Category Archives: Soundtracks

Soundtrack Review: Outlander (season 5)

The soundtrack for season 5 of Outlander, with music composed by Bear McCreary is available now. In Season 5 of Outlander, Jamie Fraser must fight to protect those he loves, as well as the home he has established alongside his wife, Claire Fraser, their family, and the settlers of Fraser’s Ridge.  This new mantle of responsibility sees him pitted against his godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, a leader of North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion.  Claire Fraser is determined to keep her family safe by any means necessary, whatever the consequences… while Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie struggle to find their respective places in this brave new world. 

Of the soundtrack, composer Bear McCreary says:

“From the bagpipes of Scotland, the baroque harpsichords of Paris, the blistering Afro-Cuban percussion of Jamaica, to the twangy banjos of the Appalachian Mountains, my score for Outlander has continuously evolved to keep up with Claire and Jamie as they traverse both time and space. For the series’ fifth season, I was presented with a new kind of challenge. For the first time, the geography and century would remain consistent with the previous season.  As a result, there was no longer a need to introduce new instruments and styles. Inspired by the drama, it was time to dig deeper into the music that had already been established.”

Listening to the soundtrack for season 5, the first thing that struck me was how cinematic it all sounds. It really felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of a movie, not a television series. And that reminded me of just how much music for television series have changed in the last few decades. It used to be that there was a noticeable difference between film music and television music, but not any longer. Now, especially with big productions like Outlander (and formerly Game of Thrones, just to name an example), the music sounds just like something you’d hear in a movie.

And certainly Bear McCreary does his all to give the music for Outlander season 5 a filmic feel. Actually there are certain portions that put me in mind of James Horner’s score for Titanic. You also definitely get the feel of 18th-century North America with this music. I have no better word to explain what I mean other than it just feels rustic, almost like something you would hear in that era. It’s really evident that Bear McCreary put a lot of work into this score to create the best music possible.

OUTLANDER: SEASON 5 (ORIGINAL TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Outlander – The Skye Boat Song (Choral Version)
2. The New Fraser’s Ridge
3. As Long as We Both Shall Live
4. L-O-V-E
5. Blood of My Blood
6. Murtagh’s Oath
7. The Fiery Cross
8. The Battle of Alamance
9. Murtagh
10. Young Ian Returns
11. Clementine
12. A Red, Red Rose
13. The Fang Syringe
14. Justice for Bonnet
15. Journeycake
16. Lighting the Cross
17. Saving Claire
18. Outlander – The Skye Boat Song (Solo Vocal Version)

I genuinely enjoyed listening to Bear McCreary’s music for Outlander season 5 and I hope you enjoy listening to it as well. Let me know what you think about the season 5 soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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Soundtrack News: ‘Capone’ Soundtrack to be Released on May 29th

Milan Records announced today that the original motion picture soundtrack for Capone will be released on May 29th, 2020. Available for preorder now, the album features music written and produced by EL-P and co-produced by long time EL-P collaborator Wilder Zoby (Run the Jewels, Roma) for the new film starring Tom Hardy as the infamous gangster Al Capone. This marks the first complete film score from EL-P since 2004’s Bomb The System, and arrives on the heels of score contributions to Fantastic 4 (for which EL-P scored the end credits, which marked the beginning of his working relationship with Capone director Josh Trank) and 2016’s Bleed For This (directed by Ben Younger) as well as contributing to the soundtrack for 2018’s Oscar winning Roma (directed by Alfonso Cuarón).

Of the score, EL-P says:

“I grew up on film scores and they’ve always been a huge influence on me and I’ve been hoping to get the time and chance to do another, so I was thrilled to do Capone. Huge thanks to Josh Trank and Tom Hardy for bringing me in and of course to Wilder Zoby who was my right hand man through the whole score. I loved helping create and getting lost in this twisted little trip in to Al’s mind.  Much of the music on this score is directly from the movie and some of it is stuff that was created for the film but didn’t survive the final cut.  I’m excited to present it to the world in this form.”

Produced by BRON Studios and recently released by Vertical Entertainment, Capone is now available anywhere you can buy or rent movies, including, but not limited to, Apple TV, iTunes (where it hit #1 on the US and Canada new movie charts), Amazon, Google Play, FandangoNow, and Vudu.

