SHOW AND TELL #33: Alan F Jones

Alan F Jones is a San Diego-based audio engineer, composer, and performing musician. A career submarine officer, he has spent collective years underwater analyzing, studying and monitoring the acoustic environment of the world’s oceans. This critical analysis and experience have greatly influenced his concepts of music and archival methodology. He has mastered audio and advised for numerous local and international musicians and performing ensembles from his studio, Laminal Audio. A post engineer, Alan also composes for film and consults on sound. He runs the Marginal Frequency performance series in San Diego, CA, and the record label of the same name. Alan F Jones is coming to Alchemy to attend the European Premiere of the film Maelstroms he co-created with director Lana Z Caplan. The film is a part of our Reasons to Be Anxious, Part 3 programme.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Selective solitude.

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to work with film?
Working with filmmakers to create moments that simultaneously challenge and engage viewers, by making sound and listening uniformly paramount to what is seen, and as a natural constituent to story.

3. What are the first things you do in developing music and sound in response to a film project?
Investigate, question, and embrace the narrative of the film. Take notes when transitions occur, and any time that I am moved emotionally. Allow images to function as mnemonics, privately questioning those impulses and memories. Compose.

4. What’s your favourite score and why?
Ennio Morricone’s score for The Thing. A veteran composer effectively emulating the younger John Carpenter’s music for his own film, bringing to brilliant life an otherwise desolate landscape, and without losing any of the lo-fi, DIY sensibilities that made Carpenter’s own scores so resonant against their bleak subject matters.

5. What is your greatest extravagance?
Geeky, excessive knowledge of gear, with a restraint toward acquiring it.

6. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
When the inconsequential are realized as the richest sources of material.

7. What is your final word?
Sincere but cautious humility.