LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Sister and brother Mercedes and Ali Helnwein have attracted a young and culturally astute following in L.A. -- Mercedes with her literary and artistic pursuits and Ali with his avant-garde forays into classical music as a composer and musician."
-- LA Times, Jessica Gelt
"Helnwein did just that: his orchestra played its first concert at a skateboarding park and has played on rooftops and in alleyways. He's also taken his orchestra indoors -- to art galleries, a circus school and even the Herbert Zipper Concert Hall (home of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra)."
-- Listen, Colin Eatock
"Ali Helnwein is the Sonic Youth of Classical Music. He reformats the music scene of Los Angeles in Chinatown alleys, skateboarding parks, and downtown lofts. This summer, find him in an art gallery with artist Vanessa Prager whom we interviewed here. They collaborate on Love You Too. . ."
- Tommy Tung, Juxtapoz Magazine
PRISON FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS
(SPANISH) ". . . En el 2006 creó su propia orquesta llamada Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra, con la que busca llevar la música clásica a oídos de las personas en los lugares más random que puedas imaginar, el año pasado presentó su Rain Concerto bajo comisión de Kat Von D, todo un éxito. Estoy segura que Ali será el responsable de regresarle la magia a la música clásica y de crear las piezas que se unirán al repertorio de las orquestas alrededor del mun. . ."
- Mayra Alba, Prison For Young Offenders (online magazine)
". . . with a perfect palette and a truly impressive score by Ali Helnwein that sounds like Ennio Morricone at his best."
- Crave Online
A CLOSER LISTEN
"Ali Helnwein‘s strangeness is more that of a Danny Burton than an all-out oddity; the cassette is accessible, but creative and playful.
"The aforementioned “Greed” is an early highlight, a Christmas-like combination of piano, glockenspiel and strings. The ivories sound as if they were recorded to vinyl, then played back, providing a gritty contrast. ”Faking It” adds handclaps and a Spanish feel (shades of Duo del Sol!). The handclaps reappear on the 55-second “Insect”, which pastes the tone of “Greed” onto a Pachelbel base – an approach that finds its fruition in the processional pace of “Gluttony”. But the strangest creation here is the bird, banjo-and-boot stomped “Whistling Past the Graveyard”, which alone justifies the EP’s title. A full album of such creations would be extremely welcome, but for now, this cassette is a lovely entry into Helnwein’s world."
- Richard Allen, A Closer Listen
"Composer Ali Helnwein is entirely comfortable working at the intersection of art, film and classical music...
This aesthetic works with Prager's films, which themselves draw heavily on familiar cinematic tropes, albeit with frequently bizarre, often dark twists... The result is a highly stylized, unified artistic product, a musical and cinematic experience that filters classical music and classical hollywood imagery through the lens of contemporary art."
- Catherine Womack, FD Luxe
"These instrumental pieces sound to me like a cross between Morricone and Tom Waits Swordfish Trombone era with some of that pizzicato-d Mothersbaugh chamber music feel that’s so popular these days. Real beautiful stuff from a fellow who will be on the lips of many very soon."
- Field Hymns
It’s both baroque and experimental, forward thinking while steeped in compositional tone of past eras. The instruments are played by humans and recorded in a room, and as such there is little indication of studio trickery or computerized manipulation (save, of course, for periodic puncutations of synthesizer, which add a zest of sci-fi).
- Ryan "Critical" Masteller, Critical Masses
"Plutôt un objet entre le livre audio d'un conte d'Anderson (Wes), la malice d'un Desplats orchestrant une féérie au chromatisme de pâtisseries Marie Antoinette et le cœur gros, le pas léger d'un Tiersen rue des Martyrs...
"Résultat : des symphonies de poche à la dramaturgie innocente et enchantées, dont le baroque est contaminé par le minimalisme américain. Le royaume de fantaisies est bien là."
-- The Drone
A CLOSER LISTEN
"The journey starts off quite serenely, with a choir and picked strings section that appears as the slow drawing of a grand horizon – the feeling of opening a door to somewhere far, far off, a hopeful breeze tracing the path to be taken...