Once a ruthless businessman and bootlegger who ruled Chicago with an iron fist, Alfonse Capone was the most infamous and feared gangster of American lore. At the age of 47, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots Alfonse’s mind and his past becomes present. Harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life. As he spends his final year surrounded by family with the FBI lying in wait, this ailing patriarch struggles to place the memory of the location of millions of dollars he hid away on his property.

CAPONE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE)

TRACKLISTING –

1.                Italy theme

2.                something in the hall

3.                by car and by boat

4.                intruders

5.                we don’t use that name around here

6.                walking in to a dream

7.                give it up for Al

8.                mama’s hurt

9.                still a family…assassin!

10.             you’re a good man, Al

11.             Al hell breaks loose

12.             back from hell

13.             this is Al thats left (end credits)

Remember you’ll be able to pick up the soundtrack for Capone starting May 29th, 2020. Until then, let me know what you think about the film in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack Review: The Painter and the Thief (2020)

Today Milan Records released the official soundtrack for The Painter and the Thief, with music composed by Uno Helmersson. The Painter and the Thief tells the story of a Czech artist, who, desperate for answers about the theft of her 2 paintings, seeks out and befriends the career criminal who stole them. After inviting her thief to sit for a portrait, the two form an improbable relationship and an inextricable bond that will forever link these lonely souls.

Uno Helmersson is an award-winning Swedish composer and a multi-instrumentalist whose credits include the worldwide hit TV series The Bridge, broadcast in more than 100 territories and for which he was awarded a Golden FIPA. Other major credits include the Emmy winning Armadillo documentary series following a group of Danish soldiers for 6 months in Afghanistan; Magnus, about the life of Norway’s Mozart of Chess directed by Benjamin Ree for Norway’s Moskus Film; Susanne Bier’s A Second Chance, additional score; Mikkei Norgaard’s The Absent One; and Zentropa’s Department Q film series.

Of the soundtrack, composer Uno Helmersson says:

“I am really happy with the music for The Painter and the Thief. I think that it is by all means emphasizing the uniqueness in this beautiful and unexpected story. Working with Benjamin Ree has been a true pleasure. With his enormous trust in the process of creating narration and his trust in my music, we have had a creative collaboration on my music for The Painter and the Thief. This film is truly a piece of art.”

Given that this documentary is about an artist who becomes friends with the thief who stole her paintings, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to listen to this soundtrack. While I rarely hear a soundtrack I don’t like, I still don’t listen to that many documentary soundtracks. That being said….the music for The Painter and the Thief surprised me in a way I wasn’t expecting. See, for the most part, the soundtrack is what you would expect from a documentary: soft, gentle tones that come across as thoughtful, polite, enough to fill the background but not dominate the action. Then came the track “Finding the Swans” and everything changed. This piece is loud, frenetic, and completely different from the rest of the soundtrack. I’m not sure of the context of this piece but it was a welcome diversion from the norm.

And then there’s “The Exhibition”, the final entry in the soundtrack. I think I may have liked this piece the best, because it literally comes across as the grand finale, complete with organ music. It’s quite the payoff given how quiet most of the soundtrack is.

In conclusion, if you like listening to soundtracks, you will find the music for The Painter and the Thief enjoyable, particularly towards the end. If you’ve never heard the music of Uno Helmersson before, I think this is a fine introduction to his work.

Let me know what you think about The Painter and the Thief (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack Review: White Lines (2020)

I got the opportunity to check out the recently released soundtrack for the Netflix Original Series White Lines, with music composed by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL). The series follows Zoe Walker (Laura Haddock), a young woman who travels to Ibiza after the body of her brother turns up…20 years after he vanished. The 10-episode premiered on Netflix on May 15, 2020.

Tom’s film scoring credits have grossed over $2 billion at the box office and include Mad Max: Fury RoadDeadpoolBlack MassAlita Battle AngelDivergentBrimstoneThe Dark TowerTomb RaiderTerminator: Dark Fate and most recently the record setting Sonic the Hedgehog. He has worked with directors including Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and Tim Miller among many others.

Tom is able to draw on his extensive knowledge of classical forms and structures while keeping one finger planted firmly on the pulse of popular music. When this eclectic background is paired with his skill as a multi-instrumentalist (he plays keyboards, guitar, drums, violin, and bass and describes himself as a ‘full contact composer’) and a mastery of studio technology, a portrait emerges of an artist for whom anything is possible.

