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  • ZOS

    I am now suffering again from Zimmer Oppression Syndrome. 

    I watched finally the film "Interstellar" which was a rather miserable storyline and concept with good special effects, but also Zimmer's score.  

    I want to ask:   am I the only person in the world who notices how dulling and oppressive this music is?  It drones on and on, and actually gave someone in the room I was watching the film with a migraine.  

    Listen to a typical score of John Williams, or Danny Elfman, or Bernard Herrmann, or Erich Korngold.  They use different sounds, textures, instruments.  They have melodies and motifs they develop with contrasting themes and harmonies.  They use all the elements of the orchestra and the composer's tools. 

    Zimmer creates four bar phrases and then SMEARS them over ten minute stretches of film with NO DEVELOPMENT. NO CONTRAST. No actual musical composition whatsoever.  It is just harmonic noise. 

    Why is this guy the most highly paid composer? I don't understand this.  What is happening? It makes no sense.  Am I utterly alone is knowing this?  Has everyone been taken over by seed pods from another planet?


  • Sorry I am not the right man to complain anything relating to filmmusic. I personally do not expect necessarily anything important from Filmmusic. I do like Korngold, but I do like him most when he wrotes music for music, like his early pianomusic or hhis viiolinconcerto. I might be and is quite proable that he is able to write Filmmusic of the same quality, how ever this is simply not so interesting for me, since I am interested in music that's enough for me.

    imho, you just listen to what is paid by Filmproducers. Whatever those guys like or not must not necessarily depend on musical quality. There are other guys in the world earning even more money without any musical quality at all. In short: money is imho no aspect of musical quality ;-) .


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    Interstellar was an overly ambitious film with a unsatisfying payoff at the conclusion of nearly three hours running time. I haven't seen such an over pretentious nothing since Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky. .At the end, you just kind of sit there and say, "Is that it?" I was waiting for the ending credits to finish hoping there would be one last punchline scene Where Mathew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway jump out of their spacesuits, give a bow and say, "Now that's all Folks!" But you don't even get that. It's like getting a big present for your birthday and when you open it there's a smaller box inside and a smaller one inside that and so on until you get to the last small box and all that's inside is a best of Hans Zimmer compilation CD.

    Speaking of which, I pulled this off of the IMDb Interstellar page concerning the music:

    "Composer Hans Zimmer was instructed by Christopher Nolan to make a unique score: "it's time to reinvent. The endless string ostinatos need to go by the wayside, the big drums are probably in the bin." Nolan did not provide Zimmer a script or any plot details for writing music for the film, and instead gave the composer "one page of text" that "had more to do with Zimmer's story than the plot of the movie."


  • For me, it is irresistible to participate in a discussion about the great guru. As far as Interstellar is concerned I spared myself. However, it is only a few weeks ago that my mother (well informed in the classics) called me and said she had seen Dunkirk the night before and she particularly liked the music, as it really complemented the visual elements very well.

    Having not seen Dunkirk either I have no first hand opinion, but I can imagine... I am ready to concede that there were scenes where the music would in fact have been effective. However, Hans is the quintessential definition of a one-trick-pony (at least for the past 20 years or so). Huge conflict on a WWII battlefield? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A panorama of a dystopian, dark cityscape? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A love scene in a wheat-field? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... The on-screen magical creation of a civic centre that folds over itself in brilliant sunshine? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A man suddenly discovers he possesses the ability to euphorically fly over mountains and fields at incredible speeds? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... And so on and so on...

    If anybody could be bothered finding out how I feel about a pop composer with the expressive range of a boring broken record making untold millions in film, becoming a household name, and inspiring endless hordes of musical ignorami to follow in his pawsteps, can access my posts in similar threads on this forum.

    All I have to say here is that 'Political Correctness' [i.e. 'Political (and Musical) Hypnosis'] extends far beyond modes of perfunctory social behaviour, and is a conscious effort to enforce "correctness" on every facet of the human act, until we all properly form a single line, standing one behind the other; good, respectful, obedient, indiscriminate, consuming citizens.


  • "pawsteps" - inspired. 

    I had the same reaction to the actual film and find it interesting to compare this film/music combo to "Blade Runner."  In that case you have a complex, thoughtful film that is nevertheless very dramatic, with relatively minimalist music by Vangelis who though also a "pop" composer is very expressive in his scoring and very memorable with those huge analog synth sounds resounding above Douglas Trumbull's spectacular real-miniature FX.  It has none of that horrible soul-crushing oppression of the massive, thickly layered droning or the endless high whining two bar phrases of the near-comatose string-players in "Interstellar."  I have a feeling the string players on these scoring sessions go home in a shaken state of mind and feebly play - alone in their rooms - a little bit of a Bach partita to restore their understanding of why they ever went into music as a career.  


