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  • Movies that have Isolated Music Tracks.

    I'm a big fan of movie music (as I'm sure all of you are) and so for some of you who are not aware of this I wanted to alert you to a nifty feature some DVDs contain: Isolated Music Tracks.

    This feature is activated by toggling through the language tracks (french, spanish, then the director commentary track, etc.) until you get to the music track.

    My favorites include: The Matrix (Don Davis), North By Northwest (B.H.), Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within and Titus (Elliot Goldenthal), Edward Scissorhands and Red Dragon (Elfman), Hollow Man and L.A. Confidential (Goldsmith).

    Some of these also contain composer commentary between cues (while the movie runs silently onward until the next cue comes up).

    BTW, when The Matrix first came out on DVD and I found out it had this feature, I HAD to buy my first DVD player right then. I STILL love to watch this movie with just the isolated score (better than with the regular full-mix track).

    I will add more to the list later (I am out of town as I write this) but feel free to add your favorites here.


  • I have only seen the feature on (besides what you mentioned) super man 1 dvd and also Dany Elfman's new planet of the apes

  • Another great one to watch for is Adventures of Robin Hood with the Erich Korngold score. Also, the new complete-season releases of Twilight Zone each have several episodes with isolated Herrmann and Goldsmith scores.

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    @William said:

    Another great one to watch for is Adventures of Robin Hood with the Erich Korngold score. Also, the new complete-season releases of Twilight Zone each have several episodes with isolated Herrmann and Goldsmith scores.

    Ah, Korngold. Now we're talking about proper composers. [:D]


  • Ah, yes good to know about those two, William. And Superman--how could I forget!

    I was googling around and found that has a more complete list on their site. I believe there are some movies that had that feature if you bought a specific region code (like it was on region 1 release but not 0 or something). For instance, my version of Contact does not have an isolated score even though it is on their list.

    A trick I like to use is to actually unplug the center channel of my 5.1 when listening to Revenge of the Sith, for instance. All the horrible dialogue is gone leaving Williams in all his glory. Of course, SFX are still present, but I was pleasantly surprised at how hot they mixed the music on that movie. It also makes a great study aid to disable that middle channel to guage how I might mix a symphonic score with SFX of that magnitude. Even so, it is easy (and enjoyable) to hear all the music that way.


  • Maybe it isn't an earth-shattering score, but Randy Newman's commentary track on "Pleasantville" has some hiarious moments.

    Fred Story

  • "All the horrible dialogue is gone leaving Williams in all his glory." - clarkcontrol

    I love that statement! You know, what we are talking about here is what all movies should really be - pure image and music. Nothing else. the condition of so-called "silent" movies. Though most of the time they didn't have very good scores - only a rare few got full orchestral music. But anyway i often think about how music and film support each other to an almost uncanny degree, but are each harmed by dialogue and sound effects. Music is the best sound effect possible, and you don't need words if you have "faces." As Gloria Swanson once said...

  • The Original "Alien" DVD had an isolated music score that contained Jerry's Original music .. and there's also an Alternate music and sound design track that shows you the other cues that were used in the film.

    I have the new Quadriliogy edition but I keep that original Alien disk cos it has the best and most complete work of a composers score I've ever seen. And I was able to make my own Special Edition Alien Score CD out of that by extracting the music .. hey if Fox won't do it then they can't bleedin well complain.

    Other good DVD's with Isolated scores .. "The Dark Crystal" by Trevor Jones .. his isolated music is damned worth the price of the DVD.

    Also "Hollowman" has an isolated score and comentary by Jerry Goldsmith .. worth listening to if, as I am, you're a huge fan of this guys work.

  • I guess I'm going to have to get the original Alien. I too have the quadrilogy.


    I definitely Definitely feel the same way; although in specific reference to the Star Wars #1-3 I also mean it literally!

    These movies are wall-to-wall music, and IMHO have horrible dialogue and characters/acting (Jar-Jar, Anakin) so they are a perfect candidate for the "5.1-1" treatment. It truly is an orchestral-music-video in the grand sense!

    But it is sad that directors feel that they need so much dramatic redundancy built in to their movies when they only needed 1. the dialogue 2. the SFX or 3. THE MUSIC. Sometimes only the visual is needed. I, however, feel that just music and visual can be so much more powerful and imply a story just as sophisticated (if not more) than something that utiizes a lowest-common-denominator approach with all three (or a multiple combination of the) techniques.


