Intel released a new video spot recently and you probably saw it, because it has popped up in many places, including the Super Bowl.

Dubbed “Experience Amazing,” it pairs a mash-up of images depicting the brand’s presence in everyday life with music that seamlessly interweaves the familiar notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with an orchestral arrangement of Intel’s familiar jingle-bong chime.

The score for the spot was, fittingly, created by the same man who masterminded those original four iconic Intel chimes, thereby bringing audio branding guru Walter Werzowa full-circle more than 20 years after unleashing what is arguably the world’s most recognizable mnemonic. But working on the new Intel spot was more than just a return to roots for the Austrian composer, sonic brand guru, and founder of the music and sound design company Musikvergnuegen. For Werzowa, “Experience Amazing” marked a literal coming-home.

The music for “Experience Amazing” was conducted and recorded with a 96-piece orchestra in an old music hall in Vienna, Austria. It’s the city where Beethoven first premiered his Fifth Symphony, at the Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808, and it happens to be the city where Werzowa was born and raised. It was thus of particular importance to Werzowa that the score be “done respectfully,” he told Brief. “Growing up in Vienna, Beethoven was one of the heroes. He wrote [Symphony No.5] in Vienna, he lived in Vienna, he died in Vienna, and he’s part of my culture and ancestry in that sense.”

Growing up and going to university in Vienna, Werzowa studied classical guitar and electronic music, but he also, crucially, studied architecture, which he attributes to sowing the seed of his ability to precisely pair visual and audio elements.

“I think that’s where it all started from,” he said. “Music can tell stories and so can design or visual arts. If you look at, let’s say, Moroccan carpet, it’s information is a pattern which could be expressed mathematically, and if it’s expressed mathematically you can translate it into music and vice-versa.”

Werzowa found success in music early on, by way of the three-piece electronica band Edelweiss, whose bizarrely infectious song “Bring Me Edelweiss” was a number-one hit in Austria and sold millions of singles worldwide. The track is full of the kind of goofy, naughty fun one would expect from young artists, but underneath its layers of silliness, Werzowa, along with his band mates Martin Gletschermayer and Matthias Schweger, was already applying the rigor hinted at by his multidisciplinary academic leanings.

“[Edelweiss] was also very conceptual, taking the essence of Austrian folklore music and bringing it to house music and electronic music, and really boiling down the essence of yodeling and what this music is about,” Werzowa said. “Nobody had done that before with that intensity.”

Edelweiss toured the world and, for a brief moment, brought Werzowa into the orbit of pop stars such as Madonna. But as bands are wont to do, the trio eventually broke up, and Werzowa headed off to Los Angeles to pursue postgraduate studies in film scoring at USC. (“I always knew I wanted to come to the U.S., since I was little,” he said.) Again, he had little trouble finding success at the highest level after school, earning a music credit on Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report, and scoring the trailer for the director’s film A.I.

One day, Werzowa was hired to work on the audio track for an animation project at R/GA. The client was Intel; the designers two future legends in the field, Garson Yu and Kyle Cooper. They showed him a board with six frames on it depicting what would become the spiraling Intel swirl-logo.

“I thought this was a normal spot at 30 seconds,” Werzowa said, “and then [Kyle] told me it was three seconds. My first instinct was to laugh. You can barely say a meaningful sentence in three seconds.”

The process that ensued was “really difficult” for Werzowa, as he struggled to suppress his complex classical leanings and concoct something that seemed almost comically economical.

“It got very frustrating and I had no clue what to do,” he said.

Then, one weekend he had a breakthrough. He placed the animation board above his piano and looked at it again. This time around, the brand’s tagline, “Intel, Inside,” stood out in a new way. The brief from Intel was all about “precision, accuracy, being engineered,” he said, and he realized that if he simply wrote a melody that matched up rhythmically with the tagline’s syllables (“In-tel-in-side”), that it “would be very organized and even,” and make “mathematical sense” while fitting the neat and tidy brand messaging. He would keep “the same distance from beat to beat to beat,” he said, “not syncopated, not fun, not jazzy,” but still create emotional resonance with a note progression that moved upward, evoking a positive feel in listeners.

“I constructed it intellectually,” Werzowa said. “Writing mnemonics is not composing. This is a mistake a lot of composers make. They think they have to compose a nice melody, and it doesn’t make any sense without a story to back it up… If you write a little song it does not work. It needs to be something thought out and very conceptual.”

Working on Intel marked the beginning of what would prove to be a long and fruitful collaboration between Werzowa and Yu, who would go on to found Yu+Co, a design company behind many title sequences for film and television.

“I always pitch Walter to be the composer,” Yu told Brief. “He really understands how important the visual and the music is, [how] once they all work so well together, you can’t separate them.”

Werzowa’s ability rests comfortably on either end of a vast talent spectrum. He can hew visually-driven scoring down to its barest elements or flesh it out into something huge and sweeping. Musikvergnuegen’s body of work is as abundant with spare and tiny yet utterly familiar mnemonics for brands such as LG and Samsung as it is with lush orchestral scores for films such as Batman Begins and Troy. Recently, Werzowa even composed all the music for the Sundance documentary smash Author: The JT Leroy Story, which should be on big screens later this year.

Werzowa can fluctuate so dramatically in his work because he approaches it as “an inventor of musical works,” he said. “I wouldn’t call myself a composer. I just love to think about new ways to express myself and whether it is a trailer or audio branding or a movie, it doesn’t matter. I love to have a conceptual starting point and then create something with sounds.”

Discovery Science Urchin 10sec from Musikvergnuegen on Vimeo.

Currently, Werzowa is evolving to the next stage of invention by pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, which he intends to use in the service of better bringing music’s healing properties to those who need them.

“My father and brother are doctors and my daughter is studying medicine,” he said. “The connection between music and healing is very close to my heart.”

As part of his scholarly pursuit, he is researching and building a platform that will allow listeners to find and purchase “the right music to support their healing and focus.” Working on the project with doctors at children’s hospitals in California, the platform is grounded in scientific research on music’s effect on conditions ranging from respiratory ailments to stress to distressed infants. “There’s incredible research being done worldwide and it’s just fascinating what we can do and how we can support our brain and well-being with music,” he said.

In a sense, Werzowa is an architect of connection. His inventions finding powerful ways to bridge the gap between the human experience and whatever lies on the other side, be it a brand, a cinematic narrative or beyond. Working on Intel’s “Experience Amazing” spot allowed him to reconnect consumers to the brand by reverse-engineering something he created more than 20 years ago. Rather than concocting the simplest melody possible he is, like Beethoven, building that simple melody up into something grand and majestic, weaving the Intel chimes seamlessly into the Fifth Symphony without losing the integrity of either musical work. It all came about not as a way of showing off but because that’s what this particular execution required. It was the precise pairing of musical elements needed to bring the brand philosophy behind “Experience Amazing” to life.

“When you come up with the right sounds to support [that philosophy], it’s just amazing,” Werzowa said. “Music can tell you so much more than words can and I really believe that we have music for everything that we can’t express through words. It’s all this missing space between the words and emotions, and it’s very powerful, and that sensation is just incredible.”

TBS Network ID Final Logo v05 from Musikvergnuegen on Vimeo.


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