Tag Archives: Film Composer

Daniel Pemberton talks The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

If you weren’t already excited about the imminent release of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix next week, then this news about the soundtrack should do the trick. The soundtrack, which is being released on August 30th, was composed by Daniel Pemberton (with help from fellow composer Samuel Sim).

For those who may have forgotten, the 10-episode show is a prequel to the groundbreaking 1982 fan favorite The Dark Crystal, and takes place many years before the events of the film. Leading the voice cast in the series will be Kingsman star Taron Egerton, The Witch actress Anya Taylor-Joy and Game of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel, as ‘Gelfling’ heroes Rian, Brea and Deet. Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, Harry Potter’s Helena Bonham-Carter, Tomb Raider star Alicia Vikander and Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe provide additional voice performances in the new fantasy epic.

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For director Louis Leterrier, Pemberton was the natural choice:

I approached the music the same way I approached the filming and the puppetry. I wanted somebody to come on this journey that would be willing to take big risks. I wanted something that was almost tribal. I wanted to hear the strings being plucked and the skin wrapped over the drum. At the same time, I wanted somebody who could write beautiful melodies, understood music, and was a lover of beautiful music. I wanted someone who would approach it in a very organic way and who would tell the story through the score. My search led me to Daniel.

Daniel Pemberton is rapidly becoming one of my favorite composers, as he has previously scored The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Ocean’s 8, just to name a few. Hearing his thoughts on how he approached the score for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, makes me even more excited to experience the prequel series (and I don’t often say that about prequels).

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Daniel had this to say about scoring The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance:

I wanted the music to be as magical as Thra itself – organic, imperfect, strange, mystical, otherworldly and wonderful. I wanted to create new sounds that felt like they came from the world itself, as well as using thematic large scale orchestral elements to bring an emotion to the journey of the characters. I wanted music and sounds that would fill you with wonder, but also terrify you. It was very important to me that all the sounds felt like they could only be from Thra itself – no grand pianos or overtly electronic elements. Every sound had to feel organic and visceral, from the dark detuned glissando cello sounds made for the Skeksis, to the upbeat flutes from the Podling’s bar. We created noises out of wine glasses, metal chains, wooden drums, metal sculptures on a snow covered mountain and old creaky medieval instruments to try and make a sonic world as unique as the visual one.

The soundtrack will be released in two volumes; volume 1 will have tracks composed only by Pemberton, while volume 2 will have tracks composed by Pemberton and Sim. Both volumes will be available on August 30th, the same day the series becomes available on Netflix.

Let me know if you’re just as excited to see The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Daniel Pemberton talks The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)

Daniel Pemberton talks Steve Jobs (2015)

Daniel Pemberton talks Gold (2016)

Daniel Pemberton talks King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

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Marco Beltrami talks A Quiet Place (2018)

I have a mixture of thoughts about A Quiet Place, and its soundtrack. Regarding the movie itself, I’m slightly ashamed that I haven’t seen it yet (but most of you know my feelings on horror by now, and the entire premise of this film terrifies me). As for the soundtrack…believe it or not part of me finds it funny that the film has a soundtrack at all, as given the premise, it would almost be appropriate for the film to have no non-diegetic music at all. But have a soundtrack it does, and Marco Beltrami did the honors.

In this fantastic interview (full credit to Ashton Gleckman), Marco Beltrami discusses how he came to work on the score for this film, and talks about some of the things he did to give the film its unique sound.

(again, I give full credit to Ashton Gleckman, whose video this is, for this awesome interview with Marco Beltrami)

Having listened to the interview, I have to agree with Beltrami: having a film with almost no dialogue would be a golden opportunity for a film composer. Think about it, most of the time the film score is structured around dialogue, which means the music mostly stays in the background while characters are talking (this isn’t always true, but it usually is). However, in a film like A Quiet Place, with almost no talking, you basically have a blank slate to work with, and it sounds like Beltrami took full advantage.

Another detail I liked from this interview is when Beltrami talked about how he arranged parts of the music to reflect the terrifying world the family of A Quiet Place live in. It was something to the effect of “they’ve been living in silence so long that any sounds they do hear will sound wonky to them.” And that makes sense. If you get used to silence, sounds will start to sound abnormal. To that end, one thing Beltrami did was de-tune the black keys on a piano (to de-tune means to deliberately put something out of tune), which would automatically create a weird sound when you play the instrument.

