<p>&nbsp;Jan Kaczmarek won an Oscar for the 'Finding Neverland' score.</p>

 Jan Kaczmarek won an Oscar for the 'Finding Neverland' score.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Oscar-winning composer Jan Kaczmarek on his Transatlantyk Fest and getting back to work

What project is next for the 'Finding Neverland,' 'Unfaithful' and 'Hachi' composer

POZNAN, Poland:  Composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2005 for Marc Forster’s “Finding Neverland,” has put his writing on hold for the last few years to get his latest production off the ground. But now, he’s ready to return to his first love.

Kaczmarek, who also scored such films as “Unfaithful,” “The Visitor,” and “Washington Square,”  started the Transatlantyk Festival, a music and film event here, in 2011. The Polish native attended college in Poznan and now splits his time between Poznan and Los Angeles.

“I took a sabbatical from writing,” he says. “Creating and funding the festival was such a big job, I removed myself from writing for three years. I did two movies and one concert work just to keep the flow, but it was a necessary decision to really seriously create this structure that works.”

 In its third year, the Aug. 2-9 festival, which draws more than 41,000 people to its series of classes, screenings, scoring competitions and events, will honor Yoko Ono on Aug. 7 with its Glocal (a combo of global and local) Hero Award. Accompanied by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, the 80-year old icon will also perform a selection of her works.

For Kaczmarek, Ono’s work and life beautifully represent the spirit of the festival, which draws attendees from all over Central Europe, and budding composers from around the globe. “We are a festival of film and music, but we define ourselves as a festival of ideas —social, political and culturally. We wanted her for many reasons, she’s also an activist in the peace movement,” he says. He also knows the benefit to having such a name grace his budding conference:  “To have an award accepted by a legend certainly has to send a message that, ‘yes, we do something important here.’”

Just as Sundance Film Festival started with the film institute before launching the full festival, Kaczmarek began by launching a film and music institute five years ago in Poznan. “There’s nothing better than hungry people you can feed,” he says. “We’re a big city with a great tradition of academics, great museums, music academy, culinary artists...this is the first capital of Poland from the 10th century, but on the level of film music, this was never an important place on the map.” 

With Sundance continuing as the model, Transatlantyk now has a working relationship with the famous Utah festival.  “We present a selection of movies chosen by Sundance for us called Sundance at Transatlantyk,” Kaczmarek says. Additionally, Sundance’s music director Peter Golub has attended the Poznan festival every year.

The festival prides itself on its slightly quirky innovation and creativity. The opening gala on Aug. 2 was preceded by a drumming circle to protest GMOs and the disappearance of bees. There is a green carpet instead of a red one to highlight a concern for the environment. In addition to the slate of films accepted into competition, there is a series dedicated to culinary films, and after the film, attendees can have a meal prepared by a chef that ties in with the movie’s theme. There is also a flight of films about bikes.

The festival, which takes over much of the 650,000-person town, makes the most of the large outdoor spaces no more so than for Cinema In Bed, a nightly series of films in a town square viewed on your own queen-sized bed, with your own projector and screen. There are 60 beds and the movie starts at the same time for everyone, but if you want privacy, you can lower the curtains on your bed. “It was my idea, like drive-ins, but beds are much quieter than cars and much more comfortable that cars. If you have a girlfriend, it’s much nicer to kiss her in our bed than in your car,” Kaczmarek jokes.

With Transatlantyk finding its feet, Kaczmarek is very eager to get back to writing music. “It’s what I’m here for,” he says. “It’s how I communicate with the world.”  Immediately after the festival, he is meeting with Austrian director, Feo Aladeg (director of “When We Leave,” winner of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival) about her new film about Afghanistan, shot in Afghanistan. “I’m curious as to why she wants me,” he says. “I’m always looking for a challenging project. I love the idea of a new culture and using muscles I didn’t expect I had.”

Like many composers, Kaczmarek is happy to toggle back and forth between film and television. What matters for him is quality. “Television is so good these days, especially American television,” say Kaczmarek, who scored the 2007 “War & Peace” mini-series. “It’s become really brilliant in a way and intellectually stronger, quite often, than the world of features.”

His score for  2009’s “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” and his subsequent live performances of the music in Japan about a Japanese dog who went to the train station every day to greet his master for nine years following the owner’s death has helped make him a star there “They needed a Polish composer for the movie to capture the years of suffering,” he jokes.

