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The Force Awakens ALBUM Discussion (No Film Spoilers)

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Although I think it should go to another thread with "celebrities talking about Williams" or something similar I will post it here because it fits perfectly.

What Conrad Pope thinks about the OST? Find out!

https://www.facebook.com/conrad.pope/posts/10207505550589853?pnref=story

The Pope seems to be slightly overreacting, these days, considering his seemingly endless praise for the likes of Williams and blatant dismissal of anyone not quite fitting into that category of composers.

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6 hours ago, Alexander said:

Although I think it should go to another thread with "celebrities talking about Williams" or something similar I will post it here because it fits perfectly.
 
What Conrad Pope thinks about the OST? Find out!
 
https://www.facebook.com/conrad.pope/posts/10207505550589853?pnref=story


The Pope seems to be slightly overreacting, these days, considering his seemingly endless praise for the likes of Williams and blatant dismissal of anyone not quite fitting into that category of composers.

 

Well, then he's no different than most JWFANers!

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I've seen quite a few people complaining about the recording sound being too dry as compared to the ones from the prequels, saying they prefer those recordings in terms of sound quality. Am I the only one who thinks otherwise? I prefer much more TFA in terms of mastering and sound quality. The prequels sound way too wet for my taste, especially when it comes to film music. I find TFA sound quality just superb, way better than the prequels, and also warmer and more organic. In my opinion Shawn Murphy took a step forward and not back in terms of sound engineering for this one. I'm referring to the CD album. I don't know about hi-res flac album.

 

Just my thought.

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I think the SOUND of the TFA OST is spectacular!  It was recorded, mixed, and mastered very well.  I can hear every instrument and nothing is ever muddled.

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2 minutes ago, McAwesome said:

I've seen quite a few people complaining about the recording sound being too dry as compared to the ones from the prequels, saying they prefer those recordings in terms of sound quality. Am I the only one who thinks otherwise? I prefer much more TFA in terms of mastering and sound quality. The prequels sound way too wet for my taste, especially when it comes to film music. I find TFA sound quality just superb, way better than the prequels, and also warmer and more organic. In my opinion Shawn Murphy took a step forward and not back in terms of sound engineering for this one. I'm speaking for the CD edition. I don't know about hi-res flac edition.

 

Just my thought.

People here seem to unanimously like it.  It's one of the best sounding scores of recent years IMO.

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Between this OST and the Mission Impossible 5 OST, we've had a great come-back of well-recorded orchestral scores after a lot of muddled ones in recent years (Hobbit 3 and all the Wallin-Giacchino scores come to mind)

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9 minutes ago, McAwesome said:

I've seen quite a few people complaining about the recording sound being too dry as compared to the ones from the prequels, saying they prefer those recordings in terms of sound quality. Am I the only one who thinks otherwise? I like it much more how TFA sounds. The prequels sound way too wet for my taste, especially when it comes to film music. I find TFA sound quality just superb, way better than the prequels, and also warmer and more organic. In my opinion Shawn Murphy took a step forward and not back in terms of sound engineering for this one. I'm speaking for the CD edition. I don't know about hi-res flac edition.

 

Just my thought.

 

I was only slightly put off the Main Titles at the beginning, but now I think it's just as good as the Main Titles in the prequel recordings, just with a different mixing 'spin' put on it (in particular, the trumpets are quite brash here). As for the rest of the album, it's perfect. Not only is the sound quality and performance of the orchestra impeccable, but the album flows really well, almost as if it was one extended symphonic movement.

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Yeah, many of the Giacchino scores are at odds with TFA sound quality-wise

 

Spoiler

and then some :P

 

7 minutes ago, loert423 said:

 

I was only slightly put off the Main Titles at the beginning, but now I think it's just as good as the Main Titles in the prequel recordings, just with a different mixing 'spin' put on it (in particular, the trumpets are quite brash here). As for the rest of the album, it's perfect. Not only is the sound quality and performance of the orchestra impeccable, but the album flows really well, almost as if it was one extended symphonic movement.

 

I totally concur. Didn't miss LSO for one second.

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8 hours ago, Alexander said:

The Pope seems to be slightly overreacting, these days, considering his seemingly endless praise for the likes of Williams and blatant dismissal of anyone not quite fitting into that category of composers.

 

When it comes to Williams or Desplat, Pope's enthusiasm is boundless, sometimes amusingly so. It's to be expected.

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Um, guys?

I'm listening to the OST now for the first time since seeing the film, and I'm LOVING IT more than ever.

 

There's such a grand, sweeping feel to stuff like "The Abduction" that I just love!  And man, does that Force Theme statement in the beginning of "The Ways Of The Force" kick ass!  I can't believe JJ thought it was better to re-use Burning Homestead instead of this music!

 

March of the Resistance.... love that track more than ever.  This is a classic Williams theme, and a classic Williams concert arrangement!

 

The new versions of Rebel Fanfare all sound great, too.


There's a lot to love in this score!

