Joe Brausam

Star Wars "Rebels" - Kevin Kiner Returns!

Recommended Posts

Kevin Kiner is returning to score Star Wars Rebels.

Important points:

  • Using a 30 piece orchestra for the show, which is really quite large.
  • Using more of John Williams' themes on this show than he did on Clone Wars
  • Music will become more experimental toward the end of season 1, for a story reason

Also posted was a recording of his titles music for Rebels, sounds like a synth demo. Very heavily influenced by 3 themes - the rebel fanfare, the motif from "Into the Trap", and the Force theme. Sounds much closer to the John Williams sound than his previous militaristic main title music for Clone Wars.

https://soundcloud.com/theforcenet/star-wars-rebels-theme

Also linked to this article is an L.A. Times interview with Kiner.

http://www.theforce.net/story/front/Star_Wars_Rebels_Reveals_Theme_Music_Introduces_Composer_At_WonderCon_Panel_157463.asp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooof, I have a hard time listening to his Clone Wars stuff. Too much banging on the drums, and too much wall to wall music. I remember being excited when Kiner released his CW cues on his website... Then I listened to them.

Here's hoping this time will be different, but I would've rather seen a new talent be hired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooof, I have a hard time listening to his Clone Wars stuff. Too much banging on the drums, and too much wall to wall music. I remember being excited when Kiner released his CW cues on his website... Then I listened to them.

Alot of the stuff released is NOT the good stuff (except for a handful)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps. But his music really doesn't serve the show well. It's poorly spotted (ie. just too much, without any breathing room), and it's textures just never feel thrilling, melodic, or interesting in the classic Star Wars tradition. It often feels too 'epic' for its own good.

I am encouraged that he'll be using an orchestra for Rebels, though. I'd rather hear a stripped down, lean, and hard edged orchestra than a full, saturated (bloated) synth score like Clone Wars. Less is more, you know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's poorly spotted (ie. just too much, without any breathing room)

Most scores for TV Shows like this are like that though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't they use Mark Griskey...he's the only one who composed Star Wars music that doesn't suck (besides Williams)

What about the music bundled with the Radio Drama?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those incidental cues for the Radio Drama? Yes those were cool.. Anyone know the composer?

I just can't help think that Kiner was just shoehorned in from the Clone Wars, but it's a really uninspired move.

I'd like to see more than one composer actually. It's too big a job to expect that much quality music from one guy. I like a variety of composers sometimes, like Star Trek TOS for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't they use Mark Griskey...he's the only one who composed Star Wars music that doesn't suck (besides Williams)

You don't like Shadows of the Empire by Joel McNeely?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first cue (basically Carbon Freeze from ESB), that choral cue with the Force and Vader themes, and the finale are the best tracks, the rest is servicable..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember, back in 2004, when there was this track called Main Title and Approaching The Battle you could find online which supposedly contained leaked music from Revenge Of The Sith but which was actually music from Shadows Of The Empire (it was an edit containing both the Main Titles and Night Skies, which features a superb statement of the Force theme, by the way). Good times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't they use Mark Griskey...he's the only one who composed Star Wars music that doesn't suck (besides Williams)

You don't like Shadows of the Empire by Joel McNeely?

I'd add Kyle Newmaster and Gordy Haab to the short list of people who can really sound like Williams. Their score for Star Wars: Kinect is the closest to Williams SW I've heard anyone get. And it's the honest-to-god LSO playing. (Have they ever done any SW scores outside of the films?)

https://soundcloud.com/zachcw3pr/15-cleggs-swan-song

The whole album is there on Haab's SoundCloud account.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to see more than one composer actually. It's too big a job to expect that much quality music from one guy. I like a variety of composers sometimes, like Star Trek TOS for example.

I wish they could've gotten the team that did the score for The Old Republic, which also happens to include Mark Griskey and Gordy Haab. I thought that game had some awesome music.

That being said, I like most of the tracks Kiner posted on his website, especially the tracks for the last four episodes of Season 5, where he used a live orchestra. I hope the score for Rebels is similar to that and not as cartoony as the theme he posted sounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, having just viewed the 13 Season 6 episodes that they finished and released on Netflix, these episodes on their own really validate the whole series. The best Star Wars material I've seen in years, and Kiner's scores lean heavily on Williams' themes in these episodes,including Qui-Gon's, Yoda's, and Battle of the Heroes. Really great material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, having just viewed the 13 Season 6 episodes that they finished and released on Netflix, these episodes on their own really validate the whole series. The best Star Wars material I've seen in years, and Kiner's scores lean heavily on Williams' themes in these episodes,including Qui-Gon's, Yoda's, and Battle of the Heroes. Really great material.

Yes, that and large swaths of season 5. It was pretty uneven in the first three, really started coming together when they started doing (mainly) 4-episode arcs in S4. All three of the arcs with Ahsoka were amazing (younglings, revolutionaries, and on-the-run), as were a couple episodes in the last Darth Maul arc (with the brothers consolidating power across all of the crime syndicates and overtaking Mandalore).

It inspires great confidence that Dave Filoni is still running things with Rebels. I'm sure it'll take a bit for the show to find its sealegs, but man when Clone Wars was good, it was really good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I absolutely detest that he mis-quotes something as iconic as the Force Theme!

Yes, because he should be chained to using it exactly the same way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, he should at least be sensitive to the musicality of the theme. It comes across as illiterate. It doesn't sound like a variation, but merely a mistake (which I think it is).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it didn't sound any better then! It sounds misremembered, as if going "by ear" and not getting it quite right (and I very much suspect that's the case in both these instances, and it's even more glaring in the radio play example).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Williams has used it in many different ways through the years, adding all sorts of rhythmic and harmonic twists, keeping it fresh, while always retaining the elegance and nobility of the theme itself. Kevin Kiner (and whoever was responsible for the musical adaptation for the radio drama) simply doesn't "get" the theme, and ends up vulgarizing it. It has to do with melodic flow and balance, and with musical eloquence.

(...Oh and by the way, he still mis-quotes the theme in the "Buzz Droids" cue you mentioned)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(...Oh and by the way, he still mis-quotes the theme in the "Buzz Droids" cue you mentioned)

how?

EDIT: oh, now I hear it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same mistake: Instead of going down to the lower fifth (the whole "gravitas" of the theme) before the triplet, he annoyingly reiterates the tonic. It sounds amateurish.

So, in more crude terms, he usually takes out two notes first the last note of the first "phrase" (which is present at 1:27), and the first note of the second "phrase" (which should be at 1:29)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He gets the fourth to last note wrong; in the key of C minor, the final six pitches should be Eb-G-Eb-C-G-F (the triplet figure being the middle three pitches). Kiner consistently (from what I've heard) insists on stating it as Eb-C-Eb-C-G-F. It undermines the nobility - the "struggle"- of the theme a great deal...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It can happen in an instant, or it could take days or even weeks. For me, it's usually relatively instantaneous, but I will often keep working on them, usually to explore what possibilities might lurk underneath the surface (as in what kind of development and permutations a theme could be suited to undergo). Sometimes, you might start out (and feel strongly about) just a kernel of a theme, and then sort of work out how to expand upon it (if it should also serve as a more extended melodic arc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now