Silver Machine / Blog

DCHS grad rescores iconic Zombie movie

4:47 PM, Oct 30, 2012 DCHS grad Anthony Dorian of the band Silver Machine rescored the iconic film 'Night of the Living Dead' and in doing so restored the cult classic. Written by Colleen Creamer The Dickson Herald Anthony Dorion is eerily close to making his dreams come true. Dorion, a 1999 Dickson County High School graduate, has rescored the iconic 1968 fright film “Night of the Living Dead” with his band Silver Machine. The “space rock” band based in Asheville, N.C. where Dorion lives, is a progressive electronic group.

The band premiered the film with their new soundtrack at an Asheville brewery on Thursday. In the future, they hope to tour and play the songs live alongside the film and get a distribution deal.

Purists who love the cult classic might bristle about the change, but those who love ambient music with lots of haunting minor notes, will enjoy the new sound which replaces the loud composition the original film producers bought cheaply.

“Our new score does give the movie a markedly different feel and pace,” said Dorion, who plays bass in Silver Machine. “I feel that our version has a much more natural build towards its climax in the final zombie scene. It almost starts out relaxing, with a lot of ambient sounds, but a gradually building tension. Some of the earlier scenes that originally featured loud orchestral brass now have a more subdued, trance-like feel to them.”

That’s in part due to guitar player and synthesizer and theremin player Chris Tanfield. The theremin produces that eerily quivering wail common to what we would now describe as those “old” scary movies. Dorian said that’s part of the reason the rescoring works so well.

“The stock music they used for the soundtrack was even older, probably from the early 50s, so it was already pretty dated,” Dorion said. “I'm 31, and my generation didn't grow up with big brassy orchestral scores in our horror movies.”

As luck, or lack of it, would have it, the original “Night of the Living Dead” is now in the public domain due to an error on the part of the original distributor in 1968. This rarely happens to films that become cult classics. All films made before 1923 are public domain but not much after.

“A lot of people have done similar stuff but with older silent movies,” Dorion said “So, there’s not as much in the public domain that is newer. There was a lot of work in getting the old sound track out of there with maintaining the dialogue.”

Dorion hopes that with each showing of the newly scored film, there will be a groundswell for it in sales and in showing and that the band will get more requests for composing.

“The cool thing about “Night of the Living Dead” is that it is an iconic film that has a reason to be played every October,” he said. “I would like to grow the distribution of this film year after year. I am confident any cinema that shows this once will want to show it again, so we're willing to send a free copy to every theater manager in the country who is interested in screening it.”

In rescoring the movie, the band did the film some justice; they basically saved it by restoring it, which is the downside of a movie in public domain; no one wanted to take the chance.

Dorion thanks his time playing tuba in the band at William James Middle School and his first teacher Lisa Field. He also thanks former DCHS band director Mark Kinzer.


Silver Machine releases "Symmetry"

By Alli Marshall on 05/01/2012 Local space-rock band Silver Machine is set to release new album, Symmetry in a two-part launch. The first stage, the internet-only release for downloads and CD pre-orders, starts today, May 1.

You might recall that just about a year ago, the band went into orbit. Xpress was informed that Silver Machine planned on "long term travel via studio-equipped space craft from which the band plans to beam transmissions back to earth."

There's much about Symmetry — the spacey jams, the other-worldly vocals shot through effects, the shimmering percussion, burbling synths and ethereal thermion — that all suggest the band really has spent a year free of gravity and earthly confines.

Symmetry in hard copy lands in area music stores in two more weeks. The album was self-produced and funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

To download Symmetry, visit the Silver Machine website. www.silver-machine.net


Zombie rock from Asheville band

SILVER MACHINE SCORES NEW TUNES FOR 'NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD' The Asheville band Silver Machine has written and recorded a new soundtrack for the classic zombie movie Night of the Living Dead. Pictured from left is Anthony Dorion, Matthew Westerman, and Chris Tanfield. At right the movie is projected on a wall. Purchase Image The Asheville band Silver Machine has written and recorded a new soundtrack for the classic zombie movie Night of the Living Dead. Pictured from left is Anthony Dorion, Matthew Westerman, and Chris Tanfield. At right the movie is projected on a wall. / John Coutlakis/jcoutlakis@citizen-times.com

