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Album Cover Art
2014 Regular/Digital
2014 Illuminated Star Projection Edition
Album 2 Cover Art
2020 WaterTower
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway
Richard Harvey

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walter Fowler
Suzette Moriarty
Kevin Kaska
Carl Rydlund
Elizabeth Finch
Andrew Kinney

Co-Produced by:
Christopher Nolan
Alex Gibson
Labels Icon
WaterTower Music/
Sony Classical
(November 18th, 2014)

WaterTower Music/
Sony Classical
(Illuminated Star Projection Edition)
(December 16th, 2014)

WaterTower Music
(September 23rd, 2020)
Availability Icon
All available albums for this score are commercial releases. The regular "Star Wheel Constellation Chart Digipak" album and the "Illuminated Star Projection Edition" are CD products, the latter initially priced at $40 and suffering from limited availability (wih no option, for instance) despite other commercial options. The "Digital Deluxe Album" was widely available at the same time as the regular CD album.

The "Day One Dark" cue (6:58) was only available though an online ticketing site at the time of the movie's release. A 33-track promo presentation more complete than any available album was offered online by Paramount during the awards season of early 2015. The 2020 WaterTower "Expanded Edition" combines all tracks from the previous commercial albums and is a regular CD, digital, and vinyl product.
Nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate scores that appeal to your gut rather than your head, because Hans Zimmer attempts to compensate for an extremely simplistic set of musical constructs by conveying them stylishly through his unique methodology.

Avoid it... on any album presentation other than the long overdue "Expanded Edition" of 2020 if you do not own the score as of yet and wish to zone out to the best of its predictably ambient series of repetitive crescendos.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 1/17/15, REVISED 4/16/21
Interstellar: (Hans Zimmer) Truly thought-provoking science fiction bonanzas on the big screen are a relative rarity in an age when any low budget production can throw together some space-faring fantasy or nightmare, yet director Christopher Nolan manages with 2014's epic Interstellar to combine the realms of science and entertainment to outstanding critical and popular results. Long in the making, Interstellar owes much of its production origins and a substantial amount of its plot to 1997's Contact, and out of that inspiration, Interstellar was conceived in the early 2000's as a project destined for direction by Steven Spielberg. Later in the decade, the shifting of Spielberg from Paramount allowed Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, to step in and guide the project to its ultimate success. With the shadow of Carl Sagan still looming large, the scientific accuracy of the plot of Interstellar remained tantamount to that success for the Nolan brothers, and while the core of the story remains one of familial relationships, many pains were taken to ensure the plausibility of the science in the movie as well. The story postulates that when Earth eventually becomes inhospitable for humanity in the future, astronauts will seek out suitable planets to explore and inhabit based on instructions from friendly "aliens." Small groups of NASA astronauts travel through a wormhole to explore three possible candidate worlds, with varying results. The scientific concepts incorporated into Interstellar are among its highlights, though it's no surprise that interpersonal relationships are ultimately the key to humanity's survival. After all, the most likely threat to humankind is itself. Let's hope that by the time we have the technology to execute the escape depicted in this film, people aren't still killing cartoonists over their drawings of some archaic religious figure. As Interstellar meandered through development, it was long believed that the Spielberg project would yield a monumental score from none other than the maestro, John Williams. When Nolan took the helm, however, attention immediately moved to the more contemporary media darling, Hans Zimmer, who had, whether intentionally or not, revolutionized the film scoring industry with his music for Nolan's Batman Begins trilogy and Inception.

