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Adam Corn May 16, 2013

I'm not a fan of these all encompassing omni-threads but since film soundtracks don't get much discussion around here I figure it's the way to go.  Feel free to post here any comments about movie music from the year, whether from the films themselves or from any album releases.

I know discussions about movie soundtracks tend to diverge into discussions about the movies themselves but let's try to keep it focused on the music.  Ain't no shame in starting a separate thread if you want to talk about the movie.  Also it should go without saying but be careful not to post story spoilers. smile

I'll start with Star Trek Into Darkness, having just seen the film yesterday.  As is often the case with movie sequel soundtracks this one seemed to be mostly a rehash of the first.  In fact the only time I specifically noticed any new music was a quieter, classical-sounding segment in the end credits.

Aside from that I noticed the same cues that struck me most in the original, the surprisingly moody yet excellent main theme and the rousing "Enterprising Young Men" (one of my favorite pieces from the year the first movie came out).  That said Giacchino's score sounded a bit overbearing this time around so I can't imagine liking the soundtrack album better than the first.

Anyone heard the sequel soundtrack and care to comment on it?

Wanderer May 16, 2013

I wasn't terribly impressed by it. I liked Giacchino's first Star Trek score (at least in its 45-minute form) but the sequel score feels more generic. It could be poor cue choices but I've heard from people who've seen the film and when you can hear the music at all (it's apparently buried in the mix), it's mostly rehash.

Angela May 19, 2013 (edited May 19, 2013)

Adam Corn wrote:

That said Giacchino's score sounded a bit overbearing this time around so I can't imagine liking the soundtrack album better than the first.

The movie's pure, relentless energy -- which does come across as such on the album, yeah.  I'm enjoying it well enough, but the omission of Ode to Harrison -- a fantastic 6+ minute suite for the film's principle baddie -- is a major disappointment.  Disappointing, because 1) Harrison is about the only newly-composed theme featured in the score and serves as Into Darkness's main musical identity. (We still get hints of the theme in various cues, but without the suite's presence to unify the motifs, they feel a tad slapdash.) And 2) The track, as I understand it, was originally going to be featured on the album release, but was axed at the very last minute.  It was even featured during the special preview broadcast that WQXR held earlier in the month.

There's plenty of reprisals of the Enterprising Young Men and Star Trek main themes for sure, but I did wish Giacchino found more ways to utilize Spock's beautiful erhu theme from the first film.  On the other hand, I loved how the original Alexander Courage theme popped up from time to time, rather than simply being relegated to the end credits like the first film -- a conscious choice, as the crew of the Enterprise is fully established at this point.

Wanderer wrote:

It could be poor cue choices but I've heard from people who've seen the film and when you can hear the music at all (it's apparently buried in the mix), it's mostly rehash.

The music sounded fine to me.  I would have been surprised otherwise, as Abrams' movies almost always have impeccable sound mixing.  This one's no exception.

Wanderer May 19, 2013 (edited May 19, 2013)

Angela wrote:

The music sounded fine to me.  I would have been surprised otherwise, as Abrams' movies almost always have impeccable sound mixing.  This one's no exception.

Yeah, I agree with you, now that I've seen the movie. The score is *much* better in context, I find. There's just so much music missing from the soundtrack album, a lot of it lower-key and featuring fascinating variations of Harrison's Theme. Like the first film, the soundtrack does a great job of including the beginning and ending of the film but skimps on the middle. I also agree the Ode should have been included on the disc, although good chunks of it end up in other cues (especially the thrilling "The San Fran Hustle").

I wouldn't be surprised if we get a Deluxe Edition of this, like we did with Giacchino's first score.

There's plenty of reprisals of the Enterprising Young Men and Star Trek main themes for sure, but I did wish Giacchino found more ways to utilize Spock's beautiful erhu theme from the first film.

