Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reviewing 2013 Movie Soundtracks via WQXR's "Movies on the Radio" & Oscar Nominations

WQXR's series "Movies on the Radio" recently devoted two programs to 2013 movie soundtrack trends and styles. I always find it interesting to listen to the music on its own, without the visual counterpart to claim our attention.  Part One focuses on indie features and drama, beginning with Alex Ebert's All is Lost, (highlighted in the last post) and continues on from there. Host David Garland explains how while these soundtracks are musically simple, it is still quite beautiful.  The multi layered textures now serve a different function, as its part of an environment that's all about "giving us a feel" without "telling us what to feel."

1. Alex Ebert, All is Lost
2. Daniel Hart, Ain't Them Bodies Saints
3. David Wingo with Explosions In the Sky, Prince Avalance
4. David Wingo, Mud
5. Marcelo Zarvos, Enough Said
6. Max Richter, Wadjada
7. Thomas Newman, Side Effects
8. LorneBalfe, Salinger
9. Jon Hopkins, How I Live Now
10. Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave
11. Étienne CharryL'écume des jours (Mood Indigo)
12. Alexandre Desplates, Philomena
13. Alberto Iglesias, Los Amantes Pasajeros
14. Jóhann Jóhannsson, Prisoners 

Part Two shifts into action and science fiction mode, as Garland describes the sound as "interlocking gears of machinery." Since soundtracks are a recorded medium, there is no need to replicate them live on stage so they can be complicated pieces of music. The show makes a point of double dipping into blog favorite Jon Hopkins, with his "atmospheric" score for How I Live Now. Garland points out that it "blurs the line between sound design and scoring." Anthony Gonzalez of M83 (mispronounced as "M - Eight - Three") closes out the program with his first blockbuster project, Oblivion. Check out the Oscar nominated scores at the end of this post.

1. Steven Price, Gravity
2. Ryan Amon, Elysium
3. Bear McCreary, Europa Report
4. Hans Zimmer, Man of Steel
5. Sean Lenoon, Alter Egos
6. Jon Hopkins, How I Live Now
7. Michael Giacchino, Star Trek Into Darkness
8. Steve Jablonsky, Ender's Game
9. M83, Oblivion

2013 OSCAR NOMINATIONS, Best Original Score:
John Williams, The Book Thief
Steven Price, Gravity
William Butler & Owen Pallett, Her
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks