Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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“Does It Come In Black?”

I have on occasion talked about "getting bitten by the mix bug." This is because there are some ideas I have that appear in the back of my mind and then start to bother me until I try them out. Sometimes this is for a track or two, sometimes it's for an entire mix. In cases like that, I don't always know where that process will take me, but that's part of what makes this hobby interesting. Sometimes I try things that just don't work (I never managed to get a Harry Palmer mix together, for example; the scores are just too different). Sometimes I get an idea that ends up taking me in directions I am a bit surprised by.

My reaction to the music for the Christopher Nolan Batman films — which seem to be referred to now as "The Dark Knight Trilogy" — was indifference at worst, lukewarm at best. There were a few moments I felt were especially inspired, but for the most part I was not too jazzed by the music by its appearance in the films or on the albums, feeling it was mostly pretty routine stuff, reasonably effective in the films but little more.

Those moments, though… they gave me an idea for the basic structure for an album. And trilogy mixes, where I have the opportunity to explore the development of themes over the course of a film series, are probably my favorite to make. And I knew that there was an enormous amount of music from all three films available. And… and… and I saw it as a challenge, to go through, get into and work with this music that I had such ambiguous feelings about, because I had to sort of "buy in" to the style, as well as the mythology of the film series in order to organize a decent representation. Who knows, I figured, maybe I would come away from the project with an elevated opinion of the music.

And that's how this project began, unlikely as it may seem.



  1. BATS
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:34

  2. THE BANK ROBBERY
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 3:44

  3. GOTHAM'S RECKONING
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 4:08

  4. WILL IS EVERYTHING
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 4:27

  5. BLOOD ON MY HANDS
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 1:28

  6. FLYING ON ROOFTOPS
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 6:29

  7. WHITE KNIGHT
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:52

  8. MIND IF I CUT IN?
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:44

  9. APPLIED SCIENCES
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 1:51

  10. JURISDICTION
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:51

  11. CHILD OF SHADOWS
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:53

  12. A DARK KNIGHT
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 7:38

  13. WHY DO WE FALL?
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:05

  14. LEGACY
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 5:53

  15. SELINA KYLE
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 3:28

  16. THE CORRUPTED
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 6:59

  17. SALVATION
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 12:36

  18. THE LEGEND
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
    THE DARK KNIGHT — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES — Hans Zimmer
    8:36


(83:27)



MUSIC BY HANS ZIMMER AND JAMES NEWTON HOWARD


Additional Music
MEL WASSON • RAMIN DJAWADI • LORNE BALFE • JASHA KLEBE

Programming
HANS ZIMMER • LORNE BALFE • HOWARD SCARR

Synthesizers
HANS ZIMMER

Ambient Sound Design
MEL WASSON

Electric Cello
MARTIN TILLMAN

Choirboy
THOMAS JESTY

Trumpet
MAURICE MURPHY

Percussion
FRANK RICOTTI • GARY KETTEL • PAUL CLARVIS

Pianos
JAMES NEWTON HOWARD • SIMON CHAMBERLAIN

Conductors
GAVIN GREENAWAY • MATT DUNKLEY • BRUCE FOWLER

Arrangements
HANS ZIMMER • HENRY JACKMAN • LORNE BALFE

Orchestrators
BRAD DECHTER • BRUCE FOWLER • JEFF ATMAJIAN • ELIZABETH FINCH • KEVIN KASKA • RANDY KERBER • SUZETTE MORIARTY
WALTER FOWLER • RICK GIONINAZZO • CARL RYLAND • ANDREW KINNEY • GEOFF STRADLING • ED NEUMESITER

Contractor
ISOBEL GRIFFITHS

Assistant Contractor
CHARLOTTE MATTHEWS

Orchestra Leader
GAVYN WRIGHT

Recording Engineer
GEOFF FOSTER

Mixing Engineers
AL CLAY • ALAN MEYERSON

Recorded at
AIR LYNDHURST • REMOTE CONTROL • JAMES NEWTON HOWARD STUDIOS


  1. BATS
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:34
    Components: "Opening Titles," "Vespertilio," "Barbastella"


    Mel Wasson created the signature "bat flapping" sound for the franchise. The album opens with the film version of the Batman Begins kick-off, which has a bit more accompaniment than the album version (which I would later use to close the album, see "The Legend," track 18). I used the album cut "Vespertilio" to allow for a transition to a segment of "Barbastella," which is the album edit of Bruce (Christian Bale) first exploring the caves under Wayne Manor and discovering a swarm of bats. I had previously worked with Batman Begins material before, for the original version of my Gotham Avenger compilation, and this segment of "Barbastella" was my introductory track for the score; I felt that, with the correct preamble, it would work here too, presenting the basic building blocks for much of the Batman music that will follow.


