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Brian Eno Hates John Williams

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I think the score is perfect for the film and doesn't become 'overbearing' right up until the big sweeping end credits suite, which is a great cue, but it does dive head first into OTT whimsical melodrama. Too much for the film but fine outside of it.

Some of the earlier suspense and road music is bloody brilliant!

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I recently saw CE3K for the first time and I wouldn't say that the score has dated at all. The opposite in fact it sounds so different without trying to hard (something Mr. Zimmer could only dream of).

JW's music has never ruined or taken away from the quality of a film for me. It has only ever improved them for me.

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I'm just happy to see that there are some of us who can appreciate both musical expressions (different as they may be), and that we don't take one artist's personal opinions as personal affronts. Bernard Herrmann was notorious for expressing similar sentiments about composers he disliked -- and also lauded praise on those he DID like -- but that doesn't really have any bearing on the excellence of his own music.

As someone mentioned earlier, this is like the Gilliam/Spielberg incident. I disagree with Gilliam, but a) I still appreciate his work and b) it adds to his colourful personality. The Horner/Malick comments are similar. Again, I disagree with his comments, but I find it utterly refreshing how he "dares" to go against Hollywood ass-kissing in public interviews. As I can attest to, Horner is also extremely friendly in an interview situation.

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I recently saw CE3K for the first time and I wouldn't say that the score has dated at all. The opposite in fact it sounds so different without trying to hard (something Mr. Zimmer could only dream of).

JW's music has never ruined or taken away from the quality of a film for me. It has only ever improved them for me.

I saw CE3K for the second time last year. I found most of it rather dull, and yes, found Williams' music very dated. It was 'wondrous' in parts, but it doesn't all have to be like that.

I guess I sometimes need a bit of subtlety in scores, and JW doesn't do 'subtle'.

None of the moments where JW does a more floaty, atmospheric style of music affect me as much as An Ending does. Perhaps JW has never been asked to write something like that, but based on what we have heard, I would never want Williams to score a picture that needed an ambient score.

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I love the music of Close Encounters but as a score it's dated too.

The avant-garde stuff doesn't really date though.

 

None of Brian Eno's original output moves me as much as these bits from CE3K.

 

1:43-2:47

 

2:28-3:12

 

I disagree entirely with Richard Penna, though that's not surprising. He has very different tastes when it comes to film and film music, preferring more contemporary sensibilities and aesthetics.

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The thing is, why would any of Eno's output move you the way those do? They're pretty dissimilar in their intentions/construction.

I can't really think of any Williams music that has the same kind of fully ambient intentions as Eno's work, and thus could be legitimately compared.

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The thing is, why would any of Eno's output move you the way those do? They're pretty dissimilar in their intentions/construction.

You can't have dissimilar types of music move you in a similar way? The problem isn't that Eno's music is different, it's that it's uninteresting.

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It's supposed to be uninteresting.

So what I mean is, why would anyone listen to a piece by Williams and a piece by Eno and expect similar results? I'm not going to listen to Discreet Music if I want to be intensely musically engaged, and I'm not going to listen to CE3K if I want to kind of zone out and relax.

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I love the music of Close Encounters but as a score it's dated too.

The avant-garde stuff doesn't really date though.

None of Brian Eno's original output moves me as much as these bits from CE3K.

A piece similar to those CE3K clips you posted is this one:

It's not that much different in sound, but somehow I find it beautiful, while CE3K does little for me.

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It might be dated trough a filmmaker glasses(and a current fashion of scoring) but as a pure music, it's timeless. For me only that matters, is the music.

Yes, i agree.

Pure Orchestral music is timeless, and that is evident since classical music lives until now..

I wish i could say the same about synth music. Every synth music style is closely linked to the era it was produced, that's why after some years it sounds dated.

As for example the 80s synth sound..

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That's an incorrect generalization.

Generalization that is based on facts!

have you seen any film today that uses a synth piece of 70s or 80s for underscore? (unless this film is about that era).

But, classical music pieces are still being used!

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That's an incorrect generalization.

Generalization that is based on facts!

have you seen any film today that uses a synth piece of 70s or 80s for underscore? (unless this film is about that era).

But, classical music pieces are still being used!

What about classical groups that play on period instruments? Is that music still timeless even though the instruments being used are tied to a particular time?

Synths change, and their sound ties them to a certain period, but that, to me, doesn't impede timelessness of the actual music any more than hearing Bach on period instruments impedes the timelessness of that music.

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have you seen any film today that uses a synth piece of 70s or 80s for underscore? (unless this film is about that era).

