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You know that old expression “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover?” Well, I think a similar expression is also true: “You can’t judge a soundtrack by the film it’s attached to.” This was my thought after listening to a five minute scoring session from Battle: Los Angeles, a 2011 sci-fi action film which depicts Los Angeles (and the rest of the world) under attack from hostile alien forces. The film stars Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Ramon Rodriguez, and was directed by Jonathan Liebesman.
The film itself received very negative reviews (it was notably panned by Roger Ebert), but the soundtrack, composed by Brian Tyler, received some positive mentions. For example, on Wikipedia, one review called it “…a highly entertaining, old-fashioned orchestral soundtrack that should appeal to fans of Hans Zimmer…”*
I have to agree with Mr. Monger (the author of that review): the music does indeed have that old-fashioned feel to it, but in the world of film music I believe that is a good thing. To call a film score “old-fashioned” is to say that the composer is using a traditional orchestra and not simply synthesizing everything.
As you watch the scoring session, take note of the computer screen immediately behind Brian Tyler: you’ll see two sets of numbers, like this 12 l 1 . That is a measure/beat counter that is timing the recording according to the measure and particular beat of said measure. That way, if Mr. Tyler wants to go back to, say, measure 100, he can select that on the computer and the recording will automatically transfer to that point.
Given how wonderful the music sounds, it is such a shame that Brian Tyler’s hard work is attached to a film that was so badly received (I haven’t seen it myself, but Roger Ebert was never one to pan a film without good reason). It is obvious to me that Tyler puts a great deal of his heart and soul into this music, and I hope that someday his music will receive the proper appreciation (hopefully in the form of an Academy Award).
Please enjoy this scoring session from Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
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*review taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle:_Los_Angeles_(soundtrack)
** poster image is the property of Columbia Pictures
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