Back Lot Music will release the GET OUT – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally on February 24, 2017, it was announced today. Best known for combining classical music with African-American jazz, blues, bluegrass and ethnic genres, Michael Abels was asked by writer/director/producer Jordan Peele to compose the music for the thriller.
“Jordan gave me very clear direction for this score,” said Abels. “He said that above all, it needed to be ‘seriously scary.’ That’s hard to misinterpret!” Peele had reached out to Abels after watching a YouTube video of Urban Legends, one of Abels’ classical compositions. “He said it needed to have some distinctly African-American elements without relying on stereotypes, quite literally wanting African-American voices to be heard. The story was always to be told from the point-of-view of Chris, the main character, and the African-American voices we hear would represent the souls of slaves or other black victims of oppression, speaking to Chris from spirit world.”
Abels opted for using lyrics in Swahili for the voices. “Unintelligible lyrics are always scary, so I knew the voices should not be singing in English,” Abels explained. “I wrote some phrases these souls might say, and then read the Swahili translations aloud to see what music occurred to me. Out of that process I wrote a couple demos, and Jordan chose one of them, “Minor Trouble,” to be the Main Title for the film. The translation, allowing for some poetic license, is: ‘Brother — listen to the elders. Run! Brother — listen to the truth. Run, run far away! Save yourself.’”
These lyrics were blended with more traditional instrumentation. “Jordan was very intent on using natural, acoustic instruments and textures over electric, synthetic ones,” Abels described. “That’s a smart choice for a film that is really about human relations. Besides the predominantly black choir, the score features a string orchestra, harp and tuned metal percussion. What electronic instruments there are have a naturalistic flavor, rather than a cold, mechanical one.”
Michael Abels is an African-American composer known for his orchestra works Global Warming, Delights & Dances and Urban Legend, as well as choral pieces such as Be The Change and Limitless. With a “keen ear for musical color and a deft ability to adapt structural elements from popular music into the symphonic idiom” (Houston Chronicle), Abels has gained widespread recognition for his orchestral music.
Born in Phoenix, AZ, Abels attended the University of Southern California, studying with James Hopkins and Robert Linn. Later, he studied West African music with Alfred Ladzekpo at the California Institute for the Arts. He currently serves as Director of Music for New Roads School in Santa Monica. Abels is a past recipient of grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, L.A. Opera, and many orchestras throughout the country. In his concert career he has worked with James Earl Jones, Doc Severinsen, and a diverse group of other musical artists. Abels also wrote the score for Fantasea at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
In Universal Pictures’ Get Out, a speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of The Visit, Insidious series and The Gift) and the mind of Jordan Peele, when a young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.
Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Sicario) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, Girls), have reached the meet-the- parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips) and Dean (Bradley Whitford, The Cabin in the Woods).
At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.
Equal parts gripping thriller and provocative commentary, Get Out is written and directed by Peele (Key and Peele) and produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum, as well as Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko, Bad Words), Edward H. Hamm Jr. (Bad Words) and Peele. The film also stars Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men series), Stephen Root (No Country for Old Men), Milton “Lil Rel” Howery (The Carmichael Show), Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year), Marcus Henderson (Pete’s Dragon) and Lakeith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton).
GET OUT will be in theaters nationwide on February 24, 2017. The same day, Back Lot Music will release the GET OUT – Original Motional Picture Soundtrack digitally through all major providers.