It's there a fair amount in the soundtrack but usually as an action motif, which is kinda cool. The first film mostly used that theme reflectively so it was fun to hear Giacchino go all out with it in different ways.

And... ANGELA! What's up?

Angela May 20, 2013

Wanderer wrote:

And... ANGELA! What's up?

Been doing well!  I'll do a more formal write-up sometime so as to not derail this thread, but yeah, things are pretty great nowadays. smile

So does anyone have a current favorite score for 2013?  Mine is easily The Croods -- which surprises the hell outta me, because Alan Silvestri hasn't done anything even remotely noteworthy in the past six or seven years.  But for the first time in a long time, he brings his usual technical superiority with the orchestra (alongside a terrific choir ensemble, ethnic percussion set, and choice instrumentation) to deliver an extremely likeable and thematically cohesive soundtrack.  Yeah, there's still a fair share of Mickey Mouse-style comedy pieces and frenetic action cues that work better in context than as a standalone listen, but man, those themes are such a highlight.  Silvestri's almost reaching John Powell levels of animated film scoring here, and I don't say that lightly.

Wanderer May 20, 2013 (edited May 20, 2013)

Angela wrote:

So does anyone have a current favorite score for 2013?

I'm not sure. I've listened to most of the major ones but don't generally return to them. The Croods has those lovely suites near the end (which would easily go on a best of year compilation) but the rest I could leave. Iron Man 3 has some catchy moments but otherwise doesn't sound much different from Tyler's usual output. Both of Danny Elfman's projects disappointed me. I enjoyed Beltrami's A Good Day to Die Hard quite a bit, because I've always liked his action style. Into Darkness obviously highly grew on me and might be the most listened-to soundtrack of the year for me (at least at the moment).

Adam Corn Jun 7, 2013

Nice to hear from you Angie.  I was thinking of you when I posted about Star Trek Into Darkness, knowing what a Michael Giacchino fan you are. smile

Wanderer wrote:

I also agree the Ode should have been included on the disc, although good chunks of it end up in other cues (especially the thrilling "The San Fran Hustle").

I wouldn't be surprised if we get a Deluxe Edition of this, like we did with Giacchino's first score.

If they do release a deluxe edition I'll find it extremely suspect that they left out some clearly important material from the original release despite it being a mere 47 minutes long.  I'm all for concise soundtrack releases but not for intentional double dipping.

Regarding Iron Man 3 I was surprised myself to find the soundtrack catching my attention several times throughout the film, especially the main theme which Tyler smartly seems to have based on the Avengers theme while improving upon it.

As a big fan of James Newton Howard I'll be interested in hearing his After Earth soundtrack (only on album though - absolutely no intention of sitting through the movie).

Wanderer Jun 7, 2013

Adam Corn wrote:

As a big fan of James Newton Howard I'll be interested in hearing his After Earth soundtrack (only on album though - absolutely no intention of sitting through the movie).

It's nothing special, probably his weakest score for a Shyamalan film. JNH has been throwing himself increasingly into the RC sound world for the last few years and this is an extension of that. There's a few cues near the end which remind me of the JNH of old but the rest is mostly electronic-heavy and subtle.

LiquidAcid Jun 7, 2013

Very sad to hear about JNH. I very much liked his earlier scoring for Shyamalan's works, like The Village with the beautiful violin solos by Hilary Hahn. The last scores I listened to were Hunger Games, Water for Elephants and Snow White and the Huntsman. I very much enjoyed the last one, but the other ones were pretty much forgettable -- especially the Hunger one was pretty bad. IIRC they replaced the composer pretty late in the production, and IMHO this shows a lot...

