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Comments about the soundtrack for Red Corner (Thomas Newman)

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Ethnic Generalization
• Posted by: Hyun21K   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 12:03 p.m.
• IP Address:

My comments on both the score and review
1) This score is not oppresive in the least. The only thing that it has is the sharp ryhthmic profile (Newman's signature) and wailing vocals. This score is merely loud.
2) Unfortunately, Thomas Newman's signature percussion does not mesh well with Chinese music. Chinese music is related to the Chinese language; they are both lyrical. That also means that Chinese music is ryhthmically somewhat steady. Newman's addition of the percussion makes the music sound more Southeast Asian if anything. I don't know, but when I listened to the clips posted by Mr. Clemmensen, I had a mental image of the hot tropics of Thailand or Burma. Certainly not Chinese.
3) Clip "Remarkable Things" is one of the examples of "Chinese music" that I hate. It is unabashadley western in its lushness and its obvious use of the pentatonic scale is somewhat immature. Also, Chinese music has a warm and opulent feeling. Perhaps making the cue more bittersweet would cause a better meshing.
4) In conclusion, this soundtrack is very ignorant of what actual Chinese music sounds like. More often, it tries to imitate the percussion and Gamelan sounds of Southeast Asia, and real East Asian music is more dissonant and starker than this lush treatment.

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.