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Mychael Danna - sounds and atmosphere:

Mychael Danna - Kama Sutra, A Tale of Love soundtrack CD cover Canadian composer Mychael Danna (sometimes credited as "Michael") is the older brother of Jeff Danna who is also an accomplished film composer. "The Ice Storm" is an impressive movie, where the two generations of neighbours and friends seeks new stimuli to provide relief from their own dysfunctional families before events climax during an ice storm. Mychael Danna provides a variety of soundscapes as a backdrop to this story, including a wooden flute type sound suggesting perhaps the location and a back to nature freedom. A Gamelan band augmented with other brittle sounds are used in a number of places which eventually accompany the ice storm but also seem to predict it earlier in the movie, in the same way that director Ang Lee introduces early references to weather and ice. This music brings out the beauty of the storm with windchime effects in the trees, but also hints at its dangerous aspects as though its beauty is an allure to draw you in - perhaps a metaphor for the film itself.

Mychael & Jeff Danna - The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus soundtrack CD cover In general one would describe the music of Mychael Danna as subtle or unobtrusive, which is exactly what many directors are looking for from a composer - a creator of something generally non-thematic which sits in the background lending ambience to the proceedings, and briefly rising up when the action requires some support only to retire once more into the background. In "Ride with the Devil" the music initially starts off with a certain Southern vibe (guitar, banjo, solo violin and strings) placing the situation in time and place and lending a certain lawlessness to events. The music rises in power when large scale action unfolds becoming more of a traditional orchestral score, then quietly allowing some character development to take place ending with a gentler more romantic mood as things return to something approaching normality.

Mychael Danna also seems to have an interesting and unusual involvement scoring Indian films with "Kama Sutra, A Tale of Love", "Moonsoon Wedding" and now "Water". For these scores Danna has employed a number of traditional Indian instruments and methods, often aiming for a modern fusion sound. He is one of very few Western composers to work in this way.

Mychael Danna - The Time Traveller's Wife soundtrack CD cover Note that the soundtrack CD for "The Ice Storm" only contains a couple of tracks by Mychael Danna (the rest of the CD being a collection of songs), and is available at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. The "Kama Sutra" soundtrack has much more of Danna's music and can be found at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. "8MM" is also available at these links Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Mychael Danna's recent score for "The Time Traveller's Wife" integrates little snatches of sound design into some of the tracks. This and his clever instrumental scoring gives a certain enigmatic and unsettling quality which is ideal for the story. Check out the album at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Mychael Danna's familiarity with Indian music and instruments made him an ideal choice to score the visually stunning "Life of Pi" for director Ang Lee. His music has already received lots of favourable comments, and the score has now won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar. The soundtrack is available at these links from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Films by Mychael Danna:

    Mychael Danna - 8MM soundtrack CD cover
  • Blood Relations
  • The Ice Storm - one of his best for director Ang Lee
  • Ride with the Devil - well-crafted music for a well-crafted film by Ang Lee
  • Felicia's Journey
  • Kama Sutra, A Tale of Love - for Indian director/filmmaker Mira Nair
  • 8MM (or Eight Millimeter)
  • Monsoon Wedding - also for Mira Nair, this is about a Punjabi family torn between their traditions and the pressures of modern life
  • The Hulk - in yet another Ang Lee film, the song "Mother" is one of the items accompanying the main score by Danny Elfman
  • Vanity Fair
  • Being Julia
  • Capote - the film has very little music, so the album is completed with excerpts from the novel "In Cold Blood" recorded by the real Truman Capote
  • Water - Indian made film by Deepa Mehta, with songs by A. R. Rahman who also scored and contributed songs to Mehta's "Fire" and "Earth" creating an elemental Trilogy, and coincidentally a third Indian film for Danna
  • Where the Truth Lies
  • Tideland - with brother Jeff Danna
  • Mychael Danna with Devotchka - Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack CD cover
  • Little Miss Sunshine - brings out the quirky misfit characters in this dynsunctional family, though later morphing towards a feel-good road movie
  • Fracture - also with Jeff, a psychological courtroom drama with dark piano theme supported by strings
  • Surf's Up
  • Adoration
  • Management
  • Lakeview Terrace - also with Jeff
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • The Time Traveller's Wife
  • Mychael Danna - Life of Pi soundtrack CD cover
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - working again with brother Jeff on this Terry Gilliam project
  • Chloe
  • Cooking with Stella
  • Going the Distance
  • The Whistleblower
  • Moneyball
  • Life of Pi - an unusual film getting good reviews, with some great comments on Danna's score
  • Devil's Knot
  • Transcendence - although the film has performed poorly the score works very well indeed
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Good Dinosaur - Disney-Pixar animation scored by the brothers Danna
  • Storks - another great animation from the Danna brothers
  • The Breadwinner
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
  • The Addams Family (2019) - fun spooky animation score with brother Jeff

TV work by Mychael Danna:

    Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna - Camelot soundtrack CD cover
  • Road to Avonlea - Danna is one of a number of composers contributing to this series
  • Stranger Inside - TV Movie
  • The Matthew Shepard Story - with brother Jeff
  • New Amsterdam - series
  • Dollhouse - series
  • Medium - theme and score for the award-winning series
  • Camelot - series scored with brother Jeff, with the theme earning an Emmy Nomination in 2011
  • World Without End - series

Mychael Danna - Recommendations:

Mychael Danna - Memorabilia:

Here are some CD covers signed by Mychael Danna, including some covers also signed by his brother Jeff Danna. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click the thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.

Mychael Danna: Being Julia - signed CD Mychael Danna: Breach - signed CD Mychael Danna: Little Miss Sunshine - signed CD Mychael Danna: Ride with the Devil - signed CD Mychael Danna: Surf's Up - signed CD Mychael Danna: The Nativity Story - signed CD Mychael Danna: Vanity Fair - signed CD Mychael Danna: Where the Truth Lies - signed CD Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna: A Celtic Romance - signed CD Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna: Camelot - signed CD Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna: Fracture - signed CD Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - signed CD Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna: Tideland - signed CD