  • From an theoretical point of view you are right that Williams is far above Zimmer. He knows that. But I have to say that I like his Filmmusic. What I like about his way of working is, that he risks to do music very different from what you expect to hear in a movie. It was surely a risk to use an Organ as a main-instrument for a film. I found it worked pretty well for Interstellar. Here is a link https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YdSz12Glhlw If you listen to the music that comes after 1 minute it is just what you wanna hear in a Scene like this.I especially like the sequence which starts at 3:28 ... a mix of fast Organ play + Orchestra + probably Zebra from U-he.

  • I agree the organ section was a little better than the other.  It got away a little from the constant thick dull layers of sound that weigh down the rest of the film.  

    The pipe organ has been used many times, very famously in "Last Year In Marienbad" and the great low budget horror movie "Carnival of Souls" which both have fantastic organ solo scores.  Not to mention silent films  which had organ scores very commonly.  

    I really should just blabber about those and similar ones in a positive light rather than negatively rant about Zimmer but I was in a state of shock and confusion. I am feeling a little calmer now.  


  •  "There are other guys in the world earning even more money without any musical quality at all. In short: money is imho no aspect of musical quality" - fahl5

    That is true but what I was reacting to is - in the past up to the fairly recent past, the highest paid and most successful film composers were Erich Korngold,  Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann,  Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams.  All very wealthy. 

    And all of those composers are truly great musicians, some of the finest orchestral composing minds of the 20th century.   So making money does NOT equate to being a pathetically lame composer.  

    But never mind - this thread was the result of my overreaction.  Zimmer makes huge amounts of money, teaches students, does press releases, is loved by every producer in Hollywood, is apparently considered great.  That is the new reality.  


  • "I have a feeling the string players on these scoring sessions go home in a shaken state of mind and feebly play - alone in their rooms - a little bit of a Bach partita to restore their understanding of why they ever went into music as a career. " - This is actually very true, players have told me so themselves.

    Blade Runner is Vangelis' best soundtrack by far, and he has scored quite the few blockbusters...

    I know Bill meant no disrespect, and I would like to add that it is a sacrilege for Vangelis to suffer finding himself in the same sentence with Hans. Vangelis did start out as a pop composer, but he was a hugely successful one. Jon Anderson (of Yes fame) recalled going to meet Vangelis in Paris for the first time for potential collaboration, and Vangelis picked him up in a Rolls Royce; many years before Chariots...

    Plus, and that's a huge monumental plus with phantasmagorical neon signs and fireworks going around it, although also not professionally trained, Vangelis has an incredible ear (evident in his musical choices, voicings, instrumentation, etc.), can write great, triumphant themes, beautiful romantic themes, unbelievable, personal-introspective themes, understands popular -not dance- electronic music 1000 times better than Hans, and almost most of all, he doesn't have an army of real musicians on the payroll to "musify" his b*llsh*t ideas and fill the aural spectrum for him. And most of all, Vangelis has pioneered that genre himself (I think Brian Eno gets a little too much credit, but that is my opinion), and has a shelf-load of non-film-related music concept albums that are way more interesting than his soundtracks. 

    Let's wait and see when Deutsche Grammophon releases a Hans album under their label (OK, the new owners), and Zimmer is German!

    I don't care that he has $10s of millions, or even $100,000,000 over; who cares? Madonna has about a $1,000,000,000. You should hear my opinion of her as a composer.


  • I dont want to be ugly to anyone. So this is just my personal penchant. I feel strongly commited to the extraordinary standard and high Potential our european/western musical tradition has establishhed over several centuries.

    In my humble opinion "tradition" comes from being excited from hearing what musicians befor us has done and trying as hard as possible to come near to what they accomplished to do. From this point of view for me an inspired classical formation is a good and seminal starting point to start kind of a dialog with musical history to explore what ever is possible in music. This is what is exciting for me. (However this is of course a very personal view and might be totally different for others)

    If someone rejects to delve into the universe of our musical tradition, it is therefiore very likely that I personally do lose my interest for what he is doing, simply because he is in danger to believe he himself would have ingeniusly invented each simple note he wrote himself without a realistic knowledge how poor this very often might be having in mind what our colleagues have already done before in the last centuries.

