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style="font-style: italic;">In four days style="font-weight: bold;">Inception
arrives, redeeming this shitty summer at the movies. For the next two
weeks I’ll be running sporadic feature articles counting down to this
occasion; some will be directly related to Inception while some will be
conceptually related. I’ll try to remain as spoiler-free as possible.
And I’m not trying to make the two week wait unbearable… but that
could be one side effect of this series.

While
Mind
Heist
, the Zack Hemsey song
that made the Inception
trailer so indelible, isn’t in the film, the spirit of the track, with
its drones and insistent strings and colossal brass, lives very much in
Hans Zimmer’s score.

Zimmer’s score for Inception
-easily his best in years – has small moments of personal emotion but
also huge, stirring moments that feel like they could have come right
from a Toho kaiju film. The resounding thump of Godzilla’s feet meets
the driving force of John Murphy’s style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">28 Days Later score in tracks like The Dream
Is Collapsing
(thanks more
than partially to the guitar work of one-time Smith Johnny Marr). It’s a
big score, one with long cues that often slowly build to brassy,
stomping crescendos.

What’s most surprising about the
score, though, is that Zimmer insists that he wrote it before he saw the
completed film. Talking at the Los Angeles press day for the film,
Zimmer said, ‘Chris went out and shot the films and the first thing
did, he wouldn’t show it to me until I had written the music
— not out of meanness, or anything, it just sort of seemed an
interesting idea to see if there was some synchronicity and letting me
use my imagination to the fullest instead of being constricted by cuts
and images. In a funny way, what I think we did do was a sort of shared
dreaming thing, and we did prove it’s possible, because when I
finally saw the film, and when Chris had laid in all my music, I was
actually surprised how well these two worlds existed together. And that
was a very unusual way of going about it.’


Music
plays an integral role in the dream heists within the film; the only
way to communicate with the crew inside the dream is to play music to
them, which they hear echoed in the dream space. The song? Edith Piaf
singing Non
Je Ne Regrette Rien
. I was
kind of disappointed to learn that this song wasn’t chosen as a
meta-textual reference to the fact that Marion Cotillard, who stars as
Mal Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife, played Piaf in style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">La Vie En Rose. style="color: rgb(153, 204, 0);">‘It had always been the
choice of song,’ Nolan said at
the press day. ‘Long before Marion came on the film.’

But the song itself doesn’t just play
in the dreamworld. In the film’s final, lengthy and stunning action
sequence, there are multiple levels of dream, and each level of dream
moves at a different speed than the one above it. Minutes pass in the
first level, which are hours in the second and days in the third. Nolan,
who is obsessed with sound design, wanted to make the song resonate
differently in each level.

Said Nolan: style="color: rgb(153, 204, 0);">‘Right at the beginning of
our post-production process, I had to make the decision of “Do
I get the sound department or do I get the music department?”
Do I get Hans to manipulate that track until it sounds as if
you’re hearing it through the dream, where it slows down and
gets massive and all the rest. There was an interesting way to go; what I
decided to do was give it to Hans and let him run with it and see if in
some way it might inform elements of the score, because we always knew,
we talked in early conversations about how towards the action climax of
the film, there was going to be a need for the score to interweave
seamlessly with this source cue, which is and extremely difficult
technical thing to do.’

‘It
was also a fun thing to do,’

said Zimmer. ‘At one point the ambition was for Chris and I — we like
having a chat about these things. The ambitions are at one point you
have the Edith Piaf song going on in 4/4 which cuts across a different
time in ¾ and all these different sorts of puzzles and these Penrose,
Roger Penrose-type constructions, and I think Chris and I were really
pleased that we had three different times going on, three different
things going on.’


Below is a collection of all the
soundtrack samples released to date. You can, and should buy the
soundtrack on Amazon by clicking here.

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