Few audience members, except film buffs, realized that the recent silent film THE ARTIST used Bernard Hermann's score from Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO as the soundtrack for its climactic scenes. But Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart's co-star in the older film, sure did. Oh, boy, did she ever.
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
Using his "file card" technique to create the title piece "Spillane" (whereby musical ideas written on note cards form the basis for discreet sound blocks arranged by way of a unifying theme), John Zorn forges an impressionistic narrative out of stretches of live-music jazz, blues, country, lounge, thrash, etc., and a variety of samples and spoken dialogue inspired by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer detective novels (recited by John Lurie). - AllMusic [more inside]
Hot on the heels of winning both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Score in 2010 for their work on The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have announced the release of the score for the upcoming David Fincher film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The 39-track, three-disk set can be purchased for a surprisingly affordable $14 (as opposed to Amazon's current price of $20) and comes with a digital download of the album. Other versions are also available, including a $300 "Deluxe" set which includes six vinyl records and will be signed by Reznor and Ross. A six-track sampler of the album is available for free download at the Null Co page (email address required). [more inside]
There is no questioning Syd Dale's [mid-60s UK NSFW] place amongst the legends of library music. ... his lavish big band inspired compositions were quickly brought to the public's attention through their use in countless t.v. shows and advertisements. Much of his work could be as classed as easy listening however Dale was also adept at incorporating elements of funk and spy jazz.
* [The music of the 1967 Spider-Man animated TV series - to which he so memorably contributed - has been discussed previously.] [more inside]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
The annotated scores for [*and Filmtracks.com's reviews of] Howard Shore's soundtracks to The Fellowship of the Ring*, The Two Towers*, and The Return of the King*
Requiem for a Mermaid. Requiem for a Lion King. Requiem for Pocahontas. Requiem for a Hunchback. (Previously: Requiem for Ferris Bueller, Toy Story Requiem.)
The Soundworks Collection gives a behind-the-scenes look into the work of talented sound teams working on feature films, soundtrack scoring, and video games with a compilation of exclusive interviews, awards shows / event panel coverage and sound stage / studio room videos. Vimeo Channel. YouTube Channel. [more inside]
Twenty years ago today, the gaming world saw the launch of a truly landmark title: Sonic the Hedgehog. Developed as a vehicle for a new Sega mascot, the fluid, vibrant, cheery-tuned wonderland swiftly became the company's flagship product, inspiring over the ensuing decades an increasingly convoluted universe of TV shows, comic books, and dozens of games on a variety of systems (all documented in this frighteningly comprehensive TVTropes portal). And while in recent years the series has turned out more and more mediocre 3D and RPG efforts, the original games remain crown jewels of the 16-bit era. So why not kick off this anniversary by replaying the titles that started it all for free in your browser: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992), Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994), Sonic & Knuckles (1994). Or click inside for music, remakes, and other fun stuff! [more inside]
Detektivbyrån (The Detective Agency) was a little-known Swedish band that made delightful music often inspired by Yann Tiersen's soundtrack to Amelié. E 18 - Om Du Möter Varg - Generation celebration - Nattoppet - Partyland - Monster - Laka kaffa - Vänerhavet. (Warning: aggressively cute and happy music containing accordion and bells.) [more inside]
The soundtrack to Minecraft by C418 has recently been released for sale as an album. Price is whatever you want to pay, so long as it's at least $3.99. [more inside]
Waterlife — No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
The Art of Memory - minimal film music art
On Friday evening, Trent Reznor sat down with Jon Pareles (music critic for the NYT) for a lengthy, candid interview about his work on The Social Network soundtrack, Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels, and his creative process. The interview runs 1h15m, and is available for download in both video and audio versions. [more inside]
To whet all of our appetites, here is a 21-minute Tron Legacy soundtrack medley. (SLM_)
His melodies are more familiar than those of any other soundtrack composer except perhaps John Williams. He won 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other pop musician in history, and 4 Academy Awards. He scored what some consider the greatest opening shot in cinema history. His versatility encompassed situation comedy as well as science fiction horror. He is commemorated on a 37-cent stamp. He is Henry Mancini. [more inside]
The pumpkins are mouldering or smashed, candy wrappers are strewn about, and your costume is tossed aside. Keep the mood going for a bit longer with some Halloween mixtapes, from film composer Alan Howarth (credits, IMDb), and three(tracklist) streaming mixes from electronic/breakbeat producers Evil Nine. If you are looking for more beats and rapping in your mixtapes, here are three volumes of Night of the Living Dead (NSFW), from Cookin' Soul.
One Hello World is a collection of voicemail set to music. In a sort of This American Life meets Post Secret twist, these messages cover life, love, death, and just about anything else you can think of.
