Jaimee Jimin Park is an artist who seems to rebuke the normal trappings one might expect of such a talented musician. Ranging from her original album Nebulous to feature films such as Salvation (2020) to music for a McDonalds commercial, Ms. Park has always embraced the opportunity to follow unique ventures. During the lockdown, this meant working on the music team for two of the most heralded Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett (nominated for 4 Primetime Emmy Awards). Presently, two films are about to released which display the versatile compositional prowess of Jaimee, D.O.A. and Renee. With drastically different melodic and rhythmic tones, these two films exhibit the diversity that Jaimee Jimin Park wields as a truly extraordinary composer.
D.O.A. is set in Florida during the 1940’s. For this Hitchcock inspired detective tale, Jaimee manifested shades of Bernard Herrmann (composer of the score for the iconic Psycho thriller) with lush full orchestrations and main melodic themes that almost become another character in the film. Ms. Park delved into a study of old film scores to cultivate a feeling that correlated to cinema from the first half of the twentieth century. The authenticity of the music that supports and accentuates the plot points of D.O.A. is transportive. It is also painstakingly designed. The composer explains, “The music was purposely designed to not sound current. Themes were very pronounced in films of this era. I made two main themes for D.O.A., the ‘Following’ and the ‘Tension.’ The ‘Following’ theme consists of a row of compiled four notes, which gives off a ‘following’ vibe. At first it has only four notes but over time it keeps piling up and adding other materials while repeating. Whenever the main character [Frank Bigelow] follows someone or tries to solve the mystery, this theme shows up and gives the audience hints. On the other hand, the ‘Tension’ theme is very traditionally composed. I used some harmonies and figures that create tension. It was important to make these themes memorable because old scores tend to have melodic themes. I used this theme whenever Frank faces some danger or the film has tension. There is also a Romantic theme as a bonus; it shows up when Frank interact with his romantic characters. It’s very lyrical with romantic harmonic progressions and virtuosic violin parts, which is again a common occurrence in romance films of the 1940’s.”
Aaron James is known for his eclectic films like Get Naked (starring Oscar Winner Eric Roberts) and Hank Williams First Nation (AMPIA Award Winning film). Renee is his most recent offering, a drama that follows a female moose hunter who lives in the woods. The style of this production is described as appearing like a real-time documentary but in scripted film form. In True Aaron James style, the film ventures into unpredictable territory and makes no attempts to manufacture moments of drama, action, or sadness. Mr. James enlisted Jaimee Jimin Park to create a musical accompaniment to this unorthodox storytelling approach. Taking a vastly different tactic than that of D.O.A., Jaimee merged the modern and traditional with minimalism for the music of Renee. Piano, ethnic flute, and various electronic sounds are the instrumental foundations of the film’s score. Looking for a deeply personal approach to the main character, Ms. Park took to experimentation. She describes, “I took out the main character (Renee)’s voice and applied a bunch of plug-ins, stretching the audio to make a pad/synth sound out of it. It doesn’t sound like a voice in the final form of the music I created for the film and it resulted in something truly unique. I’d say that it was the hidden beauty of this score.” Jaimee composed the score to Renee in an expeditious two-week timeframe; a fact even more impressive when you consider that the film has some scenes that require 5 mins or even 7-10 mins for a single cue.
Present day music artists rebuke the notion of being restricted by “lanes” or boundaries enforced by executive gate keepers. Vacillating between composing music for films and songs which are meant to bear their name for download or streaming, it’s all creative expression for professionals like Jaimee Jimin Park.
Writer: Coleman Haan