For nearly two decades, Daniel Rossen has been a crucial part of Grizzly Bear, the era-epitomizing act whose shared harmonies and interlaced textures meant he was responsible for only part of a whole. But Rossen left the close-knit nest of Brooklyn many years ago, first for an isolated patch of land in upstate New York and then for the high desert climes of Santa Fe. The whole, as it were, was now his. So Rossen bought an upright bass (one of his instruments as a kid) and played all the parts himself, along with the cello. Best known as a guitarist, he took up woodwinds, too, buying several cheap student models and learning just enough to understand the rudiments. And then, largely at home in Santa Fe, he slowly built the voice that sounds both entirely familiar and fully reenergized by the act of unfettered expression.
For all the benefits of being in a successful band, individuality is not always one of them. Impulses are subsumed by the organization; choices are bound in compromise. As formative as Rossen’s experiences in Grizzly Bear were, he recognized what was lost in that equation.
Rossen long studied jazz and classical music, developing the sort of craftsperson’s skills that were so apparent in every intricate fold of his former projects. Those skills have now carried over to film scoring with the critically acclaimed A24 drama Past Lives and the upcoming indie drama The Line, which premieres later this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Open, airy, subtle, and melodic, his score work has been lauded by critics alike and speaks to the musicianship Rossen has been demonstrating since the beginning.