B. Dolan and collaborators soundtrack a heist with vintage sounds on the Vault score
by Jack Riedy
Experimental hip-hop artist B. Dolan and his collaborators emulated vintage Quincy Jones in spirit and sound on the score to the 2019 heist film Vault, to be released on April 2, 2021. For the true story of the 1975 Bonded Vault heist in Providence, RI, Dolan assembled elite session musicians in Brooklyn to record funky instrumentals with vintage technology to match the period. Now available for the first time, Vault's music is a cinematic collection of grooves reminiscent of Isaac Hayes’ "Shaft" or Jones’ "The Hot Rock".
Vault progresses through the highs and lows of the heist, rooted in the sounds of the mid-70s. The curtains rise with “Main Title,” full of flute fills and splashy organ riffs. “Padrino’s Theme” and its reprise build menace out of a recurring five note figure that passes from keys to strings to horns, until the drums finally drop in for dueling sax and wah-wah guitar solos. “Carlton Fucking Fisk” is a song made for strutting, with clavinet, guitar grit, and Bootsy-esque bass giving way to sci-fi pings. On the spare “Call Me When You Can,” organ and stand-up bass sketch a melody over gospel chords. The album closes with its only vocal track “Your Close Friend,” a bluesy acapella from Nya Trysha that sums up the album in Biblical allegory that soundtracks the film’s post-credits scene.
Dolan has built a dedicated following since his first album in 2008, while simultaneously pursuing other writing projects, including co-writing the script that became Vault. The film’s producers heard Dolan’s music while he was visiting the set, and he agreed to score the film as long as he retained the rights to his compositions.
Dolan and a team of trusted arrangers built songs up from demos written to match looped scenes from the film. Once the film was finalized, “I spent the entire project's budget on hiring musicians and engineers, taking the opportunity to try out all of the experimental stuff we'd ever dreamed of in terms of aging recordings by running them to tape, using original instruments, and hiring musicians with crazy chops,” Dolan says.
Dolan and conductor/engineer Chris Gilroy recorded an ensemble in Brooklyn, tracking 80 minutes of music in a week in 2018. “I was surprised to be in the room with Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello's horn players, singing shit to them that they then arranged onto scores and played effortlessly,” Dolan says with a laugh.
The Vault soundtrack will drop for digital and vinyl purchase through Bandcamp on April 2, with a wide release to streaming services in June. An even more limited edition "samplepack" version of the score will include drum breaks on both sides of a signed and numbered 45 and a download to over 50 stems from the soundtrack, since the music is ripe for re-working by future crate diggers. “It's my hope that this score and the resulting breaks and samples will take on a life of their own by being released in that form,” Dolan says. Vault is the soundtrack to a lifelong artist realizing a specific vision - in vintage Cinemascope sound.
released April 2, 2021
B. Dolan - Composer, Music Supervisor, Arrangements, Synthesizers & Percussion
Chris Gilroy - Conductor. Orchestration, Additional Arrangements, Tracking & Mixing, Percussion.
Craig Dreyer - Horn Orchestration, Additional Arrangements, Baritone Sax, Flute.
Steve Okonski - Orchestration, Keys, Percussion, Additional String Arrangements.
James Diotte - Orchestration, Additional Arrangements, Bassoon, Strings, Percussion, Drums
Jenavieve Varga - Additional String Arrangements, Orchestration, Violin
Elmo Zapp - Additional Arrangements, Orchestration, Cello
Lavondo Thomas - Additional Arrangements, Bass
Sage Atwood - Guitars
Mark Bell - Drums
Tom Austin - Assistant to the composer, Guitar
Nya Trysha - Vocals
Trombone - Clark Gayton, Trumpet - Barry Danielian, Sax - Craig Dreyer
Summed by DS3K at The Chamber
Mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA.
Cover Design & Layout by Pat Jensen.
This score is dedicated to the memory of Brendon "Alias" Whitney.
All Songs Appear Courtesy of Bear Heart and the Spare Parts Publishing (ASCAP).
All Rights Reserved (c) 2020