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Still ‘Goldsmithing’: The Art of Remaining Quiet

April 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there guys, how are you doing?

Back to the Goldsmith studies, the movie of the week was the already-classic (arguably :P) Sci-Fi Total Recall (90) by Paul Verhoeven.

Total Recall

As far as the movie goes it was interesting to re-watch the groundbreaking (at the time) visual effects and some of them hold up surprisingly well even for today standards. Also, Sharon Stone was indeed THE undisputed sex symbol of the 90s. lol But talking about the music score…

I don’t really think it lives up to the novelty of the movie to be honest. It still sounds like a ten-years-old soundtrack, it’s still based on action movies clichés… Yet there’s something to learn here just like in any other Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack: silence is gold. :)

This feature caught my attention in Chinatown, but it makes a good deal of sense here too: Mr. Goldsmith leaves room for the dialogues to stand out. New composers frequently think they should provide a barrage of music to fill every single gap with sound… when, like in most cases in art and pretty much everything else, less is more.

Despite not being that remarkable the soundtrack of Total Recall can teach us this lesson–as valuable as any other. :)

See ya, take care!

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A Nice Find On Vinyl

March 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week while visiting an antiquarium my girl decided to pick an old Chico Buarque vinyl to inaugurate our new-old record player… :P And despite being a generic compilation there was a nice, unexpected find in it.

Chico has composed a song–along Roberto Menescal–called Bye bye Brasil to be a part of the homonym movie by Cacá Diegues late in the 70s; and re-recorded it one year later for one of his official albums. The fact is the original movie’s recording was never released again in digital format (even in the late Cacá Diegues music compilation the version there is the wrong one as far as I know) and could only be found in the original (and rare) soundtrack records.

Needless to say how happy I was to find out that the version in that compilation was the older one. I’m pretty sure it was included there by mistake since the sleeve notes talk about Chico’s personal album… :P Lucky me, I guess. :)

Here you can give both versions a listen–I’ve uploaded mine to YouTube. :) The original has more of a black music, 70s mood to it, while the other in more leaned towards latin rhythms.

Enjoy ’em, take care!

The Perfect Songwritter and His Ideal Interpreter

March 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

After recalling the interesting soundtrack for Allen’s Midnight in Paris and giving it another listen I couldn’t help being knocked back by Mr. Cole Porter once again. It’s still shocking for me to realize how absurdly rich in content his lyrics were even when restrained–no, I should say potentized–by nothing less than impeccable metrics and intonation. What saddens me is to see people these days emulating that sonority by simply being mellow without getting even close to the real thing when it comes to words, packing nostalgia in a goofy wrapper as if it was always like that. But that’s not my point, actually. :P

My point is… Man, songs can get heavenly (or hellish, if we take malice into account lol) when you got such a voice to bear ’em. If you really want to dig Cole Porter go straight to Ella Fitzgerald‘s songbook:

Ella

The otherwordly instrument she had at disposal was the perfect way for every hidden secret inside those songs to unfold. The tremolo, the breathing, the glissandos, the sudden drops… Everything matches the needs of each song–without losing a single hair of fun in the way.

Take my favourite one from that batch, “Let’s Do It“, which can be proud of showing lyrics like this:

Romantic sponges, they say, do it
Oysters down in oyster bay do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, 'gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

See ya, take care!

Gremlins!

February 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

Back to the already-famed :P Goldsmith studies I watched Gremlins (1984) to give its soundtrack a thoughtful listen… and this is a tricky one for sure.

From the start if you check the IMDb page for the movie you’ll see where it’s filed: under “Comedy/Horror”. Those are two absolutely diverse genres regarding the mood a soundtrack should aim for, so scoring for such an aberration can’t be simple in the slightest. :)

Gremlins

Mr. Goldsmith starts nailing it for the easier (in theory) side: the main theme. It sure is remarkable and fitting and could give any arranger enough material for a good development. But that’s not the only issue: there’s still the setting (Xmas), the pace (“Adventurous”), the content (“Fantasy/Mystery”)… Too much for an average joe to handle. Masterfully the man pretty much wraps it all up in a single under-2:00 piece, presented in one of the first important scenes of the movie, before the main theme really shows up.

It hints at everything yet to happen in the movie–even the main theme–while merging absurdely well with the current scene and scenario. Truly a sign of who is the craftsman behind it. :)

Check this and the main theme out and enjoy the ride. :)

See ya, take care!

Frances… Ha!

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you all been?

This week I took a break from those Goldsmith studies and watched Frances Ha, which lays a lot on the light-hearted side of… hearts? :)

Frances Ha

I’ve heard plenty of good talk about the movie’s soundtrack, but I would credit the fluidity of the whole thing much more to the edition (both video and sound ones) than the music itself. Actually I could go further and say the presentation overall (form and content as well) is what holds the movie together and it ultimately succeeds in hiding an “amateur” flavour of some sort from the average watcher.

None of this is to be taken against it, in fact the movie is nice… But I thought I should render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and here the guys deserving the coin are the editors. ;)

Take a peep at the trailer (it sells the movie poorly, mind you) and go watch it if it matches your mood… Then, come by to drop your own two cents. ;)

Se ya, take care!

Puzzle Soundtracks: A Master Class

January 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you all been?

Scoring music for puzzle games is one of the trickiest tasks a composer can be up to. Music (and sound effects for that matter) in those cases can fail miserably in so many ways that succeeding can be considered an achievement for itself–and with “succeeding” I mean simply not to be switched off by the player. You can be annoying, you can get in the way of the player’s concentration, you can choose the wrong pace… Failure is just around the corner.

Well,  a parcel just arrived from Japan and aside ferociously eating my time it offered me a case study on puzzle game music. :P Dr. Mario (NES) is solid as a rock both gameplay and music wise.

Dr. Mario

Several jewels of wisdom are there for those who dig deeper: upbeat themes that keep players on their toes while being amusing and highly hummable; some computer noise interludes add a slight sci-fi feel without ever dropping the beat; skipping rhythm styles are “deviated” towards a common overall identity; completely diverse main themes to choose from before start playing… And so much more.

Give it a listen–or even better, play the game if you get the chance to–and you’ll feel it for yourself. :)

(Also, check this list out on more repetitive music)

See ya, take care!

Music to Subjugate the Adult in You. :)

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you all been?

Last week while reading this article in Paste‘s website I got in touch with a cute, interesting indie videogame: Castles in the Sky, by The Tall Trees. The premise–gameplay wise–is simple: exploring the environment by jumping around. But there’s something more to it; something deeper.

Castles in the Sky

Castles in the Sky somehow manages to evoke childhood memories… or maybe more; I would say “mindsets”. Of course, not everyone’s childhood memories are equal. But those guys nailed it by approaching the player in a more subconscious level, reaching an abstract yet palpable feeling anyone can relate to.

And music here (by Jack de Quidt) ultimately makes it greater than the sum of its parts. By supporting the watercolor palette cohesively with slightly melancholic piano-based themes it helps drowning you in your own nostalgia, whatever it may be about.

Check the trailer out and if you’re feeling curious/generous you may lend those guys a hand. It would be worthy for its soundtrack alone–which comes standalone in the pack–but $1.50 is a steal anyway. :)

Cheers, have an awesome musical week!

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