Adam Corn Jun 12, 2013

My favorite James Newton Howard works spanned from 1995's Waterworld through to The Postman and Dinosaur, with 2005's King Kong being the last one I've heard to really blow me away.  He's certainly had some good scores since then (the highlights of last year's Snow White and the Huntsman were beautiful) but I haven't heard any that as a whole match those earlier efforts.  I haven't given up on him yet though. big_smile

Angela Jun 29, 2013

I'm quoting Wanderer from the Man of Steel thread so as to not veer off that topic:

Wanderer wrote:

The Zimmer score really pissed me off, just utter trash, permeating every frame of the movie with loud, wallpaper bombast. I know he can do much better than this (At World's End, for instance) so why phone it in this time, especially with the specter of John Williams looming over him?

I'm curious to hear how his upcoming score for The Lone Ranger turns out.  Some directors tend to bring out the best in certain composers, and given Gore Verbinski's track record, I'm hoping he'll be able to coax some good stuff out of Zimmer.

The big question is if he'll utilize the William Tell Overture in any shape or form.  Zimmer's been notoriously adamant about not adapting trademark themes from franchises past, so it seems doubtful.  Seeing as how this is an origin story of sorts, I would at least love it if he pulled a Giacchino Star Trek '09, and introduced the Overture toward the very end.

Adam Corn Jun 29, 2013

I agree that Zimmer's score for Man of Steel was pretty crap (in context of the movie anyway).  Even allowing that he had no intention of following John Williams' original work, you can't create a score for that big a movie and that iconic a character and have some grinding, drudging electronics be the only thing that stands out.

I imagine his Long Ranger score will be better.

Wanderer Jul 1, 2013

Adam Corn wrote:

I agree that Zimmer's score for Man of Steel was pretty crap (in context of the movie anyway).  Even allowing that he had no intention of following John Williams' original work, you can't create a score for that big a movie and that iconic a character and have some grinding, drudging electronics be the only thing that stands out.

I imagine his Long Ranger score will be better.

Maybe. The samples make it sound like Sherlock Holmes' long-lost cousin. Zimmer's been in a bit of a rut lately. Inception had some interesting moments (even if it was totally overbearing in the film) but I can't think of a single score of his I've really liked since Frost/Nixon.

Angela Jul 1, 2013 (edited Jul 1, 2013)

Angela wrote:

I'm curious to hear how his upcoming score for The Lone Ranger turns out.  Some directors tend to bring out the best in certain composers, and given Gore Verbinski's track record, I'm hoping he'll be able to coax some good stuff out of Zimmer.

The big question is if he'll utilize the William Tell Overture in any shape or form.  Zimmer's been notoriously adamant about not adapting trademark themes from franchises past, so it seems doubtful.  Seeing as how this is an origin story of sorts, I would at least love it if he pulled a Giacchino Star Trek '09, and introduced the Overture toward the very end.

Looks like we've got our answer!  From AICN's interview with Gore Verbinski released today:

Capone: In terms of the pacing of the film, I know you tease it a little bit in the beginning, but did you always intend to save the William Tell Overture for the big action set piece at the end? Really, it’s like an extended remix version of it.

GV: [laughs] That’s funny because Hans hates that piece of music.

Capone: Really?

GV: Yeah, he thinks Rossini is a hack, but even before talking to Hans, I had designed that whole sequence based around the William Tell Overture. It’s the most shop-worn piece of music ever. It’s on Huggies commercials, so you don’t want to break it out early, and we deconstructed it, and there are fragments of it that are used as themes in other places. It was really about trying to make it accrue at the end. And he was not comfortable wearing the mask throughout the movie, and that’s who he is at the end.

Wanderer wrote:

Zimmer's been in a bit of a rut lately. Inception had some interesting moments (even if it was totally overbearing in the film) but I can't think of a single score of his I've really liked since Frost/Nixon.

What did you think of Rango?

Wanderer Jul 1, 2013 (edited Jul 1, 2013)

Angela wrote:

What did you think of Rango?

