Ten Tracks Today – Best of 2011? Special #1 – 29th November 2011

Decided to make a start on listening through some favourite individual tracks to try and pick out some favourites. It’s a bit of a tall order as there are hundreds that I have gathered over the year so far as “favourites”.

01 – “The Final Battle” – IroncladLorne Balfe

The track starts off very well with a good choral part that is supported by not too over-the-top percussion. The various elements of this long track are interesting to listen to, but it is a bit too disjointed sounding to hold together as a flowing track. There are 6-7 good solid tracks on this score.

02 – “Redemption, Pt. 2” – L.A. NoireAndrew Hale

I like the stop-start strings that start off this track. The addition of the (what sounds like) saxophone – and perhaps brass doubling up with this – is an effective sound. The way that it gets louder and angrier towards the end gives the whole piece a John Barry/James Bond sort of feel to it.

03 – “Golden Gate Bridge” – Rise of The Planet of The ApesPatrick Doyle

Quite standard action scoring, full of staccato strings, pounding percussion and powerful brass. Entirely serviceable as an action track and quite an exciting listen. Doyle clearly is able to deliver action scoring when required, but it’s not a particularly “stand-out” track for the year.

04 – “Gears Keep Turning” – Gears of War 3Steve Jablonsky

More standard scoring for action: bold brass and percussion, and this time some Transformers-like choral work too. Lots of stuff this year that is enjoyable to listen to but none so far worthy of marking for the “Best of” pile just yet (though I am only 4 tracks in!)

05 – “A Kid, A Dog & A Woman” – Cowboys & AliensHarry Gregson-Williams

What I like about this one is the rhythm with which the cue moves along at the start – quite a sprite beginning, but it doesn’t last (unfortunately). The tender bit in the middle is nice. And the composer does transition between the various elements quite well: no sudden edits. Track does sort of just run out of steam by the end.

06 – “End Credits” – The ConspiratorMark Isham

Some nice passages in this suite of music from the end of this score. The score as a whole is not one that I am wholly familiar with, but I think that the climax to this track is quite dramatic and emotional at the same time. Probably my favourite cue of the list so far.

07 – “Showdown On The Rio Niteroi” – Fast FiveBrian Tyler

Gutsy strings and percussion beat out a rhythm that’s quite appealing. Tyler in this mode is very listenable to my ears. The pace quickens as the cue progresses and it loses a bit of focus, but it certainly has some good Tyler-isms.

08 – “This Is My Choice” – Captain America: The First AvengerAlan Silvestri

It certainly has some emotional clout this one, but it’s a bit melancholic and therefore a bit of a snoozer as a stand-alone listen. Things do pick up a bit towards the end of the track though with a nice brass fanfare.

09 – “Our Final Hope” – Transformers: Dark of The MoonSteve Jablonsky

Great string ostinato, nice spare percussion, I do like Jablonsky’s Transformers scores – though I prefer the first of the three. They remind me of how Hans Zimmer used to compose back in the days of Backdraft, i.e., his heyday.

10 – “Water” – Mono Lake StoryCody Westheimer

A nice gentle end to the list, with a small ensemble of players just highlighting the calm waters of the lake. The track picks up a pace towards the end with strings and piano finishing off the cue nicely.

A bit of a blockbuster/action scoring selection for today.

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