Only in Asheville would a band claim to have climbed aboard a “bachelor pad” spaceship and then, bending time, return to 1968 for the making of the zombie-movie classic “Night of the Living Dead.” For the Asheville band Silver Machine, that’s their story (and they’re sticking to it) as they release a new version of “Night of the Living Dead” with their own original soundtrack. The group is now looking for donations for the project through an indiegogo.com fundraising drive that ends Saturday. The 1968 version of “Dead” set the pace for many zombie movies to come, but it did not have an original score, said Chris Tanfield, theremin player with Silver Machine. Instead, the music was lifted from several other horror films of yesteryear, he said. “As far as I’m concerned, the music should be creepier, and we would like to do that,” he said. “We have added theremin and synthesizer effects and a creepy style that could have been from the 1960s that match the tone (of the film) better.” Needless to say, Tanfield is a hard-core “Night of the Living Dead” fan. “This has always been one of my all-time favorite movies,” he said. “I love zombies, no batter how cheesy or high-budget they are.” Beyond the music, Silver Machine’s version of “Night of the Living Dead” remains the same — with scene after scene of dead returning to life to feast on the living. “All we are changing is the music,” he said. While Tanfield figures that some “Night of the Living Dead” purists may not approve of any changes, the movie has actually been through any number of revisions and remakes through the years. Originally shot in low-budget black-and-white by director George Romero, the movie has been colorized several times, and even reworked into 3-D. More scenes were added for a 30th anniversary edition in 2008. With the original in public domain, Romero himself launched a seemingly never-ending series of sequels. Silver Machine has been working on its version since early this year, and looks to have its DVD ready for the spooky Halloween season by Oct. 1. A companion audio CD is also being released. Fans can get a peak and pledge support for the project at www.indiegogo.com/NotLD.


Silver Machine Release New Soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead

Just in time for Halloween, Asheville space rock band Silver Machine are beaming their latest project back from outer space, and holy cats, it’s a good one. The band spent countless hours in their spaceship studio, painstakingly restoring George Romero’s classic film, Night of the Living Dead, to the highest quality ever seen on DVD. It hasn’t been colorized, there’s no new dialogue, just a sharper, clearer picture, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in this film.

That wasn’t enough for this ambitious band, though. The original film had a soundtrack comprised of stock audio, and Silver Machine thought the movie deserved a soundtrack all its own, written and recorded just for the film. What they did to that end is nothing short of mind-blowing. They brought together a unique combination of instruments–including theremin and tabla–and created an album that brings to mind early Pink Floyd, while maintaining a deep, intense vibe from start to finish that’s perfect for the film. You know how some soundtracks are great while you’re watching the movie, but then you try and listen to the music without the film and it falls flat? Not this one. As amazing as Silver Machine’s first album was, as awesome as Symmetry was, this is by far their best release to date. From the eerie opening notes to the brooding final track, this is one of those albums that you’ll keep on repeat until you feel sorry for the rest of your music, only to pop it back in after a day, because nothing else is this good.

So now you want to know where you can hear it, right? Where can you see your favorite zombie classic, updated with this killer new soundtrack? Here you go, people–listen to the album for free, or order your own copy of the CD and DVD (I recommend both) here:

Night of the Living Dead by Silver Machine

The official premiere of Silver Machine’s Night of the Living Dead will be at the Fine Arts Theater in downtown Asheville on November 15 at 9:30 pm. Can’t wait that long? I don’t blame you. Head down to The Wedge Brewery in the river arts district for a free pre-screening of the film this Thursday, October 25, at 7 pm. It’s the perfect kick-off to Moogfest weekend, and you’ll hear plenty of Moog effects on the album.

Look for copies of the film and soundtrack in local stores soon.


Check out Asheville band’s space-rock soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead

Remember our post back in August? From their bachelor pad somewhere in outer space, Asheville space-rock band Silver Machine beams back an original soundtrack to the George Romero zombie classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Now you can enjoy a copy of your own (it’s available as a digital download for $10 here), or check out a special free Halloween advance showing of Night of the Living Dead with Silver Machine’s new soundtrack at the Wedge at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.

