Tag Archives: soundtrack

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)

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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 The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious is, as of 2017, the most recent film in the Fast & Furious franchise to be scored by Brian Tyler (there’s no word as yet as to whether he will score Fast & Furious 9). The Fate of the Furious continued the franchise trend of pushing the boundaries of storytelling, and the music gladly rises to the occasion.

The video I was able to find relating to this soundtrack shows segments of various scoring sessions, with the video quickly moving through several themes. Unlike the video clip for Furious 7, which focused a little more on the electronic and percussion aspects, this clip only shows the orchestra at work under Tyler’s direction. That’s fine by me, as I love watching Brian Tyler make unconventional sounds with a regular orchestra.

I apologize for the video being so short, but even though the video is only a minute long, it’s obvious just how powerful Brian Tyler’s music is. And as I say every time I cover this composer, it is so much fun to watch Tyler conduct the orchestra, he is clearly into the music, and I really do feel that this comes across in the final score as well.

Let me know what you think about this glimpse of Brian Tyler scoring the soundtrack of The Fate of the Furious in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Brian Tyler talks Fast Five (2011)

Brian Tyler scoring Furious 7 (2015)

My Thoughts on: Fast Five (2011)

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

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

Soundtrack Review: Men in Black: International (2019)

The soundtrack for Men in Black: International became available in June 2019. Composer Danny Elfman returned to work on the score, having also scored the first three Men in Black films as well. This time, Elfman co-composed the score with Chris Bacon. Unlike the earlier MIB films, MIB: International is set in Europe and follows Agent M (Tessa Thompson) as she worms her way into the MIB organization and sets off on a wild adventure with aliens and intrigue galore.

Regarding the soundtrack, Danny Elfman had this to say:

I have always loved scoring the Men in Black series.  It allows me to enter a weird quirky unique musical world that only exists in the MIB universe. Revisiting and updating is always a joy. And sharing this chapter with co-composer Chris Bacon was also a great experience.

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I have a mixed history with the original Men in Black trilogy. I watched the first two films when they were relatively new, but I don’t remember much about the music (understandable since I was going on 9 when the first MIB came out). I certainly didn’t know that Danny Elfman had been working on the franchise from the beginning, one of these days I’ll have to compare the score for MIB: International to the original trilogy to see how they compare. But I digress, let’s get on to the score itself.

One of the things that immediately jumped out at me about the score to MIB: International is how the music can seamlessly jump from traditional orchestral music to electronic music. It happens more times than I can count, and the effect is that it gives the music a ‘quirky’ sound that fits very well with the unique world all of the MIB films have created, a world where aliens are hiding in plain sight and most people never know it.

While most of the music fits the “action film” genre (fast-paced melodies, quick crescendos, and percussion when appropriate), I was surprised by how tender some of the cues sounded. A prime example is “Promotions” which appears towards the end of the soundtrack. The music in that theme is quite thoughtful (I’m guessing it comes as the story is winding down if the cue title is anything to go by), and almost wholly orchestral, which is completely different from how the soundtrack starts. The early tracks jump back and forth between orchestral and electronic music so frequently I half-expected it to continue for the entire soundtrack.

men-in-black-international.jpg

And actually, I have a theory for why that might be (though I warn you that I’m working off my knowledge of the plot summary without having actually seen the film itself). Keeping in mind that the story starts with M literally breaking into the world of the Men in Black, I think the early quirkiness of the music alludes to M leaving her normal life (represented by the orchestral music) behind and jumping into the quirky, alien-filled world of MIB (represented by electronic music). That’s my thought anyway, it could be an oversimplification, but it makes sense.

I’ve heard that MIB: International disappointed quite a lot of people, but the soundtrack itself is quite lovely from what I’ve heard to it. I think it’s great that Danny Elfman returned to work on this would-be reboot, and if you get the chance, definitely check the soundtrack out, it’s worth it.

Let me know what you think about Men in Black: International (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 🙂

 

 

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

 

SpaceCamp “The Launch” (1986)

John Williams has done so many film scores over the years that it’s no surprise some have fallen through the cracks. One example is his score for the 1986 film SpaceCamp, which in my opinion is one of his more underrated scores mostly because very few seem to know it exists.

For those who don’t know, SpaceCamp is a space adventure film that follows a group of misfit kids at (you guessed it) Space Camp. The adventure revolves around an incident that leads to the kids and their instructor being trapped in the Space Shuttle when it’s suddenly forced to launch (I’m oversimplifying but that is in essence what happens). The shuttle launch scene is one of the big moments of the film, and I wanted to talk about the way John Williams scores this moment (cue starts around 1:17 and stops around 2:25).

The first thing to note is that there is no music whatsoever before the cue in question starts. The only major background sound comes from the rumble of the booster. As the second booster is ignited to initiate launch, the background noise “crescendos” as the launch system activates, with the music beginning the moment the shuttle lifts off the pad.

Listen carefully to the music as the shuttle lifts off, because I think what Williams is doing here is brilliant. This is a layered situation, and the music reflects it perfectly. On the one hand, now that the shuttle has launched, it’s important for the launch to go perfectly so it can reach orbit. But on the other hand, the shuttle has launched with a bunch of kids on board and there’s a general feeling of “oh my God what did we just do?” Williams reflects both sentiments in this single cue: it starts with what I can only describe as a “moody” trumpet fanfare (well, fanfare is admittedly a stretch but I can’t think of a better word) as liftoff commences. It’s the type of music you’d expect to hear when a space shuttle launches, because it’s admittedly an awe-inspiring sight. But the normally triumphant music is almost immediately dampened by a minor-sounding intrusion (after the line “My God, we have liftoff”) that reminds us that, while beautiful, this launch shouldn’t be happening.

This is one of my favorite musical moments in the entire film, and I love how Williams funnels several conflicting emotions into a single cue. I’ll conclude with a bit of bonus trivia: Max (the littlest kid in the shuttle) is played by Joaquin Phoenix (credited here as Leaf Phoenix) in only his 2nd film appearance.

Let me know what you think about SpaceCamp (and the launch scene and its music) 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