Hence, with Interstellar, the Zimmer media spectacle commenced once again and the composer obliged his adoring fans with all the obligatory quotes about producing a score that is radically different in some way. The resulting music confirms, more than any other in his career, that his style of composition has either evolved or devolved into a "love it or hate it" proposition. His methodology here may seem different on the surface, but it really isn't. There could not be an artist further in process from the likes of a John Williams, and there's nothing wrong with that if you experience the proper emotional response from Zimmer's music. There will remain an entire generation of film score listeners, however, for which this Zimmer music does not connect, and it's important for the generally younger crowd of fans and reviewers to remember that. For this aged constituency, Interstellar will be among the most boring film scores to ever exist, further steering the genre as a whole towards ridiculously slow tempos, repetitive structures, and, as a result, the feeling of emotional guidance via sound design. It is fascinating to witness the nearly universal praise that Zimmer's score for Interstellar has received from reviewers from within and outside the film score community, because these accolades seem to suggest that the basic structural techniques utilized nowadays by Zimmer are not only acceptable but praiseworthy. This review will analyze the music from a cold and purely technical perspective, not with the intent of eviscerating Zimmer for the purposes of simply aggravating his enthusiasts (though, with the number of juvenile comments these reviews generate, this trouble-maker admits to occasionally being tempted by his reliable capability to spawn such astonishingly amusing folly), but because there are listeners out there for whom this music produces no emotive response, no gut reaction, no connection, and no interest to hear it again. Why would anybody not feel any significant reaction to Zimmer's Interstellar? Zimmer has done a great many things right with this effort, correcting some perceived wrongs in his methodology. If he remains a genuinely great and influential personality in the film music world, why would Interstellar land with a thud for some listeners? Let's first discuss the basic aspects of the score at play and then analyze the important positives of the work and possible detriments that may drag it back down to Earth for some listeners.

When you hear Interstellar described as a combination of Philip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi and Ennio Morricone's Mission to Mars, you have to accept these comparisons as only the most obvious ones. If you dig deeper into the score, you are confronted by interesting and possibly coincidental relationships between this and prior works by Michael Giacchino, James Horner, and even Vangelis, the last of which the most telling of the lot and perhaps not so surprising when considering that Blade Runner was an inspiration to the Nolan brothers for Interstellar. It's tempting to say that if you found little emotional connection with the thought process behind the music for Koyaanisqatsi and Mission to Mars, then you might be in for a rude surprise when exploring Interstellar. But even this tired listener can recognize that Zimmer and Nolan made some outstanding choices with this score that need commended. First and foremost, this is a Zimmer score. Not Zimmer with 12 ghostwriters. Not Zimmer themes with adaptations by five others. Not a Zimmer library mock-up. Not Zimmer channeled through aliens. He is solely credited for the mass of work on this score, and while it may be sad to actually have to point this out, it's good to once again hear a largely solo Zimmer score. Many (if not most) of the composer's best music came from his own hands back in the 1990's, and it's easy to get the sense that his guidance has become diluted in the years since his fame and production prowess really took hold. Likewise, the composer didn't shy away from expected but still strong decisions about instrumentation. In Interstellar, the film's emotional heart exists in the familial relationships, and thus the trusty old piano becomes the equivalent in the score. For the awe of space, the composer went to great lengths, aided by the ever-talented Richard Harvey, to find the right musicians for the score, and that included the pairing of a pipe organ and a massive woodwind section. The former instrument receives all the glory in the score, but the latter is employed to denote the trepidation with which humanity has to venture into space. The rhythmic element is also played towards the omnipresent concept of time in Interstellar, and the woodwinds sometimes figure into that method of movement as well. The composer very explicitly dropped the bass-heavy string ostinatos and expansive drums that had come to define his prior blockbuster scores, instead expending much effort in populating the treble region with a string and woodwind presence while diminishing muscular brass to just a few token appearances behind the organ.

