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THE ADVENTURES OF HAN - 2018 John Williams theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story


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6 minutes ago, ocelot said:

I'm really enjoying the album but I think all those synth drums cheapen the score to me. It's not needed. There's enough percussion in the orchestra to not need cheap repeated notes whacking all over the place over the whole score.... gggrrrrrr..... This guy is a really good composer, why do this to the score?! Anyway, just my opinion. It's just not needed and sounds odd and like your trying to hide something when there is nothing to hide. It doesn't let the music speak. I love it in something streamlined like the Bourne movies. I adore those scores, but this is Star Wars. Give me orchestra and have 10 orchestral percussionists on various drums from Timpani, Taiko, Log, Snares, Toms etc etc etc, make it organic!

Well, I think you are somewhat right.  But the percussion is on point in Mine Mission.

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18 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

There are many perfectly adequate Zimmer-type scores out there. 

 

But there's the rub--they're only "adequate." They serve the dramatic exigencies of their respective films, but little more than that. With Zimmer music, you can hear the soul of a man who's loved and lost; who lived on a strict diet of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven as a child and then discovered pop music through Bowie and Floyd in his early teens; and despite his lack of formal compositional training has striven to educate himself by studying the scores of the maters.

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11 minutes ago, TGP said:

It may be true that for someone with little to no real musical talent it is, at the extreme surface level, easier to fake the Zimmer sound than it is Williams', but from a perspective of real musicianship, both can be faked pretty easily.  And in both cases, the fake will never possess the real soul or expression of who it is imitating.  So I wouldn't say that Zimmer is easily copied, bearing that in mind.  Zimmer's music moves me quite deeply and the imitations don't, however similar they may be in a superficial sense.  Hence the many shitty knockoffs of Zimmer's music...and yes, of Williams' too.  You don't see anyone running around successfully mimicking either of those styles, not with any real substance.  As always, composers should want, and be allowed, to write what they are naturally inclined to.

Again, not knocking Zimmer, but with so many people working on each score, firstly I never know who wrote what or if Zimmer actually wrote a lick on that particular score (he did not write one note on Blue Planet II even though it puts him down as one of the composers) so sometimes what we think is Zimmer is not him at all. And why shouldn't his music move you, that's what I mean by subjective, we should love the sounds we love and be moved by whomever. Technically and orchestrally the "best" does not mean everyone should feel that way when listening to it or for them to even like it. I remember a friend coming over once and I had Rachmaninoff's second symphony on (my favorite symphony bar none) and he said "what is this shit? this sounds like something you listen to when you have diarrhea...... I also agree with you that yes, composers should write how they want to or we would all be sheep. 

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Just now, Not Mr. Big said:

The A theme is decent but the "Searching" B-theme is way cooler IMO.  It has the catchy melody and unexpected twists that Williams is great at.  

Without a doubt.

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5 minutes ago, Steve McQueen said:

 

No, I'd say he did just fine.  Wrote two pretty good themes and arranged them in a tasteful, energetic suite.

Powell surpassed my expectations on the score, though.  I highly recommend Mine Mission, Lando's Closet, and Testing Allegiance.    

Yes but here's an example of what I mean by percussion, in Testing Allegiance, at 1.46, whatever that percussion is, thumps way too loud for an orchestra that I can hardly here all that intricacy in the upper string writing. The percussion should lift the orchestra into the stratosphere rather than muffling it, when you write orchestral percussion it should be behind throwing that orchestra at you with force, rather than the other way around. But love the track either way, it's just the new way of writing for film it seems, and by new I mean the last 10 years... lol

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39 minutes ago, TGP said:

smiley EQing

 

Would you mind explaining what you mean by this?  I’m not familiar with the technical aspects of audio mixing or mastering.  But this might be something I’ve sort of felt while listening to other scores without being able to put my finger on it.

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Did anyone else hear near the start of the movie, there was a background 'join the empire' video playing in the background and it had the imperial march but in a major key. I remember they did that in Rebels once and I wondered, could that actually be the version from Rebels? It's probably a new recording  but then it was just so brief in the movie. Anyone else know more about this?

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4 hours ago, Batman's Diet Coke said:

What happened? What'd I miss? Did Williams drop the ball again?

 

Listen to it for yourself.

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Matt C said:

 

Listen to it for yourself.

 

 

 

The signature riffing, touches and licks of Williams are here.

A cohesive theme is still missing though and that is sad. Nothing to take from the theater, except *nothing*.

And 3:51 to explain a point that was done in 1:32 in STAR WARS is a bit indulgent.

Sooner or later, ALL good things come to an end.

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Would you say that the theme at 0.57-1.13 is a 3rd theme or it's a b section of the previous 2nd theme?

 

In the leak of the lead sheet we had, it seemed to be a b section of the 1st hero theme.