  2. THE BANK ROBBERY
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 3:44
    Components: "The Bank Robbery (Prologue)," "The Bank Robbery" (film cue)


    Following the delivery of the materia primoris, I then created a two-track mini-suite that is an homage to the opening sequences of the two sequels, both of which achieved pop culture status of their own for being presented in IMAX theaters several months before their respective films premiered. The first is an abridgment of the arresting prologue to The Dark Knight, in which a crew of masked men hold up a mob-affiliated bank, and features the harsh music for Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker, which is based around playing stringed instruments with razor blades and chaotic production techniques. Although this is titled the same as the album cut on the two-disc special edition, I also used a piece from the bank robbery sequence that was not included on the album to allow for a smooth transition into…


  3. GOTHAM'S RECKONING
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 4:08
    Components: "On Thin Ice," "Gotham's Reckoning"


    …tense figures building into the monolithic, relentless theme Zimmer created for Bane (Thomas Hardy) for The Dark Knight Rises for that film's opening sequence as the League attacks an airplane to extract a prisoner. To help give the third film's villain an epic spin, Zimmer recruited people from the franchise's fan base to participate in the creation of a chant. People were given a transliteration and asked to record themselves; the lyrics are "Deshi, deshi, basara, basara" (تيجي بسرعة), which means "comes quickly" in Arabic, or "rise, rise up" according to Zimmer. The soundtrack album for The Dark Knight Rises has some of the most overzealous dynamic compression I've ever seen, everything is turned up to 11 and IS JUST TOO DAMN LOUD; this cue, which features a slow build-up to some extremely loud and busy material, was one of the tracks that benefited the most from the minor restoration I performed in that department.


  4. WILL IS EVERYTHING
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 4:27
    Components: "Prison Nightmare," "Meeting Ducard," "Training"


    Now that the dangers to Gotham have been established, the album will turn its attention back to the protagonist. This suite opens with Bruce's incarceration in a Bhutanese prison and features the first appearance in the franchise of what will become the main Dark Knight theme; we then segue to his initial meeting with a man calling himself Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), who offers him a chance to become something greater than he is. "A legend, Mister Wayne." This is followed by the training sequence featuring Ducard and Bruce sparring on a frozen lake, which builds the Dark Knight theme. While culled from the film tracks, I nevertheless mimicked the album edit for this particular sequence.


  5. BLOOD ON MY HANDS
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 1:28
    Components: "Blood On My Hands" (film cue)


    Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight) represents the ideals Bruce aspires to but can never achieve, which is a reflection of their romantic connection. James Newton Howard's theme for her references Bruce's longing, but also her intelligence and drive. The segment I chose to represent her on this album is from a conversation between the two in the second film because I liked the particular sequence and Howard's emotive piano.


  6. FLYING ON ROOFTOPS
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 6:29
    Components: "Finder's Keepers," "Molossus," "The Batman Theme," "Rachel Attacked"


    But now it's time for some action! This track opens with Bruce getting ready to go to the Arkham Asylum when he hears Rachel is headed there, which features a busy build-up (which, interestingly, leads to a direct quotation of what will eventually become the Harvey Dent theme, see below) that explodes into the exciting Batmobile chase sequence. I used the album version "Molossus" rather than the film version because the quotation of the main Batman theme from the first film is much more prominently mixed. I also supplemented one latter segment with a reprise of this theme with an overdub culled from "The Batman Theme," which was the basis for the closing of the end credits. The suite closes with the sequence in which Detective Gordon (Gary Oldman) finds Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) tied to a spotlight, creating a "bat signal" against the clouded sky, a triumphant rendition of the Dark Knight theme that concludes with the two-note Batman motif.


  7. WHITE KNIGHT
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:52
    Components: "A Hero With a Face," "Hostile Witness," "Bank Warrants/LSI Holdings"


    Noble horns herald the entrance of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhardt) to the stage, who represents hope for the future of Gotham City. The beginning of this track is heard as the bold District Attorney delivers an encouraging speech. I then combined his courtroom introduction and his meeting with Lieutenant Gordon to make a comprehensive statement of James Newton Howard's theme.


