Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bayesian

JW's "The Mecha World" vs. JH's "The Machine Age"

Recommended Posts

I've long been fascinated by these two tracks, which represent takes on the same general theme (and were written within a couple years of each other) by two composers who appear to have had little interest in the other's work:

 

 

 

Both evoke a future that seems reachable yet beyond our grasp, both set a tone for its film, both use a steady rhythmic pulse to indicate the rationality (or at least the non-organic-ness) of machines. But that's where the similarities end. Horner's track is a lot more optimistic than Williams', but JW's Mecha World isn't flat-out dystopian or anything either.. it's, I dunno, alarming, if that makes sense.

 

I like them both. I think Horner's is the more accessible and ear candy-ish, but it's also probably the best track in the album and it self-plagiarizes like mad. JW's is the more enjoyable in the long run and it gets followed up by a lot more equally great material.

 

Do you have a preference for one over the other?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE MACHINE AGE sounds like typical late 90s Horner, which sounds like a souped-up, proto A BEAUTIFUL MIND, and, at around 3:10 goes all BIRD OF PREY DECLOAKS.

THE MECHA WORLD, on the other hand, is among the finest single pieces of film music, in the last 30 years.

Absolutely no fucking contest.

Williams stamps all over the Horner track, and goes "Cock-a-doodle-do"!

Good day, to you, sir.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really?

 

Understand: I'm not being merely facetious; I'm genuinely interested in why you believe Mecha World is so standout. I admit I don't know AI film and score as well as I should like, but I just listened to the cue in question, and whilst it definitely features a strong Williamsy highlight in the middle, I'm still not hearing anything approaching top tier level. 

 

Then again, I'm suspecting the ol' appreciation/enjoyment borne of familiarity is probably in play, as it always is with soundtrack audio.

 

But objectively, I don't hear enough sustenance detail in one cue to raise it above or place it even on par with Williams' very best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

THE MACHINE AGE sounds like typical late 90s Horner, which sounds like a souped-up, proto A BEAUTIFUL MIND, and, at around 3:10 goes all BIRD OF PREY DECLOAKS.

THE MECHA WORLD, on the other hand, is among the finest single pieces of film music, in the last 30 years.

Absolutely no fucking contest.

Williams stamps all over the Horner track, and goes "Cock-a-doodle-do"!

Good day, to you, sir.

Exactly that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

THE MACHINE AGE sounds like typical late 90s Horner

 

 

Which is exactly why it is perfect :heart:

 

I know my opinion is extremely unpopular, but I'm a fan of late 90s/early 2000s Horner, warts and all. Deep Impact, Bicentennial Man, The Perfect Storm, Enemy at the Gates, A Beautiful Mind, The New World, even more experimental stuff like House of Sand and Fog. In fact, my favorite era for Horner goes from Legends of the Fall in 94 to The New World in 2005, as opposed to 97% of the film music fans who prefer his 80s music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a shame The Mecha World is truncated in the film and cloaked in sound effects, possibly one of the only disappointing things about listening to the score first!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both evoke John Adams, though JW's piece is much more modeled on Adams' famous music. Horner leans on several minimalist composers with his interlocking pianos (Adams' Halleluia Junction' may be a template). For me, Horner sounds more 'mathematic', which was obviously the gestating idea when it was applied to the two pictures linked below.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, publicist said:

It speaks of Hollywood's limited imagination that both have kitschy, pop-song like ballads for their 'love stories' even if the movies don't really request them. Like a safety net. 

The worst example of that is Coma.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JW's Mecha World expresses the industrial, faceless, and mindless world of the dystopian future, I think... Underneath the busy bustle there's something absolutely cold, ruthless, and ultimately terrifying about it. A sense of inevitable doom and senselessness. 

 

JH's piece I don't know well enough to judge, one way or another. 

 

@Bayesian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Bayesian said:

by two composers who appear to have had little interest in the other's work:

 

Was there ever any statement or indication from either man towards that end? I seem to fuzzily recall Horner being on at least one occasion quite positive about JW (don't ask me for a citation, I have no memory where or when I might have read this.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like pub mentions, "The Mecha World" is more obviously modelled after Adams, whereas Horner piece amalgamates those colours into his own schmaltzy sound. But I vastly prefer the Williams piece. Minimalist rhythms aside, it's just harmonically leagues ahead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Gruesome Son of a Bitch said:

I don't even mind that he riffs on the wedding melody from Deep Impact.

He was so in-your-face about his lifts... how did he ever get away with it, I wonder?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Bayesian said:

He was so in-your-face about his lifts... how did he ever get away with it, I wonder?


I don’t think he ever thought of them as lifts, just a part of his vocabulary.  From his comments over the years I got the impression that he saw all of his work as part of one big piece that he continually refined. Themes were more representative of certain emotions/situations rather than tied to a particular movie. He said on more than one occasion that the color/orchestration of the film was more important to him than the themes, which always came second. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MikeH said:


I don’t think he ever thought of them as lifts, just a part of his vocabulary.  From his comments over the years I got the impression that he saw all of his work as part of one big piece that he continually refined. Themes were more representative of certain emotions/situations rather than tied to a particular movie. He said on more than one occasion that the color/orchestration of the film was more important to him than the themes, which always came second. 

I never knew any of that. That stands to reason, I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...