Dive into Nolan's labyrinthine worlds within worlds with only music as your guide. You will get lost - and you will love every second of it. This is an extreme musical trip into the unknowable.
To anyone who has not yet seen this epic movie I would strongly recommend to do so. Nevertheless, the soundtrack stands on its own. Zimmer only had the script to go by so his compositions reflect his own take on the characters and events of the movie and are not simply there to complement the pictures.
The collections starts off ominously with the short HALF REMEMBERED DREAM, reaches an early peak with THE DREAM IS COLLAPSING, turns playfully threatening with ONE SIMPLE IDEA to end with my favorite, TIME, a majestic closing piece, full of new found hope and open sunbathed vistas.
If you think of buying this because you were blown away by the trailer music keep in mind that it is not included. That piece is called Mind Heist and it was actually composed by Zack Hemsey, not Hans Zimmer.
This is the music of the worlds within, the sound of our subconscious fears and most secret dreams; the sound of the pulsating thread that connects us with the Universe.
on 1 March 2011
Less than a month after John Barry died, and fearful that the world had lost its single greatest film score composer, what relief to find that Hans Zimmer has shown, through his collaboration on the soundtrack to the HBO series The Pacific, and now here with Inception, that the world has a new master.
Many modern film scores (particularly action films) comprise simply a series of cues and breaks which, when only a few seconds in length rather than minutes, combine to produce soundtracks that are really just noise, and difficult and inaccessible when listened to in isolation. Celebrate then the great score composers who use melodic themes, texture and the luxury of (no pun intended here) "Time" to develop their music. Inception being a truly worthy example of this given that it was written and arranged based only on sight of the shooting script and not (as is usually the case) crafted to fit the completed film. Perhaps more film scores should be done this way - it is quintessential proof of how a marriage of creative film-making and creative score can be constructed independently and yet blend together so perfectly.
Over 60 minutes, Zimmer traverses peak after emotional peak, from the intensely bombastic "Mombasa", the beautifully mournful "Old Souls" to the slow-building "Waiting for a Train" which leads inexorably to the show-stopping masterpiece that is "Time". Undoubtedly the quality of the entire score is in part attributable to the production, with every switch seemingly flicked to "Max" or "Loud". But then that is how this entire aural feast should be heard.
The film itself is, of course, uniquely original and breathtakingly immense. The score not only matches the lofty ambitions that were set it by the film, but succeeds in elevating the entire project to mythical status.
Easily the best soundtrack so far this century, that it (like the movie itself in the competition for Best Film) was denied an Oscar two days ago is an unjustifiable injustice. But I bought the soundtrack on the strength of the snippets heard during the Oscar ceremony, and a consequent rewatching of the film. And Je ne regrette rien.
I saw the movie 'Inception' last week (twice !) and as a result had to get the marvellous soundtrack on CD, if for no other reason that it will tide me over until this fantastic film is released for home-viewing as it quite simply blew me away !
When watching the film it didn't take me long to recognise the musical 'signature' of Hans Zimmer, a composer who's music I am a big fan of courtesy of similarly good work for films such as 'Gladiator', 'Batman Begins', 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'The Dark Knight'. The main reason for the recognition was a short but distinctive snippet of electric cello near the beginning which, I think, was placed there for the very purpose in which it affected me ie instead of it really contributing to the music at that time in the film, it was as though with the inclusion of that short musical 'interjection' he was declaring "Yes, for those who know my music you now know this soundtrack is also by me - Hans Zimmer !". And that matter I think supports my feelings about various aspects of this particular piece of musical work by him and why it warrants a little more evaluation for a review than usual.....
As good as this is, I don't think it his best (but since the review ratings are relative to all comparable music it gets 4 stars !) as it is quite subdued relative to his previous compositions and bears some similarities to other soundtrack music of both his and (controversially) other composers - a certain amount of pretentiousness and conceit lies within, although this is in part excusable :
There is no doubt that the film forces the soundtrack to be somewhat subdued, as dialogue is almost constant throughout and of a nature which requires the viewer to be very attentive - so they don't want to be overly 'distracted' by the musical accompaniment. Opportunities do exist for the soundtrack to be forceful, and Zimmer wastes no time in achieving that aim with some truly fantastic horn and percussion elements ('Half Remembered Dream', 'Dream Is Collapsing', 'Dream Within A Dream' and 'Waiting For A Train') harking back to the best of what appears in 'Batman Begins'. Only later in the film, at the end (albeit, from memory, for at least 30mins I think !) can the music be at the forefront of what we hear and see, and here again Zimmer produces the goods with a necessarily long and progressively speedier/triumphant composition (which includes 'Time') to accompany the mesmeric and truly awesome 'chase/conflict' finale. This latter part of the film is something to behold, and with the support of the music makes it possibly the most gripping and intense piece of cinematography I have ever seen. This finale music is also unusual for Zimmer, since it is predominantly produced by synthesisers - instruments I don't normally associate with him in such prominence.