There is definitely a refreshing feeling to the ambient tone of Zimmer's Interstellar. So many of the composer's scores of the 2000's and 2010's for major projects end up hopelessly interchangeable, and with this effort he has devised a personality in the music that is clearly meant for Interstellar alone. The composer had promised for years that each of his successive works was bound to be "radical" or "different" and yet they disappointed when they sounded largely the same as prior entries; that is finally not the case here, and one has to wonder how much of the seemingly endless praise for this music results from the distinctiveness of the score's basic sound. There's also the issue of Nolan's use of the music in the film, pushing the boundaries of its presence and occasionally emphasizing it to the detriment of the dialogue or scenery. Such was a major problem with Morricone's Mission to Mars, which also used a pipe organ prominently for space scenes, and the instrument was so intrusive in the end result that it was painful. Texture, ambience, and volume all come into play in both the Morricone and Zimmer works, and this leads to most important question of this review: Why is it that the music for Interstellar simply doesn't connect with some listeners, including this one? Is it an issue of changing tastes? Crotchety old age? Grudges against a composer for indulging himself as a media spectacle? While some readers will claim it's the last one, that's certainly not the case. Music is, at its root, a mathematical and scientific endeavor that ultimately aims for an emotional response. The lack of a positive response is typically rooted in some analytically observable aspect of the music, and the case with Interstellar is no different. There are structural elements in this music that both its supporters and detractors will be able to recognize, and hopefully the former group will be able to understand why the latter views these same elements as a potential negative. You have issues of tempos, progressions, instrumental presence in the mix, cue development, process of storytelling, counterpoint, volume, synchronization points, and numerous other technical aspects that could be (and indeed are) problematic in Interstellar, and together these detriments might even be fatal for some listeners. Zimmer's most loyal collectors will recognize these characteristics in the composer's works from previous projects, exposing Interstellar as work only superficially "different" in its whole. He has a tendency to seek the proper audience response via resonance of sound rather than complexity of thought, and this technique practically sums up the entire issue some will have with this score: it's irritatingly simplistic.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.12 Stars
***** 361 5 Stars
**** 350 4 Stars
*** 311 3 Stars
** 294 2 Stars
* 288 1 Stars
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(Comment Deleted by Poster)   Expand >>
Mitchell Kyler Martin - June 26, 2016, at 12:59 p.m.
2 comments  (1212 views)
Newest: February 5, 2017, at 5:34 p.m. by
Dear Lord Satan, answer our Hans Zimmer prayers!   Expand >>
Valar Morghulis - May 8, 2016, at 8:04 p.m.
2 comments  (2846 views)
Newest: June 26, 2016, at 12:55 p.m. by
Mitchell Kyler Martin
Alternative review at Movie Wave
Southall - February 22, 2015, at 4:47 p.m.
1 comment  (2160 views)
Interstellar music made me cum 3 times last night!   Expand >>
Flora - February 18, 2015, at 5:41 p.m.
2 comments  (3065 views)
Newest: June 2, 2017, at 8:16 p.m. by
Bryn Mercado
I'm a Zimmer fan and I concur.
William - January 27, 2015, at 2:10 a.m.
1 comment  (2078 views)
FVSR Reviews Interstellar
Brendan Cochran - January 26, 2015, at 11:40 p.m.
1 comment  (1368 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2014 Regular "Star Wheel" Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 71:38
• 1. Dreaming of the Crash (3:55)
• 2. Cornfield Chase (2:06)
• 3. Dust (5:41)
• 4. Day One (3:19)
• 5. Stay (6:52)
• 6. Message From Home (1:40)
• 7. The Wormhole (1:30)
• 8. Mountains (3:39)
• 9. Afraid of Time (2:32)
• 10. A Place Among the Stars (3:27)
• 11. Running Out (1:57)
• 12. I'm Going Home (5:48)
• 13. Coward (8:26)
• 14. Detach (6:42)
• 15. S.T.A.Y. (6:23)
• 16. Where We're Going (7:41)
2014 Digital Deluxe Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 92:28
2014 Illuminated Star Projection Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 131:52
2020 WaterTower "Expanded Edition" Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 139:03

Notes Icon
The insert of the "Star Wheel Constellation Chart Digipak" has a custom-cut interior to line up with star contellations pictured on the CD itself. Its insert contains long notes about the music from the director and the composer, as well as a partial list of performers. The "Illuminated Star Projection Edition" comes in a box that includes a "decodable light message" (perhaps a definitive list of Zimmer's ghostwriters?) and some additional booklet material. It also offers a method of downloading the score in surround sound. The insert of the 2020 "Expanded Edition" album includes the 2014 notes from the director and composer, a list of performers, and session photography.
Copyright © 2015-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Interstellar are Copyright © 2014, 2020, WaterTower Music/Sony Classical (Regular/Digital), WaterTower Music/Sony Classical (Illuminated Star Projection Edition), WaterTower Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/17/15 and last updated 4/16/21.
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