Friday, March 28, 2008

Composers week: Kevin Manthei

One of the hardest workin' doods in both the animation and video game world is Kevin Manthei. Kevin was earning his main bread n' butter doing soundtracks for such games as Twisted Metal Black and Kill.switch when he was tapped by his ever-luvin' lord of alt-comic darkness Jhonen Vasquez to score Invader Zim. Seems Jhonen's a big gamer, and wanted that kind of sensibility throughout Zim, which is evident in the tone, the design, and the music.

The above clips contain only audio...don't know why the fan posted it this way on the YouTubes, but it works nicely. You can hear this big-ass multilayered cinematic sound, full of energy...Jhonen insisted that each episode of Zim be fully scored, virtually unheard of in television animation generally. Kevin's scores gave the series this epic feel that just wasn't evident in any other Nick show running at the time.

Zim got itself cancelled...the show was dark, sardonic and creepy, and at the time it premiered (just after Sept. 11th), kids just didn't wanna watch, although scenesters and goths considered it to be the best thing since black makeup. Kevin's gone on to score Xiaolin Showdown, Johnny Test, and a bunch of other projects, but for my dollar, the Zim scores are still his greatest stuff. I actually had Kevin in mind for the score for my GUNBunnies short, but, damn...just couldn't afford him. If I ever get me a budget for anything, this is gonna be the dude I goes to.

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