Tuesday, January 23

The Road To Awe

I've been listening to some film scores lately. I wonder if my reluctance to engage with film music is the result of some latent rockism. Maybe I have some problem with music that's not performed by the "artist" that wrote it. This new interest probably has something to do with all the great cinematic-style music coming out of labels like Type and Miasmah. One day I just noticed that I've been listening to a lot of music that sounds like soundtracks for nonexistent films. Somehow, this all lead me to thinking about the score for Soderbergh's Solaris and I recalled enjoying it when I saw the movie. Well, the CD is way out of print and only available at high prices via ebay (I expect to see it sitting in a used bin one day, though), so I downloaded it from iTunes.

I really know very little about film music, other than recognizing the names of Hermann and Rota. And I wouldn't exactly say listening to scores by Cliff Martinez (formerly of Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Clint Mansell (formerly of Pop Will Eat Itself) is doing much to dispel my rockist tendencies. If you enjoy ambient music, you'll want to check out Martinez's work; he does all the scores for Soderbergh. I think Solaris is the best, but Traffic and Narc are also nice. Mansell has done all three Aronofsky scores. His recent score for The Fountain, arranged and performed by Mogwai and Kronos Quartet is one of the best film scores I've ever heard. Go buy it now. Why the hell it wasn't nominated for an Oscar today is beyond me. The movie itself really is an audio/visual experience and the music is key, yet it also works well for home listening. And that's most likely why these atmospheric scores are working for me. For example, I think the music for Lord of the Rings is excellent and totally appropriate within context, but I can't really listen to it separate from the movie. The melodic themes just can't be separated from the images.

I'm not saying scores need to stand on their own to be worthwhile, just that it's an added bonus for me when they do.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I might have to borrow/burn The Foundtain soundtrack from you, if that's cool--both the music and the film were utterly amazing.