Over two years ago I was approached by Disney Imagineering to create music for a new land – “Adventure Isle” in the developing Disneyland located in Shanghai, China.
I was told that this was the first time all original music was commissioned for any “land” in a Disneyland theme park.
The music is indigenous music of the “Arbori people” a fictitious tribal group that inhabits Adventure Isle. I was asked to come up with music that was not Chinese, South American, African or any other current style of music – this was to be totally new tribal music. I was also told that the Arbori people had not yet discovered metal. What a cool project! I did lots of experimentation to create a sonic pallet that was completely new but had to sound as if it were from an ancient tradition.
No samples were used and only acoustic musical instruments were played.
I used many bamboo flutes of various sizes, clay ocarinas, lots of shakers made of seeds and even used foliage as a rhythm instrument. Exotic stringed instruments, mallet instruments and loads of drums helped create a totally organic sound. Additional ambient sounds recorded on my Sonic Safari adventures were blended into the soundtrack.
I created quite a few experimental musical instruments for the project. I composed melodies using strange musical scales ( in some cases micro-tonal scales ). The rhythms include exotic non-traditional rhythms like 17, 13 and other odd times. Lots of percussion and drums were created for the project including a “stone marimba” and several harp guitars.
I composed over 4 hours of music ( a total of 46 songs ) . It was lots of fun working with a great team of people including an excellent writer, sound designers, singers, a children’s choir and production teams. One group even went to the jungle to record ambient sounds.
My good friend Steve Hill directed a children’s choir that learned the Arbori language used for the song’s lyrics.
The sound system will be an elaborate system designed especially for the project.
Here are some articles on “Adventure Isle”