Friday, February 1, 2013

The Sound Of Cinema

Ever since I’ve taken up music seriously, there’s been this one specific genre that’s attracted me more than the rest. No it’s not heavy metal or blues. It’s not funk or jazz. Not even electronica. No. Its film score soundtracks. Yes, that’s a separate genre altogether. Music has, surprisingly, always been more of a visual thing for me rather than auditory. So, the affinity towards film scores makes sense. Add to that my uncontrollable addiction of films and you’ll see it’s not surprising that my greatest music heroes are all film composers. Today however, I’m going to talk about only one of them – Clint Mansell.
I can bet bottom dollar that you’ve heard Mansell’s work even if you’ve never heard of the man. Darren Aronofsky’s go-to musician has done it all from Pi to Black Swan. From The Fountain to Definitely, Maybe. From Moon to The Wrestler. And in the unlikely event that you’ve managed to give all of those movies a miss, I’m sure you’ve heard the ridiculously popular theme from Requiem For A Dream, if not in the movie itself than in some TV commercial or show.  So, why him, you ask? Well, because, for me, he one of the few composers who actually hold ups the film and takes it forward with it. Usually, the primary function of a film score is to guide the audience how to feel. But Mansell does so much more. It actively adds to the plotline rather than simply maneuvering it. The Pop Will Eat Itself front-man has scored for every Aronofsky(one of the greatest directors of the last 2 decades) film. That itself is enough credibility to authenticate Mansell’s greatness. Whether it’s the 80s rock-influenced score for The Wrestler, with its distorted guitars and screaming feedbacks, the grand orchestral effort in Requiem For A Dream, the absolutely perfect electro-synth-pop in Moon or the soft, melody driven piano based score in Definitely, Maybe, Mansell’s done it all and how. But my favorite would have to be when he decided to team up with the post-rock band Mogwai(another favorite of mine) and the famed Kronos Quartet( two violins, viola and cello) to score for Aronofsky’s The Fountain (Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz). That soundtrack is half the reason why that is of my favorite films ever (the other, obviously, being that it is too good to not be considered of the best movies ever).
So, the next time you’re at the movies, pay a little more attention to what’s going on when your eyes are closed, and you may just surprise yourself.

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