Save the Date – “Unfinished Spaces” Showing in LA and NY

July 8th, 2011

This documentary, featuring a score by Giancarlo Vulcano, has been getting great reviews.  Please try and see it when it plays at IFC theaters this August.

Screening Schedule

Music from Unfinished Spaces

July 6th, 2011

All of us at Distant Second Records are very excited about the upcoming soundtrack album from the documentary “Unfinished Spaces.”  The album will be available later this summer, but for now here are a couple of tracks.  The the second one features Dafnis Pietro on drums.

us_m31 us_m4

Distant Second Records in the Press…

June 22nd, 2011

Unfinished Spaces, with a score by Giancarlo Vulcano, premiered on June 19 at the LA film festival.  The reviews have been excellent:

Hollywood Reporter

Film Threat


And for all our Italian friends, a review of My Funny Detective has just come out in All About Jazz Italia (translated below).

All About Jazz


The starting point is a script that does not take off, a detective story about loneliness and alcoholism faded, with many false starts, and just as many moments of impasse. Writer Paul Meadows turned to his old friend Giancarlo Vulcano, composer and guitarist who has had a hand in such films as “The Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” and “The Departed.”
Magically the story takes shape, but, above all, emotions and characters that were struggling to find expression in print emerge. Conclusion? The film was never made ​​but at least we have inherited thirty minutes of delightful music, absolutely autonomous, that shines its light.

The unusual quintet has a rhythm section with guitar and a frontline consisting of two trombones which move with agility and richness of expression, changing pace and atmosphere, maintaining good taste, and giving voice to characters and images that we seem to see scroll across the screen. “Heartache in the Dark” is as haunting as “Knockin ‘on Heaven’s Door,” “Reflections in a Public Bathroom Mirror” is mysterious, as befits a respectable spy story, “Amos’s Theme” showcases the guitar style of Vulcano, dry, but not without a certain lyricism and bitter-sweetness. Interesting use of dialogue between the two trombones, solos of great interest that create fascinating orchestral backdrops and develop the themes.

DSR Summer Update

June 8th, 2011

Happy summer from all of us here at Distant Second Records. Since the last post many things have happened. Nobody in the office has had a moment to update all of you, and we apologize for this. Here is a list of recent activities:

Giancarlo Vulcano scored episode 517 of NBC’s 30 Rock.

Co-scored (with Jeff Richmond) episode 519 of NBC’s 30 Rock.

Scored 3 animated web shorts for 30 Rock featuring Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Brian Williams, and Al Roker. Check them out…

Webisode #1

Webisode #2

Webisode #3

Other 30 Rock arranger stuff included working with Dr. Condoleeza Rice (ep.522) and detuning a banjo until it became a koto (as per the Steely Dan Song Aja).

Recording sessions for Vulcano’s score to “Unfinished Spaces” took place on March 30 at Kilgore Sound in Manhattan. The stellar string quartet consisted of  Tom Chiu, Conrad Harris, Caleb Burhans and Alex Greenbaum. Percussion was by the magnificent Dafnis Prieto. A photo from the session:

Giancarlo Vulcano scored a video by the artist Su-Mei Tse. The video (“Vertigen de la Vida”) was shown at Fundacio Joan Miro at Barcelona. Here is that music for lights

Giancarlo Vulcano worked with Jeff Richmond on music for the ABC “Last Man Standing,” starring Tim Allen.

Producer Hal Willner asked Giancarlo Vulcano to write an evening of arrangements of Nino Rota music to open Gallerist Tim Nye’s show “Venice in Venice,” at the Venice (it) Bienale.  The 18 piece orchestra featured oboist Kate St. John (Dream Academy, Van Morrison, Marianne Faithfull and members of the Orchestra del Teatro Olimico in Vicenza. Courtney Love was in town and sang a few pieces with the orchestra.

We are back in the DSR offices now and look forward to updating frequently.

Videos from Joe’s Pub

March 7th, 2011

For those of you who couldn’t make it out last Wednesday, here are a few videos courtesy of Katice Helinski –

Photos from Joe’s Pub, 3/2/11

March 4th, 2011

Many thanks for everybody who came to the My Funny Detective CD Release Party.  It was a thrill to see so many people in the audience, and it was an honor to have The Flux Quartet, My Funny Detective, and the great Lenny Pickett up on the stage.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Also, from the vaults, here is the original synth demo of mfd that I used years ago to get the pacing of the piece down.  Very basic midi version.  Thanks again for the support.  Photos by Jesse Schiffrin.


Press Release: My Funny Detective CD Release Party

February 1st, 2011

“The concept of My Funny Detective is irresistible. It’s thrilling to wonder
what pictures might accompany these mysterious, evocative themes.”
— Angelo Badalamenti

“This is a wonderful recording which is no surprise to anyone familiar with
Giancarlo and his work…he is able to combine the emotions and spirit that one
felt from our forefathers like Gil Evans, Paul Buckmaster, Henry Mancini and
George Martin and make it his own.”
— Hal Willner

CD Release March 2 at Joe’s Pub NYC, 9:30pm  Tickets Available Here

Special Guest: Lenny Pickett

The concert will also feature the US premiere of Giancarlo Vulcano’s
new work for string quartet, performed by The Flux Quartet.

My Funny Detective is Giancarlo Vulcano’s second album — a departure from Vetro, his debut of musical miniatures
described as minimalism in the spirit of “Satie, rather than Glass or Reich.” (Steve Smith, TimeOut NY). My Funny Detective
is the film noir score to a film that does not exist.

