Monday, August 20, 2007

With A Twist

Episode 2: James Newton Howard - On this enstallment of Cue The Music, Ralph will discuss the five collaborations between Director M. Night Shyamalan and composer James Newton Howard.

Main Titles - Signs
De Profundis - The Sixth Sense
The Wreck - Unbreakable
The Hand of Fate part 1 - Signs
I Cannot See His Color - The Village
Those we don't Speak of - The Village
The Healing - The Lady in the Water
The Great Eatlon - The Lady in the Water
Visions - Unbreakable

click below to listen:
With A Twist


elias said...

I'm not a fan of M Night films but the scores are always great.

James Newton Howard has worked on some heinous films for some bad directors but I always enjoy his work.

Appreciate the short running time, looking forward to the next one but I curse your name for the ear-shredding incident (!)

Ralph- said...

i curse my name as well. But i figured the show needed to be livened up a bit.

This episode was actually longer than i anticipated. I was covering 5 films, but am going to work on a way in which i can pick a specific genre for each composer and focus on no more than 3 films. If that genre warrents more than 3 films to discuss i will do multiple parts (ie- Jerry Goldsmith Sci Fi part 1).

A lot of movies are crap, these days and the music remains pretty damn good still. One of my all time least favorite films is The Avengers, yet one of my all time favorite scores is Joel McNeely's work on the Avengers.

Christopher said...

Hey Ralph-o, it's good stuff.

My first encounter with James Newton Howard, at least knowingly, was the theme to ER which isn't exactly a showcase for a composer, so I had something of a level of dread when his name showed up on The Sixth Sense. However, it seems that I'd done him a disservice.

As it's my favourite of the films it's appropriate that I love his work on Unbreakable, although Signs is frankly astonishing with that three note motif.

Keep it up, sir. It's possible I have a new favourite podcast.

Ralph- said...

thanks for the kind words. I first noticed JNH with The Fugitive. I have so many of his scores, that i am sure i will revisit his music real soon.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Since everyones doing it, I will too! My first listen with JNH was Grand Canyon.

Caught my attention during the movie, it did not make me fall in love with his work but thought it was a unique approach from a composer at the time the movie was made. Especially for a "standard live action drama".

My second experience with his works was what made me a fan for life. Waterworld. It still sits on my top 25 of scores all time and is sitting really close to the top 10 mark. Which saying a lot with the amount of scores I went through with my studies in school.

Brilliant orchestration, wonderful melodies, and it captures the sense of adventure that is rarely heard in movies without feeling "cliche" like David Arnold's The Muskateer... and of course was miles better than the actual film it was made for. Besides this, its achievement is largely its use of electronics in a traditional score. For the time period where the terrible sounding synths of the 90s were being used to make scores feel extremely dated, James Newton Howard's use of the Roland JV1080 in the score for all sorts of sounds felt very appropriate and reminded composers (like Barry and Goldsmith had from time to time) that period electronics can be used WITH an orchestra for texture and voicing, not just OVER an orchestra.

Also I can clearly remember listening to it with Ralph in my car on the way to a softball game and both of us trying to explain what we loved about our favorite tracks.

If I had to pick a single cue out of a JNH score its near impossible with so many favorite sounds over the years, but Hand of Fate from Signs is up there for pure skill and pacing and delivering everything a piece of music can emotionally to a scene.