The official premiere of the soundtrack, along with a showing of Night of the Living Dead, is set for Nov. 15 at the Fine Arts Theatre downtown.

According to the band, their DVD and digital download offer includes:

-The highest picture quality EVER released on DVD -An all new soundtrack composed and performed by SILVER MACHINE -DVD edition includes original soundtrack on a second audio channel. -Digital Album includes a download of the entire film! -Stream the entire album for FREE, 24/7!

Listen to their original soundtrack for free here:

This album is an anthology of music written for George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead by Asheville space-rock band, Silver Machine. Rather than presenting you with a mere collection of songs used in the film score, these tracks have been custom-mixed for a unique listening experience. Much of the material on this album expands on themes that were vaguely touched upon in the film, and likewise, the film contains additional material that was not used on the album. It is our pleasure to present these both to you, in one easy download.

According to a UNC-A Blue Banner article interviewing band member Chris Tanfield, the band has plans beyond the CD:

The band is not only using this as a creative outlet and a love letter to a favorite movie, but also as a unique business strategy.

“We see this as just the beginning of our soundtrack career, because it’s kind of a self-produced calling card for us to pass around and get publicity for the band. We’ve got a couple ideas for future projects, like the original Nosferatu, for example, which would be perfect for us, because it is silent, so we’ll see what we decide on.”

The band will show the film with their accompanying soundtrack at Asheville’s Wedge Brewery on Oct. 25. In the future, they hope to tour and play the songs live alongside the film.

Silver Machine Ready to Bring Space Rock Back to Earth

Silver Machine Ready to Bring Space Rock Back to Earth

Several months ago, Asheville band Silver Machine played the Electronic Music Showcase at the Orange Peel. Billed as the band’s last show on earth, the gig was their final live appearance before they got busy recording their second album.

Fast forward to now, and Silver Machine are ready to release that album, Symmetry. They’ve put in countless hours recording and perfecting each song on the album, and I use the term perfecting literally here. After their famed “Last Show on Earth” at the Orange Peel last June, the band took up full-time residence in their studio in outer space (hey, this is their shtick, not mine) and the result is a collection of songs that are almost surreal to listen to. There is nothing mainstream about this sound, nothing remotely mediocre or middle-of-the-road; Bruce Springsteen would spin in his grave if these guys were on the shelf next to him. You know why nobody buys full-length albums anymore? Because they all seem to have one or two catchy radio tunes, and the rest is just filler to kill time. It’s the equivalent of the busywork you had to do in elementary school when you finished your spelling test, and it sucks.

Symmetry is not one of those albums. Every song on the album catches and holds your attention, and the entire thing almost demands to be listened to continuously, much the same way you’re compelled to listen to Pink Floyd. There is no way to describe their sound, though I attempted to once, using phrases like “pure glitterfunk bliss.” Silver Machine have created a sound all their own; it’s an organic, psychedelic trip that they’ve termed “space rock,” and that fits as well as anything. This isn’t some post-adolescent tool with a laptop and a bunch of sound effects, though the music clearly has a distinct electronic feel. These are four experienced, classically trained, real musicians, playing real instruments, making real music that will make you think you’re having flashbacks to the best trip you ever took. And they’re just regular guys; they have jobs and families and bills to pay, which is why they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign. Just six days into the campaign, Silver Machine’s fans pulled together to help them meet their goal, so the album will be ready for its April 1, 2012 release. However, they still need your help. Additional contributions will allow them to create an even higher-quality pressing than originally anticipated, and will help offset the costs of marketing and promoting Symmetry. Rest assured that every penny pledged goes toward this album-with enough pledges, we may even be lucky enough to see a vinyl pressing of Symmetry.

Silver Machine only a few dollars shy of their Kickstarter Goal

Local "Space Rock" band Silver Machine are no longer lightyears away from their $1,500 goal to release their album. In relative terms, they're now within lunar distance, less than $200 from hitting their target. Just to give them a little boost as they approach their zero hour on March 3, here's the pitch.