    Hans Zimmers traditional musical formation, does not seem to be (friendly spoken) the most important part of his musical biography. His path wents through british Pop-music. That might have been funny for him, but for me, sorry it is nothing that seems that much important. So that might be the reason, why I never heard anything made by Hans Zimmer (OK I cant say I have heard to much or all), but at least still nothing of all I heard seriously rose any in any way my attention.

    Thats just my humble opinion I hope it is not to selfish or arrogant, but it is at least honest.


  • i really agree with that, Errikos, on Vangelis as he is a composer of real melodies, even those you can't get out of your head.  That is the ultimate composing, because everything else is just skill. 


  • ok I decided to drop it.  

    There should be an opposing thread probably.  Or a positive one. 


  • Thank YOU for starting this thread. I somehow missed it due to travels.

    Sorry to continue this but I do not think this discussion is out of place. We have to discuss this travesty of a composer in the open without being politically correct. We should make everyone aware of what is quality music and what is not.

    I usually vent to non-musician friends about HZ being prime example of the combination of medicrity and greed and how I feel that this is a powerful combination.

    But to discuss this in this forum full of like-mided people, feels more comforting since people here are also muscians like me, or actually, much better than me.

    You know, just the other day I was listening to Danny Elfman's Batman score from the 1988 and couldnt help but feel that HZ singlehandedly destroyed film/television music with his (as Errikos says)  Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi  which seems to pervade all orchestral music in popular media.

    This is pretty much the only thing HZ knows. Here is a YT video where he is talking about music theory 



    where he is trying to explain harmonic progression but you can clearly see he is illiterate in music. When speaking HZ has this ability to say something absolutely trite or trivial but appears to have some great depth to it. In reality its just completely empty nonsense. His music reveals that!

    And also the other day I was watching Gladiator and couldnt believe that much of the music sounded like the Pirates of the carribean theme (daa daa dada dada...daa daa dada dada...), which I guess is not even his original theme.

    I really wish film music would forget Dada-didi-dada-didi!

    The reality is that he has thousands of fans who think he is the greatest living composer!

    Anand


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    Errikos,

    I can read your post again and again and again. So well written and describes my thoughts much better than I can.

    @Errikos said:

    For me, it is irresistible to participate in a discussion about the great guru. As far as Interstellar is concerned I spared myself. However, it is only a few weeks ago that my mother (well informed in the classics) called me and said she had seen Dunkirk the night before and she particularly liked the music, as it really complemented the visual elements very well.

    Having not seen Dunkirk either I have no first hand opinion, but I can imagine... I am ready to concede that there were scenes where the music would in fact have been effective. However, Hans is the quintessential definition of a one-trick-pony (at least for the past 20 years or so). Huge conflict on a WWII battlefield? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A panorama of a dystopian, dark cityscape? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A love scene in a wheat-field? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... The on-screen magical creation of a civic centre that folds over itself in brilliant sunshine? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... A man suddenly discovers he possesses the ability to euphorically fly over mountains and fields at incredible speeds? Dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi-dada-didi in minor mode... And so on and so on...

    If anybody could be bothered finding out how I feel about a pop composer with the expressive range of a boring broken record making untold millions in film, becoming a household name, and inspiring endless hordes of musical ignorami to follow in his pawsteps, can access my posts in similar threads on this forum.

    All I have to say here is that 'Political Correctness' [i.e. 'Political (and Musical) Hypnosis'] extends far beyond modes of perfunctory social behaviour, and is a conscious effort to enforce "correctness" on every facet of the human act, until we all properly form a single line, standing one behind the other; good, respectful, obedient, indiscriminate, consuming citizens.


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    @agitato said:

    I really wish film music would forget[i]Dada-didi-dada-didi![/i] The reality is that he has thousands of fans who think he is the greatest living composer! Anand
    I have an idea. Why don't you show the VSL that you beat Zimmer in composing Filmmusic. I think they would pray that you come to Synchron Stage. And in general... Is there a "LAW" that Filmmusic has automatically to be an Orchestral Symphony?? This is "short thinking" in an unlimited world. Zimmer never said that he is the best Orchestrator. He always adored Synths like the Access Virus and Zebra. He is one of those unlimited Thinkers. Filmmusic is "Function-music" ... means it has to work for the film. If it works you are a good Filmcomposer. If you wanna hear a Symphony you could buy a ticket in a concert-house or a classical record or listen / watch to youtube or what ever. And sorry. The GladiatorOST is completely different from Pirates of the Caribian. The title track of Gladiator is this one ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NBE-uBgtINg I did not hear a song like this in one of the Pirates-movies...???