Of the soundtrack, Tom Holkenborg says:

“It was a delight to dive back into my electronic roots and revisit some amazing Ibiza memories when creating the score for White Lines. Though much of the music I made is not club focused, as they licensed a lot of original tracks from the late ‘90s and early 2000s, I think my work was able to capture some of the magic that makes club culture and the island so special. It was a really fun personal project to work on and I hope people love the series.”

There is, for sure, a sense of the club life to be found in Holkenborg’s music for White Lines. The electronic synthesizer at times creates a vague sense of dancing music. Not surprisingly, “In the Club” was one such track that reminded me of dancing and being in the club environment. Other times, to be honest, the synthesizer felt like a throwback to the 80s, at least that’s what it reminded me of. I was fascinated by how Holkenborg wove the music together, one moment it sounds like something from 30-40 years ago, in the next instant it’s a regular piece of music that twists and turns as it moves along.

Actually it surprised me just how slow and thoughtful the music for White Lines could be. Given the setting is in Ibiza, a place known for its party atmosphere, a lot of the music sounded like the complete opposite of that kind of environment. Perhaps that’s because the series is looking past the glitzy club-atmosphere to the reality that can exist in a place like Ibiza. That would certainly explain the semi-serious nature of most of the soundtrack. One of my favorite pieces in this vein is “Missing You”, it combines the piano with the synthesizer and the melody just aches with raw emotion at times.

Listening to the music for White Lines reminded me, yet again, that one should never pre-judge a soundtrack by the premise of the show or movie that it’s attached to. White Lines might not be everyone’s cup of tea for a story, but there’s no denying that some beautiful music has been created for this show. Hopefully my brief thoughts will persuade you to check the soundtrack out sometime in the future.

WHITE LINES (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Zoe’s Arrival
2. Times Gone By
3. Darker Night
4. Missing You
5. On The Road
6. Ibiza Bar
7. I’m Happy for You
8. Live Life
9. Manchester Life
10. In The Club
11. Boxer
12. It Was Ours
13. Infinity
14. The Past
15. Repercussions
16. Romance
17. Retrace The Path
18. My Goddess
19. New Day
20. Discoveries
21. Accident
22. Closure
23. Diving for Prizes
24. Family Troubles
25. Memories
26. Zoe

Let me know what you think about White Lines (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack Review: Vivarium (2019)

Recently, I got the chance to listen to the original motion picture soundtrack for Vivarium. Described as an existential trip to suburban Hell, Vivarium follows a young couple looking for the perfect place to live. In search of their dream home, the couple find themselves trapped in a bizarre labyrinthine neighborhood of identical houses. In time, the surreal situation spirals further and further out of control. The soundtrack for this film was written by Danish composer Kristian Eidnes Andersen. He received a degree from the National Film School of Denmark, and has been sound designer on more than 80 films. As a score composer, Eidnes Andersen has credit for more than 20 titles including von Triers Antichrist, Thomas Vinterberg’s Submarino, and Per Fly’s The Woman That Dreamed About a Man.

The big thing that strikes me about Eidnes Andersen’s soundtrack for Vivarium is how the entire thing is filled with a sense of “the Other.” That is to say, you listen to this music, and it gives you chills because it doesn’t sound like anything that came from here, it is “other than” and that’s something that can instinctively set nerves on edge, which can be good if that’s the feeling a composer is going for. Given the plot of Vivarium sees a couple trapped in a simulacrum of suburbia, I think this was very much the idea the composer had in mind.

Another detail I can’t get out of my mind is how the soundtrack for Vivarium seems to just “exist.” Most of the time there’s some sense of forward motion in a soundtrack, be it plodding or breakneck speed. In Vivarium, however, the music doesn’t really move at all, it’s just floating in a bubble, perhaps further symbolizing the unnaturalness of the world that Gemma and Tom find themselves in. There are also a lot of echoes in the music that reminded me of someone making noise in an empty room. Listening to this music really gives you a sense of loneliness and emptiness, this is not happy music (but then again, this isn’t a happy story either).

The soundtrack for Vivarium is definitely out there, but that’s not a bad thing. This is an unusual story and it needed unusual music to go along with it, and as far as that goes I think Eidnes Andersen nailed it.