He also teases that he’s very popular with “Arab princesses” who loved the movie “Unfaithful” because it was about such a forbidden topic for them.

But he turns very serious when he talks about receiving a letter from a fan in Tehran, who wrote Kaczmarek to tell him that his music kept him from committing suicide.  “People play my music a lot when they lose someone, especially [the score to] ‘Washington Square’,” he says. “People play it over and over. I’m very touched.”

Such feedback spurs him to get back to writing. “I want another letter,” he says.


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<p>From &quot;Speed&quot;</p>

From "Speed"

Triple Oscar winner David MacMillan on his 6 most memorable movie shoots

What is it like to work with Oliver Stone? Michael Douglas? Where does 'Speed' fit in?

POZNAN, Poland— Last night, I had the great good fortune to sit at a concert with three-time Oscar winning sound mixer David MacMillan at a concert here at the Transatlantyk Festival, a film and music festival put on by Oscar-winning composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.  Kaczmarek grew up in Poland and adopted Poznan as his hometown after attending college here. MacMillan, who won his gold statues for “The Right Stuff,” “Speed” and “Apollo 13," is here teaching a master class. His other credits include "Twilight," "The 40-Year Old Virgin," "Indiana Jones  & The Temple Of Doom," and  "Hairspray." At 71, MacMillan has just retired. His last film, “Paranoia,” starring Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth, opens Aug. 16.

I sat down with the affable MacMillan today to recount some of his more memorable moments in a career filled with them. We only hit the tip of the iceberg.

  “‘Natural Born Killers (1994) We shot for 18 days inside Interstate Prison [in Illinois]. Interstate has one of the last circular cellblocks. Cellblock B is the biggest single cellblock in the country with 1,500 on one side and 1,500 on the other. One of the scenes is an 8-minute walk-and-talk with the warden [played by] Tommy Lee Jones and Tom Sizemore. They go through the restaurant, the cafeteria, we’re using real prisoners as actors, and they then they walk into Cellblock B. Well, Cellblock B is so loud because all these guys have got radios and are yelling back and forth to each other and it’s all metal, so it’s very hard for radio mics to work within it. I said [to director Oliver Stone], ‘If you want to get a track here that you can use, you’re going to have to quiet the prisoners down.’ There’s three gangs in the prison system: the El Rukn, the black gang; there’s the Latin Kings, and there’s the White Aryan Nation.  [El Rukn’s] Big Load is the head guy. He has a cell on the bottom floor with two empty cells on either side so nobody can [come] around the corner at him. He’s got bodyguards the size of mountains who watch out for him. He’s 6’5” and weighs about 370. He’s a big, big guy. We went up to Big Load and said ‘Can you make it quiet in here?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, not a problem. Get me a bottle of Black Label and it’s yours.’ He basically runs the prison. We had to go to the warden. He said, ‘Yeah, get him the bottle.’ We had set the shot up. [Big Load’s] body guards shout at the top of their lungs: ‘Big Load wants you to shut the f**k up’ and the level comes down. Then, ‘Turn off your f**king radios and TVs,’ and they all turned off. I had set up on a little dolly because I couldn’t carry the radio mic the whole way. I had to be real close because there was so much metal around, it sucks up all the radio waves in a way, so soon as we got it quiet, we dolly all the way back 300 yards. We got our shot in one take and he got his Black Label." 

MOST INNOVATIVE SHOOT:   “‘Falling Down’ (1993). There’s a scene where Michael [Douglas] is running through MacArthur Park and some guy is hitting on him for money. They were redoing the park and there’s jackhammers, which they couldn’t control, so it was pretty impossible to do it and it meant that some of that scene had to be looped. I suggested to Joel [Shumacher] that we do it in a studio where Mike can be running. We put him in a studio with headphones and a receiver and I have a boom and I’m booming him like we would a normal shot. I had him running and getting the same energy going and so it gave him energy and it opened up the dialogue to what it would be like if you were recording the actual scene instead of sitting in a room with headphones on and looking at a screen and sitting with the microphone three inches from his face that has to be EQ’d and never really sounds right anyway. The body language also helps the actors. There’s a tension that builds and just the motion itself. Michael was great. He loved the idea.”