  • Aye .. The Original Alien DVD is worth getting if you want to learn about composing for Horror or Fantasy movies .. cos not only does it have alternate takes of the music (the main title being the most obvious), it is one of the most wonderful scores. So damned haunting.

    I don't know that it's still available but you may be able to get it second hand if you can't buy it new. And I heartily recommend ripping the seperate audio channels off the disc and making your own 2 CD set out of it to listen to. (Takes a while but I'm glad I did it.) There's so much you can learn from the techniques used within the score. Cos there are some really weird instruments in that score.

    Also interesting to note the orchestra positioning and panning. These early recordings can teach you a great deal about monoizing instruments .. or rather the need to .. so you can get a bigger sound out of your virtual orchestra.

    Well I shan't go on anymore .. needless to say one of the best DVD's out there. If only they'd done the same for Star Trek: TMP.

  • I really agree with you hetoreyn on Star Trek TMP - that would have been great with only the music and the special effects by Douglas Trumbull.

    By the way did you notice the ST "collector's edition" 2-disc CD? It has 25 minutes of music not used in the film.

  • I noticed an unused music cue in the making of Docu .. but I never saw extra music .. please let me know where it is [:D]

  • It's on a two disc music CD that was released, the "Collectors Edition". I don't have it, but am going to get it soon as this is one of my favorite scores of all. Probably one of the greatest film scores ever composed. Even though the movie itself is pretty dorky. Except of course for Douglas Trumbull's incredible FX. No computers used, and still unmatched to this day, like "2001."

  • I've not heard of that CD edition but damn If that's out there I am soooo ordering that. As this is also my favourite score too.

  • Another great score - one of the few from today (or almost today) - that is really great - Batman. But I got the new 2-disc DVD and it does not seem to have the score isolated. Damn!

    Anyway, the best things about that movie, despite its occasional story problems, are the production design by Anton Furst, and the incredible score by Elfman. I just re-watched this recently, and couldn't help thinking how it is one of the truly rare film scores recently. Most scores simply do the job technically. But the greatest ones - like Bernard Herrmann, Goldsmith, Korngold, Raksin, a very few others - create "moments" that are pure music, combined with pure cinema. Batman has that, in a few scenes - the Batmobile to batcave scene (sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but never mind) and the awesome ending, in which a magnificent brass fanfare is heard as everyone on the night street looks upward to the light, and then slowly the orchestra builds to a climax with Batman standing atop the dark city, a brooding but powerful gothic figure. Fantastic! Better than anything else in the film. It is the use of just film images and music in combination - nothing else - to create an emotion. That is a tribute to Tim Burton also, but Elfman did some truly brilliant stuff in that.

  • Yeah that's a pretty damned nice score that. I remebr feeling a similar thing to what you said ... the story was kinda weird .. as was the whole thing but the music was awesome. Certainly it'd be nice to get a complete score out of this .. But if there's an isolated score on the DVD .. well hehehe it's rippy time [:P]

  • yeah, that is a great way to get music you can't otherwise. Like the Robin Hood score, for an example I was thinking of, you can get the whole thing, down to the last little fanfare. There is no soundtrack album that has all of that.

    You know what? Vertigo should have this more than anything, but it doesn't damn it!

    Wait a minute - the film that should have this more thany other ever made is "Obsession." A stupid story, a really lame rip-off of Vertigo that you just don't want to watch. But it has the most FANTASTIC score by Herrmann - one of his best. An amazing combination of crazed pipe organ, ghostly choirs, wistful strings, pounding brass and timpani - a whole symphony of intense emotion. And it is coupled to a dumbass piece of shit movie.

    Come to think of it, this one you would not want to see even images from - just rip the complete soundtrack and forget the movie.

  • Good God, what a POS that must be!

    I can actually stand to watch the Star Wars 1-3 with the center channel disconnected; it actually makes those movies pleasent. Judging by your testimony, this one must REALLY be unsavable (even by the likes of Herrmann). Anyone for a "What's up Tigerlilly 2?"

    This reminds me of a L.A. composer interview where the individual remarked (can't remember who it was--Oh, it was Jeff Rona) that getting more and better work off of your recent projects depends more on the success (critical and otherwise) of those movies than the actual level of quality in the music.


  • So crappy music is elevated by box office?

    Somehow I am not surprised. Especially considering a number of the major "composers" now strutting around. (Please note quotation marks.)

  • To me as composer, it would make more sense if they would release the movie DVD's without the music soundtrack