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Thursday, January 31, 2008

March of the Penguins - Alex Wurman

The one background score that just blew me mind in the recent times is that of the documentary film ‘March of the Penguins’. The score by Alex Wurman is undoubtedly a masterpiece. When I first rented the DVD of this documentary, the least I expected out of it is music. I thought it would be just a raw documentary on the survival of Penguins. But what I got was a full length emotional journey through the lives of Penguins and their struggles to survive in one of the harshest place on earth. What could have just been an infotainment turned into an extremely satisfying emotional journey and that is not just because of the stunning cinematography and the narration but also because of the brilliant, beautiful and intimate score of Alex Wurman. In synch with the tradition of movie scores, Alex has written a soothing main theme which is used in all vital moments on various instruments and different backing arrangements.

I always care for precision of a score to the variations in the mood and emotions in the visuals. I feel that big orchestras fail to bring in that precision in movies of such kind where emotion is focused so close so that you as an audience inhale what the characters onscreen exhale. What Alex Wurman got right in this score is this precision. He has not used a big orchestra. He has used woodwinds, piano, strings and mild synth throughout and has harmonized them in a way that is just adequate enough to aurally recreate the stunning vastness of the icescapes and also sing the intimate melody in Penguins lives. For those who have seen the documentary, this soundtrack is a must have in your collection and even if you haven’t seen it, this is a beautiful soundtrack with music that will sooth your mind and bring in enormous relaxation.

Here I am going to post 4 pieces from the soundtrack and also list four situations/track names from the movie. I invite you to match the pieces and the situations/track names, based on the feel, mood and emotion you sense after hearing the piece. Also if possible, give me the reason, or what exactly made you feel that a particular piece matches with the particular situation you chose. I hope this will be an interesting exercise.

1. The Harshest place on Earth (This piece is kind of an introduction to the harshness of the place in which Penguins strive hard to survive)
2. The March (The scene in which Penguins start marching to a safer place with harder ice surface for mating)
3. Found Love (Penguins love making scene)
4. First Steps (When the new born Penguin starts to walk)


Answer for Background Score - 18

This piece is from Jeans. It is a short and sweet ultra cool tune made of all techno sounds by Rahman. Apt for those US intro scenes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Answer for Background Score - 17

Yes. This piece is from Guna. It is the main Guna theme. It is used throughout the movie. As I already said, it is one of those divine melodies, which I can listen continuously for a whole day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Background Score - 17

This is one of those divine melodies which I can listen non-stop for a whole day.

Here is the answer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Listening Lagaan

A new extended version of "Listening to Lagaan" is here


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sivaji Background Score

Just now saw the Sivaji's Silver Jubilee function in which the producer AVM Saravanan announced that SIvaji OST with background score pieces is going to be released soon. Rajini's last movie, 'Chandramukhi' background score was also released. Rahman's background score was okay which was loud enough to suit the grandeur of the scenes. Rahman has mostly used the songs in the background except for the Motta Boss Rap theme, Aadhiseshan theme and the Title theme. Ofcourse fight scenes had a lot of incidental music recorded with a symphony orchestra which may not be completely enjoyable as stand alone tracks. Anyway, let us wait and see.

Also, saw an interview of Vidhyasagar in which he spoke more about his background score for the movie 'Pirivom Santhipom' than the songs. He said he has worked hard to create a background score to aurally bring the contrast between the first and second half of the movie. Even cinematographer M.S.Prabhu talked about movie's background score. It is good to see that there is some talk about this aspect in promotional interviews. I also remember noticing Vidhyasagar's background score in Karupazhaniappan's Parthiban Kanavu.

Answer for Background Score - 16

This piece is from Alaipayuthey. It can be heard clearly in the scene used when Karthik and Sakthi are shown lying on the bed without facing each other after having some misunderstandings. There is unmistakable Rahman stamp written over this Guitar piece.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jodha Akbhar Soundtrack

Finally the track list of Jodha Akbar soundtrack is out. Audio is also officially released. As expected, there are no background score pieces included, instead, two instrumental tracks are included as it was in Swades. The flute version of 'Jashan-E-Bahaara' and the Oboe version of 'Khwaja mere Khwaja'. The interesting thing here is the usage of Oboe for a qawwali tune. Eagerly waiting to hear this particular instrumental.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ennai Thaalaata Varuvaala

Illayaraja’s romantic melodies always have a special quality of emoting both happiness and sadness from within itself. You can use it for either mood and it would aptly fit in for either! The tune of ‘Ennai Thalaatta Varuvaala’ is as romantic as it can get when used for romantic scenes, and as painful as it can sound, when used to underscore the pain of the lovers in separation. Listen to the compilation of all variations of this tune used as background score throughout the movie

Here is a complete analysis on Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai background score

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Answer for Background Score - 15

This piece is from Charulatha (Bengali). It is the main charulatha theme. Satyajit Ray both as a director and composer has played a very important role in raising the bars for background score in Indian films. Satyajit Ray is the composer for 'Charulatha'. I simply love this piece. I know it isn't fair to ask everyone to guess a score from a bengali movie but my intention was just to make people listen to this beautiful piece.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Screen Nominations for Best Background Score

Yet another instance to understand how bad the recognition for background score composers is in Indian Cinema. Vishal-Shekhar is nominated for Best background score, though Sandeep Chowtha is the actual background score composer of Om Shanthi Om. Also, Daniel B.George's background score for Jhonny Gaddar deserves a nomination.