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Everything posted by Datameister

  1. Listening to Beneath the Planet of the Apes right now, for only the second time. Forgot how much I liked it.
  2. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac had some good material to work with in TFA, I thought. I'm gonna make myself very unpopular here, but this thread makes me think of the LOTR films. I enjoy them, but boy, Jackson's proclivity for slow-mo melodrama never fails to take me out of the experience.
  3. I can't imagine where we'll be in 20 years. As always, I'm sure popular music will influence music written to support other entertainment products. I think reality will probably end up being both stranger and more familiar than many of the predictions we could make. The future seems to go that way. The things we assume will change don't always do so, and the things we take for granted as stable and enduring often aren't. Look at us in the year 2020, still driving earthbound, gas-guzzling cars as we carry the collective knowledge of all humanity in our pockets.
  4. Most definitely created to meld with the underlying score, which wasn't written to that cut of the scene. I'm guessing this was just doodled into a keyboard for the extended version.
  5. Musically, what I get from the first film about the dinosaurs is that carnivores are scary and dangerous while herbivores are noble and beautiful. (Nothing wrong with that!) But TLW feels different. The new four-note motif is haunting and a little ambiguous. It's used for carnivores and herbivores. For me, it hints at a more naturalistic interpretation of the dinosaurs. It's about the dinosaurs as they actually are, not as humans perceive and react to them. As Grant says I'm the first film, they just "do what they do." This would have been especially driven home by the final moments before the credits, had they not been replaced by the much more bombastic island fanfare. To be clear, I'm not denigrating the first score. I probably still prefer it over TLW, and I have plenty of love for TLW. I just find the difference in musical perspective to be stark - and fascinating.
  6. Oof, this is a tough one for me. Both scores initially disappointed me by being so different from their predecessors, and both are now among my favorites for the same reason. I definitely listen to TLW more often. TOD is so hyper that I'm not always in the mood, whereas TLW (in complete form) has really high re-listenability for me. Of course, in terms of themes, TOD wins hands-down; themes are simply beside the point for most of TLW. What TLW does offer is a musical journey quite unlike anything else in Williams' career. TOD is a clever, fast-paced ballet through soundscapes both delightful and hellish. TLW is a moody jungle of a score that somehow feels like it's saying something profound about the dinosaurs, and it's certainly the "grooviest" Williams score I've heard. Today I'll give it to TLW. Ask me tomorrow and it could go the other way.
  7. I didn't think we needed more focus on Rey - I just thought it was bizarre that they changed her central drive/question. In TFA, she wasn't wondering who her family was...she was just waiting for them to return. Suddenly in TLJ she's obsessed with this question of who her parents were. I think either way would have been valid, but having both feels like a contradiction. (I do miss the interaction between her and Finn, but I don't really hold that against the film. Hell, how many scenes do Luke and Han get together in Empire? Two?) As far as Luke goes, I totally agree, and I'm baffled by the hatred with regard to his role in the film specifically. (Other than the "tossing the saber" moment, that is, which just didn't work tonally for me. I would have preferred that he simply dropped it at his feet and walked away, or at least thrown the saber in a less comedic manner.) But Luke's arc makes perfect sense to me and I think it's Mark Hamill's best performance as the character by far. For Finn, the thing is...he isn't a deserter at the end of TFA. I mean, yes, he's a deserter from the First Order perspective, but certainly not from the Resistance. He practically gives his life in battle after already having his come-to-Jesus moment on Takodana. It felt to me like a vague rewind and retread to see him go through the same sort of arc in TLJ. The best argument I've heard in favor of that approach was that Johnson was trying to show him progressing from fighting just to protect Rey to truly fighting for the cause of the Resistance. That works for me in theory...I just think it's handled a little clumsily, particularly because I don't think TFA really sets up that storyline very well. No problems with Phasma here, either. The Boba Fett analogy is perfectly apt. I do rather like the deleted alternate version of the scene, but the version in the final cut is good too.
  8. I actually agree quite strongly about all the positive attributes you bring up here, and I can think of others as well. (I find Smoke soooooo much more interesting here than in TFA, for instance.) I do still think there are some counterproductive and frustrating choices in the storytelling (many of them more micro than macro), and I certainly don't think its handling of Rey or Finn feels like an organic continuation of their arcs from TFA. But there's still a lot to enjoy and appreciate, and the film has continually grown on me.
