Los Angeles' quintessential San Fernando Valley suburbs may have borne the image of suburban mall rat culture, but musicians from the Valley know one thing: the place has been a hotbed of musical talent since the 1950s. From every other garage, on every other street, from Richie Valens to Three Dog Night to Bad Religion, and Dave Grohl lives there now. Within this overheated dreamscape, versatile rock ensemble guitarist, CHRIS FIELD, forged his musical path. He first performed in rock bands before making a name for himself in the film trailer music world. With his new album, Personal Elegy, Field returns to his rock roots, taking an intimate singer/songwriter approach.
About Personal Elegy, Chris Field says, "This album is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded over the past ten years. Living in the Valley, close to Topanga Canyon and the Pacific Ocean, there's so much nature and history all in the same area. I think influence wise, I was remembering some music that was going on around here back in the sixties and seventies. But lyrically, I was just writing about things around me. I really got into writing lyrics for this and was trying to find my own point of view. The title track for the album, "Personal Elegy", is about things and people that have passed. It's, for me, watching the Valley change. Family and friends passing and also, movie stars have their time as well. Heath Ledger had just passed away when I wrote this. The whole city of Los Angeles stopped for a moment -- probably the whole country, maybe the world. Really great actors make you feel that you know them and their passing feels immediate and personal. Definitely, in our family, my wife and niece were very upset, there was a reaction against this sudden and unfair loss, the ultimate reminder of change. This song seems to tie the album together in some way."
Personal Elegy has an intimate, singer songwriter approach, influenced by the glorious rock and roll Golden Age, the 1970s. The album is about the unfolding of anyone's life, through all its phases, its hope and joy, its bumps and bruises. It is everyone's journey along the arc of time, beginning with death in "Personal Elegy" and through heaven in the piece "A Safe Place to Hide". The theme of sexual love in "Computer Girl", hopeful love in "Since You Were My Baby" and "Autumn Moon", develops into the never ending love of "You Make My Life Better".
Within this arc of experience comes fame, the glittery world of the movies, fans clamoring for an "Autograph". Field's orchestral composition talent, honed during the years of writing for film, jumps in this piece. With the fleeting nature of human endeavor and worldly status, "Start Again" comes after a fall. The ambiguous story of the sad abused girl "Nola" and "Had It Comin'" look directly into the ever present life dangers of abuse, and when called for, retribution.
"How Did We Get Here", "Live Another Day", "All I Do Is Think About You" are for the past experience, the wonderment of how and why things have unfolded as they did. "New Tomorrow" and "Movin" promise that we've still got some time. We still have the hope of a better tomorrow, but only by moving on from things that have changed. But really, do things change? On the sand and beach, the eternal ocean laps at the earth, the stars shine in the sky. In closing, the writer asks, was this "Just A Dream"?
Indeed, Los Angeles and the Valley figure into Field's work, finding its way into the collection's autobiographcical points of view. Regarding "Movin'", Chris says, "I grew up in Reseda, California. The Karate Kid apartments are on Tampa and Saticoy. I did a video, which I shot myself. I found this kid, Keith Cargill, with the old VW Bug. He reminded me of how the kids used to be back when I was a kid. Mimi Tillett, the girl, is a student who lives in Santa Rosa. The northern California girl thing seemed to fit with meeting a guy here, and him rolling into a new life. Love is redemption and it can take you anywhere. Of course, where there's love, there's going to be some music playing!"
"The Valley is everywhere in the "Movin" video and song is about escaping the urban mess and finding something new. But the album as a whole, for me, is being in my 40's, reflecting back, and preparing to move forward. It was really a more personal journey than the instrumental music I usually do. On Personal Elegy, I'm singing, using my own voice. In my 20's I was playing guitar, doing gigs, and getting into progressive rock/fusion. Then I did a 180 turn and got into composing for film trailers, which was a new thing around 1995. Its grown into a big industry since."
Indeed, Field is well known in Los Angeles as a musical composer for movie theatrical trailers includes Alice in Wonderland, Tomorrowland, X-Men, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, XXX, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Hotel Rwanda, Kinsey, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. His first contribution to a film trailer was for the The Full Monty. He composed a piece "Gothic Power" which ended up being the main theme for The Lord of the Rings film trailer; which was later parodied as the trailer for a film within a film in a sequence for Ben Stiller's movie Tropic Thunder.
Field is recognized in the Los Angeles music industry as a trend setter in the world of film trailer music. Field's piece "Acts of Courage" was released on the album, This Is Epic Music, Volume I, on Imperativa Records; the album notes state that "Gothic Power", written by Field in 1999, started a new direction in cinematic music that came to be identified as epic music. Part of Field's film music catalog was acquired by BMG Chrysalis. Part of Field's film music catalogue was acquired by Extreme Music. This music continues to be repeatedly licensed throughout the world.
Chris says, "I like a lot of things and just explore them. I don't want to be pegged to one thing, it's too limiting. I did a New Age symphonic album called Sub-Conscious and I am surprised by how large the market for new age music became. I guess people are stressed out! I am very proud of that work."
Sub-Conscious, an award winning album, is an editor's pick and top seller in both Ambient and Neo-classical genres on cdbaby. Recorded in beautiful Seattle on the shores of Lake Washington, at Bastyr Chapel, Field's work features the Northwest Sinfonia, under the capable direction of master violinist and conductor, Simon James. Sub-Conscious takes a classical and filmic approach to new age music, raising it to a film music art form. Calm and soothing, with soaring strings and breath taking melodies, Sub-Conscious was awarded Best New-Classical Album, 2006, by New Age Reporter. Sub-Conscious is a top seller on cdbaby for ambient music. It also became a top editors' pick in the neoclassical category.
The Sub-Conscious album has sold countess time and has been licensed for cutting edge radio shows, films, and all other media through Magnatune. Personal Elegy is a new work, available on iTunes, cdbaby, and is also licensed for all media through Magnatune.