(1994). What happens on that bus, there’s a real driver on the roof of the bus. We have a popemobile, basically, the whole front of the bus is glass and there’s three or four cameras on there. There’s no place for me to go. I’m not going on the roof of the bus because I can’t get to the actors if I have to change their radio mics. So the only place for me to go— I’m sitting in the middle exit door with a little four-channel mixer, hiding, and I’m mixing four radio mics on the actors as the bus is moving. There’s a scene where Joe Morton tries to come up and take the bus driver off the bus and the wheels are banging up against the side of the doors that I’m on and it’s hard to keep your focus.  A lot of times I’ll take the microphones and put them right out in the open and make them look like part of a costume. With a SWAT team, that’s no problem with all. I was able to get good dialogue on the back of that bus with an open truck. Keanu [Reeves], I had to put it in the seam of his t-shirt and he was never really in the wind. With Sandra [Bullock], she has great skin. One thing about a good actor, they don’t sweat. They’re totally cool and know their lines. Even when it’s 90 degrees, they stay cool inside and you can put a mic on their skin and cover it with a softie, a felt thing so it doesn’t [record] clothing rustle and it will stay there. We have this stuff they use for burn victims, Tagaderm, and we put it on there and it will stay there all day long. She doesn’t sweat."

MOST DREADFUL MOVIE: “‘Leonard Part 6’ (1987), the one that Bill Cosby did. I felt really bad for Paul Weiland because it was his first feature film. He’s a really nice man, mainly a commercial director, that whole school of British directors with Ridley [Scott] and Tony [Scott] and Al[an] Parker and Adrian Lyne and it was his chance for his shot at Hollywood. It was an awful script and it turned out to be a terrible film. Mr. Cosby came out against it. He didn’t want anything to do with it. That was the end of David Puttnam and his reign at Coca Cola. He took a hike and went off and ran the British Film Society.  But I had a great time on the film."   

MOST DIFFICULT MOVIE SHOOT: “‘The Right Stuff’ (1983) was really difficult. [Producers] Bob Chartoff and Irwin Winkler had ordered a projection system and it wasn’t ready in time for the film [so] we were watching the dailies in the American Can Company on 3rd St. in San Francisco. It was this cement building with cement floors and cement ceiling. We put a screening room in and [it] had these old 1935 Acme projectors with 35 watt A500 speaker and it sounded terrible. I couldn’t believe how badly it sounded and I was getting kind of worried. I thought I was going to be fired. Caleb [Deschanel] came up  to me, he was having problems as well. He was the cameraman. So he was angry. I was angry. So one day, Caleb and I got into it. We’ve been good friends ever since, but, mind you, he was sort of complaining about the sound... f course, we never did get a projection system. So they took all my stuff and ran it through a Finley Hill box and they decided by listening to it that all the stuff they thought was happening wasn’t. It sounded great and everything was fine. It was the concrete. I won an Oscar and Caleb didn’t (laughs)."

MOST LIFE ALTERING SHOOT:  “'Black Widow’ (1987) because I met my wife."

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP

Music Power Rankings: Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus lead this week's list

Michael Jackson makes his first appearance in a while

1. Florida Georgia Line: The country duo sets the record for the longest No. 1 run on the Hot Country Songs in the chart’s 69-year history at 22 weeks with “Cruise.”  That’s going to be a great trivia question for years to come.

2. Katy Perry: She comes “roaring” back with her first album since 2010‘s “Teenage Dream” with “Prism.” She announced the new album via  a gold-plated truck driving around the country with the album name and release date. She'll use the truck again to take her earnings straight to the bank.

3. Miley Cyrus: The video for “We Can’t Stop” breaks a VEVO viewing record by hitting 100 million views in 37 days. Clearly, some people are taking the title literally.

4. Keith Urban: The country superstar is the only judge to return to Season 13 of “American Idol.”  With Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj gone, maybe next season he’ll actually manage to get a word in edgewise.

5. Michael Jackson:
Three duets recorded in 1983 with Freddie Mercury will finally see the light next year, more than 30 years later, according to Queen’s Brian May. The superstars apparently had a falling out, reportedly over Jackson bringing a llama into the studio, before they could complete the tracks. Bubbles knew better than to enter the fray.

6. Taylor Swift and Carly Simon: Simon joins Swift for a duet of her classic “You’re So Vain.” Simon was pulling a Swift by writing about ex-beaus before Swift was even a twinkle in her parents’ eye.

7. Bruce Springsteen:
He’s named the No. 1 live act by a Rolling Stone panel of artists and other influencers. Couldn’t they have just asked the fans who actually pay for tickets?

