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Comments about the soundtrack for Total Recall (Jerry Goldsmith)

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modal melodies and great atmosphere
• Posted by: Giovanni Perini   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017, at 12:14 p.m.
• IP Address:
• Now Playing: total recall

Total Recall's soundtrack is an amazing example of how the best composers can achieve when they mix together different musical worlds: the main theme (opening credits) begins with a military-like rhythm of "cinematic" drums, a simple but epic brass instrument in the key of G (at the beginning the mode is not clear coz the notes are mainly tonic, dominant, octave)reaching the third minor only at the end of this long phrase. But the magic, the other-worldly, dreamy and epic moods, begins as the strings starts to play a simple -diatonic passage that ends in a Cm7 chord with some orchestral arrangements playing ninths - and creating a strange and beautiful atmosphere that is a mix of epic, strong sounds and almost "chillout music", modernist and jazzy harmonic solution (I mean, jazzy only if you see it from an harmonic point of view, something similar to the F(4#) chord of Williams' Superman) .

There is a point when you feel that he should have changed the chords, but it doesn't happen, he keeps us waiting for a few seconds...and then he moves the Cm9 to a Db (borrowed from a Phrygian mode in the key of C minor) - The C minor then becames the tonic (at the beginning it sounded more like a chord built on the 4th degree of Gm)

After this, another miracle happens: with 3 descending notes coming from the Dorian scale, this time, he brings the tonal center back to G minor , but this time with a strong Dorian atmosphere...(and adding something even more epic and ancient to the already incredible theme) - the melody reaches an 11th interval - bringing more and more abstract jazz/modernism atmospheres, then, we have another pattern similar to the first one with the Phrygian chord that function as a dominant, resolving on the tonic G minor

Amazing, dreamy, epic, avant garde and futuristic- what more can I say?

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