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Alternate Cover

European Score Composed, Arranged, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

European Score Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Fiachra Trench

European Score Guitar Solos by:
Pete Haycock

European Score Ethnic Woodwind Solos by:
Richard Harvey

European Score Co-Produced by:
Franc Roddam

American Score Composed, Performed, and Produced by:
Chaz Jankel

Varèse Sarabande
(Zimmer Score)

Release Date:
September 15th, 1992

Also See:
Thelma & Louise
The House of the Spirits

Audio Clips:
1. The Ascent (Sample 1) (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

1. The Ascent (Sample 2) (0:28):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

1. The Ascent (Sample 3) (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

2. The Descent (0:33):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

The Varèse Sarabande album with the Zimmer score is a regular U.S. release but features different cover art in its pressings. The Jankel score has bever been commercially released and is very difficult to find in bootleg form.



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Sales Rank: 308514

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Buy it... if you long for the days when Hans Zimmer could conjure a compelling mix of symphonic grandeur, contemporary rock tones, and stylish electric guitar solos without compromising on attention to details or depth of empathy.

Avoid it... if you have no interest in hearing the guitar performances of Thelma & Louise accompanied by thematic structures of Backdraft and instrumental brooding similar to The House of the Spirits.

K2: (Hans Zimmer/Chaz Jankel) The fact that the 1991 film K2 is an adaptation of a stage play should tell you that it is primarily a character story and not a cheap adventure flick. Unfortunately, people expecting to see raw mountain climbing without all the character fluff were left with film that filled most of its 104 minutes with forced, shallow dialogue. Only $3 million in grosses awaited K2 at the box office, its release in America delayed until 1992. The plot tells of two friends with opposite lifestyles sharing a passion for mountain climbing. They become part of an expedition to climb K2, the second highest mountain in the world, and not only succeed but also are the only two to survive the ordeal. Along their journey, however, the script slows to a crawl as the two leads (Michael Biehn and Matt Craven) endlessly contemplate life and death issues in extended scenes. Still, K2 contains a worthy collection of outstanding helicopter shots of the expedition and landscape, a redeeming element for some viewers. To accompany these glorious shots of the snowy, wind-blown mountains in brilliant sunlight, director Franc Roddam obviously sought a contemporary musical sound defined by ballsy electric guitar wailing and drum pad pounding. The original composer for the project was Chaz Jankel, a British keyboard and guitar player who contributed songs and performances for the funk and new wave band Ian Dury and the Blockheads in the late 1970's. At some point in the film's troubled post-production process, and likely in part due to Paramount, Roddam approached Hans Zimmer to write a replacement score. Despite the fact that the European version of the film came out six months prior to the American cut, Zimmer's work (augmented by a few minutes of material from Nick-Glennie Smith not available on commercial album) was only heard in the first release. Thus, in the messy period of rearrangement in between, Jankel's score must have been re-inserted into the film. Perhaps not surprisingly, the amount of Jankel music in that American version is very limited; extended sequences of both dialogue and transitional climbing contain no score whatsoever, yielding to the sound effects of blowing wind in many cases. His music badly underachieves anyway, failing to generate much excitement with its sparse, simplistic constructs. It seemingly consists of only keyboarding, guitar, and percussion loops, repeating the same general ideas over and over again with little effective variance for the emotional swings on screen. The long scenes of dialogue are typically absent his music altogether.

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The replacement score by Hans Zimmer has often been criticized for repeating many of the techniques and thematic progressions common to he career by that point, and, to an extent, his work for K2 is a bit derivative. What's more important to note about this score is how well packaged these ideas are when considering the lack of depth from which some of Zimmer's later symphonic and synthetic combination scores would suffer. The idea of using prominent electric guitar solos for the vast landscapes carried over, and Zimmer teams once again with Pete Haycock for several very accomplished performances of genuine style similar to the slightly bluesy tone of his contributions to Thelma & Louise just prior. The balance between synthetic backing, including rock-like percussion, and the organic sounds from the orchestra and occasional choir is particularly well handled when Haycock is unleashed solo on top of the combined ensemble. His role was to provide kick-ass harmony to Zimmer's evocative character theme, one of the composer's most alluring and as bittersweet as the mellow tune for the upcoming Point of No Return. The themes conveyed by the orchestral players are obviously reminiscent of Backdraft, one tragic, solo cello idea reflecting the brothers theme from that score clearly. Moments of adversity feature the same muscular, pad-slapping, choral-aided propulsion from Backdraft's action scenes. The constructs in between these themes manage to be heroic without sounding cheesy. What will surprise most Zimmer veterans upon revisiting K2 is just how well the orchestral aspect is integrated. There are portions of this score that sound far better developed than Backdraft and foreshadow the grim but convincing symphonic tone of The House of the Spirits. Some of the bold, almost jazzy horn expressions in Zimmer's favorite minor-key progressions are not to be missed. Most interesting is the composer's insertion of a couple of regional inferences, something Jankel ignored. As the expedition reaches the region and prepares to climb, Zimmer uses a shehnai, a stereotypical North Indian oboe, and slurred string effects over vibrant percussion and exotic rhythms with a very satisfying result (never mind that K2 is between Pakistan and China... the Indian sound works well enough). Overall, Zimmer's score, released commercially, is infinitely superior to Jankel's, which has always been extremely difficult to find in bootleg form. The presentation of Zimmer's music is condensed to two long tracks, which is very unfortunate. Break it up into your own album and appreciate the days when Zimmer's scores were so refreshing that they actually used cymbals, gongs, and swooshing sounds to subtly reflect the wind blowing on screen. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    The Chaz Jankel Score as Written for the Film: **
    The Hans Zimmer Score as Written for the Film: ****
    The Hans Zimmer Score as Heard on Album: ***
    Overall: ****

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.98 (in 89 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3 (in 266,326 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.9 Stars
Smart Average: 2.93 Stars*
***** 22 
**** 21 
*** 26 
** 24 
* 26 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 41:20

• 1. The Ascent (27:39)
• 2. The Descent (13:41)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from K2 are Copyright © 1992, Varèse Sarabande (Zimmer Score). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 4/7/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.