The power of music in film intrigues me the more I think
about it.  Of course, I’m talking about
composed music made especially for a particular film; the type of music that,
throughout the film, becomes another character entirely. 

To convey what a character experiences through words and
actions is difficult enough.  But to
convey those same elements through the use of a musical score seems a near impossible
task.  Since the 1960s, a number of composers
have risen to prominence.  Bernard
Herrman, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Ennio Morricone… the list goes on and
on.  As of late, though, there has been a
growing trend in the world of film scores and it is one that alludes to an
exciting time in the industry.

Back in 1999 and 2002, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy
Corgan composed the score for two films: Stigmata and Spun.  While I enjoyed both films to a certain
degree (especially the anarchic Spun), I was mostly impressed with Corgan’s
composition work.  For me, it was the
first time a musician who worked in the world of popular music tried their hand
in something entirely different, yet the same. 
In order to effectively create music for the silver screen, the composer
has to delve into the audience’s mind, create a unique world from scratch and
hope they go along for the ride.  Corgan
did that and succeeded in accentuating two wholly different and unique worlds.  While both films had their fair share of
faults, Corgan’s composition was not one of them.

Also in 1999, music producers extraordinaire The Dust
Brothers were approached by David Fincher to create the score for Fight Club.  The result is one of the most interesting,
infuriating and memorable compositions to ever be produced by a mainstream
Hollywood studio, which perfectly suits the absurdist nature of Fincher’s
near-classic.  The opening credits alone should
and will rock your world.  This was a duo
who understood the possibilities and limitations of the musical form. 

As of late, I find myself attracted to the unique musical
talents of those who I like the call the ‘Movie Score Outsiders’; established
musicians in their own right, working in the outskirts of popular music, who
use the silver screen in order to express their musical talents. 

Case in point: Clint Mansell.  Mansell is easily one of the most exciting
composers working in the industry today, having composed Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Smokin Aces.  His uniquely eccentric musical style harkens
back to his Pop Will Eat Itself (Mansell’s band prior to working in Hollywood)
days.  After listening to a couple of
tracks from the Pop Will Eat Itself canon, it becomes quite clear that Mansell
is maturing as a musician, while also creating some of the best compositions,
by far, in the business.

I remember, years ago, hearing rumblings that Radiohead’s
Thom Yorke was negotiating a deal that would allow him to compose the score for
Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic.  As a Radiohead fan, I couldn’t wrap my head
around the vast possibilities that such a scenario hinted at.  It seemed almost too perfect.  Sadly, the deal never came to fruition, but I’ll
never forget the rumor and the excitement it created.  In fact, McG, director of the forthcoming Terminator
, has been doing to the press junkets and announcing that Thom Yorke
may possibly be contributing to the film’s soundtrack; interesting news, since
his attempt at getting Yorke to compose the film fell through for whatever

How about Jonny Greenwood’s incredible work on There Will
Be Blood
?  Words cannot describe what
Greenwood created.  All I can say is…
give it a listen.  You won’t regret it.

But the latest movie music news that has me really excited
is the announcement that Daft Punk will be composing Disney’s Tron 2.  If there ever was a perfect match between
artist and material, this is it.  During
a number of live concerts, Daft Punk adorn themselves in Tron inspired
regalia, while their techno-infused music would bring a much welcomed pop to
the vibrancy and excitement that the filmmakers (hopefully) have in store for

The world of music scores is one that I am rapidly
beginning to obsess over, which is why I love the world of motion pictures; it’s
the only form of artistic representation that allows you to combine a number of
different elements in order to create something completely different.  While it may not always work, it sure does
surprise you every now and then.  And
while the legendary forefathers of this particularly unique branch of
filmmaking will never be forgotten, it’s the newer generation that has taken
what they created and is making something none of us could have ever imagined