Song of the Day: Make Thee An Ark (by Clint Mansell)


I’ve been waiting for quite a long time for the release of Darren Aronofsky’s biblical disaster epic. Now that it’s finally here it also means a new film score from Aronofsky’s collaborator Clint Mansell.

The soundtrack to Noah is definitely on par with past Mansell scored Aronofsky films going all the way back to Pi. It’s a soundtrack that’s both epic, majestic and more than just a tad apocalyptic. One of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack comes at a moment of triumph early on in the film which creates a sense of hope in the face of the approaching divine apocalypse.

“Make Thee An Ark” starts off slowly. Layers on layers build within the string work by the Kronos Quartet who have worked with two Mansell on past Aronofsky films. The track actually has a nice musical throwback to Mansell’s work on The Fountain. It’s probably the influence of that past film which made the Noah soundtrack appeal to me more than the previous ones for Black Swan and The Wrestler.

Super Bowl Trailer: Noah


Noah is Darren Aronofsky’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed film Black Swan (which was reviewed by Lisa Marie Bowman herself) and he looks to tell the tale of Noah’s Ark from the Book of Genesis.

When news first came out that Aronofsky would follow-up Black Swan with a biblical epic that retold the Flood and Noah’s role in saving those not corrupted according to Heaven was a sort of headscratcher. The teasers and trailers that has come out about the film hasn’t really fired up the masses. Some think it as another sword-and-sandals epic that’s late to that particular subgenre’s resurgence. Some think too much fantasy elements has been added.

One thing I’m sure of is that Aronofsky will not make an uninteresting film.

Noah is set for a March 28, 2014 release date.

Arleigh’s Favorite Five (…Songs) of 2012

I must admit that in 2012 I didn’t get to listen in full many new albums outside of soundtracks. My Fave five of 2012 Songs will reflect this fact, but still with the lack of variety in my past year’s listening habit I thought the songs I came up with for the list I still would’ve put on a much bigger favorite 2012 list if I had need to come up with one. Without further ado he are the Fave Five (though it’s more Fave Six but I decided to combine the first entry’s two as a tie).

  • The Fave Five starts off with a tie that comes from the same film. Both songs come from the soundtrack to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While the film may not have been up to some audiences’ high expectations the soundtrack itself by Howard Shore (and for “Song of the Lonely Mountain” as sung by Neill Finn) continued the high-quality of the Tolkien soundtracks which began with the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Song of the Lonely Mountain” is a much more folk rock addition to the soundtrack while the “Misty Mountains” was actually part of the film itself when the character of Thorin Oakenshield sings it with his band of dwarfs while at Bilbo Baggin’s hobbit hole in the beginning. Both songs so a great job of telling the story of the quest that begins with this first film in the new trilogy.
  • The theme song 2012’s Skyfall was a throwback to the classic James Bond theme song’s of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore Bond eras. In fact, I thought it’s one of the best theme songs the long-running spy thriller franchise has had these past 25 years. It helps that you have Adele singing the theme who seems to be able to hit the right proper emotional notes during the song. It’s really hard to think of Skyfall the film being as good as it is without making sure one mentions Adele’s theme for it. I’d take the leap and say that the song itself may even be better than the film itself.
  • Mass Effect 3 was the epic conclusion to what was this gaming generation’s version of the original Star Wars space opera. It was a story that spanned the galaxy with memorable characters, thrilling action and some very good writing. There will always be the vocal minority who seem to think the ending to the trilogy was bungled by the writers over ta BioWare. That’s a whole different debate altogether. One thing that doesn’t seem to bring out the pitchforks was Clint Mansell’s score work for the game and it all culminates with the song simply titled “An End, Once and For All” which in it’s extended version more than makes up for whatever deficiencies the ending it orchestrally-scored may have had.
  • Another game’s music makes itself to my Fave Five list and this time it’s my second favorite song for the year of 2012. It’s from Halo 4 and it’s a song that brought new life to the venerable franchise. It didn’t just make the end credits more than just memorable, but also surprised many fans of the franchise’s music since the song wasn’t composed by the franchise’s original music composer, Martin O’Donnell, but by Kazuma Jinnouchi. It’s the one song in 2012 that I must’ve listened to on repeat for hours on end and probably in the high hundreds by now. It’s a song that brings back memories of the scifi soundtracks of the 80’s. It’s a work that I easily can compare to the best that’s ever been composed by luminaries in the genre like John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino and others.
  • What can I say. The song speaks for itself. How can one not say this was the best song for 2012.