  • One last thougt. When I heared the title-track of Games of thrones a was a 100% sure that is Must be composed by Zimmer. And I was surprised that this "dada-didi"-song is composed by Ramin Djawadi. This title became a hit ... so dada-didi seems to be very successfull even when Zimmer is not the composer ;)))))))))))) And I am sure that this composer is Zimmer-Inspirated. So again ... If it works for the movie, and People love it, it is a great job. Filmmusic and Symphony are "2 different pairs of shoes".

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    wow Zimmer fan....This is gonna be fun.

    @Another User said:

    IThe GladiatorOST is completely different from Pirates of the Caribian. The title track of Gladiator is this one ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NBE-uBgtINg I did not hear a song like this in one of the Pirates-movies...???

    Ok maybe i exaggerated a bit. Its not an exact copy but there are sections that very similar. For example this, hear the theme starting about 5m24s:

    https://youtu.be/A_4RT1qb29E?t=5m23shttps://youtu.be/A_4RT1qb29E?t=5m23s

    And some parts of it are stunningly directly lifted from Holst 'The planets'.  I think thats because Zimmer thinks Williams 'copied' from Holst for Star wars (yes maybe he did it but in an intelligent way), and decided to just take phrases out of the Planets!! And he probably didnt do this himself...probably an orchestrator. 

    but this is besides the point...its all thump thump thump... 


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    @LAJ said:

    One last thougt. When I heared the title-track of Games of thrones a was a 100% sure that is Must be composed by Zimmer. And I was surprised that this "dada-didi"-song is composed by Ramin Djawadi. This title became a hit ... so dada-didi seems to be very successfull even when Zimmer is not the composer ;)))))))))))) And I am sure that this composer is Zimmer-Inspirated. So again ... If it works for the movie, and People love it, it is a great job. Filmmusic and Symphony are "2 different pairs of shoes".

    You see...thats EXACTLY the point. Zimmer has shown the way for mediocrity....that using the same 'dada didi' you can be very successful in the film music industry. So no one aspires to anything more. 

    You think its hard to do dada didi dada didi?

    ANYONE with a basic idea of music can do it. And EVERYONE seems to be doing it....from tv to film. I can make a 60 minute film score filled with dada didi, and if I had 500k to hire the LSO it will sound pretty good.

    But I'd rather stick to VSL and make music where I use my brain a little bit (left and right sides!)

    We are not talking here about any absolutes. There are no absolutes this world. Anything goes here and we are all dead sooner or later anyways. In 5 billion years, there will be no sun.

    But all else being equal, I am only comparing Zimmer to many other great composers and saying he is medicore for the level of success and money. Take it whatever way you want.


  •  

    And some parts of it are stunningly directly lifted from Holst 'The planets'.  I think thats because Zimmer thinks Williams 'copied' from Holst for Star wars (yes maybe he did it but in an intelligent way), and decided to just take phrases out of the Planets!! And he probably didnt do this himself...probably an orchestrator. 

    Anand,

    I don't know for sure, but as Gladiator was directed by Ridley Scott, I should imagine a temp track or a briefing figured highly in Zimmers' choices. I seriously doubt an orchestrator made creative decisions without consultation. All film composers have to make artistic choices hindered by temp tracks, director preferences and time pressures and given the stress Zimmer must be under at times, I think he has written some memorable scores.

    Jeez, guys, this (is it annual?) Zimmer bashing is very unseemly. The man is successful and deservedly so in my book. The problem is the composer clones and the paucity of aesthetic adventure in Hollywoods money men as far as I can tell, not the composer/innovator of the style in demand. 


    www.mikehewer.com
  • There is nothing wrong with being a critic except it can get you in trouble.  An example is Edgar Allan Poe who was the most hostile, savage critic of his day - and he was right in every case, skewering the mediocre pretenders.  But he got a lot of people hating him and died after being found beat up in a gutter.  But we should not criticize if we think it?  If you really feel something it could be considered  a moral duty to speak out.   Also, does anyone actually think Zimmer gives a rat's ass about anything said here?  That is hilarious.    He is laughing all the way to the bank.

     But I have to respond to the great post by Agitato (excellent name for a critic) concerning the original Batman which is so vastly different from Zimmer's later block chord/percussion pad score.  

    Elfman created a symphonic masterpiece in his score, starting with the firt statement of the minor key motif which is developed powerfully in the Main Title, and then at the end of the film transformed into a spectacular major key reiteration in constantly rising pitches - as the camera tilts and dollies upward to the dark sky - where Batman stands alone and triumphant.  That is one of the great images and film score moments in cinema history.