TRACKLISTING

01. Vivarium

02. Fire

03. Lost

04. Nest

05. Tom Died

06. Garden and the Sun

07. Gemma Dies

08. Gemma Care

09. Follow the Boy

10. The End

11. TV

Let me know what you think about the music of Vivarium in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

To the Future: A Talk With Halli Cauthery About the Music of ‘Future Man’ Season 3

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with composer Halli Cauthery about his work on the third and final season of Future Man. The Hulu original series Future Man  was co-created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. His credits also include the Netflix/DreamWorks animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2016; the critically-acclaimed thriller The East; Bernard Rose’s 2015 film adaptation of Frankenstein; the Shrek Halloween television special Scared Shrekless; as well as the Lifetime Television film Living Proof.

He has worked extensively with composer Harry Gregson-Williams, contributing additional music to such films as Cowboys & Aliens; Unstoppable; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Shrek Forever After; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; as well as Bee Movie and Winter’s Tale alongside Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams. He has also worked with Henry Jackman (Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle; Captain America: Civil War; Pixels; Turbo); Danny Elfman (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army); and Bryan Tyler (Iron Man 3).

How did you get started with composing for film and television?

I got my start working under the mentorship of the renowned composer Harry Gregson-Williams. After completing my postgraduate studies some years ago I lived in London for a while, working as a jobbing musician, playing in orchestras around the city (my initial musical training was as a classical violinist at the Yehudi Menuhin School), as well as teaching, and writing music for the concert hall. But I soon began to feel that, if I wanted to earn a living writing music, the smart move would be to go into film and TV. And so I got in touch with Harry – whom I had known years earlier when I was a young kid and he was a singing teacher at the same school where I used to go for my after-school violin lessons! – to ask for advice. We re-connected, he invited me to come to California for a few months to see the process of film-scoring for myself, and soon I was working as his assistant, and he became my mentor.

What did you think of Future Man when you started working on it?

I thought it was utterly mad in all the very best ways! I loved it: it was funny, clever, silly, jam-packed with quotable lines and memorable characters, and just delightfully weird… I knew straight away that it was going to be a blast scoring it. And I wasn’t wrong!

Did you know, going in, that season 3 would be the last for Future Man?

Yes, we were all aware of that. Which is a double-edged sword: very sad to say goodbye to it, obviously, because I’ve enjoyed myself immensely; but at the same time, knowing that you have a definite end point to build towards can be very useful creatively.

Where did you start in the scoring process for season 3? Did you build off the previous seasons or did you start in a completely new place?

It’s a little bit of both. In the first place, if I interpret the question very literally, I did technically start in a totally new place, because the first piece of music you hear in season 3 is the ‘Monday Night Football’-style music accompanying the ‘Running Man’-type TV show that the main characters are forced to take part in during episode 1. In a more general sense, though: the great advantage of coming back to a show in its third season is that much of the underlying musical architecture is already in place: I already know what the ‘sound’ of the show is, and I already have a network of existing themes because those things have been established from season 1. (For example, I already have a Josh theme, a ‘Resistance’ theme, a Tiger+Wolf theme, and so on.) Having said that, with each new season there are always new characters and new situations that require new themes and sound worlds. Most obviously in the case of season 3, there are the scenes set in Haven, the ‘realm outside of time’ that the main characters become trapped in during the second half of the season. These required completely new music and a new ‘sound’ from the previous seasons.

A related question: did anything specific inspire the sound of Future Man, be it season 3 or any previous season? How did you come up with the sound for this season and series in general?

Haven inspired a slightly more unconventional approach during season 3. When you are depicting a place that’s supposed to exist outside of time and where the usual physical laws of the universe don’t always apply, that’s a pretty big invitation to do something different and get weird, musically. So I took the opportunity to experiment a bit with sound manipulation: taking audio and time-stretching and/or compressing it, reversing it, etc. to achieve strange effects. I also took the opportunity to write some twelve-tone music; and, for added ‘off the wall-ness’, to combine this with a part for a microtonal piano. The result is very trippy!

How much time did you have to score season 3 of Future Man?

I began working on season 3 in October, and we wrapped early in March – just in time, as it happened, before we all went on lockdown! It was a slightly shorter production schedule this season, with eight episodes as opposed to the thirteen that comprised seasons 1 and 2.

What instruments were used in the scoring process? I like how several pieces of the soundtrack have a traditional “sci-fi” sound.