Song of the Day: An End, Once and For All from Mass Effect 3 (by Clint Mansell & Sam Hulick)

Earlier this year we saw the release of the final entry in BioWare’s epic space opera video game series with Mass Effect 3. The initial response to this game was a near-unanimous critical praise and acclaim. Yet, as people finished the game a very vocal group of gamers and fans of the series were more than just a tad disappointed with how their favorite series came to an end. The venom and hate that poured from an ending that didn’t seem to cater to how these gamers thought the series would end became so loud that BioWare did something unexpected. The company, especially it’s founders and head honchos, decided to amend the ending to the game with a downloadable content that just came out in the last week or so. It was content that expanded on the ending to the game. It wasn’t enough to placate and satisfy those who felt betrayed by BioWare, but for some who did complain the ending was a good enough expansion to the game’s original ending that, while not all was forgiven, BioWare helped themselves in repairing the rift which grew between company and fan-base.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t one of those who complained about the ending. I thought it was sublime and the ending I chose fit in well with how I saw the game ultimately should’ve ended with how I had chosen my character to act, talk and behave throughout the three games in the series.

It’s from the recent Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC that I pick the latest “Song of the Day”. It’s the song the piece of orchestral score which plays through all the three original endings but extended beyond the original version of the score that ended abruptly. “An End, Once and For All” extends in this new version for a much more dramatic and satisfying end to a series that I consider one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had in over three decades.

I give much thanks to the game’s two orchestral composer in Clint Mansell whose contribution could be heard in the beginning of this chosen score. Sam Hulick adds his own voice to the score as the music moves toward an epic crescendo which finishes the song.




If you want to witness why I thought the Synthesis Choice was the ending that made sense then watch the video below.

Song of the Day: Death Is the Road to Awe (by Clint Mansell)

Just a little under a year ago I had chosen a particular favorite song as the latest “Song of the Day”. This song was Clint Mansell’s “Together We Will Live Forever” which was part of his exceptional film score for Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 scifi love story, The Fountain. I’ve decided to finally bookend that choice by choosing what has to be the best song in that film’s soundtrack and one of the best piece of film score ever composed: Mansell’s “Death Is the Road to Awe”.

While I’ve given Mansell with the final credit for the creation of this epic song (not just in tone and execution but in length), he had help from frequent collaborator Kronos Quartet and Scottish post-rock band Mogwai. “Death Is the Road to Awe” takes the entirety of Mansell’s film scoring for The Fountain and distills them into a mixture of classical, post-rock and ambient dissonance which seems to all work so well together despite their very differing musical styles.

The Fountain was (still is) a film which brings out either love and admiration for it or utter hate for what some think was a pretentious, jumbled mess. Whether one loved or hated the film (rarely is there one who falls in the middle in their reaction to this film) the reaction most have had for the soundtrack has been mostly positive. I, for one, truly believe it to be one of the greatest film scores ever composed for any film. This song is the ultimate culmination of Mansell’s work for this film and just shows that classical, rock and electronic could co-exist side-by-side to create something truly unique and one-of-a-kind.

Trailer: Mass Effect 3 “Against All Odds”

Mass Effect 3 is one of the most-anticipated gaming titles for 2012. It will be the third and final title that chronicles the character of Cmdr. Shepard and his fight to save the galaxy against the extragalactic threat of the “Reapers”. It’s developer, BioWare, has been quite busy since the title was first announced with showing gaming fans some tidbits about the game’s development. Most of the trailer which has come out about this game has been a mix of pre-rendered CG animation and actual gameplay footage which at times seems to be quite indistinguishable from each other.

The latest trailer for this game first premiered at this weekend’s Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. To say that the reaction to the trailer was a near-unanimous geekgasm would be an understatement. If there was a game that will pull gamers from their near-obsessive playing of Bethesda’s Skyrim it would be BioWare’s Mass Effect 3. This trailer is all gameplay and shows some of the latest gameplay mechanics (such as the dodge roll moves) during one of the game’s many stages.

I, for one, have already preordered and fully paid my N7 Collector’s Edition copy of this game and will just  have to wait for it’s release date of March 6, 2012.

Mass Effect 3 to have a Clint Mansell score

Some major news on the video game front was reported today. One of the most critically-acclaimed video game franchises of the last five years will have an award-winning music composer creating the score for it.

