Tag Archives: Film Composer

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

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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 🙂

Soundtrack Review: Krypton (season 1)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

The soundtrack for season 1 of Krypton is now available, having been released on March 8th to coincide with the season 2 premiere. The LP will release on Red/Orange Galaxy vinyl on April 13th for Record Store Day. The album features one of the hottest developing talents within the composing world for TV, Film and Games, Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel, Justice League).

Toprak’s music for Syfy’s Superman prequel, Krypton, follows her score on the Fortnite video game; the most widely played new game in 2018. An average of 8.3 million people were playing Fortnite concurrently in November alone. After her incredible contributions of additional music to DC’s Justice League, Pinar Toprak was chosen to compose the highly anticipated Marvel movie, Captain Marvel. The first female composer to score a major comic book movie, Toprak continues to prove herself as majestic as the superheroes her music exalts.

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The score itself is beautiful and I highly recommend picking it up. Toprak balances a line between science-fiction edginess and orchestral heights. More and more often television series have scores that are equal to film scores and this shows here in the score for Krypton. I particularly liked the tracks “Seeing Kandor for the First Time” and “Welcome to the Fortress.”

Centuries before Truth, Justice and the American Way, the grandfather of Superman, Seg-El, must redeem his family’s honor in DC and SyFy hit television series KRYPTON. With a cosmic evil reaching through time to destroy the House of El before the rise of its heroic scion, can the forbearer of steel prevent the destruction of much more than just his family or is more than just the planet doomed. KRYPTON is executive produced by David S. Goyer (MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy).

Track listing:

1. Seeing Kandor For The First Time (00:50)
2. The Death Of Val El (1:34)
3. Bar Fight (2:41)
4. Welcome To The Fortress (2:18)
5. Your Grandson’s Cape (3:41)
6. Brainiac’s Peeking Through Rhom (2:26)
7. Kem Sweet Talks Ona (1:35)
8. Street People (1:15)
9. Seg Escapes (1:23)
10. Ona Says A Prayer (2:48)
11. Seg In The Wastelands (00:39)
12. Lyta Meditates* (1:13)
13. A Test Of Sibling* (2:12)
14. Let The Trial Begin* (4:34)
15. Meant To Save Superman (00:44)
16. Jayna Shoots The Voice (1:43)
17. Dev Awakes (00:45)
18. Sigil Means Hope (1:45)
19. Bye Bye Brainiac* (7:43)

Let me know what you think of Krypton (and it’s 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 🙂

Michael Giacchino talks Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

I’ve been suffering from franchise fatigue as of late, which is why I didn’t go see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom when it came to theaters in the summer of 2018. However, I have heard good things about Michael Giacchino’s score for this film (he’s one of my favorite film composers since he is almost incapable of composing a bad film score). In looking through the behind-the-scenes videos linked at the top of this post, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Giacchino took inspiration from the scores that Bernard Herrmann wrote for several Ray Harryhausen films (among them Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad). Given that those are some of my favorite film scores, I almost feel bad that I didn’t give this film a chance.

Behind the scenes of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Part 1

Behind the scenes of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Part 2

Behind the scenes of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Part 3

Michael Giacchino also discusses how he pushed the envelope in how little he could get away with musically. The best film composers can do a lot with minimal music and Giacchino is good at drawing you in with a series of low, minimal notes before suddenly BOOM! the music explodes and you’re literally jumping in your seat. While I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about the Jurassic World franchise as a whole, I do think they made the right choice in picking Michael Giacchino as the composer. His scores retain the sense of wonder (and extreme danger) that John Williams established with the original Jurassic Park film. I hope you enjoy watching these behind-the-scenes videos looking at the score of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Let me know what you think about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Michael Giacchino talks The Incredibles (2004)

Michael Giacchino talks Mission: Impossible 3 (2006)

Michael Giacchino talks Ratatouille (2007)

Michael Giacchino talks Up (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks Super 8 (2011)

Michael Giacchino talks John Carter (2012)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Michael Giacchino talks Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Michael Giacchino talks Jurassic World (2015)

Michael Giacchino scoring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Michael Giacchino talks Zootopia (2016)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

While it’s no secret that Guy Ritchie’s retelling of the King Arthur legend was a colossal flop at the box office, that shouldn’t stop you from learning about what went into making the film’s soundtrack. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword marked the second collaboration between Guy Ritchie and Daniel Pemberton and just like he did with The Man from U.N.C.L.E, the composer went all out in putting the music together.

