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Powell / Williams - Is the track good for Solo or should I put it to Mute instead?

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Tommi Uimonen, May 30, 2018.

  1. Hello.

    Some conversation already about the new Solo Star Wars soundtrack on the chat, but I'd like to hear what Mike has to say about it, so making a separate thread about it.

    It is possible to check just the soundtrack from Disney Vevo channel if you prefer (maybe hard to concentrate to score only while watching in movie theatre)

  2. #2 Alexander Schiborr, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    I mean I browsed a bit through the pieces and every time I am switching to John Williams piece, there is that star wars signature sound a lot more than from John Powell. what a surprise ..lol ! But sure..John Powell is not John Williams, so it is a bit unfair to compare him to John. But..Imo..John Powell is not able to pull of what John does...of course how he can? He is good in what he does but most of the time his themes feel a bit inferior to Johns Music here. It is just my personal opinion. His harmonic language is not that rich and the references he does sounds cool. I don´t think that this was his primary goal but I can here he tries hard.. He tries pretty hard and does a remarkable job with his writing, still that doesn´t sound like star wars to me. But man..all that percussions in his tracks got me sometimes a bit a headdache (this daga da daga da dag dag rhythms..so not star wars for me..) Not to put my hand into the fire: But writing action music like John Williams as Powell tried here..feels cool and fancy with all the orchestrations but also random most of the time. But knowing how less time there is to pull of such action music..he does pretty good for that underscore.
    Samuel Diaz likes this.
  3. #3 Mike Verta, May 31, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
    I haven't heard it, but don't have to to know that John Powell does not possess the symphonic development skills that John has - not by a light-year. I can't actually think of anybody working now who does. The films aren't Star Wars films anyway - they're "Star Wars" films, and do not possess the structure or editorial dependence on music that the classics did (which is an integral part of the definition of a Star Wars film), so I think this is sort of an irrelevant/unreasonable comparison. Filmmakers no longer use music in the capacity which earned composers the front-of-film screen credit, which is probably just as well. The pure, raw, unadulterated -even academic- chops Williams has is so vastly superior to what's being heard on average, that I think his work should be given a separate classification and descriptive term. "Music," might be a good one.
  4. I'm curious. Who would be the least incompetent to score a "real" Star Wars film, according to you ?
  5. I loved Powell's work on Solo. If ten years from now I am able to do something like that, then I can die in peace.

    A bit too much low end to my taste, but I really liked the fact he didn't try to mimic Williams in the style of Williams, but did it more in a Shirley Walker fashion (IMO). Shirley Walker being my favourite arranger of the 1990s, I was in joy. I also loved how he took the risk to add some totally new devices, like the bulgarian choir.

    100% agree with the fact that the first trilogy was built on the music, and so, everything that followed didn't have the same DNA.
  6. @Sylvain Provenzano Who's still alive who was trained that way? I can't even think of anybody... Broughton shows a bit of it in Tombstone and others, but I've never heard a balletic structure from him like you hear routinely from Williams. Goldsmith, too. Kamen could do it. Lots of dead people. But that's fitting because the franchise is dead.

    Related, my girlfriend put the film Willie Wonka on the other day - the musical with Gene Wilder - and my son totally dug the music and was transcribing parts of it, and I realized there will be no more great musicals. The chops on that score are insane. It's a structure/orchestration doctorate. Anyway, May the Force Be With You.
  7. Of composers that are alive today (besides John), I'd love to hear Desplat's take on Star Wars. Desplat is only 56, I'm excited about what he will do in the future.

    I'm also curious how would Morricone have done Solo :D
  8. #8 Mike Verta, Jun 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
    Can you point to a Desplat score (or Morricone) that demonstrates long-form symphonic development ala Goldsmith/Williams et al? Examples would be the Battle of Yavin from Star Wars, or The Enterprise from Star Trek the Motion Picture. Multi-minute, developmental cohesion of motivic material.
  9. I'm not even going to read anything except the OP.

    heres an idea: listen to it and come to your own conclusions. You don't need to ask mike what you do and don't like.

    I don't even read reviews FFS - just go see the movie if you want to risk losing money, and decide for yourself if you liked it or not. TBH up until recently I didn't even know if JW was even working on it at all - because it wouldn't change if the score was good or not.
  10. Can't think of a Desplat piece (possible that he doesn't even have one) but the first Morricone piece that comes to mind is this:

  11. #11 Mike Verta, Jun 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
    @Kyle Judkins Hey, Kyle, this has nothing to do with what you like don't like. Zero. This is a discussion about who has the training and chops in a specific skill set. It's quantifiable. Some do, some don't. Whether we like what they do or not is a separate issue.