  8. MIND IF I CUT IN?
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:44
    Components: "Mind If I Cut In?"


    Lazy strings and a flighty piano lend a suitably catlike aura to Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), whom Bruce Wayne catches lifting a valuable pearl necklace (and his fingerprints) whilst posing as party staff. The music exudes both resourcefulness and sexuality; this is one of my favorite of Zimmer's themes.


  9. APPLIED SCIENCES
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 1:51
    Components: "I Need You At the Docks," "Preparing Equipment"


    Wasson's "bat flaps" return and form the rhythmic basis for this short "preparations" medley, material for which would be reprised for The Dark Knight shortly prior to Lucius Fox's (Morgan Freeman) journey to Hong Kong.


  10. JURISDICTION
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 2:51
    Components: "LSI Extraction"


    Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne travel to Hong Kong in order to circumvent legal means to extract Lau (Chin Han), who is the only person who knows where all of the mob money is. This cue is build around a repeating motif that illustrates the impressive IMAX vistas of Hong Kong as well as Zimmer's combat music from Batman Begins. The cue culminates in a new variation on the Dark Knight theme that will become very significant in it's development.


  11. CHILD OF SHADOWS
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:53
    Components: "Born In Darkness," "Necessary Evil"


    After a failed confrontation with Bane, Bruce is left crippled and left in a foreign prison where he hears the story of Ra's Al Ghul's child, who is the only inmate who managed to escape. Zimmer's theme is established during the accounts, during which Bruce assumes that the story is about Bane, and then codified in the film's climax when the true identity of the child is revealed.


  12. A DARK KNIGHT
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 7:38
    Components: "A Dark Knight" (album suite), "Buyer Beware"


    The original The Dark Knight soundtrack album concluded with an extended suite prepared by Zimmer from various parts of the film with some additional album-exclusive material to tie it all together. This track brings together music from ferry scene, Fox arriving in Hong Kong and the finale as well as the end credits and a few other moments in order to create a linear illustration of the development of his Dark Knight theme. I very much liked how he blended all of these diverse elements together to create a unified piece of music, but I only wanted about half of the 16 minutes that appear on the album; the composer's own quote of the "Buyer Beware" cue (Batman breaking up a drug deal with Scarecrow [Cillian Murphy]) in the suite gave me an opportunity to transition to…


  13. WHY DO WE FALL?
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 2:05
    Components: "Why Do We Fall?"


    …a mounting build-up to the main two-note Batman motif heard as Bruce finally manages to realize his escape from the pit. This album was originally divided into "side one" and "side two," with this being the end of "side two," but I abandoned that idea when I found that I had to move "A Dark Knight" later in the mix than I had originally placed it because I had to "earn" it.


  14. LEGACY
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 5:53
    Components: "Macrotus," "Mugging (Part 2)/Gordon Comforts Bruce," "Corynorhinus"


    This flashback suite encompasses the Wayne family theme from Batman Begins as well as providing a key building block for this album's finale. We open on a tender James Newton Howard piano piece for the relationship of young Bruce (Gus Lewis) and Thomas (Linus Roache) as Bruce recovers from his fall and later they travel by rail through Gotham to see a performance of "Don Giovanni." We then segue to the aftermath of the fatal mugging that leaves Bruce orphaned, and a lonely boy soprano intones what will eventually become the Batman theme of Batman Begins. In the police station, he is comforted by a young beat cop named Gordon and later, after the funeral he expresses to Alfred (Michael Caine) his survivor's guilt. This is probably the most boldly emotional moment on the entire mix, and so I wanted to frame it a little, so I reprised the Wayne Manor theme from its appearance at the conclusion of Batman Begins in order to close out the suite and bring us back to the present.


  15. SELINA KYLE
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 3:28
    Components: "Selina Kyle"


    This reprise of the Catwoman theme is not from the film itself, but rather from one of Hans Zimmer's "concept suites" that were released as part of The Dark Knight Rises Z+ iPhone app "Origins Pack" (which allows a person to "score" themselves with Dark Knight Rises music, a pretty nifty idea for an app). It does, however, feature the action version of her theme heard in the film as she rides the Batcycle, but heard mostly in contrapunctual form on the album. The latter portion of the track as represented here features sliding strings, a technique also employed by Danny Elfman for Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman in Batman Returns.


