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Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

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!

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Goldsmith: Laying Eggs. :)

January 28, 2014 2 comments

Hi there, how have you been?

Last week I talked about the wide, wild world of Jerry Goldsmith and how I’m digging his work deeper to scavenge myself some invaluable lessons. :) Well, as previously announced this week’s movie was the very first Alien in the series–the one directed by Ridley Scott.

Alien belongs to a fairly big teenager list of favorite sci-fi movies, but watching to it now–and paying its soundtrack the proper attention–as an adult made me realize it’s much more an horror movie than a plain, regular sci-fi shot. Of course, any sci-fi plot must have a tendency towards a thrilling atmosphere due to the inherent “unknown” factor, but several details–the soundtrack being the most important–hint the real intent behind the lens.

Alien (1979)

I could talk about the picture’s slow pace, about the long-lasting silences, the dark palette, the cinematography… but this being a music blog I think it’s better to stay safe at home. :P And Goldsmith’s formula here could easily be represented in a simple pie chart: 70% horror, 30% sci-fi. :)

The horror side of the pie is achieved by strings tricks well-known since Mr. Bernard Herrmann; the sci-fi one comes through more modern techniques involving electronic devices and resulting in effects like delay and reverberation in general. But the final word is the OST is really a case of “greater than the sum of its parts”. The cues for “monster approaching”–which are delivered through dynamics put to good use–influenced generations to come of horror/sci-fi composers.

I’ll leave you with a sample piece on the matter, and another of my favorite soundtracks in any medium: Super Metroid (SNES), by Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano. My bet is some of those seeds sprouted in Japan… ;)

See ya, take care!

Digging: Jerry Goldsmith

January 21, 2014 2 comments

Hi there, how have you been?

Continuing with my soundtrack studies–one composer after another, chronologically–I just arrived at this huge station: Jerry Goldsmith. The man had worked in so many movies, with so many styles that I don’t think I’ll be able to wrap it all up concisely inside my mind… but the trip–which barely started–is been already worth the “trouble”. :)

Jerry Goldsmith

I started a week ago by re-watching one of my all-time favourite movies ever: Planet of the Apes. Released in 1968 it’s an amazing sample of modern scoring in the 60s–I guess pratically every vanguard movies soundtrack back then came from the Sci-Fi genre. From this one I could grab some interesting ideas for “tribal”, percussive music.

Last week I picked a 70s specimen, one I remember my father talking about: Chinatown. From the awesome Roman Polanski this is a tough, sometimes fun, kinda over the top noir detective movie–great, really great stuff. And music helps it a lot by providing the perfect mood aside a very memorable main theme… which is an absolutely diverse work from the aforementioned “Apes”. :)

How many tricks Mr. Goldsmith had in his hat? And how could I afford to pay for such generous legacy? Both questions are hard to answer. :P For the time being just enjoy Chinatown’s solid soundtrack… as for me I’ll watch Alien for the twentienth time. :P But now with eyes and ears on Jerry. :)

See ya, take care!

Another Oldie–A Mysterious One. :)

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

Another lost piece of music found! This one was composed by influence of the book “Les marins perdus” by the French writer Jean-Claude Izzo. Wonderful read, made me think of a “floating mystery” if I can describe this recording that way. :P

Les marins perdus

Have a nice week, take care! :D

Bernard Herrmann, You Nailed ME.

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week I re-watched Hitchcock’s classic Psycho with all ears on Mr. Bernard Hermann’s soundtrack… And I must say any score below a rare “perfect” for such a work would be an understatement. Everything and more is there: aggressiveness, thrill, fear, mystery… All thrown up within an absurd level of cohesion and vaguardism.

My favorite one–despite “Murder” being more important, of course–is “Prelude”. I think all the other content derives from that piece and it encapsulates the overall mood of the entire work. But you’re free to disagree, of course. ;)

See ya next week, take care!

Psycho

Commented Portfolio: Mysterostinatum.

July 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

Proceeding with that commented portfolio matter here is a short-but-interesting-nevertheless theme… :P It borrows an influence from the ostinato concept (repeating a motif “with obstinacy”, literally) and the use of an unusual time signature to achieve a mysterious, kinda miring theme.

The piano ostinato grows in speed just to start slowly all over again–almost as if it was a skipping record. :)

I hope you like this one, se ya! :)

John Williams Departing From The Motif (Sorta) In “Tintin” Soundtrack.

July 30, 2012 1 comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week I rent The Adventures of Tintin for a movie night here with my girl–I couldn’t be wrong with this one since I always loved both Tintin AND Spielberg–and aside the good time I had with the movie itself we always have something to learn with Mr. John Williams (this must be his bazillionth nomination for best original score in the Academy Awards, and it was the second IN THE SAME YEAR. -.- Nasty.)

But what’s more interesting about this particular work is that it isn’t exactly something one could expect from John Williams; because he usually excels at taking the most of a  remarkable theme–a “motif”–and in such circumstances the structure (the actual “composition”) would precede the surface (arrangement, execution)… This Tintin score turns the tables regarding that matter.

Maybe due to the inherent “cartoon-ish” feel of the movie, Mr. Williams decided to take the other route–to pull the “how to play” before the “what to play” to highlight the final overall mood.

How to, after all? Well, we can’t summarize all that in a simple glimpse, but there are a couple interesting clues on the matter:

1) Instrumentation (surface) over melody (structure). For instance, anything intending to be epic will sound better with brass, no matter how the melody works; while mystery can be achieved through woodwind instruments like the bassoon.

2) Dynamics, articulation. Again: mystery will be even more effective with staccatos; epicness with glissandos/crescendos.

Here are two awesome examples on both issues–my favorite theme in the movie is the first to appear, “The Adventures of Tintin”.

Enjoy the music, I hope you like it! See ya!

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