Matthew Muñiz is a musician, composer, songwriter, and pianist. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2003, and has dedicated himself since to creating beautiful music and helping his students create theirs. As a composer, his work has appeared in two short films, two plays, and in one feature-length zombie horror flick. In 2013, he produced and released a full-length album of his songs with his band, The Live Debate!. A company member at The House Theatre of Chicago, Matthew has music directed or performed in a number of shows, including The Nutcracker, The Revel, and United Flight 232.
In this 4-part feature, PerformInk continues its INSIDE series and takes you behind the scenes of The New Colony’s production of PSYCHONAUT LIBRARIANS through blog posts written by the people behind the scenes. To read past articles click here.
Two worlds, side-by-side. It’s not a new idea, but it’s one that continues to hold my fascination. As a child, I loved stories and movies on this theme: Beetlejuice, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Poltergeist, Big Trouble in Little China. The idea that there was a larger, hidden universe of secrets lying silently behind our own felt like the antidote to all the parts of my childhood I didn’t love. If I could escape into these worlds, I wouldn’t have to go far. They were so close.
PSYCHONAUT LIBRARIANS is one of those stories. Its world is our world, enhanced with the possibilities that a magical universe offers. Like a child, I escape into it.
Creating music for two worlds, side-by-side, means finding the instruments that suggest one or the other. For our story, I decided to characterize the ‘real’ world with the synthetic, modern sounds of synthesizers and keys. For the Anyverse, I chose the lush grandeur of a small classical ensemble: two violins, cello, French horn, and piano. Five musicians can make a lot of noise. When combined with the synths that characterize the real world, you get a sound that reflects the larger, more colorful reality of the Anyverse, and one that reflects the influences of the master storytellers whose movies shaped my childhood brain. One moment, the score is lean, and quiet, the next, synths and orchestral instruments are melting into each other like an aural Dali painting.
The combination of sounds is thrilling. It’s a good reminder that disparate worlds can live right alongside each other, and can come together for moments of tremendous beauty. I find that thought comforting when barriers seem to be the psychological fixation of our cultural moment.