  9. For me, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. TFA is a fun and nostalgic remake disguised as a sequel. TLJ is an interesting, ambitious departure that largely ignores its predecessor and has odd flaws around every turn. TROS ignores both of its predecessors but starts off really strong before completely and permanently falling apart right around the time Hux reveals himself as the spy. Together, they add up to something less than the sum of the parts. Disappointing. The other two trilogies have their own flaws, but each one does feel like a relatively cohesive chunk of storytelling. But yes, getting some delightful Williams material out of it does sweeten the deal considerably. Anyway, I don't know what to make of the rumors going around. I hold no ill will toward Kathleen Kennedy but won't be that surprised if the company starts quietly distancing themselves from this era of Star Wars. The Mandalorian has demonstrated that even Star Wars fans can agree on liking something if it's done well enough.
  10. Williams' sketches and scores don't normally use any sort of chord notation unless it's idiomatic for the music being written - if there's guitar in the score, for instance, you can bet there will be chords written in. Nothing fancy, just the normal sorts of chord notations you'd find in any lead sheet. But for traditional orchestral scoring, no, there usually isn't a need to write in the chord symbols...and as you've noticed, it can be quite difficult to describe some of his harmonies this way anyhow.
  11. There's certainly a much greater presence of electronics than in ROTLA (very minimal) or TOD (can't think of any at all). Gives a different flavor. Compositionally he went in a different direction overall. That was part of my reasoning for recommending direct comparisons just with the Raiders March - good way to isolate just the differences in performance and recording, as opposed to composition and orchestration.
  12. Oh wow, I didn't realize there was a good handful that Wallin did. Of those, The Cowboys is the only one I'm familiar with, but it sounds pretty good to me, especially for the early 70s. Then again, I don't have an LSO recording of the same material for comparison.
  13. Very well said. It's definitely most noticeable when you're jumping between scores. The FSM release of TWOK is a huge improvement over the OST in terms of sound quality, and that was over a decade ago now (how is that possible?! ), so I wouldn't be surprised if similar improvements would be possible with TLC in the right hands. The funny thing is that Dan apparently chose these recording methods very intentionally because he liked the sound better than the alternatives, and then of course other industry professionals chose to work with him countless times over his long and successful career. So obviously our preferences are not shared by everyone. Does Stanley and Iris have a similar sound? It's the only other Williams/Wallin collaboration, right? I'm not familiar with it.
  14. The best way to compare the sounds of the recordings is to listen to the end credits, since they all share significant stretches of the Raiders March that are identical on paper - but certainly not on album. Based on those comparisons, these are the differences I hear between it and its two predecessors: A dryer mix overall, meaning the reverb (from the original recording and/or artificially introduced) is quieter. The reverb is qualitatively different as well, though I'd have a really tough time describing the difference in words. Probably a smaller orchestra, as Jay said. The stereo field is narrow. In terms of EQ, the sound is not nearly as bright. The trumpets are mixed dead center, extremely narrow, and fairly quiet...and they have a peculiar distant sound to them. I don't know enough about mics and recording techniques to be able to give a particularly nuanced analysis, but if I were to hazard a quasi-uneducated guess, the trumpets were miked a lot closer on TOD and even closer on ROTLA. There are probably other factors I'm not aware of, including type, placement, and number of mics, and that of course applies to the entire orchestra, not just the trumpets. It is much harder to pick out individual voices in the more thickly orchestrated sections. Some of this probably comes from the aforementioned narrow stereo field, but even taking that into account, there's a general muddiness to the sound where a lot of instruments are just mingling in the same frequency ranges. Whatever they did with ROTLA and TOD got a lot more separation between the instruments without sacrificing the blend of the ensemble as a whole. In terms of performance, ROTLA has a certain wildness to its sound, especially in the trumpets. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Whatever Maurice Murphy was on during these recording sessions...well, I wouldn't want the trumpets to be on it for every orchestral recording, but I sure get a kick out of it with ROTLA. To me, TOD's performance (if not the writing!) isn't quite as over-the-top, ballsy, and energetic, but it still packs a wallop. TLC by comparison just feels a little anemic, like the orchestra's (again, especially the trumpets') heart just wasn't in it so much. The dynamic range feels a bit wider in the other two scores. I could be imagining or exaggerating the difference, but one spot that particularly jumps out for me is the reentry of the trumpets toward the end of the credits. In the first two scores, the preceding passage with the horns on the B theme is allowed to really build in a fun, optimistic crescendo, followed by the rather explosive return of the trumpets. In TOD, their reappearance really doesn't stand out at all for me. Bottom line, ROTLA sounds very Eric Tomlinson, TOD sounds very Bruce Botnick, and TLC sounds very Dan Wallin. I think there are some objective differences in the sounds of these scores. Whether those differences are good, bad, neutral, or unnoticeable is totally subjective and will vary from listener to listener. Personally, I think TLC would still be my least favorite of the three original Indy scores if it were recorded more like its brethren...but the margin would be significantly narrower.