Throughout the show’s run the score has consisted of a mixture of synth elements and traditional orchestra, sometimes combining the two within the same music – the synth elements tending to be utilized during the more futuristic, sci-fi moments. In addition, during season 3 I’ve occasionally had to dig into certain specialized types of ensemble: an example would be the Medieval-style music in season 3 when the three lead characters find themselves in Medieval France; this required the full complement of crumhorns, shawms, recorders and so on! I also recorded myself doing a bit of fiddle playing for a scene set in 17th century North America, playing a traditional folk tune called ‘Rambler’s Hornpipe’.

 Last question: do you have a favorite part of the soundtrack?

A few examples spring to mind: in season 3, I would pick out the twelve tone music I mentioned earlier, as well as the over-the-top orchestral piece accompanying the final gag in the last episode. From season 2 I rather like the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ parody from episode 4, as well as the Renaissance-style version of the ‘Resistance’ theme heard numerous times throughout the season. And season 1 contains one of my favourite episodes of all: the one set in James Cameron’s ‘Smart’ house, which gave me the opportunity to write an episode of score full of music in the style of music from Cameron movies!

It was a great pleasure to learn more about Halli Cauthery’s work on season 3 of Future Man and I’m very thankful for the opportunity.

See also:

Composer Interviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Looking at El Camino: An Interview with Dave Porter

I recently had the opportunity to speak with composer Dave Porter about his work on El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. The movie, a direct continuation of Breaking Bad, was released on Netflix on October 11, 2019. The story follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in the wake of Breaking Bad’s series finale.

Dave Porter studied classical and electronic music composition at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He received an ASCAP Award for his work on Breaking Bad. Other composing credits include the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, The Blacklist, and Preacher.

How did you get started in composing for film and television?

I grew up playing piano from when I was very young; my parents both are musicians though not professionally. I was always into music and when I got into high school I started to get into the technology of the time, digital synthesizers and computers. I found all of that very inspiring. I went to a liberal arts college called Sarah Lawrence College which was near New York City and there I learned to combine the two worlds: my interest in electronic music and my interest in classical music. In addition to that I learned to love the collaboration between music and film, TV, dance, theatre, lots of other things. That’s what really sparked my interest.

What was it like to return to the world of Breaking Bad after its been off the air for seven years? Or was it not that difficult since you’ve been working on Better Call Saul since then?

When Breaking Bad ended in 2013 we had a big event at the airing of the final episode, with the cast and crew and a bunch of the fans at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. They projected [the episode] on a huge wall and it really felt at that moment like I was saying goodbye to this world. Then Better Call Saul came along, which is a prequel to Breaking Bad. At the beginning I thought “Oh, I can get right back into the same world of characters” but actually because Better Call Saul happens so far before Breaking Bad it was entirely different. It hasn’t been until recent years, when the Better Call Saul timeline has started to encroach on the Breaking Bad timeline, that the music and those worlds started to meld. So when [El Camino] came up, totally unexpected to me, I was very surprised and excited because I didn’t think I’d get to see a character like Jesse Pinkman again. I was also excited because, in the process of working on Better Call Saul, and working back up to Breaking Bad, I had gotten excited about that idea, so it was in my mind already. In some ways it was not a huge transition, because I haven’t entirely left that universe.

How connected is the sound world of El Camino to that of Breaking Bad? Are the musical themes related?

Right at the beginning of El Camino, the score could have been ripped right out of the finale of Breaking Bad. That was very much intentional to try and connect our audience back to that moment in time. From there it actually does diverge into its own thing. That’s because it is a different story and is told in a different way. It’s also a film, which allows for a different kind of score than on a television show. There’s much more of an opening expanse of time to develop cues and the score. Since we’re focusing on one character, we really get to delve into him in a way I really didn’t get to during the series. The only exception to all that is in a few flashback moments within El Camino where we are once again placing ourselves back into the original Breaking Bad timeline. In those situations I’m going back and bringing back the score I used originally in various forms. That is to say, a newly tailored version of something I had already written for Breaking Bad.

On a related note, how did you decide on THIS type of sound world for El Camino? Given the plot, I was expecting something with more action in the score, but much of this feels very laid back.

There’s two aspects to that. One, part of it is grounding the sound of the musical score in a way that is relatable to all of the other aspects of the Breaking Bad universe. That way, when an audience hears [the music] they’ll feel that connection. There’s a certain world of sounds that I use on the shows that I definitely adhere to as well in the film. I don’t use a traditional, classical, Western orchestra. There’s no oboes or solo violins in this world, which was very much by design because, in Breaking Bad, I wanted Walter White to feel very much like a fish out of water.

