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Thomas Newman's SPECTRE


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Correcting a typo with another typo! Bravo!

David Arnold had 11 years to play around with this world. In two different incarnation, no less. His scores might satisfy the nostalgic fans but I never felt like has gone anywhere but skin deep into

Thomas Newman is the closest we'll get to having John Williams score a Bond movie.

I've been listening to a couple of tracks here and there, and so far, I'm not as impressed as I somewhat hoped to be - I can forgive Tom the SKYFALL quotes, though, as I'm quite fond of the bits I've heard quoted so far (e.g. one of the sustained cymbal-ridden bits from the Istanbul chase sequence and the lift from the Moors sequence).

I suspect Mendes was equally as fond of those bits and temp-tracked the film with at least some of those. Either that, or Newman might have wanted to devote as much of his time as possible to BRIDGE OF SPIES.

-------------------------------

And, yes! Terrific indeed.

Nice samples (listened on my phone), but the number of callbacks to less interesting passages from Skyfall is a little disappointing. I was also hoping for more classic Newman brass chorales as in M's theme or Tennyson, or nice crunchy minor/major dissonances as in this terrific cue.

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Great review, but minor typos.

"Overall, all those examples form an interest[ing] contrast to a more unabashed romantic material from older films."

For the following sentence:

"Truth be told, it is the only version you’ll ever need, given how poorly received was an actual radio single."

I suggest "given how poorly received was the radio single was" as it flows better.

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Great review, but minor typos.

"Overall, all those examples form an interest[ing] contrast to a more unabashed romantic material from older films."

For the following sentence:

"Truth be told, it is the only version youll ever need, given how poorly received was an actual radio single."

I suggest "given how poorly received was the radio single was" as it flows better.

Thanks for suggestions. For things escape me sometimes. It's a struggle! ;)

Karol

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The action (and there's a lot of it) sounds like JNH (SALT) on steroids.

Salt? Really? I hear barely any of that in Snow Plane.

I'd say there are more than passing similarities. JNH probably got the Powell temp treatment and JNH-ed it and Newman's music somehow resembles the JNH example.

I think like in SKYFALL i enjoy the quieter moments more though this has more travelogue style material like 'L'Americain' and seems a bit more superficial. It's also a score you actually need some time to get into - a good thing - so all the knee-jerk Newman-sucks outcries are expected but pitiful as always.

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I like this score because it feels more consistent than Skyfall in what is trying to achieve and, yeah, because it isn't easy (as pub says). There is something for me to do as a listener amd that doesn't happen as often these days. Funnily enough, with all this aural departure and earnest tone, Newman is still extremely faithful to the original James Bond theme. I can't wait to hear how it works in the film.

Karol

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The action (and there's a lot of it) sounds like JNH (SALT) on steroids.

Salt? Really? I hear barely any of that in Snow Plane.

I'd say there are more than passing similarities. JNH probably got the Powell temp treatment and JNH-ed it and Newman's music somehow resembles the JNH example.

I know that cue pretty well (I think I have the typeset score somewhere) but while there's vague similarities in the modality, the Newman cue has many things that the JNH cue lacks. The beautifully chromatic Newman brass triads (as I wrote elsewhere, you could write a good Neo-Riemannian analysis on them, as the chromaticism is governed not by functional tonality or parallel motion but voice-leading principles), the much more economic application of music material and a greater sense of groove. You might hear Salt on steroids at 02:56, but I hear The Good German on a dozen double expressos.

Also, Salt's wet/muddy recording (Shawn Murphy and Joel Iwataki) clashes with my sensibilities.

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"Snow Plane" is indeed a great example of modern action scoring. I'm liking it a lot. He blends contemporary pulse-driven aesthetics with some ingenious harmonic language, as Sharky pointed out.

I'd be interested to see how Newman plans the recording of this kind of pieces. Do you guys think he does a lot of striping (i.e., recording groups in separate sessions)? Or does he record with the full ensemble just minus the electronic/synth pre-laids?

