Steve Horowitz Scores Sundance Hit

Mar 18, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Composer Steve Horowitz created the original music score for the Sundance film, Super Size Me, capping off a four-year relationship with director Morgan Spurlock. The film was picked up by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn, and will be released in theaters across the U.S. this spring.

The movie follows Spurlock for 30 days as he drives himself to near physical ruin by eating only McDonalds food. Horowitz scored the movie almost entirely on his home studio desktop, without the luxury of replacing desktop sketches with hundreds of live cues. To compensate and maintain the authentic edge needed to support Spurlock's grass-roots documentary, he drew from his experience as a Grammy Award-winning engineer. "When I go to score a film like Morgan's, I want to have a palette that no one else can touch, something beyond switches and knobs. We tried a lot of different music, but what seemed to work best was a folksy down-home sound." The basis of these “folksy” tracks were live drum parts culled from his vast custom library—compiled from nearly 20 years of recording music. "I don't use two-bar loops. I try and take as big a chunk as possible so it sounds more natural," said the composer. Also used on these tracks were a sampled Horowitz on bass and a live guitar track provided by Andy Barbera.

For the "happy" eating theme that juxtaposes the increasing seriousness of Spurlock's dilemma, Horowitz put together a virtual re-creation of his own band, The Code International, by digitally speeding up and slowly down samples to create a new composition. These techniques were instrumental in giving the film “a live feel.” Horowitz continued, “The challenge for the new generation of composer increasingly faced with projects where they're called upon to engineer as well as compose is to harness the power of today's desktop in support of their unique voice and keep it from getting lost in a sea of presets and factory samples."

Horowitz has also written original songs for children's TV series Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer. He won a Grammy Award for production work on True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe. Find out more information about Horowitz by visiting

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