Knowing The Score, Musicians & Their Movie Soundtracks

14 Dec 2012 /

Knowing The Score, Musicians & Their Movie Soundtracks

Music and film can often seem synonymous, with the audio accompaniment to your favourite movie being just as important as the dialogue itself. It can feel like a dream come true when a musician or band you love and your favourite director team up and make a little piece of heaven. We’ve taken a look back at some notable musicians who have composed the soundtracks to some classic (and not-so-classic) films. From Simon & Garfunkel’s seminal songs for The Graduate and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood; to some lesser-known gems and some downright surprises. Come on a musical journey through some of your favourite cinema soundtrack moments.

Kevin Shields - Lost In Translation
The My Bloody Valentine vocalist contributed five songs to the soundtrack of Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation, including one number performed by the whole band. Much like the film itself, the score received much critical praise, even considered by some as the third main character in the film, and garnering as much recognition as the actor’s themselves. Shields was awarded a BAFTA for his work.

Nigel Godrich and Beck - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Aside from his work producing artists like Radiohead, Nigel Godrich wrote the score for 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs.The World along with Beck. Godrich made use of atmospheric electronic tangents, interspersed with many side steps of indie rock; while Beck contributed five songs to the soundtrack, including the song “Ramona” which features multiple times, even at one point being sung by the film’s star Michael Cera. The musical maverick also composed the tunes performed by the titular character’s band SEX BOB-OMB. Godrich also roped in two members of Supergrass to sing backing vocals for a cover utilizing music from the popular video game The Legend of Zelda.

Daft Punk - Tron: Legacy
After a year of trying to swoon the French duo, director Joseph Kosinski finally got the robotic pair on board to compose the score to Tron: Legacy after the completion of their 2006/2007 Alive world tour. The duo’s score for the Tron reboot is a mix of orchestral and electronic music, arranged and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese, a fan of their work. In describing their contribution, two years in the making, Trapanese said “It was a continual translation between the two worlds and hopefully we put something together that will be different because of that.” Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo has said: “We knew from the start there was no way we were going to do this film score with two synthesisers and a drum machine.” Bonus trivia! Thomas Bangalter also previously worked on the film soundtrack to Gaspar Noé’s 2002 French film Irrevérsible.

Lisa Gerrard - Whale Rider
As well as being one integral half of Dead Can Dance, Kiwi/Aussie singer and instrumentalist Lisa Gerrard has composed numerous film scores, with one of her first being the Oscar winning, Russell Crowe-starring epic, Gladiator. Conceived alongside legendary Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, who was awarded an Academy Award, however no such recognition was given to Gerrard. Still, both won a Golden Globe Award in the same category. Along with the sword and sandals epic, Gerrard worked on the independent New Zealand film Whale Rider, which she performed and composed entirely on her own. More recently, she’s written for Australian film Balibo, which was recognsied with the APRA Screen Music Award as well as the ARIA for Best Original Soundtrack/Cast Show Album.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Nine Inch Nails frontman and producer/composer Atticus Ross have each had successful careers in their own right, but aside from their respective musical endeavors and production projects, the two are becoming old hands at scoring for film. The two first collaborated on David Fincher’s 2010 film about Facebook, The Social Network, earning the pair an Academy Award for Best Original Score, as well as a Golden Globe Award in the same category. Recently they completed their second collaboration, and sophomore outing with Fincher on his version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, for which they were nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Before that, Reznor had produced a number of scores on his own, including ‘curating’ the aggressive ADHD score for Oliver Stone’s brutal 1995 flick, Natural Born Killers. Reznor also provided music to One Hour Photo, which was not included in the creppy 2002 film due to director Mark Romanek deciding it didn’t fit. The compilation was then evolved into Still by Nine Inch Nails.

Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood, Bodysong
He’s not just a paranoid android, he’s also a very talented composer; yet according to some, the Radiohead guitarist should’ve scored a nomination at the 2008 Academy Awards. Greenwood earned a large amount of praise after scoring the 2003 documentary Bodysong, with critics noting his excellent use of jazz, electronic, classical, and experimental styles. His score for the 2007 film There Will Be Blood was widely praised by critics, and was regarded as a contender for the Academy Award for Original Music Score. However, due to his reworking of one of his pieces from Bodysong, he was controversially disqualified from contention, as the Academy requires all eligible scores to be composed exclusively for the film at hand. Nevertheless, Greenwood has forged a strong career as a film composer, returning to work with PT Anderson for The Master, as well as We Need To Talk About Kevin, and the silver screen adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.