About two-thirds in, the music breaks into a folk passage (very, very reminiscent of an old Jimmie Rodgers song) that is accompanied at first by a decomposing chiptune that mimics the melody, gradually building up into a pretty pastiche of musics more than worthy of heartfelt sentimentality…
-- David Murrieta, A Closer Listen
"This is a man that can score anything you throw at him. Ali’s success is only matched by his modesty. Knowing Ali, you could say his talent greatly surpasses his humble demeanor – Which is the best kind of talent, we’ve concluded.
"Go watch everything he’s made and you’ll have a great rest of your day. Liveacre loves Ali and can’t wait to hear whatever he does next!"
"Ali Helnwein’s new tape “Strange Creations” is haunting. It’s feels like a soundtrack to a film you haven’t seen and most likely will never see.
"These are sounds for a cold dark fall evening with too much to think about. "
"Whistling Past the Graveyard" is BEGGING for Tom Waits to throw his gravel scarred vocal chords on top and/or just sit behind the scene of some Tim Burton conceived claymation short film. From "Greed" to "Gluttony," Strange Creations is an album full of inventive arrangements and wonderful melodies. Turn tape over. Repeat."
- Cassette Gods
GUIDE ME LITTLE TAPE
"The standout second side concludes with the heartrending piece Gluttony which showcases delicate fingerpicked strings over a bombastic rhythm section and mournful melody. This one will test your genre preconceptions, and is exactly the type of heady experimentation I love to find.
- Guide Me Little Tape
NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
"But the music is equally important to the color. The composer I work with is a really old friend named Ali Helnwein, and he's always made this dark classical music. We collaborate really closely. I'll give him a bunch of temp tracks for each scene and then I'll sit with him each day for a few hours going over everything together."
- New York Magazine, Alex Prager interview by Stella Bugbee
"I always work with the same composer, his name is Ali Helnwein. I don't have a musical background.
"I'll show him what we shot; I'll show him the storyboard before we've shot anything. We usually have temp music that I find by myself, way before we start shooting, and I'll give that to him so that he can sit with it for a while and know what I am going for. He'll go compose something that he feels is appropriate and we work on that together until I feel that it is just right."
- Emma Brown, Interview Magazine
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
"Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and 10 of the year's best actors look to their "evil" side for the New York Times Magazine's annual Hollywood Issue.
The video series, fittingly called "Touch of Evil," showcases he finest evil grins, glass smashing, wicked stares. Of course, evil is not complete without haunting music, courtesy of a young Austrian composer by the name of Ali Helnwein."
- International Business Times
ALWAYS SOMETIMES ANYTIME
". . .set to a bespoke soundtrack by prolific musician Ali Helnwein (who also contributed the sounds to Alex Prager's short film 'Lara Stone: American Fairytale')."
- Always Sometimes Anytime
(GERMAN) "In unserer Playlist könnt ihr euch alle Videos ansehen. Aber Vorsicht: Es könnte gruselig werden, wenn zu der Musik des österreichischen Komponisten Ali Helnwein Käfer über Viola Davis krabbeln oder sich Brad Pitts Mund zu einem stummen Schrei des Grauens verzieht. Wer sich danach etwas beruhigen will, kann mal in die Video-Reihe des Vorjahres unter dem Motto Fourteen Actors Acting reinsehen und unter anderem James Franco dabei beobachten, wie er sich selbst einen Zungenkuss gibt."
"New Year's Eve, 2011, we introduced y'all to Spring Break Tapes in one of my last posts to Get Off the Coast, recommending their cassette with Don Cash (here's the original post). While they prepare a tape with composer Ali Helnwein, who scored the New York Times' Emmy-nominated short film series Touch of Evil..."
- Decoder Magazine
"...and set to the solemn yet beautiful soundtrack by Ali Helnwein, the film tells a tale of a dramatic journey..."
- Sicky Magazine
"Ali Helnwein’s music is great Halloween fodder when you have exhausted your trashy garage-rock collection, and are looking for your own private backing track as you drift through your neighborhood half drunk and hopped up on candy.
"Strange Creations calls to mind Danny Elfman’s Tim Burton soundtracks, as Ali weaves minimal string arrangements to perfectly fill an empty space. Tracks like “Greed” are whimsical yet sinister, reminding the listener that once the sun goes down, familiar places take on a baleful quality."