  16. THE CORRUPTED
    THE DARK KNIGHT
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard 6:59
    Components: "Hospital Bomb Scare B," "Harvey Two-Face" (film cue), "An Eye for an Eye."


    Chaos returns as the Joker's bomb scare causes Gotham General to be emptied; more of the razor bladed strings and restless, driving electronics contrast against the oppressive yet ordered Batman motif. We then segue to earlier in the film, as a disfigured District Attorney forces Gordon to admit that Dent's nickname when working at Internal Affairs was "Harvey Two-Face," and a plaintive piano plays a broken, lost version of his theme. This leads to an intense sequence for strings for the final confrontation between Batman, Gordon and Dent which is based on a perverted, beaten version of Howard's formerly noble theme.


  17. SALVATION
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    — Hans Zimmer 12:36
    Components: "No Stone Unturned," "Imagine the Fire," "Rise"


    This album's endgame plays out with a suite culled from the climax of The Dark Knight Rises. The music for these sequences ended up being very episodic, which worked in my favor because I could use the natural pauses and successions to build my own structure for the suite, even if I inverted the order of several musical events. A supercharged rendition of the Batmobile chase material (see "Flying On Rooftops," track 6) announces that everything is about to hit the fan; we then segue to a determined rendition of Bane's theme. The Dark Knight theme returns as Bruce realizes that the only way to keep Gotham from being destroyed is to sacrifice Batman; the boy soprano from the mugging scene in Batman Begins returns (see "Legacy," track 14) — it must be the same recording, as I strongly doubt Thomas Jesty sounds in 2012 as he did in 2005 — as he reveals his identity to Gordon and flies a bomb away from Gotham where it could detonate far off over the Atlantic Ocean. The Dark Knight theme then continues in a bittersweet mode over the film's epilogue outlining the fates of several characters, leading up to the satisfying "tag" of Bruce's acknowledgment of Alfred's wishes for him. The track, and trilogy, conclude with Robin John Blake's discovery of the Batcave, accompanied by a driving rendition of the two-note Batman motif as heard when Bruce discovered the cave himself in Batman Begins (see "Bats," track 1). After the climax, the two-note motif is reprised wafting into the ether…


  18. THE LEGEND
    BATMAN BEGINS
    — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
    THE DARK KNIGHT — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES — Hans Zimmer
    8:36
    Components: "End Credits" (Batman Begins), "End Credits" (The Dark Knight), "The End" (The Dark Knight Rises), "Danger Over" (Batman Begins), "Vespertilio"


    None of the trilogy's original soundtrack albums contained their end credit sequences, which, while culled from cues elsewhere in the score, were nevertheless overdubbed and sweetened by Zimmer in order to make them more unified pieces of music. This end credit suite takes the rousing opening from Batman Begins, and then segues to the more tragically tinged Dark Knight recap. Where that piece would have transitioned to Joker material, I instead segue to "The End," which was a piece Zimmer wrote for the end credits of The Dark Knight Rises utilizing a new, more serene variation on his Dark Knight theme entitled "Orphan," that reflects the peace that Bruce Wayne has finally found. Rather than use that track's tail-off, however, I made a gradual transition to an extended statement of the iconic two-note Batman motif heard at the end of Batman Begins (Gordon's wave at the gliding Batman), and then used the more sparse album mix of the Wasson "bat flaps" that opened the album and trilogy (see "Bats," track 1).


SWEAR TO ME!!!

So… now that I've completed this mix, do I feel more positive about the music for the trilogy? Actually, I have to admit that I do, somewhat. I like how Zimmer developed his Batman theme into the Dark Knight theme and finally into the Orphan theme over the course of the series, the full dimensions of which I didn't really appreciate until I started assembling this album. I have a newer appreciation for some of Zimmer's production techniques, especially those employed to wreak havoc whenever the Joker would appear. I like the sound of the extended bass and 'cello section. I still have my reservations, however. I do have to say that, even though I did have to take an extended break for a bit of time because it does consist of such (intentionally) oppressive music, I did enjoy putting together this album a lot more than I thought I would.
Tags: film music, hans zimmer, james newton howard, my mixes
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