I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of the interview, and I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at how the score to A Quiet Place was created. Let me know what you think of  A Quiet Place (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Marco Beltrami talks Blade II (2002)

Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson talk Resident Evil (2002)

Marco Beltrami talks Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Marco Beltrami talks 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Marco Beltrami talks The Wolverine (2013)

Marco Beltrami talks World War Z (2013)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

Brian Tyler scoring Constantine (2005)

I’m always on the lookout for good videos of film scoring sessions, and today I hit the jackpot (in a manner of speaking) with an excellent video showing Brian Tyler working on Constantine (2005) in the recording studio. Being a firm devotee of Matt Ryan’s portrayal of the iconic master of the dark arts, I’ve generally ignored this film’s existence. But now that I’ve heard some excerpts of the film’s score while watching this video, I’m wondering if I need to go back and re-evaluate my position on this film.

This particular video is especially good because it shows a great view of the entire studio, with the composer/conductor and the orchestra at one end, while the work-in-progress film is projected on the far wall. As I’ve mentioned before, seeing the film during the recording process is necessary (for most) because this helps the composer sync the music to the film in the best way possible. To help with this, I believe there is a timer (of sorts) projected onto the screen for the composer’s benefit (for example, at 1:30 see the “0278+8” in the bottom right of the screen, that looks like a timing tool I’ve heard of film composers using).

Another great thing about this video is that it shows several different recording sessions that focus on different scenes. My favorite example in the whole video is the sequence starting at 1:32 that zooms in close on the film being projected. Watching that and hearing the music shows how hard Tyler has to work to create music that matches up with the visuals. As the video also shows, the director can sit in on these sessions, that way if he/she sees something that doesn’t work for them, they can let the composer know so it can be fixed right away.

I really hope you enjoy this video of Brian Tyler working on scoring Constantine (this is also the earliest video of the composer at work that I’ve found to date). Let me know what you think about Constantine (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

Brian Tyler scoring Furious 7 (2015)

You might not have realized this, but Brian Tyler has been heavily involved in the Fast & Furious franchise for quite some time. His current scoring credits for the franchise include: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift; Fast & Furious; Fast Five; Furious 7; and The Fate of the Furious.

Tyler’s impressive composition abilities bring a high-octane feeling to every score he’s worked on (or at least the three I’ve listened to, I haven’t seen the 3rd and 4th films yet), and Furious 7 is no exception. The behind-the-scenes video I found for Furious 7 shows snippets of scoring sessions for the film, as well as a glimpse into the mixing process. As you might expect for a film like Furious 7, filled with fast cars and windows into the world of the super-rich, the music is full of electronic tweaks, with remixes, reverbs, and a lot of percussion (provided by Tyler himself no less).

The music of the Fast & Furious films occupies an interesting space in my head. Given how loud these films are (with all the cars and chases), it’s not uncommon to forget this film has music at all. And here’s the genius of that: the music fits into the film so neatly that you don’t notice it. However, I guarantee that if someone made an edit of the film that took the music away, it wouldn’t take you long to notice the difference. That’s one of the things I love about Brian Tyler’s music, it just fits into the film, and that’s not an easy thing to do.

I would literally give an arm and a leg to hear Brian Tyler’s thoughts about how he went and put this score together, especially since it’s the last film to feature Paul Walker (six years later and his loss still hurts). However, until such time as I can find some more footage to share, I hope you enjoy this peek into the scoring of Furious 7.

Let me know what you think about Furious 7 (and it’s soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler scoring The Fate of the Furious (2017)

My Thoughts on: Furious 7 (2015)

My Thoughts on: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

James Newton Howard scoring King Kong (2005)

One movie and film score that I am slowly growing to appreciate is the 2005 remake of King Kong, which was scored by James Newton Howard. As much as I love the original King Kong (which everyone should see at least once), I have to admit this remake is better than most.

I found, some time ago, a wonderful video that gives some insight into how the score was put together, and it’s available here below.

Unlike some of the videos I’ve found, this video isn’t just a look into the recording studio, it also gives a brief overview of what has to be done to get the score made. James Newton Howard and those of his team essentially lay out the process from composing and blocking out the themes to getting it recorded, to having the sound mixed into a final arrangement.

I wish this video talked more about the score’s themes, but I did learn one cool thing from this video. At one point, during the recording process, the orchestra reached 100 decibels, that’s how loud they were playing. You also get a clear look at “the board” that most, if not all film composers, use during the recording process. This is a board that lists every single cue that appears in the score, and the marks next to it indicate where the cue is in the recording process, up until the cue has been finalized and approved. This is an easy way to look and see how much of the score remains to be worked on.