8. Selena Gomez: Disney star earns her first No. 1 album with “Stars Dance.” What did Justin Bieber get her as a present?

9. US Album Sales
: In depressing news, album sales hit new lows as this week marks the fifth consecutive week that the industry has scanned less than 5 million total units. Will we be writing stories about scanning less than 4 million a year from now?

10. Rolling Stones: In an entirely appropriate feat, the Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th entry on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week as they wrap their 50th anniversary tour.


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<p>Robin Thicke</p>

Robin Thicke

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' cuts clear path to No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200

Set is one of five new debuts in top 10

Robin Thicke will score his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 (to go along with his first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100) next week, as “Blurred Lines” is a shoo-in for the top spot as five new entries debut in the Top 10.

In addition to “Blurred Lines,” which is targeted to sell up to 140,000, according to Hits Daily Double, Five Finger Death Punch’s  “The Wrong Side Of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1,” which comes in at No. 2, will be the only other title to top the 100,000 mark. It is on track to sell between 100,000-105,000.

Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will fight for the No. 3 spot with Tech N9ne’s new album, “Something Else,” with both slated to sell between 55,000-60,000.

Backstreet Boys’ “In A World Like This” bows at No. 5 (50,000-55,000) and pop group Emblem3’s “Nothing To Lose” at No. 7  (40,000-45,000).

Filling in the gaps are the soundtrack to Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach” at No. 6 (45,000-50,000), this week’s No. 1, Selena Gomez’s “Stars Dance,” which drops to No. 8 (30,000-35,000); the latest from Kidz Bop Kids, “Kids Bop 24,” at No. 9 (27,000-30,000) and Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s To The Good Times” at No. 10 (24,000-27,000).


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Credit: AP Photo

U.S. album sales reach record lows

Can anything be done to staunch the bleeding?

Will this be the low point? U.S. album sales have hit a new low in the 22-year SoundScan era. For each of the past five weeks, total scans have been lower than 5 million, the longest stretch in SoundScan history.
Even worse, for the past two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows, according to Billboard. For the week ending July 21, total album sales were 4.71 million units. For the week ending July 28, they were 4.68 million.

As you know, album sales have been plummeting since 2000. While many in the industry tried to convince themselves that digital sales would make up for the falling physical sales, these numbers are sad proof that this is not the case. As CD sales continue to decline (sales are down 14.1 % so far in 2013 over 2012), digital sales are also slowing.  In the Q1 2013, digital sales were up 10.4%, but that figure slowed to 1.9% for the second quarter.

As a comparison, Billboard notes that sales dropped below 5 million for the week for the first time in 2010. That year, there were four weeks under the 5 million watermark, in 2011, two weeks; in 2012, three weeks. So far in 2013, there have been nine weeks, the last five of them in a row.

Of course, some of this can be attributed to a relatively weak summer release schedule that will heat back up in the fall with new albums from Katy Perry, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and more. Industry observers also cite the continuing decline in catalog album sales, which are down 8.8% from last year.

As CD sales continue to decline (sales are down 14.1 % so far in 2013 over 2012), digital sales are also slowing.  In  Q1 2013, digital sales were up 10.4%, but that figure slowed to 1.9% for the second quarter.

The larger question is how are streaming services siphoning off sales? Streaming revenue and subscribers continues to grow, although both Spotify and Pandora are losing money. Will a subscription or freemium service ever make up for the decline in sales? I can’t imagine it happening. And while Spotify likes to say it doesn’t hurt album sales, I know that I don’t buy as many albums as I used to, especially when I can stream them at the click of a mouse.

How low will they continue to go? Will we be writing stories about SoundScan numbers not reaching above 4 million for several weeks in a row this time next year?  While older consumers continue to purchase music, a recent MTV survey showed that 68% of kids thought music should be free.  As new distribution models evolve, such as Jay Z’s deal with Samsung, SoundScan may have to figure out more accurate ways to count sales (Remember, it didn’t count the 1 million copies of “Magna Carta Holy Grail” downloaded via Samsung), but even then, the numbers are still likely to plummet.

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'CBGB' soundtrack includes Talking Heads, Police, Blondie, MC5, The Stooges

'CBGB' soundtrack includes Talking Heads, Police, Blondie, MC5, The Stooges

Who is the noticable exception from the set?