Rossini is a hack? Of all the gall. tongue

I actually haven't heard Rango. I'll give that one a shot.

vert1 Aug 31, 2013

THE MATRIX RELOADED: LIMITED EDITION (2CD) (CD)
Composed by: Don Davis
La-La Land Records, Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. music continue celebrating Warner Bros.’ 90th anniversary with this deluxe, 2-CD expanded archival collection release of Don Davis’ phenomenal original score to the 2003 motion picture THE MATRIX RELOADED, the second installment in THE MATRIX SAGA starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss, and directed by the Wachowski Siblings. Experimental and atmospheric, yet orchestral and thematic, Don Davis’ score is a sci-fi action wonder onto itself. Clocking in at more than 150 minutes, this spectacular 2-CD set was produced by Don Davis, Neil S. Bulk and Dan Goldwasser, mastered by Mike Matessino and is limited to 3500 units. In depth, exclusive liner notes by Tim Greiving feature comments from Mr. Davis and co-composer (on some tracks) Ben Watkins (aka Juno Reactor).
NOTE: Two tracks (Double Trouble and Free Flight) do not appear on this release as heard in the final film due to licensing restrictions. However, ALL of Don Davis’ original music recorded for the film is presented on this release, including his original scored versions of those two cues, as well as additional tracks that were dropped, eventually replaced by electronica in the final film.

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_det … ITION-2CD/

Ordered myself a copy.

Angela Sep 2, 2013 (edited Oct 6, 2013)

I think Clemmensen's review pretty much nailed The Lone Ranger, particularly about that Finale track:

"And then there's the extensive work by Geoff Zanelli, a veteran Zimmer ghostwriter responsible in this case for adapting "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Stars and Stripes Forever," "The Star Spangled Banner," "Marse Henry March," and Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture" into the film. What Zanelli managed to accomplish with the "William Tell Overture" in "Finale" is truly remarkable and very easily the highlight of the score. Whereas the rest of the score alternates between tired recapitulations of Zimmer's past and senseless ethnic attributions, Zanelli adapts the "Overture," which was the theme song for the famed television show, into an incredible action piece complete with highly intelligent manipulations of Zimmer's themes into its formations. The passages from about 4:40 to 5:10 and 6:55 to 8:20, along with snippets in between, are nothing less than brilliant, and thankfully the recording is mixed without such a heavy-handed bass. This work is so damn pleasing in an intellectual way that it really does make the rest of the score seem like simple rehash, and one could easily wish that Zanelli had been allowed to write the entire score."

It is somewhat amusing that Zimmer really didn't have much to do with the composition of the Overture after all.  But yeah, Zanelli made one hell of a powerhouse piece; those integrations of the secondary themes throughout are ridiculously impressive.  The use of "After the Battle of Aughrim" at 7:31 currently stands as my favorite film score moment of the year.

Angela Sep 3, 2013 (edited Oct 6, 2013)

Also been enjoying Henry Jackman's Kick-Ass 2 soundtrack.  I've always admired Jackman's steady adherence to the themes he writes for his movies, and as his first sequel, I'm glad the ones he created for the first have transitioned so well here.  There's something easily likeable about those heroic strains of the main theme, especially in "Justice Forever" and "Fatherly Sacrifice."  Props to the the tragic Hit-Girl/Big Daddy theme in "Honor to Serve Him" also making a return.

The biggest surprise, though, is the new "villain" theme, largely embodied by Mintz-Plasse's newly-christened 'The Motherf*cker,' but played up by another in what might be the movie's most chilling sequence in the track "Real Evil."  You'll know it when you see it, but scenically and sonically, it instantly made me yearn for just one more sequel to round out what could basically be considered a trilogy now.

Adam Corn Oct 6, 2013

Steven Price's Gravity soundtrack is the best film score I've heard all year, and I'll be surprised if it isn't recognized as such come Academy Awards time.  I'm not sure whether it's something I'd want to listen to on its own (maybe) but in context of the film it's fantastic.