  15. All are amazing. I voted for the Star Wars OT.
  16. He used a Moviola back in the day...no idea what he uses now.
  17. Oh, Star Wars, easily. And that's saying something, considering how much I enjoy SS and POA - and even COS, for what it is.
  18. I disagree with your feelings on Desert Chase, but I 100% share your love for those other excellent pieces!
  19. Desert Chase, easy. TOD is the runner-up for me - other than Hook, I haven't found its equal in Williams' work in terms of over-the-top, super-energetic climactic action sequences. But I still prefer the rather leaner, more focused Desert Chase, which still packs quite a wallop. The intensity is allowed to build in a way that TOD never manages. TLC is a little anemic by comparison. There's still great stuff in there but I would never put it in anywhere near the same league as Desert Chase. Jungle Chase features some of my favorite writing in KOTCS. That ostinato he brings in toward the end has a classic Williams vibe that I enjoy, and that's otherwise in pretty short supply in this score. But again, it's just not enough to rival Desert Chase, which never fails to dazzle me.
  20. I would have expected a noticeable correlation, but looking at the current distribution of votes, I'm surprised at just how strong the correlation is. I think something about these scores makes our enjoyment of them particularly dependent on nostalgia.
  21. Potter for me. Neither score is perfect. SS suffers from Hedwig's theme temp love in the first act; Hook is so saccharine that it can make my teeth hurt if I'm in the wrong mood. Both scores (Hook in particular) are a bit exhausting to get through, and both draw pretty heavily from past works within and without Williams' oeuvre. All that being said, I loooooove both scores. There's a TOD-like level of brash, allusive inventiveness in Hook. SS is a little more refined but no less thrilling, bursting at the seams with some of my favorite Williams melodies. If I want to hear JW in dazzling swashbuckler mode, Hook is the obvious choice. If I want to remember what it was like to be a scrawny, bespectacled 12-year-old with messy black hair, a big imagination, and a growing obsession with film music, SS is always there to take me back. That being the case, I'm well aware that nostalgia is playing a big role here, especially since I didn't really become familiar with Hook till I was older. But I have to give it to SS. No disrespect to Hook, which really is a fantastic score and a treasured part of my collection.
  22. It's a very interesting lens through which to view this theme, but I definitely agree with those who'd say it's simply associated with the ark, providing a different emotional color than the creepy doom and gloom of the main ark theme. Imagine that theme playing for the reveal of the medallion, or for the moment before the trip to Cairo, or for the swirling ghosts. It wouldn't communicate the right emotions; this other theme does. I think we can analyze it till the cows come home and I wouldn't denigrate anyone for it, but in terms of original intent, I doubt it was much more complicated than that.
  23. Film version for me. It's a somewhat rare case of "less is more" for me. That said, I do love the final chord of the album version. Very Halloween-y.
  24. The opening in the commercially available version is the alternate opening; the original just goes straight from the opening crescendo to the sparkling strings. You can hear that original beginning in the very first video featuring the piece. The material in the Rise video is different - I think it's part of Bill Ross's adaptations for the ride, like the rest of the music in the video. Either that or it's from Savi's. I'd have to do some YouTube comparisons to figure it out.
  25. ANH, ESB, and AOTC are all so stinking good, and I actually really like the TPM transition too. If I absolutely had to choose, though, I'd probably go with ANH.
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