8/07/2015

Episode 7




Broken Chair Scores Episode 7 is us paying tribute to the recently deceased James Horner. He was one of the three masters of my personal film music history (Jerry and John being the other two Js). He gave us so many awesome soundtracks. I'm actually really sad that he is no longer with us and there won't be new material. May he rest in peace. In this episode we talk about the soundtrack to the 1997 James Cameron film "Titanic" as well as the soundtrack to the 1995 Joe Johnston film "Jumanji". We chose Titanic because it is super well known and just a great example of James' potential when it gets emotional. I went for Jumanji because it was one of my first and most listened to soundtracks when I was a child so I have some very personal emotional bond to this score.


currently awaiting resubmission, please bare with us


Jumanji

Track 1, Prologue and Main Title, (3:42)

James goes all-in from the first minute. The track begins with some ghostly ambient wailing sounds which are like totally scary for sure. Then something drops on a piano and we are in full ethnic woodwind mode, accompanied by suspense-strings and later on followed by deep and dark sounding piano and string goo. Some trumpet stuff happens then pan flute players show up and rough up the place.
Cut.
Happy nineties twittering on a flute. Unbeatable. I see some layer walking happily through New York, buying a newspaper, whistling a tune, laughing with his favorite hot-dog salesperson. Soon, baddies follow him in a white van. (This is not related to what’s on the screen during this track by the way. Haven’t seen the film for ages.) Are you kidding me? All this happens in three minutes and all in my head just by listening to this opening track? Horner was a genius.

Track 3, Monkey Mayhem, (4:42)

So we ignore the beginning since until 1:32 we just hear somebody beating up half of the orchestra with a sledgehammer. Then there is elephants. Although the track title implies something along the line of monkeys, the thing I truly hear is some sort of elephant noise. Elephants in a circus spraying water on each other and making fun of the clowns. At min 2:07 one of the more recognisable themes joins the show. Ethnic flutes end the elephant parade at min 2:44. Then there is generic ambience until at min 3:30 some if the elephants go on some sort of self discovery trip to the middle east.

Track 6, The Hunter, (1:56)

This one is James basically saying “Sod off John! I can do me some Star Wars myself.”

Track 8, Alan Parish, (4:17)

In the beginning there is our elephants again. But they vanish as quickly as they appeared for some classic big ass melody moment at minute 1 or so. We’re talking Titanic style drama here. Then: small scale satisfaction with a dash of sadness. What kind of a guy is this Alan Parish? Has he had some dramatic past and is now eventually over it and can, like, hang out? Whatever it is, from min 3:44 onwards I want to cry a little since this is all so emotional and stuff. Damn Horner, you were good.

Track 9, Stampede, (2:12)

First half:
Stam.
Pede.
(BTW: did you notice the Jaws-esque double bass reduplication action that’s going on at min 0:30? And the buildup to the massive explosion at 0:42? Awesome.)
Second half:
Wait a second. Where has that stampede gone? And where did those clowns come from? Never mind. Sounds cool.

Track 13, End Titles, (5:56)

Yeah, I know, how could I have skipped the almost 12 minute masterpiece/suite thingy that is Track 12, “Jumanji” but then: I only have 20 minutes on the air of the show and I have to chose wisely to give a good representation of what the Hornman is capable of doing. So let’s talk “End Titles”. There they are again. The elephants have somewhat gained confidence again and invited the 12 monkeys along to join the show. Then after 0:48 seconds we hear the beautiful main theme again. This makes up for the overbearing elephant stuff. The melody is repeated on something that sounds like a bagpipe but isn’t (yeah, I know, I’m not that great with guessing instruments) and although Titanic is gonna happen two years later I can’t lose the feeling that Horner somewhat fell in love with this pseudo-Irish pipe kinda sound. After some less noisy parts there are people wailing at 4:30 until we reach the “scary-theme” at 5:00 again.
The whole thing ends on the wailing thingy which is weird cause it’s a Jurassic Park rip-off family film which surely did not end on some ghostly wailing sound leaving all the kids in the theater scared and confused. But that’s probably due to some ordering issues on the CD which I leave to the people of the FSM board to discuss and rant about.