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7 hours ago, TGP said:

Yeah I was going to say that, pretty sure it's all jammed live.  What makes it sound a little synthetic, and the rest of the mix actually, is the damn smiley EQing that happens with a lot of Powell's scores.  Could do without that.

Yeah, the mix is somewhat of a mixed bag. Making it all sound bit too "plastic". Think this is what puts some of the people off and...also attracts all the crowd that loved TFA and TLJ trailer music.

 

Karol

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I think ONE the best music material from John Powell is NOT in the soundtrack album: that beaultiful - hauntingly 2 part - melody with modern percussion and classical strings from DRYDEN VOS PARTY...when that golden singer plays that tune, and soon after, with that background party music.

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6 minutes ago, hornist said:

I just love that trumpet version of that theme at 00:59. The chord progress, those maj7 chords😍

I wonder what you're going to say about the rest of the score. I'm really curious.

 

Karol

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1 hour ago, hornist said:

I cant listen to it, only the first track😜

 

I hate that synth-sounding, generic percussion writing😨😨😨

 

Williams uses percussion brilliantly in his SW scores!!! 

 

@hornist, do give Mine Mission and Lando's Closet a listen.  Some fine writing there. 

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Really enjoyed the film last night. Will be soaking in the soundtrack this weekend. The little I heard on the way home from the theater was really fun.

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15 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

 

Would you mind explaining what you mean by this?  I’m not familiar with the technical aspects of audio mixing or mastering.  But this might be something I’ve sort of felt while listening to other scores without being able to put my finger on it.

 

It's just EQing that either boosts the high and low frequencies relative to the mids, or cuts the mids relative to the highs and lows.  The resulting curve is like a smile.  On some types of music it works well but I find it sounds tinny and artificial when applied to symphonic stuff and when there's percussion like this it leads it a sort of cheap, no body sound which is what I reckon is rubbing people the wrong way. 

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Other than one or two early entries like Backdraft I can't think of any Zimmer scores with that problem.  Alan Meyerson always delivers a very rich, full sound.  Lots of 70s symphonic scores suffer from it.  

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2 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

So having hard this a few times...

 

The Hero theme surprisingly is a bit bone-headed. It is your typical manly man modern hero macho theme in the form of a power anthem that you expect modern composers to write. I did not have a good initial reaction to it but I have made Peace with it. Has Williams ever written a theme like this? I kinda had the same reaction to it that I had when I heard Gia's hero theme for spiderman. Just a very basic construction.

No Man's Land from War Horse has a similar "power anthem" feel to it, but that theme is a bit more malleable. 

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I like Han's theme a lot, but those who have a problem with the "power anthem" approach likely think it is beneath Williams.  A power anthem is like a rock ballad--it does not take an incredible amount of talent to accomplish (hence the ballad's of the 80s).  That is not to say they lack enjoyability, but they are not necessarily a sign of singular talent.  Williams has proved he does possess singular talent, so some may not want him to do what many, many other can do, but rather focus on what makes him unique (or at least in the upper-echelon of composers).

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16 minutes ago, Pellaeon said:

Jurassic Park is set in the 1990s. Star Wars is set in the 1940s.

 

Which is why there's a big ol' flanging ARP 2600 in Return of the Jedi. Pure 40s!

 

FFS

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50 minutes ago, Tom said:

I like Han's theme a lot, but those who have a problem with the "power anthem" approach likely think it is beneath Williams.  A power anthem is like a rock ballad--it does not take an incredible amount of talent to accomplish (hence the ballad's of the 80s).  That is not to say they lack enjoyability, but they are not necessarily a sign of singular talent.  Williams has proved he does possess singular talent, so some may not want him to do what many, many other can do, but rather focus on what makes him unique (or at least in the upper-echelon of composers).

I think it does take a good deal of talent and musical sense to write a truly good rock ballad/power anthem.  Not all the ballads of the 80s were drivel. 

As for Williams employing parallel techniques, well, that is just another example of the varied tools in his musical arsenal that he can pull out when he feels the project needs it.

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27 minutes ago, Sharky said:

Which is why there's a big ol' flanging ARP 2600 in Return of the Jedi. Pure 40s!

 

Fair enough. I’d simply make the argument that there are elements of futurism and retro-futurism in Star Wars, and that retro-futurism is what made the 1977 film so high concept (Old Hollywood! Flash Gordon Serials! WW2 Newsreels! Kurosawa!). By 1983 that element is largely obscured, and the franchise becomes mostly self-referential. But my point is that the further afield the aesthetics get from the 1977 film and its influences, the more off they seem. This retro element, by the way, is no different from the Indiana Jones retro element; it’s just more obvious in IJ because the story is set in the 1930s. But that’s just window dressing—again, what makes IJ so high concept is the deliberately dated pulp storytelling style.

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