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Alice!!! (and soundtracks generally)

I have been listening to Danny Elfman's soundtrack to Tim Burton's Alice and I love it! Alice's theme is my favourite of all the tracks and it's long (just over 4 minutes) as well which means you can get your head back, eyes closed and really let it take you away without having to put it on repeat to get the mileage out of the track.

I first came across Elfman's music when I watched the video for Nightbreed (based on, if I recall correctly, a Clive Barker story) and since then I've come to love the various soundtracks that he's produced. I think one of the real breakthroughs in film music came about when people realised that you didn't have to make do with incidental music (O, Terminator soundtrack, how could you let me down that way?) and could instead be fully realised scores. (John Williams, you are a demi-god among composers)

Now, even tv programmes are having lengthy pieces of music written for them. The Doctor Who scores are brilliant (okay, there are some hit and miss tracks) and again, there are tracks on the albums that really let your imagination rip. Not just because of the complexity of the pieces; the range of instruments used; the emotions that the tracks pull out of you, but also because of their length. I don't want to listen to a track that's 30 seconds long and is basically 'incidental' music - of no value without the foreground of the film or tv show to give it depth and meaning. I want a track that will not only recreate the memory of the drama it was part of, but that also stands on its own as a piece of music that can inspire imaginative trails unbound by the characters and situations of the drama it was created for.

I can listen to the score of The Empire Strikes Back on endless repeat. It can - and does, if I'm in the mood for it - make me think of Han Solo, Hoth and so on. But it can also act as grease for my mental gears, inspiring thought and imagination and propelling me into whatever situation my mind can dream up beyond the boundaries of Star Wars.

So how about you? Like or dislike? Like but prefer music from and inspired by a film or tv show? And if you like, what's your favourite? (Overall favourite or favourite right now?)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yes! I love them all - and Howard Shore, he of Lord of the Rings fame. And I've noticed that they seem to have their own audio 'ticks' so that if you're listening to a piece of music and you hear that 'tick' you have a pretty good idea who the composer is.
I would also recommend Adrian Johnston's Shackleton score for sheer sweeping across the ice-ness. I haven't seen Shackleton but when I listen to the music I am *in* the Polar wilderness. :-)
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