Angela Oct 6, 2013 (edited Oct 6, 2013)

Adam Corn wrote:

Steven Price's Gravity soundtrack is the best film score I've heard all year, and I'll be surprised if it isn't recognized as such come Academy Awards time.  I'm not sure whether it's something I'd want to listen to on its own (maybe) but in context of the film it's fantastic.

Agreed.  Although I had read some folks complain that there were some parts that were overbearing in what should have been an all-minimalist soundtrack.  I'm guessing they're largely talking about the final twenty minutes. 

But it's those last three tracks I'll keep coming back to long after seeing the movie.  I loved the score's turn at that point, and contextually, it makes sense; it's like the ultimate release after watching what seems like 80 minutes of pure, oppressive tension. :)

Not a fan of the abrupt 'smash-to-black' style outros on some of the songs, though.

Adam Corn Nov 12, 2013

Is Thor: The Dark World the action/adventure film score of the year?  I've yet to see the film but judging by my first listen on Spotify it sounds like it has the potential to be.  Though I didn't notice anything hugely moving or groundbreaking (again, only on first listen) it hits all the major genre points, with more melodic presence and less repetition and overwhelming bombast than so many film scores these days.

It's also very interesting to finally hear some continuity within the Marvel movie music universe.  Though obviously it has a clear fantasy focus, I did notice similarities to Brian Tyler's own Iron Man 3 score, which in turn showed influences from The Avengers.  I'll be interested to hear what Henry Jackman does with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and even more so what John Ottman does returning to X-Men in Days of Future Past.

Porter Nov 24, 2013

I saw yesterday Violet & Daisy and there was amazing score by Paul Cantelon. It so great to hear meditative melodic chamber score after all those ostinatos and electronics:)
Just finished listening of Beck´s HANGOVER TRILOGY and what nice funky/groovy and in third part also orchestral action score.

vert1 Nov 24, 2013

Luboš Fišer / Zdeněk Liška – Morgiana / The Cremator - Music From The Films By Juraj Herz

Adopting his mysteriously macabre musical persona, the versatile Fišer interweaves chimes, harps and harpsichord with echoing flutes, lutes and piano, applying his sig- nature orchestral tension and experimental percussion traits in the form of treated pianos, vibra-slaps, tape samples of striking matches and spring reverbs to this oblique heady selection.

Boasting a beguiling score and theme tune that remains one of the most memorable and spine-chilling, by the country’s finest experimental soundtrack composer Zdeněk Liška (Malá Mořská Víla), The Cremator provides the movement with one of its best loved signature scores. Featuring an ongoing partnership with studio conductor František Belfín (Daisies) and soprano singer Vlasta Soumarová Mlejnková (Marketa Lazarová), Liška puts his radical concrète and resampling techniques to one side in favour of celestial choral and orchestral arrangements; menacing giallo-esque tension and recurring rhythmical motifs of Eastern bells and chimes. . .

Old films that now finally get a soundtrack release this year. Very impressive stuff from the samples I listened to. On vinyl too:
https://bleep.com/release/46690-various … e-cremator https://bleep.com/release/46689-various … s-morgiana

Wanderer Nov 25, 2013

Adam Corn wrote:

Is Thor: The Dark World the action/adventure film score of the year?  I've yet to see the film but judging by my first listen on Spotify it sounds like it has the potential to be.  Though I didn't notice anything hugely moving or groundbreaking (again, only on first listen) it hits all the major genre points, with more melodic presence and less repetition and overwhelming bombast than so many film scores these days.

It's not like there's a great deal of competition. I listened to Tyler's Thor 2 but got so bored halfway through that I looked up alternate playlists online and found a good forty-minute one that made a decent listen. It's still terribly generic music (as Tyler's work usually is) but there's a guilty pleasure aspect to it. He tends to use the same chord progressions for his themes, to the point where a lot of them blur together for me.

I'm listening to JNH's King Kong score right now, which reminds me how awesome blockbuster scores used to be (and JNH, for that matter).

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