"La música del compositor Ali Helnwein acompaña el relato visual de Prager en la mayor parte de su filmografía. En Despair, el corto con el que cerramos este post, las notas musicales hacen las veces de voz en off y acompasan los movimiento de la protagonista con cada cambio de secuencia. Helnwein ha ganado un Emi y un Grammy y en su web puedes escuchar su trabajo y ver alguna de las cintas en la que ha puesto su talento."
". . . composed by the up-and-coming young classical music virtuoso Ali Helnwein (son of artist Gottfried Helnwein)."
- LA Times
“Whistling Past the Graveyard (2008) began the habit with Ali Helnwein’s cyclical chord progression, the banjo pervasive among the merged instruments. The visuals of Whistling were arranged as modestly as the sound mix.
Livelier, East of Eden (2009) danced on vignettes and accelerated editing, for teamwork met reward. While Mercedes manipulated motion, Ali punctuated the soundtrack. Scales climbed and tumbled. Instruments ran back and forth and around each other. The outcome was charmingly comical and capricious.
- Forth Magazine, Tommy Tung
“La Petite Mort features music by composer Ali Helnwein and guided by the impeccable eye of Director of Photography, Matthew Libatique of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream fame."
- Post New
WE ARE BLAG
"Ali is breaking ground in LA by introducing a diverse audience and young people to classical in unique ways. Here we talk about Traction Avenue Orchestra, which he founded."
- We Are Blag
"With a score by Austrian composer Ali Helnwein, "Triptych0811" features Norwegian guitarist Ronni Le Tekro, formerly of the hard-rock band TNT.
- Times Union
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Ali Helnwein's layered violins bring a further dose of otherness to the anthemic "Eagle Rock."
- All About Jazz
"Music also plays a larger role as brother Ali Helnwein has composed classically haunting music for an accompanying video projection, which will provide further clues to her mysterious characters. Musician Beck, for whom she has previously contributed album art, will be hosting."
- Huffington Post
"Former PAPER cover girl Bryce Dallas Howard is starring in Despair, a four-minute, one-scene silent film by photographer Alex Prager that is shot like a '50s thriller. The short's unsettling score is by composer Ali Helnwein and you can check out the film's premiere tomorrow at Nowness.com."
- Peter Davis, Papermag
"The idea for the story came to me while listening to a piece of music composed by Ali Helnwein."
- Actress/ Director Beth Riesgraf for WESC
"The quality of the cinematography, acting, and direction goes without saying, but what really moved me was the music, put together by a dude named Ali Helnwein. I totally just signed his guestbook on his website, right after a religious zealot left some parting words.
The music in Touch of Evil is reminiscent of an era when the “sounds” of cinema had to be equally, if not more, evocative than the “looks;” a time when films were lauded for their scores, not their profit-generating soundtracks."
DE JEUNES GENS MODERNES
"La collection est mise en images par la photographe Venetia Scott - qui est d'ailleurs également a l'origine des campagnes Paul Ka, dont nous avons parlées récemment - et par Mercedes Helnwein et dolcefilms.com sous la musique de Ali Helnwein dans cette superbe video de présentation.
- De Jeunes Gens Modernes
Original music was composed exclusively for the film by Mercedes' brother Ali Helnwein (www.alihelnwein.com)
- W Magazine
Composer/conductor Ali Helnwein played with his new string quartet Zero Machine while ballet dancers performed choreography by Andrews as part of The MOVEMENT Movement.
- LA Record
(NORWEGIAN) "Hun har med seg et internasjonalt lag i prosjektet: Den amerikanske komponisten Ali Helnwein skal stå for musikken sammen med rockeren Ronni Le Tekrø, som skal spille live på scenen."
"Aesthetically this short film is other worldly and dream like with a hauntingly ethereal soundtrack written by, Ali Helnwein."
"...Osobité smyčcové barvy třeba ke snivé i skočné skladbě Eagle Rock doplňuje houslista Ali Helnwein, saxofonista Stuart Bogie se zase podílel na aranži skvělého úvodního kusu Limbs Of A Pine..."
(French) "J’ai quelques trucs quasiment prêts à sortir. Je bosse en ce moment sur une mixtape instrumentale de hip-hop. Et ça s’annonce vraiment pas mal. Je vais aussi bientôt sortir un EP d’un petit groupe de Los Angeles, Spirit Vine. À part ça, j’ai hâte de pouvoir sortir peut-être deux sorties de Drawlings (aka Abby Portner) et d’un compositeur de LA, Ali Helnwein. Et de la Tape Two de Junior Pande. Je pense que ça va être une bonne année."