    And do the board a favor, and don't half participate in discussions. If you bother to post, bother to read everything first. Homey don't play that shit!

    @Aaron Venture I do so love Morricone's writing. But this isn't long-form development. It's long. It develops. But it's a different beast. So nice to hear The Untouchables sister score. :)
  12. Haha, yes. I love both of these scores! And man, that piece is great and set the tone for the whole film so well. But no one is quite like Johnny.
  13. More is less.
    Nando Florestan and Samuel Diaz like this.
  14. I just took issue with the idea of asking everyone if you'll enjoy some thing.

    ofcourse Powell has chops, and wasn't pigeon holed into just trying to sound like he was to be a stand in for JW. if his job was to write like JW it would matter more - but as long as he plays his strengths it should be good.

    personally I wasn't as drawn into the music as much as the movie... I actually enjoyed the film, but I felt brass fatigue

    it was probably hard dealing with that much action and pacing, but that's my critique. I wouldn't participate in the conversation about the score until I saw it(I don't event watch trailers before I see a movie, let alone let people set expectations going into it)
  15. I am not 100% sure it's a "training" issue as much as a financial issue. Movie studios want to make money. As they say: you could produce a score of someone reading a newspaper and if it's a hit there will be many copies of it.

    Let me offer specific thoughts as to why:

    John Corigliano: Red Violin has great sense of structural development as does most of his music. His score was rejected for the Mel Gibson film Edge of Darkness. I know he was so upset, he felt it was hopeless to continue doing film work.

    It's too abstract an idea for the general public. I think structural development is most found in the classical cannon, and fewer and fewer composers are interested in that. I am often surprised how few --- even if not a fan of the genre - film composers know any Opera.

    Forget the vibrato of the singing and the foreign languages....... so many master works are unknown. Blue beards Castle for example. Sounds like Hermann, or rather Hermann sounds like Bartok.

    In fact, most of the deft "structural" composers draw heavily off of structural music. For example, I listened to maybe 80 seconds on Mike's cue he posted in the other thread. A clear moment....... that sounds like kinda like Walton #2 in spots. It does not matter..... other than to say you are what you eat.

    I just think "ones hands will be tied". I actually think - prior to his accident- Goldenthal could have developed the chops, and I tell you..... David Newman is underrated. He is the forgotten Newman. A fuckin good composer. Maybe because I have had a chance to work with him up close I am biased.

    Also David Shire is another forgotten composer who has structural chops. I might make a post about his sometime.


    Mike: So right about kids stuff. I recall my daughter would watch "Sophia the First" and there were numerous times I would be walking thru the room going..... oh that's fucking cool..... what is that.......Ahhh... Sophia the First.

    If you can stand watching them, kids cartoons have some incredibly sophisticated and often wonderfully subversive satirical music.
    Nando Florestan likes this.
  16. I think David Newman is criminally underrated. My favorite Newman by a mile. And David Shire - Yes! But I'm not sure I'm getting your point about it being financial. I consider part of being in control of one's craft to be able to work in contexts both simple and sophisticated. Having played no shortage of Corigliano stuff in orchestra, I'm not sure he's demonstrated the other, equally important skill of speaking to and leading the everyman. Again, Williams can write a pop tune. This is key. My first exposure to orchestra was the score to Star Wars, and my second was my mother constantly blasting Opera in the house. Don't tell me "Toreador" ain't a pop tune. That's why I call bullshit on so much pretension by so-called modern symphonic composers who consider accessibility beneath them. It's like saying one only paints Picassos, but can't muster a stick figure. Yeah sure.

    But as I've said elsewhere and often, all this falls under the umbrella of "I do not want what I have not got."
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  17. #17 Aaron Venture, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
    Saw the movie. I enjoyed it, I think the cast did well, even though there were places where I'd loved to have seen like 5 more minutes of character development. Went home singing the theme, but that's the only thing I remember. I also remember how Asteroid field was lazily playing in the Act III climax. What a great chance for great original music - missed.

    I also think the main theme is a much more sophisticated and thought out piece than the rest of the score. I wonder if Powell wrote that piece before getting his hands on the film and then did (the rest of) the score on a tighter deadline.
    Samuel Diaz likes this.
  18. I totally agree, the main theme was the most memorable piece out of the bunch and the love theme was pretty nice too but I’m almost sure the main theme was by Williams.
    Noam Levy likes this.
  19. It's John Williams who wrote the main theme.

    edit : You've been faster :p
    Samuel Diaz likes this.
  20. #20 Aaron Venture, Jun 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

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