So, having defended the somewhat subdued nature of the music compared to what Zimmer normally produces I turn my attention to what I detect to be similarities to other work. Along with my earlier suggestions about elements reminding me of music in 'Batman Begins', he has used that slow/progressive build-up 'idea' which appeared to such great effect at the end of 'The Da Vinci Code' ('Chevaliers De Sangreal'). However, for me originality is lost to a degree as elements of quite a bit of what else appears in the soundtrack to this film bear too much of a resemblance to music, for example, by Vangelis for 'Blade Runner' or the original compositions included in the music for the film 'Heat', such as the title track, 'Force Marker' by Brian Eno, 'Refinery Surveillance' by the Kronos Quartet or the Moby track 'God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters' which is the background to the finale (compare that to the aforementioned finale music 'Time' for this film and see if you agree with me !).
Of course, I'm not saying that Zimmer has copied the musical notions from those other works; I'm just trying to support my assertion that as good as this soundtrack is, it is not as utterly original as what he usually composes. The saying 'Imitation is the best form of flattery' may be pertinent, as this work echoes nothing but the best of what, for me, it bears similarities to and complements the mastery of the film as a piece of magnificent, and thought-provoking, cinematic entertainment.
This soundtrack is well worth sampling, especially if you have seen and enjoyed the film as much as I did. It impressed me very much when I saw the movie, but not as much as other soundtracks of his, partly due to the dominance of the film. Having said that, I'm already liking it even more with repeated listening and suspect it may eventually be my favourite work of his ! For example, my initially least favourite track 'Mombasa' is rapidly moving up the 'charts' to be one of my favourites...Finally, it's worth mentioning that the CD duration is a healthy 50mins, the recording quality is superb and the tracks appear to be in chronological order (a lot of soundtrack compilations aren't !) - vital when this music really tells a story.
Regarding the film, I shall leave the subject of 'imitation' to when I can review it on Blu-ray and ask: "What came first, the ideas depicted in the films 'The Matrix' and 'Dark City' or the concept for the film 'Inception' ?" - Discuss...!
I love most music that Hans Zimmer composes - but this CD is in a realm of its own. It probably is best for those people who have seen the film but maybe not essentially so - it's hard to decide because I have seen the film and I did truly love it.
The sountrack is essentially a sequence of dark, rhythmic elements which culminate in the staggeringly powerful final track 'Time'. The overall feel of this particular part of the sountrack reminds me very much of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 "Sorrowful Songs" with its endlessly recurring motif that builds and builds until it suddenly dies away to end with a scratch-like effect which will only really mean anything to those who recall the very final fleeting image in the film.
In a way, the feel of the music also often reminds me of the instrumental version of parts of Rob Dougan's masterpiece 'Furious Angels'. If you like either or both the Gorecki or Dougan compositions, the odds are that you will enjoy this soundtrack.
In my opinion, this is Zimmer's greatest soundtrack achievement. It's well worth reading the excellent liner notes which outline one stage of its development.
Just as a personal aside - that final track 'Time' is one that I now play on auto repeat as I work on the difficult and complex task of editing a huge compilation of poetry. The music seems to take me to somewhere 'other' ---- there's no better or more objective way to describe or explain it.
on 24 March 2011
I must be honest here, I am not usually one for film scores...I fully appreciate them in the context of the what is happening on screen, but have never actually listened to one in the way I have done with this album.
The score is epic and full of variety in terms of sound. It shifts from full orchestral numbers to quick and pacy tracks with fluidity. In this respect the score is well balanced and reminds you of some of the most memorable parts from the film. All in all, it is a great solid piece of work and one I have been listening to and will continue to listen to for a long time yet and that is saying something coming from me.
Just a quick note as I noticed someone mention this is another review. The track "Mind Heist" is indeed not on this album and that is quite simply because Hans Zimmer had nothing to do with that track, it was in fact by Zack Hemsey and it is easy enough to find on the web.
on 13 July 2014
Great soundtrack to a great movie, even if the director probably claims he's never heard of the 'The Matrix'. Despite it's inspired use of the brass notes from 'Je ne regrette rien' it's still too heavily dependant on Zimmer's own work on 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight' to qualify as a 5-star review. Sorry, Hans. But then again, almost every freakin' 'tec TV show and fantasy -drama movie since 2005 seems to have used music 'inspired' by your work, so why shouldn't you borrow from it?
on 3 January 2011
The score represents the third collaboration between Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan. Building on the excellent work presented in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, could this album possibly top the magnificence of the score for The Dark Knight - specifically the two-disc expanded edition?
Brooding, epic, grandiose and easily Zimmer's darkest score, what we have presented here is a series of suites that have been composed without viewing a single frame of the movie. Nolan has sliced, diced and manipulated to fit the images on screen. As a result, it's a largely unlistenable piece of work, saved only by the main recurrent theme which is heard a couple times through 11 tracks and takes up the final 12th track, 'Time.' It's this track that saves the album from drudgery.
Similar to Chevaliers de Sangreal from 'The Da Vinci Code' soundtrack, this is a haunting and beautiful track which builds to a stunning crescendo and makes the preceding, oppressive 45 minutes well worth the wait.
If you're a Zimmer completist you've probably already bought this album. If you're looking for a track that's reflective of the experience of watching Inception, I would buy the track 'Time,' and this should be everything you need.