Reggie Watts’ Legend Soundtrack.

Ever hear of this guy? My first contact with his music was via the IFC Channel once I got “expanded” cable. And here was this guy with a massive afro standing behind a keyboard making up songs about the shows on IFC. Not only were they on-the-spot descriptions of the shows (such as Malcolm in the Middle and The Onion News Network), but they were also funny and catchy (I got Watts’ tribute to ONN‘s anchor woman “Brooke Alvarez” stuck in my head for a month):

Anyways, being the rabid Ridley Scott fan I am I recently found out Watts had created a soundtrack for Scott’s 1985 film Legend. As in on-stage and completely improvised, with the movie playing behind him on a massive screen. Needless to say, I was keen on hearing it — and if you are too, follow this link to the embed on the page (WordPress isn’t fond of some embed codes, and you’ll need to submit your email address to get the download).

In order to synchronize the mp3 to the film, you first need either the DVD or Blu-Ray “Ultimate Edition” of the film — the “U.S. Theatrical Version (Disc II)”, in particular. After pausing the playback of the film immediately after the second Universal logo (at first the current Universal logo — with pounding theme music — is shown, then the second “classic” logo appears silently), cue the mp3 track to 53 seconds (00:00:53, or 0:53, depending on your player). Playing both the film and mp3 from that point should synchronize them — albeit with a bit of tweaking here and there (don’t worry, Reggie will give you hints throughout the track with his “voiceovers” of the characters).

The results, when properly synchronized, range from hilarious (the aforementioned voiceovers and improvised song choices) to rather beautiful. Watts reminds me of jazz fusion pioneer George Duke, keyboardist and vocalist with the Frank Zappa band in the early to mid-70’s, effortlessly blending classical, jazz and pop influences — all while providing either narration or taking over for one of the on-screen actors.

Mind you, it isn’t perfect — there are often lulls and missteps along the way (the guy’s doing it live onstage, after all) — but overall this is a must-hear for fans of Watts or the film (which I happen to be both).

 

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