DRIVE used ersatz 80s synthpop/itallodisco, and DJANGO UNCHAINED had Jerry Goldsmith's 'Nicaragua' from UNDER FIRE, which is heavily synth driven. There are many more examples, I'm sure.

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While I agree about this talented forum composer you speak of, I have seen a proneness, even there, to attitudes that seem musically unhealthy - at least to me.

Ah come on, edit? Not fair!

He's getting better as he ages!

And look I'm trying to be nice!

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I know. It's easy to get edgy on here and forget that you're dealing with actual people and not just thinking avatars.

But fuck if they don't deserve it sometimes.

I've gone a bit rogue on here lately. It's pretty bad. I have no discipline in this place, I'm like a rabid, very opinionated dog.

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Those who are not talented enough to write like John Williams, end up writing like Brian Eno. I'm sure he'll eventually get over it.

Woww....

So I take it you write like Eno?

y6W8w1t.gif

No. What I meant is, if Brian had better compositional chops, he perhaps would've taken the path of a more of a traditional composer and written music on Williams' level. I don't want to be disresepctful to "minimalists", but most of them that I met throughout college and my professional life (including some rather well known ones) were in that genre mostly because they simply weren't good enough at things like traditional harmony, orchestration, voice leading, etc. It's just way more difficult to learn and master.

Don't get me wrong, there's some really cool stuff to miminalist music, including a lot by Eno. But his comment is ridiculous, even in passing. It sounds like sour grapes to me. Or maybe it's ignorance, which would be shocking for someone of Eno's age and experience. I hope it's just jealousy. If it's not, my respect for him just dropped about twenty notches. It's okay though, I don't think I've listened to Music For Airports in like 20 years.

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That's the most outrageous post yet in this thread.

The notion that the type of music a person writes is related to their "chops" is laughable, as is the conclusion that better chops = "traditional" style. It just smacks of the breed of musical elitism that I'd hoped in recent years was on its way to a deep, deep grave. And please, tell us about these rather well known minimalists that you've met who aren't good at things like traditional harmony and voice leading - you know, the cornerstones of minimalism.

Sour grapes? Ignorance? Jealousy? What do you think about my explanation, that he sees Williams' artistic approach as a direct opposite of his own, and that his comment is in fact not rooted in some deficiency in his persona?

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That's the most outrageous post yet in this thread.

The notion that the type of music a person writes is related to their "chops" is laughable, as is the conclusion that better chops = "traditional" style. It just smacks of the breed of musical elitism that I'd hoped in recent years was on its way to a deep, deep grave. And please, tell us about these rather well known minimalists that you've met who aren't good at things like traditional harmony and voice leading - you know, the cornerstones of minimalism.

Sour grapes? Ignorance? Jealousy? What do you think about my explanation, that he sees Williams' artistic approach as a direct opposite of his own, and that his comment is in fact not rooted in some deficiency in his persona?

Quoted so you can't edit this post.

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Those who are not talented enough to write like John Williams, end up writing like Brian Eno. I'm sure he'll eventually get over it.

Woww....

So I take it you write like Eno?y6W8w1t.gif

No. What I meant is, if Brian had better compositional chops, he perhaps would've taken the path of a more of a traditional composer and written music on Williams' level. I don't want to be disresepctful to "minimalists", but most of them that I met throughout college and my professional life (including some rather well known ones) were in that genre mostly because they simply weren't good enough at things like traditional harmony, orchestration, voice leading, etc. It's just way more difficult to learn and master.

Don't get me wrong, there's some really cool stuff to miminalist music, including a lot by Eno. But his comment is ridiculous, even in passing. It sounds like sour grapes to me. Or maybe it's ignorance, which would be shocking for someone of Eno's age and experience. I hope it's just jealousy. If it's not, my respect for him just dropped about twenty notches. It's okay though, I don't think I've listened to Music For Airports in like 20 years.

Sorry but it sounds like you lack the aesthetic sensibilities to write minimal music. It doesn't sound like you have what it takes.

Saying more with less is an incredibly difficult thing to do. That's probably why you are a fan of the easy way out.

It's like giving someone $500 million and asking them to build a skyscraper and giving someone else $1 million and asking them to do the same, I think it's obvious the guy who does the same task with less is superior.

We find this pattern in writing...it's easy to tell a story with all the words you like. Much harder to do it in fewer words. It's easier to model 3D characters with millions of polygons than it is with 300,000. One takes skill and efficiency, the other requires no such skill or thought because you can just keep adding what you need to get to what you want.

