Music

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A new Fruitopia spot titled "Would You Rather," from Leo Burnett/Toronto, takes a hypnotic approach to targeting thirsty teens. The mesmerizing style comes in the form of exploratory questions supered over kaleidoscopic fruit designs, which continues a Fruitopia visual tradition. But it's the music - an anthemic Moody Blues-ish guitar and synthesizer track with trip-hoppy vocal undercurrents, from Toronto's Grayson Matthews Audio Design - that really induces a trance.

With no voiceovers or sound effects, the spot's music was designed to do a lot of heavy lifting. As supers pose compellingly vexing questions like, "Would you rather have one wish granted now, or three a year from now?" the track pulls viewers in, maintains their attention and bestows a hip yet earthy vibe on the product. Working within a 30-second time limit, the composers at Grayson Matthews had a significant musical movement to achieve in short order. "In the first few seconds, we get some sort of element in there that will grab your attention," says "Would You Rather" producer/composer Jason Gleed who with producer/composers David Sorbara and Tom Westin have written numerous soundtracks for Fruitopia over the last 18 months. "Sometimes it's vocals and sometimes it's a bass line or a melody. After that, we stuff as much into the track as possible and let our instincts build us to a crescendo." A cinema release for "Would You Rather" gave the composers a lot more technical toys to play with. "Spatially, you have way more to use because you get front speakers, side and back speakers, as well as the subwoofer," says Sorbara. "Being able to work in that environment opens up a lot of sonic possibilities."

It wouldn't be easy to place Grayson Matthews' compositions in pat categories; influences and instruments can be identified from just about every musical genre. "The music takes on its own production concept and becomes its own style - not that we have it down to a science," says Gleed. "The beat is continuous throughout the pieces but we layer vocals, strings and big guitar sounds. It's a coming together of different worlds." Throughout the music, there is an awareness of movement, both constant and sporadic. This gave the animators at Toronto's Soho something to sink their teeth into for Fruitopia. "We used sound design and effects that lend themselves to fruit swirling around" says Gleed. "And there's always a tempo foundation to work with."

"The idea was that the music and the visuals would meld so well together that it becomes a perfect backdrop for these thought-provoking questions," says Sorbara. According to Gleed and Sorbara, trends and new styles are not really being explored in pop music. Instead, advertising, in its continual quest for the fresh and the new, has emerged as an experimental musical venue. "The thing about the advertising world is that it pushes the musical envelope," claims Sorbara. "Mainstream music these days is pretty cut-and-dried - you have your hip-hop, rap, pop rock and Brit rock and it doesn't venture very far from there. So, given the right client with an open mind, the biggest avenue for musical breakthroughs is advertising."

Appropriately enough, if Sorbara's contention is really the case, a Grayson Matthews music CD is scheduled for consumer release next year, partly in response to viewers' demands for the music heard in Bell telephone and Pop Tarts spots, according to executive producer Elizabeth Taylor. "We decided to produce longer versions and send them out to the radio stations to see what happens," she says.

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