Giancarlo Vulcano has been a part of some of the most acclaimed film scores of the last 10 years. In 2002 Howard Shore
hired him to be Score Supervisor on Martin Scorcese’s epic Gangs of New York. This project, where he worked closely
with producer Hal WIllner, was the start of a 5 year association with Shore which included work on The Lord of the Rings
Trilogy, The Aviator, The Departed, and A History of Violence. My Funny Detective was composed during these days with
Shore, and was written largely on bus rides and in planes and hotels during the scant free time one gets when working on
a blockbuster.

My Funny Detective is intimate in the ways this day job was not. Vulcano ‘scored’ a screenplay by his old friend Paul
Meadows that concerns a twenty-something private investigator in modern-day Los Angeles who treats the job “as a child
would — as an elaborate and dangerous game of make-believe in a world refusing to accommodate his juvenilia.” While
conjuring moods of classic film noir, the script also ruminates on the author’s own struggles, providing Vulcano with a
story that was at once a genre piece and also very close to his own life. The result is a deeply personal take on the film
noir music tradition.

My Funny Detective is written for 2 trombones, guitar, bass, and drums. Vulcano writes “…forming a group around two of
the same instrument allows you to explore different sides of one musical character. Ryan and Brian playing in unison is a
magnificent sound, but then when they play against each other it is like one person being torn apart from within. I tried to
write a piece that would allow the trombones to play their entire emotional spectrum while not getting into those technical
clichés of the instrument.”

Trombonists Brian Drye and Ryan Keberle have, between them, performed with such artists as Clark Terry, Slavic Soul Party,
Joe Lovano, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass, Briggan Kraus, Wynton Marsalis, and Justin Timberlake. Ben Ratliff recently
reviewed Drye’s new album (Bizingas) in The New York Times, saying “It’s one of the best introductions to a new band…that
I’ve heard lately.” Keberle’s new album (Heavy Dreaming) was named “the best new Jazz album of 2010” by Fred Kaplan
in Stereophile magazine. Bassist Ian Riggs’ work crosses genres, and he can be heard playing in New York and abroad with
Howard Fishman, Ethan Lipton, Blarvuster, One Ring Zero, and The Lonesome Trio. Vinnie Sperrazza recently lead his group
to great acclaim in a residency where they played every night for two weeks at Brooklyn’s Ibeam space, emulating the
longer engagements typical of Jazz clubs in the past, and he has performed with Tony Malaby, Joel Frahm, Loren Stillman,
and Brad Shepik.

Composer Giancarlo Vulcano is currently co-music director of the NBC comedy 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey and Alec
Baldwin. He contributes musical arrangements and compositions, and plays all the guitar-family instruments heard on the
show (ukelele, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, etc). Artist Doug Aitken recently used music from Vetro in his film “Frontier,” and
it is heard in New York MOMA’s show about new architecture, Small Scale, Big Change. In October of 2010, The Smith
Quartet premiered Vulcano’s new string quartet, inspired by Joseph Cornell, at the Bloomberg Artspace in London. Along
with composer Jeff Richmond and Hal Willner, Vulcano produced The Music of 30 Rock soundtrack album, released by
Relativity Music Group. He continues to play around NY and abroad with Las Rubias del Norte, The Dollars, Lenny Pickett,
and Hang the Lights.

A Letter from Bunita Marcus

January 21st, 2011

Distant Second would like to remind everybody once again about the Morton Feldman Lecture by Bunita Marcus this weekend. Dr. Marcus describes what she’ll be covering in this week’s Morton Feldman lecture. A rare chance to learn more about Feldman’s process and technique.

Dear Feldman Fans,

The first talk went extremely well, better than I expected really. (Our main camera died on us the night before the talk and we scrambled around trying to replace it at the last moment) We had a very good reception from all over the world including one man who got up at 3:00 am in Australia to hear us live. In Bergen Norway, an Art Gallery broadcast the whole thing to their audience. There were many questions at the end and everyone is looking forward to the final talk where I go into his composition in the most detail. I will also be discussing Feldman scholarship and the future of his innovations.

I’m looking forward to this last Lecture on Feldman. I will go over his compositional process in minute detail, step-by-step and look at his use of the grid, meter, serial aspects of his music, and the brilliant orchestration and rubato notation of the late works. We will study scores, vellums and manuscripts as well as listen to excerpts of works. In addition, I will also be demonstrating various concepts at the piano. I hope some of you can join us. For people attending in NYC, there will be an elevator this Sunday. You can read about it below on Facebook or Sequenza 21.
Bunita Marcus

Read about the talks here:
(January 8th posting)

You can buy tickets (discounts for students, seniors and limited income) here:

Please do not video tape, record this lecture, or provide the URL to others. You are on the honor system.
Please respect my efforts and work. Everyone is welcome to take notes.

I will be doing a DVD on the subject later this year. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for this and other Feldman talks, please email me
Thanks, Bunita

Distant Second Recommends…

January 17th, 2011

…Bunita Marcus’ lecture on the music of Morton Feldman. This 2-part lecture started today and concludes next Sunday. Marcus was extremely close to Feldman, and provides real insight into his compositional process. The lecture takes place in lower Manhattan, but will also be streamed via – highly recommended.

From the DSR Vaults, pt.4

January 14th, 2011

An entire score of this moody music was rejected by film’s producers. Score was re-written by Giancarlo Vulcano and went on to acclaim.

opening titles