There's something to be said for less is more.

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That's the most outrageous post yet in this thread.

The notion that the type of music a person writes is related to their "chops" is laughable, as is the conclusion that better chops = "traditional" style. It just smacks of the breed of musical elitism that I'd hoped in recent years was on its way to a deep, deep grave. And please, tell us about these rather well known minimalists that you've met who aren't good at things like traditional harmony and voice leading - you know, the cornerstones of minimalism.

Sour grapes? Ignorance? Jealousy? What do you think about my explanation, that he sees Williams' artistic approach as a direct opposite of his own, and that his comment is in fact not rooted in some deficiency in his persona?

Sorry, didn't mean to be "outrageous". :-) But I do believe in what I said, about the chops. It's not elitism. It's just knowing what takes enormous skill, and what doesn't. There's nothing wrong with Eno's music, it possesses some great moments, really cool atmospheres, sonic colors etc and I can enjoy it for what it is. But the technical chops required to write it is WAY below what is demanded in Williams' music. I mean it's not even close. It's funny you say "elitism" because Eno in that clip comes across as pretty darn elitist, while Williams has always publicly shown the highest regard for even the most questionable talents, graciously giving really nice compliments to extremely inferior composers, just to be nice.

But back to the point, okay he probably did choose his style because he liked it and not because he tried/failed at symphonic composing. But from my experience, most of the minimalist composers I've met entered that genre because it was easier to learn, master, and (hopefully this won't sound offensive) "fake" their way through. Eno's very good at what he does, but generally speaking you can fake your way through an ambient album. You can't fake your way writing for a 70 piece orchestra, especially with Williams' musical language.

Again not trying to be "outrageous", but when I hear someone of Eno's expertise say that Williams has "ruined many great films", that'll get a rise out of people. After all, this is a John Williams site.

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That was my intention - and to see if I couldn't talk some sense into those who presented goofy opinions.

I'm curious if you'll respond to Blume's post. If you do, you might be tempted to argue that "less is more" only applies if there is actually worthwhile content in that "less", and that Eno/the proverbial "minimalists" are unable to do that. I'll then remind you that there are many, many people whose experience with such music proves you wrong.

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I can't recall where it was but I'm sure many remember it so I don't have to actually cite it - Williams himself, among most other composers, seems to feel that melodic writing, which is simple, straightforward, and similar in scope to minimalism in general, is the hardest mode in which to compose.

To create sprawling tapestries of complex harmonies and rhythms and textures is a cakewalk: you're closer to the "edges" of musical expression there, and so you are in a way the tour guide for the listener, guiding them wherever you want through new and unexplored realms. But when you move back into simpler, known territory, suddenly there are expectations, and people understand the language much more. You have to think much, much harder to say something in that realm that resonates, that has meaning. Because you're not inventing the meaning. Things are already defined.

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Minimalism CAN be an easy way out, just as traditional western orchestral can be. WE've all heard enough proof of that. But if you heard, to stay on topic, a piece like KOYAANISQATSI in a 1983-movie, it must have felt like a dream, like someone found the key to a whole new mode of musical expression. Now all this is fleeting, of course, when THE HOURS or KUNDUN rolled around we all knew Glass' shtick but in small doses it's still brilliant (and hard to achieve in this acuteness), as is some Nyman stuff (at least as film composers go).

The only thing that still bugs me about Eno's comment (whom i don't think plays in the same league as the gentlemen mentioned above) is that he insinuates Williams is a hack who can't do anything besides his neo-romantic shtick wen he should know that filmmaking is a team effort and that Williams, on occasion, writes very differently, more sparse, less broad. So he should have said 'Spielberg/Williams' because that's what he meant, really. And i agree with the posters who don't buy that as off-the-cuff moment. You just don't say such a thing if you are a rather public person, i mean even i have learned to bite my tongue in much-less publicized public moments.

Why i wrote this i don't know, maybe because i find the incredible idiocy of some people indeed outrageous - you know who you are - who just can't let this slide without denouncing whole creative artforms as rubbish. It has always been like this but i honestly don't know why.

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On top of everything that's been said, I think what might create the best sting for Eric's dismissal of minimalism is to point out the fact that John Williams himself veered towards more minimalistic techniques with the 00s.

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Close Encounters might be the single biggest accomplishment in Williams' career and a landmark in movie scoring that even most of his detractors acknowledge. It's also one of those scores that can easily rival best concert pieces of 20th Century. Not sure if Eno, with all his big talent, can get up there.

Karol

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