And the Oscar Goes to…Burning Man

oscarThat’s right campers, Burning Man could be in contention for an Oscar. More specifically, two of the songs from the movie Spark: A Burning Man Story are in the list of 75 contenders to be nominated for Best Original Song.

The songs are “Let it Go”, by San Francisco’s Michael Franti and Spearhead; and “We Ride” by Australia’s Missy Higgins.

For the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be holding a concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall three days before the Oscars, with all the nominated composers and artists invited to perform.

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Academy Awards for 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on ABC and more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

The soundtrack to Spark also features music by The Scumfrog, Diplo, and Damian Lazarus:

Executive produced by Dan Wilson (Adele, Dixie Chicks) and the film’s producer Steve Brown, the soundtrack for Spark was designed to showcase musicians who Brown says “had a passion for Burning Man and for the culture that it represents.”

It got a good review from New York site Upstate Live:

spark-burning-man-soundtrackThe compilation of music set to the documentary is unbelievably powerful and completely captures the togetherness that Burning Man promotes. From the opening track, “Feel The Love” by Rudimental (featuring John Newman) a down tempo into fast drum and bass song fully equipped with horns, you can immediately pick up on the vibe and feeling of the album, documentary and festival as a whole. “Coastal Break” by Tycho truly portrays the range of music that is utilized to depict the emotion and love behind the creation of Burning Man. Far more ambient than “Feel the Love”, “Coastal Break” still perfectly encompasses the upbeat and progressive nature of Burning Man. People who have attended Burning Man in the past have spoken of the wide array of people from all walks of life that show up to Burning Man and reach a platform of unity and oneness with the entire community. That is what makes this album so unique. It truly covers so many different aspects of the Burning Man experience that even with each song being so different from the last, it still makes complete sense. Some songs are more literal within their lyrics like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Man on Fire” and Missy Higgins, “We Ride.” Higgins croons somberly about the coming to life of being in a desert surrounded by so much energy from the people surrounding you. Comprised primarily of electronic instrumentals, these tracks are filled in nicely with ballads related to the entity of Burning Man as a whole, whether they meant to be or not. Michael Franti’s “Let it Go” is such a high energy, feel good song that perfectly depicts the spirit of the festival, even to those who have never attended.

…Each song brings a different aspect and energy of Burning Man to an extremely well put together album. Each song is different, and yet in the context of Burning Man, very much the same. This album is a perfect compilation to be set to the making of one of the best festivals in the world.

You can listen to “Spark: A Burning Man Story” here and purchase it from iTunes here.

[Update 12/18/13] Michael Franti had this to say about the possibility of his song being an Oscar contender:

Being at Burning Man has been a life changing experience. For me, the burn is about one very large, meaningful thing: the simple act letting go. Releasing what is no longer helping me, in order to clear space for new opportunities, new ways of seeing the world and my own life. That’s what the song Let It Go is all about. Spark is not just the story of Burning Man, it is the story of people who share the relentless quest for transformation of themselves, our society and the planet. Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, we stumble and this song is about getting up. I’m grateful to be a part of that journey. 

8 comments on “And the Oscar Goes to…Burning Man

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  4. For those that need a Film 101 introduction to the tyranny of the music track, check out these identical Burn videos with various music tracks: Only one is of Burning Man: “au naturale,” the one with real time track sound. All else is interpretation, a music video, a creation with its own agenda enforced by the emotional agenda music, but not anything like the feel of being there. To say any but “au naturale” is a Burn representation is being entirely subjective.

    Simple test: play the videos in the above story with the sound muted. Not at all the same, but a far better representation of the Burn.

  5. The ‘We Ride’ song really sucks. Commercial trash along combined pseudo sentimentality. Celine Dion might as well been singing it. Despite that the song does show how far the event has slid. From counter cultural rabble-rousers to bland conforming corporate mediocrity.

    Like I said in an earlier comment the dominant culture consumed the event and it now has no more significance than showing how badly mainstream culture destroys ideals in favor of lucre.

    • Yes. As I have posted many times, “Burning Man is not a music video! Anyone who thinks that it is has never been there.” Now, sadly, if people that have been there think it is, then what we had is lost. Paddy Chayefsky was wrong, and we need a music track to tell us how to feel about what we are seeing, so we can all enjoy exactly the same experience. No need to go anymore, just wait for the film, the music video, or film at 11.

  6. the LAtimes seems to have it wrong. these songs, including the burning man songs, arent nominated. they are up for contention to be nominated:

    the nomination announcements will come out next month, as per the oscars website:

    “The 86th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.”

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