Greetings friends, family, and curious strangers!

We are Silver Machine, a Space Rock band from Asheville, NC. What we have here is the product of literally hundreds of hours of painstaking work, and we need your help to share it with the world. The hardest part is behind us- we've recorded the album and done everything necessary to prep it for release, but in order to spread these space gospels they will need to be professionally mastered and then physically replicated. If we meet our goal, we will be able to not only put an album into the hands of every person who supports us on this campaign, but also into the hands of hundreds of radio DJs and music publications the world over.

You may be interested to know that all of that music was performed live, on the fly. No laptops or midi triggers, no fancy post-productions tricks, just 4 guys with their instruments and some analog effects. While our music is often categorized as "electronic rock", there aren't any sounds in our mix that couldn't have been made 50 years ago. Central to our sound, as you probably noticed, is the theremin, which features prominently throughout the album.

This album is more than just a collection of songs- it is a concept album in the vein of early Pink Floyd, a symphony of sound, a journey from start to finish that we truly can't wait to take you on.

from outer space,

Silver Machine

Music From Thin Air - The Theremin Revival

MAY 28, 2008 Music From Thin Air - The Theremin Revival


It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel...an instrument that you play without ever having to touch it. Those who have seen the Theremin in action know that it's a strange sight to behold — and produces an even stranger sound. Somewhere between women singing and banshees screeching — and maybe throw in a few UFO sound effects.

The Theremin, invented in 1919 by Russian physicist Leon Theremin, uses two metal antennas to sense the position of the player's hands — one controls audio oscillators for frequency, the other for volume. To play the instrument, a musician stands in front of a small rectangular box, moving their hands between the two antennas. Watching a good Theremin player is something akin to watching a violin player move a bow across the strings — sans the violin.

But you may be more familiar with the Theremin than you think. Sci-fi movies in the 1950s often used the strange noises a Theremin can produce for the soundtrack. The Beach Boys used a Theremin in their 1966 classic "Good Vibrations."

In Asheville, the Theremin has become more than a retro novelty. With the help of a few local bands and the Moog Music Factory, the curious little instrument that seems to turn thoughts into sound is having a major resurgence. Several local bands have been incorporating Theremins into their acts.

"I think that the Internet culture has allowed us to see and hear so many things that we may never have seen before," says Theremin player Dave Hamilton. "Pretty funny that the digital age is helping to revive analog instruments..."

Bob Moog started building Theremins when he was a kid, after reading about the strange instrument in a Popular Mechanics article, and he later built and sold it to pay college tuition. Moog later achieved an international reputation as a synthesizer pioneer; he returned to building and selling Theremins in the 1990's.

Asheville's Moog Foundation recently brought the Theremin into the public eye with testing stations at their events and festivals like AMJam and LEAF. The Foundation will also host an international Theremin festival, EtherMusic Festival, at the Orange Peel in April. Even Bold Life has gotten in on the action, featuring the experimental electronic duo of Moog house band members Chris Tanfield and Dave Hamilton at the recent opening of The Bold and the Beautiful, the current exhibit at the Arts Council of Henderson County.

"The sound is a mix of old-school minimalism, electronic, and experimental with newer styles like ambient-house and trance," says Tanfield.

Learning to play a Theremin is pretty tough. When you move your hand closer to the frequency antenna, the pitch gets higher. When you move your hand closer to the volume antenna, the note gets quieter. Every fraction of a movement will change the pitch or volume slightly, and unlike traditional instruments (think of frets on a guitar) there's no way to see if you're on the right note. So you have to have pretty darned good pitch to play a Theremin successfully.

"You have to stand perfectly still and be aware of small body movements like breathing," says Tanfield. "It's kind of like a martial art, you have to be aware of the space around your body."


To see theremins in action, check out another of Chris Tanfield's bands, The Silver Machine at the Emerald Lounge on July 19. Otherwise, keep an eye out for events by the Moog Foundation, which often offer theremin testing stations at their events (www.moogfoundaiton.org). To hear the Electromagnetic Duo, visit www.myspace.com/theelectromagneticduo. Moog Music will happily offer tours of the factory and opportunities to play theremins.