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SCORE: Black Gold (James Horner)


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I've been listening to this score all day for the past 2 days. I absolutely love this epic!

Here is a review I wrote:


Criticism and commentary are welcomed! Thanks for reading!

- KK

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Thanks Donna, appreciate it. It really is a great score though! Make sure you give it a bunch of re-runs and you will fall in love with it. Horner is truly the best with big ethnic dramas.

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I don't have it, yet!

I thought it was out in France only.

Sure. Horner has certainly proven that he is the King of modern dramatic ethnic scores. I believe "ethnic" is very tough - to do it right, if you do not want to do the obvious thing - like duduk and pan pipes, you know? - which are so clicheed it's hard to take. I mean, I come from Ireland, so let's play the tin whistle to characterize me, okay?

Horner can handle ethnic - even for the more cynical ear.

It sometimes bothers me that this doesn't get much recognition, though. People just ignore scores like "Four Feathers", "Beyond Borders", or "The Missing", just to mention three out of many. Is it our modern life? Do these genius achievements all too often fall by the wayside?

I mean, almost 20 years ago, Jerry Goldsmith (who certainly is not my generation) went ethno and produced something like "Under Fire". Everybody obviously agreed it's a classic, and although some people complained the soundtrack was ethnically wrong, there was recognition at least, and it was properly discussed!

Nowadays, a score like "Beyond Borders" gets released, falls out of print soon, and people seem not only not to take notice of it - it just gets NO MENTION AT ALL. Just because the film is not what you'd call "classic material" (but not so bad, by the way).

I mean, listen to "Beyond Borders" - that's Horner doing ethnic JUST RIGHT!

And not only that, he also experiments with modern sounds on a higher, almost avantgarde level (producing some disturbing and incredibly intense soundscapes that make you sit up in your chair), while still keeping the super-difficult balance between ethnic and synths - plus adding some wonderful, classic harmonic Horner moments, in the style of "Brainstorm". And the whole mixture just BLENDS effortlessly.

If ethnic is done wrong, nothing comes together.

What I try to say is, you can have different opinions about some important piece of music. For you, it may be a masterpiece. Others may dislike the venturesome approach it takes, or find it even clicheed. But there should be no denial: This piece of music is so strong that it almost provokes you to discuss it, if you like it or not. Because even people who don't like it, don't like it vehemently. Because, on a subconscious level, even they accept that it must be an important, strong piece of music, which is here to stay - if they like it or not.

But nobody EVER mentions this score. Or Horner's ethnic scores in general. And that makes me kinda sad.

Looking forward to "Black Gold".


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