The soundtrack for “CBGB,” the upcoming film about the iconic New York club, will feature music from some of the iconic acts who are forever linked to the venue and its ‘70s heyday, including The Velvet Underground, Blondie, Talking Heads, and Police.

Interestingly, the soundtrack includes Joey Ramone’s “I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up),” but not a track from the Ramones.  The only new music on the set is a 2013 version of Blondie’s “Sunday Girl.”

The soundtrack will come out Oct. 8. Small indie Omnivore will release the vinyl and CD version, while Rhino will put out the deluxe digital version.

The film, which will premiere at New York’s  CBGB Music & Film Festival in October, stars Alan Rickman as club owner Hilly Kristal, as well as Malin Ackerman as Blondie’s Debbie Harry, “Harry Potter’s”  Rupert Grint at Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop, and Sting’s daughter, Mickey Sumner, as Patti Smith.

According to the movie’s Facebook page, the official trailer will come out next week.

Track Listing:

1. Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
2. Kick Out the Jams (Uncensored Version) – MC5
3. Chatterbox – New York Dolls
4. Careful – Television
5. Blank Generation – Richard Hell & The Voidoids
6. Slow Death – Flamin’ Groovies
7. I Can’t Stand It – The Velvet Underground
8. Out of Control – Wayne County & The Electric Chairs
9. Psychotic Reaction – The Count Five
10. All For the Love of Rock ’n’ Roll (Live) – Tuff Darts
11. All By Myself – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
12. California Sun (Original Demo) – The Dictators
13. Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth – Dead Boys
14. I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up) – Joey Ramone
15. Get Outta My Way – The Laughing Dogs
16. Sunday Girl (2013 Version) – Blondie
17. I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
18. Sonic Reducer – Dead Boys
19. Roxanne – The Police
20. Birds and the Bees – Hilly Kristal

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<p>Katy Perry teaser image for &quot;Prism&quot;</p>

Katy Perry teaser image for "Prism"

Katy Perry reveals 'Prism' teaser and single 'Roar' release date

Watch as she destroys her past in one swift move

Katy Perry drops two goodies on her fans today and both reveal a bit about the direction she may be going with her third studio album, “Prism,” which comes out Oct. 22.

Both a new album teaser  and a video snippet for first single “Roar” hint at a Perry who is ready to strip away the artifice. Let’s tackle them one at a time:

The album teaser for “Prism,”  dropped by Perry on Facebook this morning, shows Perry, her face bare of any make-up (other than, we imagine, foundation, mascara, lip balm, concealer, a touch of blush, etc... all the stuff it takes to look like you have no make-up on) and devoid of the usual heavy eye-liner and candy-colored lips. Similarly, her hair is her own, not one of her usual wigs, and while still beautiful, it’s not styled in any particular way and she even has some fly-aways.

[More after the jump...]


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13 Must-See acts at Lollapalooza 2013: Nine Inch Nails, Ghost BC, Postal Service

13 Must-See acts at Lollapalooza 2013: Nine Inch Nails, Ghost BC, Postal Service

Listen to music from Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Baroness and more

The 2013 edition of Lollapalooza kicks off today (2) at Chicago’s Grant Park. The Aug. 2-4 fest boasts a stellar line-up this year with such big names as Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and Queens of the Stone Age, as well as cool developing acts like Chance the Rapper, Emeli Sande, Icona Pop, and Two Door Cinema Club. There are time conflicts galore for music fans, but to help muddle through, here’s our list of 13 Must-See Acts. And remember, if you can’t be there, Lollapalooza’s YouTube channel will live stream nearly two dozen performances.

Who is on your must-see list? 


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Nelly knows you want to 'Get Like Me' in new NSFW music video with Nicki Minaj

Nelly knows you want to 'Get Like Me' in new NSFW music video with Nicki Minaj

Women: You can now aspire to have your buttocks played like bongos

In case you haven’t had enough bragging from rappers about how all “ni**as” want to be like them, then Nelly’s “Get Like Me” can be your little daily dose to remind you that he has cars, beautiful women, champagne, and friends like Pharrell and Nicki Minaj, who drop by to reminds themselves of how fabulous they all are.

[More after the jump...]


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John Legend's steamy new NSFW video, 'Made To Love': Watch

John Legend's steamy new NSFW video, 'Made To Love': Watch

Clip matches the sexy song

Love can make you see God and believe in miracles, so says John Legend, in his new song, “Made To Love.” The video, released today, perfectly captures the tune’s sensuality.

[More after the jump...]


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