Category Archives: Music

Soundtrack Review: Oblivion

(Original Film Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition]
Composers: M83, A. Gonzales, J. Trapanese
Running Time: 108 min.
Released: 2013
Opinon Stars: ★★★★☆

Judging from the trailers and clips that have been released over the past few months, Oblivion has the makings of a terrific sci-fi film. My hopes for it are high, and they’re even higher now that I’ve listened to the soundtrack. Comparisons the Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy score are perhaps inevitable, but Oblivion is a strong work in its own right, and it manages to bring more than to table than just catchy techno beats. There’s depth here, too; as grand and exciting as many of the cues are, this score really shines during its quiet moments. My only complaint (and the reason I’m withholding a star) has to do with the fact that M83’s signature sound doesn’t make a more prominent appearance. If you’re a fan of “Outro” or other M83 classics, as I am, then you’ll probably be disappointed, too. Don’t let that deter you from adding Oblivion to your library, however: it has plenty of good stuff to offer (particularly in its latter half), and if you’re looking for the first great soundtrack of 2013, I’d say you’ve found it.

Standout Tracks:
– Waking Up
– StarWaves
– Earth 2077
– Canyon Battle
– Raven Rock
– Temples of Our Gods
– Fearful Odds
– Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør)

If you’re wondering whether the Deluxe Edition is worth the extra three bucks, the answer is yes. Absolutely yes. It’s currently only available on iTunes, but $12.99 for nearly two hours of music is a steal.

For Your Listening Pleasure

As most of you know, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool soundtrack fanatic. And considering that whenever I write about music, I generally write about film music, you may think that Hans Zimmer and John Powell are the only artists I bother listening to. You’d be wrong.

I love Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Ludovico Einaudi. I love the beats and theological acuity of Lecrae, Shai Linne, and Keith Green. I love the old hymns, written and sung by the saints through the ages (“The Son of God Goes Forth to War” is one song I never tire of). I love Bob Dylan, Mumford & Sons, Ratatat, Coldplay, and Acoustic Alchemy.

So there.

Below are a few more artists I’ve recently come to enjoy, and which I feel compelled to share with you. Because they’re justthat…. good. Shall we begin?


mzi.enqcazfn.170x170-75I don’t remember exactly how I became acquainted with Josh Ritter, but I glad I did. He’s a marvelous musician who also understands the power of storytelling and employs it with grace and gusto (just listen to “The Curse” or “Another New World” and you’ll see what I mean). I got one of his albums for free via Noisetrade, and then went about seeing what else I could learn about him. That’s when I came across this piece by Andrew Peterson, another favorite musician of mine:

Ritter is asking good questions. I don’t necessarily agree with his answers, but that doesn’t keep me from being amazed by the songs – and the songs suggest to me that he’s paying attention, watching and listening to the part of his spirit that resonates with a certain secret fire. And if he keeps writing songs this good I think he’s going to have to try pretty hard to ignore the source of all that richness. His imagination and sense of poetry and narrative are a rare gift, and I’m intrigued enough to keep listening. And listening. The same way I listen to Paul Simon’s Graceland. I don’t get every song, and that’s part of why I keep coming back.

 My hat is off to Josh Ritter. Please keep writing

You can download Live at the Iveigh Gardens here, but I must also put in a word for So Runs The World Away. It’s simply mesmerizing. Continue reading For Your Listening Pleasure

Ears to Hear

A good friend of mine sent these lectures my way, and now I’m passing them on to you. Ken Myers (author of the fabulous All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes) does a smashing job here: over the course of four lectures, he highlights the importance of music in our culture, examines the objective nature of music, and lays the groundwork for further discussion of “the possibilities of musical meaning.”

This is good stuff, folks. I recommend you take time to watch the videos, but MP3s are available as well. The first lecture is featured above – you can find the rest here.

Also, a warning to my fellow bibliophiles: you’re reading list may explode when Myers starts dispensing book recommendations. Arm yourself with a notepad.

Soundtrack Review: Dredd

(Original Film Soundtrack)
Composer: Paul Leonard-Morgan
Running Time: 51 min.
Released: 2012
Opinon Stars: ★★★★

If Ramin Djawadi’s Iron Man soundtrack were married to the Daft Punkian techno of Tron: Legacy, their child would probably sound something like Dredd. Which is to say: slick, hard-hitting, and very, very cool. It’s a knockout. I haven’t seen the film yet – it’s rather popular on Netflix and therefore hard to get – but I’ve no doubt the score fits it as snugly as a bullet casing. (Watch the trailer and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.) The fusion of rocking action cues with brooding electronic soundscapes works beautifully here. Final result? The kind of music that makes even dishwashing seem like an epic task.

Standout tracks:
– She’s a Pass
– Mega City One
– The Plan
– Mini-Guns
– Order In the Chaos
– Taking Over Peach Trees
– Apocalyptic Wasteland

“I wanted to create a really gritty, urban score for the film, not a typical Hollywood, glossy score. I pictured a sound which fitted a future set in 100 years time, so traditional orchestra went out the window.” ReelScotland recently conducted an interview with Paul Leonard-Morgan; you can read it here.