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Comments about the soundtrack for The Hurt Locker (Marco Beltrami/Buck Sanders)

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Re: Solid effort, but... strange
• Posted by: Scott W. Williams   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, at 1:58 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: Solid effort, but... strange (Flo)

> The score is a strong entry in Beltramis work, the Oscars on the other hand > is the most opinionated, studio-controlled - and worthless - award there
> is.

Well I definitely agree that the Oscars are generally worthless, in the film score game recognition is seldom achieved on such a large scale as the Academy Awards, film scores aren't usually supposed to call a lot of attention to themselves, and for Beltrami and Sanders to finally be recognized in a very public forum I think is exciting, long overdue (in my opinion), and important.

> As I mentioned earlier I'd like to see other people come forward with the
> kind of instrumental creativity as Beltrami does. He may not be the
> "best"(who is the best anyway?) composer in the world but he
> sure has an interesting voice and from what I have seen in interviews he
> is very interested in approaching a score from a fresh point of view.

I wish more people understood how hard Beltrami (and Sanders) work to approach each project with a fresh perspective and originality. It might not always shine through in the final product because ultimately it's the director's or studio's wishes, but Beltrami is an unsung hero in trying new and experimental things, not resting on his laurels. Unfortunately a lot of these bold efforts are not known because the scores and/or movies are often dismissed or ignored, but what other composers use cacti needles as a musical instrument (3 Burials)? What other composers use the sound of a piano pedal being pushed and depressed (The Omen)? What other composers use an old grandfather clock (3:10 to Yuma)? What other composers would use a sample frog sound from the Smithsonian sound effect library (Crow Salvation)? What other composers derive most of their score from different ways a piano can be played (or electronically altered, or beat on, or torn apart, like in Captivity)? What other composers pay such subtle tribute to original scores by Kamen, Goldsmith, Fiedel and Morricone while retaining his own distinct style (Die Hard 4, Omen, Yuma)? What other composer was described by teacher Jerry Goldsmith as the future of film scoring? I think Jerry would know. In fact I trust Jerry's taste in modern film music more than any website review. The fact that Beltrami was trained closely by such an enduring and dearly departed legend of film scoring as Goldsmith, with his endorsement and recognition, speaks highly of Beltrami's willingness to experiment, toil often thanklessly, and continued promise. Through my detailed research of Marco's work, career, and inventive ideas, as well as attendance at his Die Hard 4 scoring session, I have learned that Beltrami is so much more than his body of work reflects to the casual or even seasoned film score listener -- although he's achieved a remarkable level of artistry in his (so far) short 14 years composing... my deeply heartfelt opinion.

I know a lot of people don't care for Beltrami's music. The average ranking vote on this website indicates this as well. A lot of people don't care for James Horner's repetition of his and others' work, a lot of people don't care for the "soulless" quality of Hans Zimmer's proteges' work, a lot of people don't care for the electronic trend in film scoring, a lot of people don't like this or that...I am happy to say I don't look at listening to film scores this way. I just enjoy it. I don't focus on negative, or what it's not, or what it could be (most of the time), I just find composers or scores that I admire and I listen to them and I'm happy. This is not to say that I disagree with people who are intensely critical of film scores or composers, because I think it's important to have standards and tastes, I just don't focus on it. I focus on the fact that I'm glad that I love film music, I'm glad it's available to hear, I enjoy examining different composers, different approaches, different ideas, how a composition is designed, why, what different colors or textures are used, how it integrates with the film. I love what I listen to and I love that I can enjoy it so purely and be entertained or moved or excited while still intellectually able to appreciate the art and science behind the profession. Whew! Sorry for rambling!

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