The game in question is the third (most likely final entry in the current trilogy) game in BioWare’s Mass Effect rpg franchise. The composer is one Clint Mansell. He is the same Clint Mansell who has created some of the most evocative film scores for the last decade and most of it for Darren Aronofsky’s films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan).

Mass Effect 3 will be Mansell’s first foray into video game music composing. This is great news for fans of the franchise. It lends an even more cinematic flair to a series whose musical score were already great to begin with.

EA and BioWare are definitely pulling out all the stops to create a worthy finish to this trilogy. I already know that I will be getting the game and I will definitely be buying the soundtrack once it’s up for sale (I already own the first two that were composed by Jack Wall).

Source: The Quietus

PS: Here’s two pieces of music so people understand why I thought the first two game had awesome scores and Mansell being brought in for the third means awesome just went up to 11.

Mass Effect

Mass Effect 2

Black Swan Teaser Trailer (dir. Darren Aronofsky)

The first official trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s next film has been released.

Black Swan stars Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder. It’s a psychological thriller based on the script by Mark Heyman and sets the film in the competitive world of ballet. The film will have its premiere at the 67th Venice Film Festival this coming September 2010 with another screening soon after in the same month at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival. The film will open to limited release in early December to qualify it for the award season for 2010.

The trailer definitely has been getting much buzz since it’s release on August 17th, 2010. Some have called it Fight Club for women just from the series of clips and images which made up the teaser trailer. While I won’t say that these individuals are right or wrong, to try and determine what the film is about in just a 2-minute trailer is idiotic. The film definitely plays on the psychological aspect of the story with Natalie Portman’s character the main focus of all the happenings going on around her.

Ms. Portman’s career should get another boost from this role as she continues to move away from her half a decade spent on the Star Wars universe. She has definitely made a concerted effort to pick roles as diverse as possible to avoid being typecase in any one particular role. Already an Oscar nominee for her work in Closer there’s a good chance that she may get another for her work on Black Swan. We will see if the buzz on that rumor will have weight come September 2010 when the film premieres n the Fall Film Festival season.

Song of the Day: Together We Will Live Forever (by Clint Mansell)

Together We Will Live Forever

Clint Mansell is part of the new group of film composers (Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Javier Navarrette) who have composed some of the best film scores of the past decade. Their background in music usually doesn’t follow the usual classical training like their older contemporaries like John Williams, James Horner and Hans Zimmer. Most started as members of rock bands and through the years branched out to other musical genres until finally breaking into the film composing side of the art.

Mansell has been linked with film director Darren Aronofsky. He’s scored every Aronofsky film going back to the filmmaker’s very first feature-lenght film, Pi. He finally entered the consciousness of film score fans everywhere when he composed and arranged the eclectic and haunting score for Aronofsky’s second film, Requiem for a Dream. That particular film score has become a cult classic that it’s main theme, Lux Aeterna, has become one of the go-to pieces of music for film trailers.

Aronofsky’s third film, The Fountain, once again has Mansell composing and arranging the musical score. What he came up with for the film has become the favorite of many music lovers everywhere. The score for the film was a progressive and impressionistic marvel as Mansell collaborates with the Kronos Quartet and the post-rock Scottish band Mogwai. Mos of the score uses the progressive influences of Bowie and Mogwai with the classical sound of Kronos, but it was the final song in the film which I found to be my favorite of all of them: Together We Shall Live Forever.

Originally composed to be an electronic piece with vocals, but at the last minute Mansell decided that wasn’t the appropriate way to end the film. Instead he took the same music he had already composed and played it as a haunting piano solo. The song perfectly defines the central theme of the film: love and death. It is really difficult not to listen to this song and not reflec back on one’s own loves gained and lost. While it is not what one might call “Valentine’s Day” music it is one for people whose experiences with love and death have had a profound impact on them.

10 Best Film Scores/Soundtracks of the Past Decade

Listed below in no particular order of importance are the film soundtracks I consider as being the best of the 2000’s. All of these soundtracks have the distinction of not just great pieces of music in their own right, but also adding another layer to the film they’re scoring. Most are orchestral soundtracks with a couple a mixture of both orchestral work and licensed songs. For franchises which contain repeating music cues and motifs I’ve decided to combine as one entry.

I’ve added a video link of a favorite track from each soundtrack.

1. O, Brother Where Art Thou?

2. Almost Famous

3. Gladiator

4. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2

5. Requiem for a Dream

6. 28 Days Later

7. Pan’s Labyrinth

8. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight

9. The Fountain

10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy