Analysis: The Synth Revival

This was originally published at Soundtrack Geek  on 7th October. 

Given that there is now a mandatory requirement for every online journalist to write a minimum of 300 articles that are in someway related to Stranger Things, I really need to start boosting my numbers. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, I just live slavishly by them. Anyway, here goes.

One of the best things about the now-ridiculously popular Netflix show is its era appropriate soundtrack, which beautifully harkens back to the scores of the 1980s through the use of dark electronic music and, more specifically, the synthesiser. It’s a really great soundtrack, working perfectly as an authentic tribute to all of the cult-classic works that the show itself is lovingly paying homage to. Continue reading

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Soundtrack Review (Flashback): 50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey is one of the laziest blockbusters of all time, to the point where I would consider it the very antithesis of art. Very few films get so many things wrong; from casting, to writing, to production design and even basic story structure, and yet this dross still remains a critic-proof hit. Everyone involved with the project ought to be ashamed of themselves, especially composer Danny Elfman, who really should have known better. Continue reading

Soundtrack Review (Flashback): Thor: The Dark World

Marvel are getting quite a lot right at the moment in terms of their filmic output. They’ve got great special effects, top quality directors, and spot-on casting all down to a perfect T. It is for all of these reasons that they’re now an unstoppable cinematic juggernaut, churning out hit after hit and making it look easy while they do so. But there’s one area in which the studio seems to repeatedly stumble. There’s one thing that they never seem to get quite right (besides villains that is). Indeed, whilst they seem to nail almost every other aspect of production, for whatever reason Marvel just cannot find a distinctive musical voice. The studio is currently 13 films into its cinematic universe, however it is still lacking a properly iconic superhero score. They’ve come close a few times (Alan Silvestri did a pretty solid job with Captain America: The First Avenger), but nothing has truly popped yet. No matter who is on composing duties, Marvel soundtracks consistently feel stale and rather generic.

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Review: Hans Zimmer at the Bournemouth Internation Centre

This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on 2nd June. 

There aren’t many icons in the realm of film scoring. There are definitely loads for those with a specialist interest, but to the general public there’s only a handful. Of that handful, Hans Zimmer is absolutely one of the most diverse and influential. In the last couple of decades, nobody has had more of a pronounced presence on the film industry in terms of music. Constantly establishing new trends, and scoring for some of the biggest blockbusters and directors around, Zimmer has been able to solidify his status as a modern day idol. His work has become instantly recognisable and is constantly being imitated. His horde of protégés (ranging from Game of Thrones’ Ramin Djawadi, to X:Men First Class’ Henry Jackman) dominate blockbuster franchises and he has even managed to change the way that trailers are scored thanks to his now infamous Inception horns.

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Soundtrack Review: Star Wars- The Force Awakens

This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on January 29th. 

There are very few people in the entirety of art that have never put a foot wrong. There are even fewer who have managed to do so whilst attaching their names to as many projects as John Williams. However, out of the entirety of his dizzying discography, there is perhaps nothing more celebrated than his work for the Star Wars saga. Continue reading

Review: Silent Hill Live

This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on November 4th. 

Video game soundtracks have taken quite a long time to be recognised by the music community. In fact, some would argue that they are still struggling to be taken seriously as examples of art in their own right. However, over the last few years a change has been occurring, with a variety of books, podcasts and radio shows all being dedicated to the music that accompanies our gaming experiences. Additionally, concerts and live performances of video game soundtracks are nothing new, with the likes of Final Fantasy regularly touring across the world. 2015 is the first time though that a soundtrack with such a niche appeal as Silent Hill has been performed in the UK. Continue reading

Soundtrack Review: Jurassic World

This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on June 24th 2015. 

During the fledgling stage of his career, and to an extent even more recently, Michael Giacchino has been hailed by some as the spiritual successor to the incomparable John Williams (who is still incomparable despite that very comparison). The validity of such claims do have some weight, and not just because Giacchino cut his teeth creating the score for the video game adaptation of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the film of which Williams scored. Not only does Giacchino have a similar sound, but he also seems to seek out similar projects, working on the kind of films that Williams would have when he was in his prime (think Super 8).  Continue reading