The other aspect of figuring out what we wanted El Camino to sound like involved talking with Vince Gilligan about what the story really was. The story of El Camino, while it has a lot of tension and fast-moving elements about it, it’s actually a very cerebral movie. It’s a movie where we spend a lot of time in one character’s head, that of Jesse Pinkman. It’s his struggle to survive and also making right the wrongs he has made the best way he can. The score really takes a macro look at the storytelling as a whole. It certainly plays into the action. For the most part, though, the role of the score is to help us be with Jesse and be deep inside where Jesse is.

What was the scoring process like for this film? What was your starting point in putting the musical themes together?

That’s a good question. I don’t always do this, but in the case of El Camino I did it very much in sequence. I started at the beginning and worked my way through it. I did that because that’s how the film was constructed. First of all I knew we were starting right as Breaking Bad ends. I knew how I wanted the beginning of the movie to feel. Then I wanted to feel my way through Jesse’s journey. I thought the best way musically to approach that and have the music remain on a trajectory across the whole film was to do it in sequence. I was afraid if I jumped around that I would lose the overhead vision of the film. I was trying to keep an eye on the larger story of the film.

About how much time did you have to put the score together?

I was fortunate to have a good block of time. Music and sound are typically one of the last things to get done on a TV or film project. That was certainly the case here. I’ve been blessed to almost always get to work with a “locked picture” on Vince Gilligan projects which means that almost every aspect of the show is complete by the time I see it. I spent around six to eight weeks on the score for El Camino. By comparison, I generally have three or four days to do the score for an episode of Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad.

Do any of the tracks correspond to specific characters?

Actually they all relate to one person, which is very different from the TV shows. Everything about the music in El Camino is focused solely on Jesse Pinkman. It is really telling his story, his physical journey. It’s also his intellectual and psychological journey from where he is at the beginning of the movie to the end of the movie where he has a glimmer of hope for the future.

What kind of instruments are used in this soundtrack? Some of the tracks sound very non-traditional. 

Good, I’m glad to hear that because that was definitely the goal. With Breaking Bad and El Camino, maybe not so much with Better Call Saul, I’m definitely spending a lot of time trying to create sounds that are new, sounds that are interesting to the ear. I create sounds that are evocative and familiar that you can’t quite place. I take a lot of interest and joy in working with sounds that are electronically created or “found sounds.” There’s also taking a recording of something else and manipulating it into something that feels organic, like something you’d hear with your own ears in the real world. That’s part of the goal and what I’ve always wished for on these Vince Gilligan projects.

There were a lot of live performances [for this music]. One of the beauties of working on the film as opposed to the TV show is that I had the luxury of a lot more time. In that time I was able to record a lot of musicians and spend a lot more time recording myself playing instruments that found their way into the score of the film. There’s a lot of interesting instruments in use, including some non-traditional stuff in terms of the percussion and world instruments. Almost everything I do I’m later processing with various computer and synthesizer elements to blur the lines between real, organic instruments and what is synthetically created.

Do you have a favorite part of the soundtrack?

Yes, there are a few moments that I love and I’ll give you a Top 3. There’s some music right after Jesse learns the fate of Walter White over the radio and he’s thinking about his next move. A second moment would be a piece where Jesse sneaks back into his childhood home. These are all things where Jesse is being forced to deal emotionally with things he would rather not. And the third moment was one of the hardest pieces to write by far, which is the very end of the film. I love how we worked to tie together all the emotion from Jesse’s journey in as few notes as possible and then leave the audience with silence at the end of the film-as we have so often in the Breaking Bad universe-leaving it open for the viewer.

When you started Breaking Bad, did you ever think it would come to all this?

Definitely not. When we began Breaking Bad, I knew I was blessed to be a part of something very special when I saw the pilot episode. It was unlike anything else that was on TV at the time. Twelve years later…to imagine that I still get to work not only with Vince Gilligan but so many of the wonderful people who have been part of that world for this long. This is something I’m so grateful for and I never could have imagined it.

My thanks to Dave Porter for taking the time to talk about his work on El Camino. You can find Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul readily available on DVD while El Camino remains available on Netflix.

See also:

Composer Interviews

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