Daniel Pemberton employed a variety of musical instruments both ancient and modern. As he says in the video, he sought to make the score visceral and gritty, something that felt distinctly unpolished. If the excerpts heard in this video are any indication, I think the composer succeeded in that aspect. It’s a shame the film flopped so badly, it sounds like Pemberton’s score for the film is really good (and it’s not that uncommon to find a great score hiding in a terrible film). I find myself hoping that Ritchie and Pemberton will collaborate again (hopefully on The Man from U.N.C.L.E 2), though hopefully the resulting film will do much better than this one did.

Let me know what you think of this behind the scenes look at the music for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 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 Gold (2016)

Daniel Pemberton talks Steve Jobs (2015)

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

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

I’m fairly certain that The Man from U.N.C.L.E served as my introduction to the film music of Daniel Pemberton. I first watched the film about three years ago and while the story took some time to grow on me, the score immediately grabbed my attention. Pemberton (I’ve since discovered), has this talent for creating quirky and memorable scores that stick in your mind. Such is the case with the score for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

In the making of featurette which you can access above, Daniel explains that director Guy Ritchie requested a score in which every cue feels iconic. And on that point alone I think the composer succeeded, because none of the music in this film feels “throwaway,” it all feels very necessary. You’ll also learn that Pemberton employed a lot of unique instruments to create the film’s distinctive 1960s-like sound. While there are traditional orchestral elements in certain places, the lion’s share of the music comes from non-traditional instruments, which is really cool.

I hope watching this behind-the-scenes video gives you an even deeper appreciation of Daniel Pemberton’s score for what I consider a highly underrated film. Let me know what you think of the music for The Man from U.N.C.L.E in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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

Brian Tyler scoring session for Iron Man 3 (2013)

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has featured musical scores from a number of composers, but some of my favorite work comes from Brian Tyler, who to date has scored three films in the MCU: Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3.

The thrilling conclusion to the Iron Man trilogy features some dark and stirring music that’s on full display in this recording (to be completely honest, I’m not sure if this is from an actual scoring session or a later re-recording for a soundtrack, but it’s pretty much the same setup as a scoring session so that’s what I’m calling it). Brian Tyler is one of those composers who also conducts and it’s always fun to watch him at work. From the moment the music starts you can tell he is completely into what he’s doing.

 

I love sharing these recording videos with you because I feel like it’s only once you see and hear the music being performed separate from the film that you can truly appreciate just how much work goes into putting the score together. Action scores (and often superhero scores) can get a bad rap but I really feel like the MCU has changed what a superhero film score can be in the 21st century. These scores are organic, breathing things, and I think this clip really shows that.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy watching Brian Tyler at work with Iron Man 3. Let me know what you think of the clip in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Brian Tyler “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” scoring session (2007)

Brian Tyler scoring Partition (2007)

Brian Tyler talks War (2007)

Brian Tyler talks Rambo (2008)

Brian Tyler “Law Abiding Citizen” scoring sessions (2009)

Brian Tyler “Dragonball Evolution” scoring session (2009)

Brian Tyler talks The Expendables (2010) 

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler “Battle: Los Angeles” (2011) scoring session

Brian Tyler “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014) scoring session

Brian Tyler conducting and scoring Now You See Me 2 (2016)

Brian Tyler “Power Rangers” scoring session (2017)

Brian Tyler conducts The Mummy (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