Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Another fine Swarthy People's Easter with jailnurse and his family, featuring much moonshine and sangria! It was a most satisfying weekend! While I've been online fairly often, I've been somewhat preoccupied with organizing the mess of a music collection, so I've missed out on wishing waystone and celisnebula happy birthdays, which I apologize for.

The film music is organized now, it's just a matter of figuring out what's missing and where. Interestingly, this dilemma mirrors a problem I'm having with my CD storage... I need to get an additional rack because I've run out of space on the two I have already. Most of the CDs I've gotten over the past year have never been filed because of lack of room. Part of my rationale for moving the home theater was that it would free up the wall space in this room for an additional rack.

Well, the stacks of unfiled CDs have started getting very insolent, sitting on the shelf getting taller all the time, on the phone constantly, hogging the computer, cleaning out my refrigerator, talking back... they really need their own place.

I came across some blistering words from 'Tester' about Andrew Powell's Ladyhawke score on the FSM boards today:
The fact is that is bad. Worse than bad, actually. It's so horrible that when you're watching the movie, you ask God why can't you close your ears as you can close your eyes. Some people even considers (sic) suicide to stop suffering, while others show psychopathic tendencies at the end of the movie (a lot of gruesome homicides would have been prevented with the right score). Get on a plane carrying that cd and you probably will be arrested for terrorism; in fact, some governments use the Ladyhawke score as part of their torture and interrogation techniques.
Wow. That's some hate right there. I'm not a big fan of this score, but I never developed the sort of ire about it so many seem to have. I'm certainly not offended by it, I just think it was a bad idea that nobody stopped before it got a little out of control.

The odd thing about it is that the bulk of the score is fairly traditional... but the moment somebody gets on a horse, the score just goes bananas. Frankly, the modern symphonic orchestra is just as anachronistic in a medieval setting as a progressive rock band, and so there is no reason why one should 'feel right' and one should not, save for the pervasiveness of the traditional orchestral score in films of the fantasy genre. However, the fantasy genre trades on a mythic, timeless quality, which is one of the reasons why it tends to be resistant to pop idioms: they invariably end up rooting the film to a particular era, as the score for Ladyhawke definitely does.

I have to admit that I've always loved his line,
"I talk to God regularly, and he never mentioned you."

Trevor Jones and David Bowie's work on Labyrinth is similar, but in that case while the music has certainly dated, the use of the still-iconic Bowie as a perverse symbol of sexual awareness tends to counterbalance the cheesiness of the score. Joel Goldsmith's Kull the Conqueror is a pretty accurate reflection of the movie - that is to say, a very affable mess. A case can be made for Tangerine Dream's Legend being fairly effective, all one has to do is watch the version with Jerry Goldsmith's score to see which one really fits the film. And even then, Goldsmith's Ravellian confection with electronic sprinkles has little or nothing to do with the time period being depicted.

A period accurate score was attempted for - of all things - Monty Python and the Holy Grail; it was abandoned because the combination of the small ensemble playing dance tunes and the grimy visuals just made it completely depressing. Library music from DeWolfe was used instead, and the form it took in the film was that grand, epic sound that Hollywood has ever associated with the Middle Ages (interesting side-note: DeWolfe has announced that they are preparing a volume of the Holy Grail music... a must-have if I ever heard of one). And let's not get started on a period-accurate Conan the Barbarian score... it would all sound like the drumbeats in the sequence with the witch.

So what it really boils down to is that Ladyhawke is loathed by people because it doesn't sound like what they think a fantasy film score should sound like. I can't bring myself to hate it because, while I don't think it really worked, it was at least an attempt to try something different. But it is really strange to watch people go on at length about how inappropriate the score is, when the approach they are defending is pretty much just as presumptuous, it's just one we're more used to it as a society.
Tags: basil poledouris, cartoons, cinema, far side, film music, irobby, james horner, jerry goldsmith, monty python, trevor jones, vangelis
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