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1 hour ago, McAwesome said:

I've seen quite a few people complaining about the recording sound being too dry as compared to the ones from the prequels, saying they prefer those recordings in terms of sound quality. Am I the only one who thinks otherwise? I prefer much more TFA in terms of mastering and sound quality. The prequels sound way too wet for my taste, especially when it comes to film music. I find TFA sound quality just superb, way better than the prequels, and also warmer and more organic. In my opinion Shawn Murphy took a step forward and not back in terms of sound engineering for this one. I'm referring to the CD album. I don't know about hi-res flac album.

 

Just my thought.

 

While I prefer the performance of the LSO - personal tastes, mind you, the LA players are amazing and did an A+ job, theres simply a different style between the two and I prefer the other - I have to admit that this is the best sounding Star Wars score recorded by Johnny so far. The details are incredible.

 

That reminds me: Does anyone here know the principal trumpet on this Episode VII score?

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53 minutes ago, Jay said:

Um, guys?

I'm listening to the OST now for the first time since seeing the film, and I'm LOVING IT more than ever.

 

There's such a grand, sweeping feel to stuff like "The Abduction" that I just love!  And man, does that Force Theme statement in the beginning of "The Ways Of The Force" kick ass!  I can't believe JJ thought it was better to re-use Burning Homestead instead of this music!

 

March of the Resistance.... love that track more than ever.  This is a classic Williams theme, and a classic Williams concert arrangement!

 

The new versions of Rebel Fanfare all sound great, too.


There's a lot to love in this score!

 

It is simply stunning!

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53 minutes ago, Jay said:

Um, guys?

I'm listening to the OST now for the first time since seeing the film, and I'm LOVING IT more than ever.

 

There's such a grand, sweeping feel to stuff like "The Abduction" that I just love!  And man, does that Force Theme statement in the beginning of "The Ways Of The Force" kick ass!  I can't believe JJ thought it was better to re-use Burning Homestead instead of this music!

 

March of the Resistance.... love that track more than ever.  This is a classic Williams theme, and a classic Williams concert arrangement!

 

The new versions of Rebel Fanfare all sound great, too.


There's a lot to love in this score!

 

After your "meh" reaction to the score in film the other day, this is reassuring. ;)

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My first viewing of the film, I was taking in the film itself - the plot, the characters, the atmosphere, everything.  I was not sitting there intently listening to the music, because in doing so I wouldn't be focusing on what the film was doing.

 

Of course, there are plenty of times when watching a film that you cannot help but notice the score.  However, for me, the score in the film didn't offer any stand-out moments that made me really notice the score.  It was much more "in the background" than the previous Star Wars scores.

 

In fact, the times it did stand out were usually when something was "off"... for example, there was some really busy writing in a few spots early on, when not much was happening on the screen (like it was just showing some ships flying away, but the music was going a mile a minute), or like the Burning Homestead quote.

 

Anyways, on album the music is great!

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23 minutes ago, Jay said:

My first viewing of the film, I was taking in the film itself - the plot, the characters, the atmosphere, everything.  I was not sitting there intently listening to the music, because in doing so I wouldn't be focusing on what the film was doing.

 

Of course, there are plenty of times when watching a film that you cannot help but notice the score.  However, for me, the score in the film didn't offer any stand-out moments that made me really notice the score.  It was much more "in the background" than the previous Star Wars scores.

 

In fact, the times it did stand out were usually when something was "off"... for example, there was some really busy writing in a few spots early on, when not much was happening on the screen (like it was just showing some ships flying away, but the music was going a mile a minute), or like the Burning Homestead quote.

 

Anyways, on album the music is great!

 

I was pretty surprised by how much the score stood out to me in first viewing, considering the comments of many here as well as those of Star Wars fans.  Admittedly, I had heard the album quite a few times at that point, but it seemed one of the standout elements of the film, either way, even if it is perhaps the most conservative SW score.  The moments featuring Rey's theme, the March, or Scherzo were all standout.  Even my brother, who doesn't listen to film scores, occasionally nudged my elbow to indicate he was particularly digging the score.

 

But my experience seems to be the minority...

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The almost fully chronological order of the album surprised me too but it really enhances the listening experience in regards to the development of Rey' theme, and I think JW knew this. Placing a cue like The Ways of The Force near the beginning of the album would have spoiled the journey her theme goes on.

 

I can't think of any other score in recent memory, JW or otherwise, where so many people went from "meh" to "it is great!" (myself included).

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I'm a little surprised at the relative lack of love this score seems to be getting.  It's instantly connected with me in a way the Prequel scores, and The Hobbit scores, haven't.  As someone who has spent a fair amount of time lurking this board, I think many of you are better than I am at separating the music from film itself. I've found that, no matter how much I may be able to appreciate a score on its own merits, there's a limit to how much I'll revisit the music if I haven't connected to the film on a certain level (as I have with this film).

 

Is there any word on an expanded edition?

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It's definitely growing in esteem on here, but perhaps that's par for the course now that the first impressions are over with and we're actually digging into it. Maybe soon enough we'll uncover all it has to give and it'll fall off again within a year. I doubt it, but who knows.