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I know that cue pretty well (I think I have the typeset score somewhere) but while there's vague similarities in the modality, the Newman cue has many things that the JNH cue lacks. The beautifully chromatic Newman brass triads (as I wrote elsewhere, you could write a good Neo-Riemannian analysis on them, as the chromaticism is governed not by functional tonality or parallel motion but voice-leading principles), the much more economic application of music material and a greater sense of groove. You might hear Salt on steroids at 02:56, but I hear The Good German on a dozen double expressos.

I hear music i don't particularly like to revisit often. The whole approach seems a bit coarse. And there's too much useless filler. The albums didn't do the two Newman Bonds any favours. Musically speaking...

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I know that cue pretty well (I think I have the typeset score somewhere) but while there's vague similarities in the modality, the Newman cue has many things that the JNH cue lacks. The beautifully chromatic Newman brass triads (as I wrote elsewhere, you could write a good Neo-Riemannian analysis on them, as the chromaticism is governed not by functional tonality or parallel motion but voice-leading principles), the much more economic application of music material and a greater sense of groove. You might hear Salt on steroids at 02:56, but I hear The Good German on a dozen double expressos.

I hear music i don't particularly like to revisit often. The whole approach seems a bit coarse.

Pearls before swine!

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I know that cue pretty well (I think I have the typeset score somewhere) but while there's vague similarities in the modality, the Newman cue has many things that the JNH cue lacks. The beautifully chromatic Newman brass triads (as I wrote elsewhere, you could write a good Neo-Riemannian analysis on them, as the chromaticism is governed not by functional tonality or parallel motion but voice-leading principles), the much more economic application of music material and a greater sense of groove. You might hear Salt on steroids at 02:56, but I hear The Good German on a dozen double expressos.

I hear music i don't particularly like to revisit often. The whole approach seems a bit coarse.

Pearls before swine!

I'd say more a peculiar love for what is essentially expensively produced blockbuster scoring á la Hollywood. This is not the fine gourmet meal you make it out to be.

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I know that cue pretty well (I think I have the typeset score somewhere) but while there's vague similarities in the modality, the Newman cue has many things that the JNH cue lacks. The beautifully chromatic Newman brass triads (as I wrote elsewhere, you could write a good Neo-Riemannian analysis on them, as the chromaticism is governed not by functional tonality or parallel motion but voice-leading principles), the much more economic application of music material and a greater sense of groove. You might hear Salt on steroids at 02:56, but I hear The Good German on a dozen double expressos.

I hear music i don't particularly like to revisit often. The whole approach seems a bit coarse.

Pearls before swine!

I'd say more a peculiar love for what is essentially expensively produced blockbuster scoring á la Hollywood. This is not the fine gourmet meal you make it out to be.

Deem it as you may, I hear something considerably more old fashioned and artful.

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"Snow Plane" is indeed a great example of modern action scoring. I'm liking it a lot. He blends contemporary pulse-driven aesthetics with some ingenious harmonic language, as Sharky pointed out.

I'd be interested to see how Newman plans the recording of this kind of pieces. Do you guys think he does a lot of striping (i.e., recording groups in separate sessions)? Or does he record with the full ensemble just minus the electronic/synth pre-laids?

What do you think of the rest, Maurizio? Yay, nay or meh?

Haven't got to listen to this yet but I like what I'm seeing here to describe it.

I reckon it's a good score. Not sure how good yet, though. Will need to see the film for that. But it sure ain't David Arnold.

Karol

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This is even better than I expected it to be, and easily becomes my favorite of 2015 so far. There are so many perfect moments, the action is actually compelling and interesting where I thought it would be the weak point, and there's soooo much delicious atmosphere and sensuality. I also really like the instrumental version of the song. I haven't heard the official version, so I'm pleasantly free of any bad associations. It's the first Bond song to feel really classically Bondian (as opposed to pastiche, or just something totally unrelated (You Know My Name came quite close though)) in a while, I think? A certain female voice would sound great over it, but I can't quite place who I have a vague idea of for it in my imagination.