I hope you like watching this behind the scenes look at James Newton Howard working on King Kong. Let me know your thoughts on the film and its score in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

James Newton Howard talks Dinosaur (2000)

James Newton Howard talks Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

James Newton Howard talks Signs (2002)

James Newton Howard talks The Village (2004)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

 

Soundtrack Review: Brightburn (2019)

*Note: potentially minor spoilers from some of the track titles

The soundtrack for the upcoming film Brightburn with music by multi-award winning composer Timothy Williams (Wild Horses, Debug, Walking with the Enemy).  became available May 10th. The soundtrack features music from the James Gunn and Kenneth Huang-produced film, which makes its theatrical debut in the United States on Friday, May 24. The film is based on a terrifying premise: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to humankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? In this horrific take on the classic superhero trope, a couple (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) adopts a baby who came from the stars. While they attempt to raise the boy (Jackson A. Dunn) to use his powers for good, an evil begins to grow inside that he unleashes.

Regarding the soundtrack for Brightburn, Timothy Williams had the following to say:

“Being able to merge two genres which have never been combined before, superhero and horror, was an amazing experience.  I was thankful for a close collaborative relationship with the director Dave Yarovesky.  We worked on the idea of a main theme at the beginning that would be simple and reflect the emotional investment of hope in the story.  You hear this in a three note piano solo theme.  As Brandon’s power increases, we begin to feel the weight and power of a large orchestra which then bends and distorts with Brandon’s descent into evil.  The low strings and low brass mutate the theme and processed percussion pumps up the tension.  Because Brandon is this kid from another world, I got to develop some unique sounds using a bespoke library for the ROLI which bends and pitches sound as well.  Overall it was a dream come true to create this sound for a new genre film.”

 

While Brightburn is described as a merging of the superhero and horror genres, make no mistake about it, most of the music is firmly entrenched in the horror genre. I love how Timothy Williams works with all of these unique sounds to create uncomfortable sensations that make your skin crawl. Some of the tracks will start “normal” but then twist and warp, likely symbolizing Brandon being slowly corrupted by whatever evil dwells inside him. I appreciate how varied the tracks in this soundtrack are. There are some moments that sound very bright (“Breyer Family” is one such example) while others like “Real Real Bad Things” and especially “Called to the Barn” are very, very dark.

As I listened to the Brightburn soundtrack, I was surprised to hear some passages that sounded reminiscent of the work of James Horner, particularly his score for Aliens. I don’t mean this in a bad way, it’s fairly common for composers to be inspired by earlier films, and this could be what happened here. And it makes sense too; Aliens sees the characters encountering a mysterious, undoubtedly evil presence (the xenomorphs and the Alien Queen). And Brightburn, from what I can tell, has a similar scenario. The residents of Brightburn encounter a growing evil in their midst.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the Brightburn soundtrack. It’s undoubtedly music written for a horror film, but there are enough nuances thrown into the music that I enjoy listening to it. Timothy Williams does a great job using different musical textures to create themes that will make your skin crawl in the best way possible. Definitely check out the soundtrack when you get the chance, and make sure to see the film when it comes out this Friday. Afterward, let me know what you think of the film (and its score) 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 🙂

Soundtrack Review: A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor premiered in theaters in September of 2018. Based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, the film centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. The soundtrack for this mystery thriller was composed by Theodore Shapiro.

Regarding the soundtrack for A Simple Favor, Shapiro had this to say:

The first thing that was really interesting about working on A Simple Favor was finding the tone of it. It was unusual and very tricky because it’s a mystery and a thriller, but also genuinely funny at the same time. This was an instance in which the music had to match the tone of the film precisely…It couldn’t feel satirical or feel like we were goofing on a genre at all. It had to feel perfectly in sync. (credit to Pop Disciple for this interview excerpt)

Listening to the soundtrack, the first thing that jumped out to me is how symphonic this soundtrack is, surely a result of Shapiro’s classical training as a musician and composer. In the film’s title cue “A Simple Favor,” Shapiro introduces a distinctive motif played on a metallophone that recurs in multiple tracks throughout the score. This is by far one of the most traditional soundtracks I’ve listened to. With the recurring motif, it reminded me of the soundtracks you find in more “classic” films, but that’s not a bad thing at all. For all that I love “modern” film scores that are minimalist, electronic, or a blend of styles, I also will always love scores that hearken back to a bygone era of film.

 

Another thing that sticks out about Shapiro’s score is its resemblance to the music you hear in Hitchcock films. One summary I’ve read describes A Simple Favor as “Hitchcockian” and you can definitely hear the similarities to the “Master of Suspense” in this soundtrack. When the music isn’t playing like a symphony, it’s dripping with suspense in all the right ways. The strings hold out notes and set up tension in a way where at times I can almost visualize what’s going on (and that’s a good sign for a film score).

I admit I was surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to this score. Theodore Shapiro crafted a soundtrack that is truly a delight for the ears and I might need to check this film out in the future, just to hear this music in context. Let me know what you think about A Simple Favor (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

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

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