Canadian born composer Howard Shore has been puzzling me for a number
of years now. No one ever comes close to the moods the mysterious Mr. Shore can
compose. I'm having a hard time figuring out what
the hell is going on at times Layers and layers of strange combinations of
instruments and harmonies, whether using a huge orchestra or having a somewhat
minimalistic approach, Howard Shore creates his own unique musical universe.
I believe Shore's amazing music is
one of the reasons David Cronenberg's movies are so darn powerful. The man
simply understands what's going on inside the head of Cronenberg and manages
to manifest his visions into truly remarkable scores.
I am not a particular fan
of "movie music", especially not the full-blown, often pretentious (and almost
embarrasing), cheesy American kind of hamburger film stuff (you know what I'm
talking about). Of course there are many, many wonderful movie scores out
there but Howard Shore's works are something completely different...
Below are some of my personal favourites. I'm happy as shit for the moment as the music
of Videodrome finally has been released on CD, some 16 years after the
movies release. I don't know the story behind this very late cd release but
the score for the 1988 Cronenberg movie Dead Ringers suffered from tons of
legal bullshit and finally ended up as part of a CD with music from two
other Howard Shore works; Scanners and The Brood.
Shore, without doubt, was the right man for the slippery job of putting together
music that would match a film like Naked Lunch (1991. Written and directed by
To team up with legendary saxophone player
Ornette Coleman was a masterstroke. Coleman's inspired improvisations over
the un-orthodox "waves" of strange harmonies (performed by The London Philharmonic
Orchestra, Shore's regular orchestra) makes the music of Naked Lunch a bloody innovative and potent score.
It may take a while to "digest" but if you take the time of letting it in to
your system, you'll be properly rewarded. Once inside, it works like some kind of
mental super glue.
Another astounding work! Being a guitar player myself, this score opened my
ears for serious guitar orchestration. The music is basically performed by
six guitarists, three harpists, three woodwind players and two percussionists.
My eyebrows really went up and down at the opening night of Crash when I first
heard it. It captures the stone cold feel of the movie perfect. When you think
you're safe, when you think you´ve got a hold of this (sometimes hypnotic) music,
all of a sudden one little dissonant bastard of a note pops up and grabs
you in the crotch. The guitar sounds are fantastic throughout.