And how about that legendary trumpet moment in Westminster Bridge? Makes my lips bleed just hearing it.

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Not sure I share the love for Snow Plane. Apart from the brass clusters, not a lot is going on in this track.

Backfire on the other hand, I love. Overall I'm undecided whether I like it overall - my first attempt at a listen was at work, where I had some significant distractions. Apart from Skyfall, I haven't really been perked by his output since Wall-E.

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How fucking sexy is that bass groove at 1:08 in Silver Wraith? There's just something about that menacing minor sixth (C -> Ab), and how the Ebm chord above gets temporally reinterpreted by the ear as an Ab9. I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

It's SPECTRE's equivalent of Shanghai Drive in that it's a travelling theme that's reprised in the end credits (Adrenaline / SPECTRE). Not lyrical but definitely thematic.

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How fucking sexy is that bass groove at 1:08 in Silver Wraith? There's just something about that menacing minor sixth (C -> Ab), and how the Ebm chord above gets temporally reinterpreted by the ear as an Ab9. I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

Alas I don't speak music so I have no idea what you are talking about.

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How fucking sexy is that bass groove at 1:08 in Silver Wraith? There's just something about that menacing minor sixth (C -> Ab), and how the Ebm chord above gets temporally reinterpreted by the ear as an Ab9. I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

It's SPECTRE's equivalent of Shanghai Drive in that it's a travelling theme that's reprised in the end credits (Adrenaline / SPECTRE). Not lyrical but definitely thematic.

Not to sound dumb but just out of curiosity, have you been going through the cues working this stuff out or at this point are these things you're instantly recognizing?

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How fucking sexy is that bass groove at 1:08 in Silver Wraith? There's just something about that menacing minor sixth (C -> Ab), and how the Ebm chord above gets temporally reinterpreted by the ear as an Ab9. I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

It's SPECTRE's equivalent of Shanghai Drive in that it's a travelling theme that's reprised in the end credits (Adrenaline / SPECTRE). Not lyrical but definitely thematic.

Not to sound dumb but just out of curiosity, have you been going through the cues working this stuff out or at this point are these things you're instantly recognizing?

I've been jamming along with it on the piano, which I do for all scores I like.

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Not sure I share the love for Snow Plane. Apart from the brass clusters, not a lot is going on in this track.

Backfire on the other hand, I love. Overall I'm undecided whether I like it overall - my first attempt at a listen was at work, where I had some significant distractions. Apart from Skyfall, I haven't really been perked by his output since Wall-E.

In all honesty, Rich, this isn't the kind of score you can just listen like this. You need to be in the mood for it. That's how I see it.

Karol

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How fucking sexy is that bass groove at 1:08 in Silver Wraith? There's just something about that menacing minor sixth (C -> Ab), and how the Ebm chord above gets temporally reinterpreted by the ear as an Ab9. I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

It's SPECTRE's equivalent of Shanghai Drive in that it's a travelling theme that's reprised in the end credits (Adrenaline / SPECTRE). Not lyrical but definitely thematic.

Not to sound dumb but just out of curiosity, have you been going through the cues working this stuff out or at this point are these things you're instantly recognizing?

I've been jamming along with it on the piano, which I do for all scores I like.

Gotcha. Sometimes I forget this is a message board where we have the luxury of formulating thoughts and with all your great enthusiasm I can't help reading your analyses as if you're liveblogging it :P

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I stopped doing that some time ago, when I felt some of the keys were starting to suffer from my enthusiasm.

I used to eat hours away with that...now there's just never time.

Yeah, I'm limited in time as well. Reserve it really for new scores that I like (which is to say very few) or older scores I've just discovered. If I went through my entire iTunes library of film music I'd never get anything done!

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I love the opening ambience too, a kind of clustral heat shimmer--from C melodic minor, to C Dorian, and then C Aeolian, and a Hungarian minor F#-G-Ab cluster as a quasi-cadence.

That is rather effing brilliant isn't it.

I'm really delighted and surprised by how much I like this one.

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