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.
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.
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.
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 3Extended CutDLC 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.
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.
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.
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).