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Topic: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

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  1. #1

    Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    I am looking for some example filmscores or film references where an urban setting is represented using orchestral music or perhaps some combination of orchestral music with other contemporary sounds (for example, drum machines).

    Can any of you think of some good films that have substantail orchestral scoring and also convey the urban feeling of an inner city?
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  2. #2

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    The first film score that comes to my mind is the one for Batman Begins. It's orchestral, but more "atmospheric"... still I'd say it could represent an urban setting (Gotham City seems pretty urban).

    The other score that comes to my mind is Clint Mansell's score for The Fountain. Though there's no real urban setting in the film, the score uses drums and electric guitars with an orchestra, so it might evoke that urban feeling.

    Hope this helps...
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Bernard Herrmann Taxi Driver, Don Ellis, The French Connection,
    Terence Blanchard, Clockers, Jon Brion, I (heart) Huckabees, Magnolia , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  4. #4

    Cool Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanHannifin
    The first film score that comes to my mind is the one for Batman Begins.

    [snip]

    The other score that comes to my mind is Clint Mansell's score for The Fountain.
    I guess he should have qualified his request with "not boring".



    Man - Zimmer must have gotten paid by the whole note. I think each movie he rolls out the same score he did for the previous movie - just reduces the number of notes by 10% and calls it a night.

    I just "watched" - more like left after 20 minutes to work on email in an adjacent room - "The Fountain" last night, so I feel like I'm on particularly solid ground here. I didn't like the score at all, but then again, the score is supposed to be the inner voice of a movie and it had none - no drama, either. But I digress...


    For a positive recommendation - any Bourne movie should do... they're the 800-pound gorillas in the room for urban orchestral. Of course it has a decided European flare, but it's the best you'll find right off the shelf.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  5. #5

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    I'm not sure this is what you're looking for, but Eric Serra's score to "The Fifth Element" uses a really cool mixture of orchestral and electronic sounds. It's a futuristic sci-fi so the "urban" is a bit different than what we call urban nowadays, but it might give you some ideas.

    Not an original score, but Spike Lee's "He Got Game" uses a sort of "Americana" orchestral score (I think it's mostly/all Aaron Copland music) alongside hip hop tracks.

    Clint Mansell's "Requiem for a Dream" uses a string quartet (The Kronos Quartet!) alongside sampled sounds. It depicts an urban setting and an underground drug scene--the music isn't specifically something I would associate with "urban" sounds but it's got a lot of the right ingredients.

    Not quite urban, but the modern remake of "Planet of the Apes" has some cool orchestra+breakbeat/samples kind of stuff.

    When you say urban/inner city, are you talking about *modern* urban/inner city? I assume that you're looking for sort of a hip-hop sound mixed with orchestral music? I'll keep thinking, I'm sure I can come up with something (let me know if I'm in the wrong decade/genre).

    chris.

  6. #6

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Somehow I always associate Urban with Film Noir and smoky jazz. You know, The Lost Weekend, Naked City, Asphalt Jungle kind of stuff.

    It turns out that the same guy (Miklˇs Rˇzsa) scored all three of those films - and nearly 100 more: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000067/

  7. #7

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Yes. Looking for "modern inner city", with as much emphasis on orchestra as possible. Combining hip hop beats with orch is the obvious cliche, but I am looking for examples of this, and open minded to other treatments.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  8. #8

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Another related thought -- "Beat Street" is a really fun movie from the 80's, one of the first to show the emerging hip hop culture in a flattering light -- lots of cool 808 drum machine stuff plus early turntable setups, etc.

    I don't recall there being an orchestral score to this one, but one character is a college composition student using 1980's PC/MIDI technology along with a small orchestra to write in a sort of tribal ballet. Fun little movie, worth watching if you have any appreciation for hip hop's roots.

    chris.

  9. #9

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    You might also look into "Dakah" -- it's a hip hop orchestra. It's been a while so I don't remember what exactly they do, but I think it was kind of like a large jazz band with some strings and drum machines. Not a film score per se but a good example of combining live instruments with hip hop DJing.

    chris.

  10. #10

    Re: Looking for Urban Orchestral filmscores

    Other alleys to venture down... Again, not film scores, but examples of how to translate a hip-hop feel into acoustic instruments:

    Check out The Roots, a hip hop band that uses mostly live instruments.

    VH1's "unplugged" series occasionally has a hip hop artist. They did Jay-Z unplugged several years back, and he did all his songs with a live band--including wind instruments and (I think) some strings. It's actually pretty cool even if you're not into hip hop.

    Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin. Not hip hop in at all, but an interesting example of translating rock sounds into an orchestral ensemble--not just "arranged for orchestra" but very well crafted and orchestrated. You might apply some of the same principles to a hip hop sound.

    Again, "Fifth Element" might really be worth checking out--it's a few centuries off but I think the combination might really be on par with what you're looking to do.

    I'll keep thinking...

    chris.

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