tinyhuman | Jeff Rona
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Jeff Rona

On his new solo album PROJECTOR, composer Jeff Rona has created his most visceral and personal work to date. A master of texture and movement, Rona has created a piece of art that is both deeply arresting and profoundly transformative. More than a collection of disparate ambient soundscapes, PROJECTOR is a window into, and a meditation upon, the creative soul.

“Like most of my music,” explains Rona, “the tracks in PROJECTOR began as experiments. I’d done some musical sketches for an experimental Brazilian film, but I set them aside as they didn’t really fit. Yet there was a kernel of something really interesting within them.” Eventually Rona returned to those sketches. As he worked, they began to transform into something intensely personal and artistically cohesive.

Written while Rona was living by the ocean just outside of Venice, CA, the record is very ambient and organic. “My film scores mainly use orchestras and electronics. This album began as very abstract sounds and rhythms” says Rona. Drawing from his time working with Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, Rona collected found sounds from many sources and processed them in similar ways. As he began to sculpt those sounds they became more and more discretely musical on their own. To these he added layers of piano, guitars, voices, drums and some fresh sounds of his own making.

Finally Rona reached out to some other artists for their creative contributions: British cellist and recording artist Peter Gregson, British film composer David Julyan (Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige), LA-based cellist Emily Rice, Japanese singer (and archery expert) Yoko Honda and others. The result is a world in which ambient ideas are grounded by drums, piano, strings, and guitars.

“This is the most personal music I’ve ever recorded” declares Rona. “This album tells my story, an overall sense of deep calm along with some elements of darkness.” While it might be a cliché to call a record a “journey”, it is undeniable that PROJECTOR transports the listener to an altered, inner space.

A student of art, photography and music in school, Rona discovered minimalism composing and performing with choreographers. An in-demand studio musician, arranger, sound designer, synthesist and programmer, he has worked with Philip Glass, Cliff Martinez, and Hans Zimmer, with whom he had a long-time partnership.

Rona’s first solo composing project was scoring the groundbreaking television series “Homicide:Life On The Street” for director Barry Levinson – the first major series scored with ambient electronic music. His first solo feature film was Ridley Scott’s “White Squall”, after contributing music to “Black Hawk Down” and “Gladiator”. Since then he’s scored dozens of films, TV series, video games and creative projects with directors such as Steven Spielberg, Wong Kar-wai, Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, Mark Pellington, Stephen Hopkins, Jonathan Demme, Frank Darabont and many others.

Rona has collaborated with Lisa Gerrard on several film projects, and toured with Dead Can Dance, arranging and conducting a full orchestra. He co-composed and produced the album City – Works Of Fiction for Brian Eno’s Opal Records (recently re-released on Warped Records) and performed live with Eno on tour. In 2008 he composed music for the Beijing Olympics, which went on a live symphonic tour.

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Photo by Kevin Walt