Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Blessings Movie Night: Ghost in the Shell (Live Score) at Clinton Street Theater 2.15 - Review

By MATT HANSEN // Local composer Pink Buddha performed a live improvised score to the 1995 anime classic

It doesn’t take much to turn a Portland movie theater into a music venue; insert a new composer into a movie and you have a visual concert experience helmed by that musician’s abilities. Blessings is the monthly night at Clinton Street Theater doing just this, reimagining our favorite films through the improvisations of local musicians. Started as a pandemic project by visual artist Eatcho to help support local artists while venues were closed down, these live reinterpretations of movies are now a growing phenomenon in the Portland cinema scene.

Last month’s showing of the 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell had Clinton Street packed, as electronic composer Pink Buddah took the film to new heights of futuristic atmosphere. “I chose that movie, as I'm very drawn to sci-fi and anime. There's a certain imagination and inventiveness in those genres that also invites a musical score that is equally unique and original," explains Buddha. "Plus, the sci-fi/technology element is very synonymous with 'synth sounds' and the whole electronic music vibe.”

While Ghost in the Shell is set only 5 years in the future to our current year, it’s sprawling heavily wired cityscapes and philosophical themes on artificial intelligence were way ahead of their time in 1995. It would still be 4 years before the Wachowskis – who were influenced by Ghost in the Shell – would release The Matrix and bring cyberpunk to the mainstream. And while Ghost in the Shell may not get namechecked quite as much as the The Matrix, it still transports us to a retro future full of ethical issues in technology, and feels like a thought experiment with very real implications for 2024.

With one hand on a midi production center, and the other hand on the synthesizer, Pink Buddha accented the film with seamless execution. He dropped pulsing beats on top of sub-machine gun fire, and wove arpeggiators over the films robust helicopter sounds. But Pink Buddha’s range was never more moving than when he added the mellow thought provoking keys during a monologue of the film’s female protagonist, Kusanagi. “There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind. Like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure, I have a face to distinguish myself from others but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny.”

Almost all of the films in the Blessing Movie Night series have a sci-fi angle: Total Recall, A Scanner DarklyRobocop 2, They Live, Predator, Her. But this month’s horror entry in the series, Tales from the Hood, promises to be something new and unique in their programming you won’t want to miss. This will take place March 28th with musician Roman Norfleet providing the score.


MOVIE ALERT: Tales from the Hood w/ live score by Roman Norfleet at Clinton Street Theater on Thursday, March 28th, 2024. 7:00PM / (Tickets

Post a comment:

Your Name:

Your Email Address:


2000 characters remaining



Web Design and Web Development by Buildable