Continuing his track record [MeFi previously links] of using online distribution for his albums, Trent Reznor offers a five-song sampler of the soundtrack he created with Atticus Ross for The Social Network for free download online. (Well, really for the small "price" of your email address.) [more inside]
Tube Dubber - Combine the visuals from one YouTube video with the audio from another. If you come up with a good one, you can submit it to the Tube Dubs blog. Simple concept, occasionally-glorious execution
How are you feeling today? Are you energetic? Relaxed? Drunk? Maybe you're horny or lost in thought. Perhaps you're knitting, cooking, or doing some spring cleaning. Maybe you're simply untroubled. Whatever your mood, Stereomood will provide a soundtrack. (Warning: All links autoplay sound.) [more inside]
Often dismissed as a failed experiment, this oddity from Arthur Penn is a constantly surprising and enigmatic classic. Two years ahead of Bonnie and Clyde, this New Hollywood prototype is ragged and frantic, a skewed but thrilling attempt to rewrite established narrative form. [more inside]
Do you like musical instruments with lots of keyboards? And lots and lots of dials? Then you may like 36 15 MOOG: Stuff with Moog and/or 60's and 70's vintage synths in it. (related Ask MeFi) [more inside]
Jerry Fielding (1922-1980) was one of cinema's most distinctive voices in the 1960s and especially '70s, the perfect musical complement to the films of Sam Peckinpah*, Michael Winner, Clint Eastwood and others. His scores are marked by modernism and intricate orchestrations but also a poetic beauty and intensity—an appropriate accompaniment to the decade's strange and often sad (but never sentimental) criminals and antiheroes, be they in westerns (The Wild Bunch) or crime films. He was, however, capable of numerous styles (he was a former Vegas bandleader), and wrote a great number of scores (from sticoms to dramas to sci-fi) for television. - Film Score Monthly [more inside]
By now you're surely aware of Tron Legacy, the sequel to 1982's Tron. Tron Legacy will have a soundtrack by Daft Punk as counterpoint the score in the original composed by Wendy Carlos. But what of the Trons that Never Were? Listen to the soundtrack to Tron 1.5: Rise of the Virals and find out a little about the process behind the sequel that didn't make it. [more inside]
One Fast Move or I'm Gone : a documentary of Kerouac's Big Sur features a soundtrack by Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar.
The Cloud Photographers : "an artificial Wes Anderson soundtrack" by Nicholas Gurewitch, of Perry Bible Fellowship fame (previously). Also has an interview with Gurewitch about the soundtrack and the story of The Cloud Photgraphers. More recently, Gurewitch is featured in Marvel Strange Tales. Two scans (scans about as NSFW as the median PBF comic) on the Truth and Beauty Bombs comics forum (via Dinosaur Comics).
Baraka (previously) alternate soundtracks on youtube: Clint Mansell, Omni Trio, the Beatles, Chris Clark, and Buraka Som Sistema (warning: contains M.I.A., nudity). [more inside]
One Hundred Years, One Hundred Scores. The Hollywood Reporter and a jury of film music experts select the 100 greatest film scores of all time. One of the jury is Dan Goldwasser, editor of Soundtrack.net, which publishers interviews with composers, reviews of soundtracks and keeps a valuable list of trailer music - for when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from. [more inside]
Episode 4 - Problems "Okay, sometimes I almost want to give up everything." A fascinating insight into the Large Hadron Collider (loving the soundtracks too). YTL
Maurice Jarre (September 13, 1924 – March 29, 2009) was a French composer and conductor. Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores for motion pictures, particularly those of David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984). All three of these scores won Academy Awards. - Wikipedia
Tennessee Williams said it was the best film version of any of his plays. Roger Ebert called it "awkward and hopeless on its most fundamental level". John Waters calls it a major influence on the development of his taste. [more inside]
Spy music! Whether it's Lalo Schifrin's theme for Mission Impossible, or Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Man from U.N.C.L.E., or the greatest of them all, John Barry's iconic James Bond theme, you know it when you hear it. Now, for my money, the best spy music in recent years wasn't from a spy movie at all, but an animated superhero film: the action-packed theme and soundtrack for The Incredibles, in which the very talented Michael Giacchino was clearly (and brilliantly) channeling John Barry. And of course, you'll all want to head over here and see what your fellow MeFiers have lately been doing with the genre. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
Bebe Barron, 82, Pioneer of Electronic Scores, Is Dead. Best known for the soundtrack to the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet -- the first full-length feature to use only electronic music -- she and her husband Louis Barron recorded the film's pre-synthesizer "electronic tonalities" with electronic circuits of their own invention. She never scored another feature film, but remained active in the avant-garde music scene.
