accompanied by light drums in some tracks and there are times, such as in Catalogues, that the score takes on a sort of jazzy dance quality.
The 306 Hollywood Soundtrack is quite an interesting listen – sometimes magical, all times quirky and perfectly suited to describe Elan and Jonathan’s grandmother and the discoveries they make at her home and beyond.