"THE SERIES is a monthly theatrical experiment slash party on the Standard, Downtown LA’s rooftop. . .
"The performers included Disson, Hecuba’s Isabelle Albuquerque, and multiple pieces by her choreographer-dancer sister, Jasmine, guest director Mecca Vazie Andrews, and Ali Helnwein and the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra, among others."
- LA Record
"I love his string quartet stuff. I have it on my iPod and I think it’s great. It’s soothing because it’s classical, but it’s got some kind of peppy bit that I’m into. I like that. It’s got a modern twist to it, so it’s more relatable to me...."
"A Standard Story is the title of the short film written and directed by Beth in Portland during risprese leveraged, with the background of a song by Ali Helnwein, who has become the soundtrack."
- Italian Vogue
"Ali Helnwein’s ‘Destroy your Beautiful Life' brings the album to a close and provides a touch of musical levity, while losing nothing in depth. It is probably the clarity of the mix, and the careful, considerate re-rendering of the original composition on lush piano and/or synths that makes this such a cathartic moment, and a highlight in terms of music and mood. The surprising clarity of Wolfgang’s guttural, growled vocals is juxtaposed expertly with the almost-ambient musical canvas here – more so than in any existing beauty/beast metal dichotomy that springs to mind."
- Jamie Janakov, Playlouder
"... it's called 'insect' and it's on the same CD. I just fell in love with it, it's so bizarre and circus-like. It could be on 'Sargent pepper' someplace...
"Ali Helnwein is the name of the composer and he is the proprietor of Strayed Dogs. He is involved in broadening the audience of classical music..."
- Martin Perlich (classical station Program Director/Host, KCSN)
" . . . with the collaborators list consisting of all envelope-pushers from LA’s East Side arts scene—including composer Ali Helnwein and the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra . . . "
- Foam Magazine
RECORD COLLECTOR NEWS
"The flip side from the 2010 first issue is a wonderful children's story 'The Violin That Played by Itself,' with a beautiful score by the great young composer Ali Helnwein, my good friend."
- Record Collector News
"Australian outfit Thrills and Wrangler go the extra mile to highlight their upcoming collection of denim and shirts ... The whole film was directed by Riley Blakeway with music by Ali Helnwein. For more information on both the custom motorcycle and fashion endeavors of Thrills, head over to their website."
"Sept. 14: The Series featuring new works by Ali Helnwein + Anna Oxygen + Diaz + Ian Ross + Isabelle Albuquerque Croissant + more . . . "
- LA Record
CURBS AND STOOPS
The artist’s brother, composer Ali Helnwein, contributed the music.”
-- Curbs and Stoops
"...Ali Helnwein’s music and audio was one of my favorite aspects to the films, so damn powerful...”
-- Zaharas Art
" . . . pen drawings on vintage sheet music and a performance by Ali Helnwein's string quartet. . ."
". . .A string section (arranged by noted LA composer Ali Helnwein) adds a rich dose of grandiose decadence on “Feel Real,” and the compelling, impenetrable album closer “Not Like Anything. . ."
-- LA WEEKLY
"...used an instrumental string background, with violins as the protagonists, over percussion in an attempt to catch the essence of his musical origins."
- Fernando Mexia, Revista Aplausos
HOUSTON CULTURE MAP
"A serendipitous meeting with visual artist C. Gregory Gummersall provided Baker with the idea and the means to produce the Scordatura Music Society’s latest commissioning project. Gummersall agreed to donate six brand new works on canvass to six composers including George Heathco, Jordan Kuspa, Alexandra T. Bryant, Federico Garcia, Paul Dooley and Ali Helnwein, who will each compose a piece of music inspired by the gifted art. The new compositions will be presented, alongside the respective paintings, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Drive Methodist Church. Six paintings, one visual artist, and six composers gave the project its name: 12 x 7."
- Houston Culture Map, Chris Becker
"To top the night off, the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra will play, conducted by noted composer Ali Helnwein and performing original music that marries with Kahn’s text."
- iPrincess Diaries, Kate Durbin