First, and foremost, here is La Caíta - El Pájaro Negro. Could there be singing anymore heartfelt than this ? I wonder. And here she is, in an ancillary role, with the Amaya family. Also, from Spain, here is Tchavolo Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt & Hono Winterstein - Kali Sara & Tchavolo swing. From Romania, here are Taraf de Haïdouks and, from them, here is Taraf de Haïdouks and of them, here is Balada Conducatorolui - Nicolae Neacsu. From the Thar of Rajasthan, here is the very charismatic Talab Khan Barna, and here, from Egypt, is Bambi Saidi. And let the etymological connection between Egypt and gypsy be noted here and now, by the way.
All of these are. of course, excerpts from Latcho Drom. [more inside]
All of these are. of course, excerpts from Latcho Drom. [more inside]
"Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream is an OverClocked ReMix Album featuring free fan arrangements from the soundtrack to Square's legendary Final Fantasy VII for the Sony Playstation."
Moving an 100 year old church - via the power of rock (YouTube page) Watching a show about buildings being moved by truck, my attention drifted towards the captivating music, from composer Daniel Pemberton. One of the gems on his MySpace page is this clip in which a 40-strong choir leads an 100-year old church as it is moved down a road, to a soundtrack akin to the Beatles or Polyphonic Spree. It's bizarre and certainly not your normal documentary fare.
The Room: The Movie. Triple-threat (actor/writer/director) Tommy Wiseau made his cinematic debut in 2003 with the The Room (see trailer and various scenes), "a blend between a softcore porn flick and a Tennessee Williams stageplay." Wiseau ("who's not just one of the most unusual looking and sounding-with an unidentifiable Eastern European accent-leading men ever to grace the screen, but a narcissist nonpareil whose movie makes Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" seem the apotheosis of cinematic self-restraint...may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back-before even 30 minutes have passed." - Variety), allegedly raised $6 million outside Hollywood to cover production and marketing costs of the self-described "black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies" (see various rough dress rehersals). Audience members, including comedian David Cross, have been "marveling at the bizarre editing, bad bluescreen, uncomfortably explicit sex scenes and, of course, the enigma of Wiseau himself" as the film played monthly for years in Los Angeles. Available on DVD, diehard "roomies" swear by the theatrical experience, shout out their own commentary, hurl spoons at the screen and singalong to the soundtrack. Some call it "The Rocky Horror of the New Millenium" and stage "Room" parties. If you look at the marketing campaign or survived a screening you might see The Room as "a seminar on how NOT to make a movie." [Inspired by Boing Boing]
Speaking, as we were, of F1 drivers, fans should take note that Live Fast, Die Young, a documentary about Swiss driver Jo Siffert has recently been released overseas. Siffert died in a crash in 1971, and fifty thousand people turned out for his funeral. Can't see the film (and if you're in the U.S., chances are you can't)? Check out the soundtrack, by the always fantastic (though apparently website-less) Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited. Samples here.
Video Games Live, a game-music-with-orchestra concert tour, has gotten lots of press; videogame music's gettting new attention.
A huge, comprehensive collection of Italian soundtrack covers. With print runs as small as 300, some of these soundtracks are impossible to find nowadays. Some of the cover art is really fantastic. There's a pretty extensive collection of French, German, American, English and Japanese soundtracks too.
8 bit goes a capella A Madison Wisconsin a cappella group (Redefined) sings (and acts out) the greatest Nintendo backing tracks in this video of a live performance. The Zelda and Tetris ones are priceless. There's a Windows Media version as well.
Bollywood Record Covers Crazy Bollywood soundtrack LP covers. My likes? This one and this one. No, I have no idea what they say either.
John Debney fought with Satan to score "The Passion of the Christ." Literally: "I had all these computers and synthesizers in my studio and the hard drives would go down and the digital picture that lives on the computer with the music would just freeze on his [Satan's] face... and I was verbalizing and saying to Satan, 'Manifest yourself right now...'"
'Mais Non, Mais Non?'... Well, there goes the neighbourhood. You go for nigh on a quarter of a century crediting The Muppets with an all time classic, when you find out that it was someone elses - Italian soundtrack composer Piero Umiliani. Not only that, but used as part of the score for an oh-so-dodgy a Swedish porn film!?!?. But no, that's not the end of it, as it transpires (see bottom of page) that 'Mahna Mahna' was originally performed by a Frenchman, Henri Salvador, and was called 'Mais Non Mais Non'. Still, in any of these forms, it's one of the few songs that still makes me smile every time I hear it, especially so when accompanied by the visuals.
Let's Rock Get a real live musician to write a theme song for your blog. Of course you have to somehow return the favor. "I'm calling it the rockin' blogroll," notes Philip Clark, the multiple band guy that is willingly offering up his own service against silence.