Incident in New Baghdad has been nominated for an Oscar this year in the Best Documentary Short Feature category. The film was scored by Emile D. Menasche, author of The Desktop Studio, Your Sound Onstage, andHome Studio Clinic. He recorded the soundtrack to Incident in New Baghdad in his home studio using his MacBook Pro.
Menasche says, “I worked closely with producer/director James Spione on the soundtrack. It was a real collaboration. We recorded the soundtrack in my home studio using a combination of Ableton Live and Logic Pro. Because the story involves an American soldier in Iraq, the music reflected both cultures. We didn’t have indigenous instruments, so I had to adapt classical flute and guitar to sound more Middle Eastern. Returning worked well with the guitar, a technique I discovered working on a previous documentary, God’s Open Hand, which covered the Afghan elections a few years ago.
“We also used some electronic sounds to underscore some of the battle scenes. The trick was not to get the music to sound too dramatic. The director didn’t want it to sound either heroic or like it was out of a horror/suspense film.
“A lot of the final cues came from improvised flute phrases, played by my daughter Rebecca. I had her play both melodic parts and beds, then used Live to change their pitch and texture to create a blend between natural and digital sounds.”