 

A lot of the stuff I'm reading online just compares it to the originals and especially the prequels, wishing there was more epic music and choir, wishing for a recording and performance that sounded more like those. Even on here, or maybe especially on here, people went to each track looking for something in particular. I did too. It's hard to be open-minded about a Star Wars soundtrack. "It sounds smaller" seems to be the prevailing criticism everywhere. People are underwhelmed.

 

But it's kind of shocking how it's become such a common thread for people to say their thoughts are improving on it, and exponentially so. I don't mean to pick on Jay at all but it's amazing how March of the Resistance went from "Definitely one of my least favorite tracks on the album" to "This is a classic Williams theme, and a classic Williams concert arrangement!" in like, what, five days? I only mention that because I too thought it was a slight mess of a track at first with not much of a real tune going on there and not much fun to follow along. I thought I wouldn't care to listen to it much...but then I listened again, and then again, and suddenly it opened up. It was like I was hearing the melody for the first time. I found it weirdly inaccessible on the very first listen but now I think it's just fantastic.

 

I dunno what's going on with that, if anything. I feel like there's something there to analyze. I do think Williams made some choices -- lighter propulsive action music, softer in emotion and thematic development, greater emphasis on rhythm than melody all-around -- that took some getting used to for us all who expect the highlights of a Star Wars soundtrack to be a certain way. But the themes are there, both anthemic and emotional. There are central and secondary motifs as well which we are all still organizing and that will only refine further after the film's home release. The energy is there. The careful integration of old material is there (though occasionally head-scratching...as usual!). Repetition, variety, the big moments, the old similarities. The control of his art is all there. It feels the same but different. He brought many new and unexpected colors, not merely in instrumentation but in the overall approach too. In some respects John Williams wrote a different kind of Star Wars score than we've heard previously.

 

And I love him for it.

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Hey, I liked the March from the beginning.  The score is different, but it is also distinctive.  And the soundtrack album meshes together remarkably well.  I hope John's "renewed vitality and energy"  will be felt in upcoming scores and concert works. 

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18 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

There's something very tricky about it both melodically and rhythmically that I think is throwing people off. Throw in the fugal structure and it's like, ehh, what the hell is this?

 

But once you figure it out it's like, holy shit this is so much fun.

 

I think Quintus was the first to appreciate it's qualities.

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It's a great score, guys. It caught many of us (including myself) by surprise from many points of view at the first listen, but it is now clear to me that it is a masterpiece. There is gold even in the FYC tracks that were not released on the CD. This has definitely been the most unusual JW experience for me. I am now entering the "enthusiast" phase.

 

What do you think about the "Starkiller" cue? I think it's gorgeous and its central part with only middle and high - register strings, combined with the movie scene that it underscores, is one of the most moving combinations of movie and music that I have seen in the last decade. It's much better than the cue underscoring the destruction of Alderaan in Star Wars, and I find it much more effective than "Lament" from ROTS, to mention two cues which have a similar topic or mood. 

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1 hour ago, mrbellamy said:

He brought many new and unexpected colors, not merely in instrumentation but in the overall approach too. In some respects John Williams wrote a different kind of Star Wars score than we've heard previously.

 

And I love him for it.

 

Yeah me too. I was a bit tired of the prequels sound (not episode 1, which I musically love in its majority, but episode 2 and 3, apart from Across the stars and Battle of the Heroes). For me, the scores for episode 2 and 3 sound so....soulless, as if the Maestro had to write to a green screen... Oh, wait! The acting, the script... everything in the prequels is so lifeless, fake, cold, aseptic, charmless, uninspired... that I guess it was inevitable that part of that mess translated into the score. But now it's different. I knew episode VII would be all that the prequels weren't by just listening to TFA album for the first time, I can tell you that. It overflows soul, charisma and warmth as compared to the prequels.

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58 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

He brought many new and unexpected colors, not merely in instrumentation but in the overall approach too. In some respects John Williams wrote a different kind of Star Wars score than we've heard previously.

 

And I love him for it.

 

He did the same for each of the prequels, though many JWFanners here seem keen on denying it. But the fact is he's been bringing a different spirit to each of the last couple of SW films. TFA is no exception. 

 

Just another reason to love him for it ;)

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7 minutes ago, KK. said:

 

He did the same for each of the prequels, though many JWFanners here seem keen on denying it. But the fact is he's been bringing a different spirit to each of the last couple of SW films. TFA is no exception. 

 

Just another reason to love him for it ;)

 

Yes, exactly! I think the difference is that the prequels still had those BIG moments of a full orchestra blasting out a huge new theme with spectacular imagery, especially related to a battle.

 

In TFA, arguably THE standout musical moment is a solo flute accompanying a girl walking up some steps. I think a lot of fans don't know what to do with that.

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Indeed, which reflects the interest of the composer I think. At this stage of his career, Williams is more interested in scoring the intimate rather than the sweeping and the big, and that can be heard all over in the layered pastoral approach to much of this score. It has a lot of heart.

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