Hans Zimmer Hans ZimmerInception (Music From The Motion Picture)
Hans Zimmer is on a roll. In the last two years he has put out at least four excellent soundtracks: “The Dark Knight”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “The Pacific”. and now “Inception”. The magnificent “Angels & Demons” would also enter the competition, although it seems like a minor exercise within this selection. But what should be kept in mind isn’t the degree of inspiration and the results obtained by these four titles, but rather the way that the composer has shaped an amazing creative evolution in a relatively short period of time. If we had the image, (because he himself had created it over the last decade), of a Zimmer given over to the easy epic and money-making commissions without a story, from “Gladiator” to “The Last Samurai”, including “Pirates of the Caribbean”, all of them works with quick impact and sheet music for general audiences, in his latest productions the American has distanced himself from his more commercial tics and his tendency towards populist soundtracks to enter into a dark, bitter, sombre, complex, surprising creative spiral that reaches its peak in “Inception”, a solid crowning glory to top off this composing splendour.
It is clear listening to the soundtrack that the association with Christopher Nolan has been a key part of this evolution. “The Dark Knight” already set out guidelines to follow, with the use of claustrophobic orchestration, melodies at a thriller rhythm, dark ambient resources, and guidelines not often used in contemporary commercial cinema. But here there is a considerable improvement over the filmmaker’s previous work. Of course it also helps that “Inception” is the best film that this critic has seen in the last two or three years, possibly the most innovative, modern, fascinating visual, emotional, and narrative exercise that’s appeared in cinema lately. High-quality inspirational material for Zimmer, who with the resources and imaginative outpouring of the film felt himself capable of exploring his own sound discourse at ease, without limitations or commercial pressure of any kind, and he has continued to delve into his more turbulent, anxious side.
The start of the album is the best possible demonstration that when Zimmer joins forces with Nolan, no classicism or conventionalism is valid. “Half Remembered Dream” and “We Built Our Own World”, neither of them longer than two minutes, appeal to the concepts of black ambient and noise dialectic before giving way to one of the moments of the album and of the year: “Dream Is Collapsing”, with an obsessive guitar melody and an orchestral explosion that brings together more intensity, stomach, and force than many current black metal albums. It is a soundtrack that never wastes time or loses rhythm—it never lets its guard down, keeping you alert and involved independently of the images that accompany it. “Radical Notion”, the next episode in the tracklist, proposes up to three different variations on the same idea in a single song, with an overwhelming mastery of rhythm and crescendo. “Old Souls” provides five minutes of dreamy ambient and ends up recovering the thriller theme in the two final frenetic minutes. On the other hand, “528491” is one of the album’s more “Zimmer” moments, probably the most emotive and contagious part, an orchestral crescendo with a melodic loop that goes up and up and leaves you wrecked.
The composer explores and plays around ceaselessly. “Mombassa” (strategically located in your iPod on a trip to work by underground, it can make you into a domestic Jason Bourne) even has moments close to trance, it’s only missing a roll of drumming. It is thriller music, but with an extraordinary punch, drama, and emotion. The use of guitar picking as melodic cores of the plot of the songs is another of Zimmer’s effective touches, as we see in “One Simple Idea,” thoroughly finished off with another highly brilliant play of string and wind arrangements. “Dream within a Dream” returns to the central theme of “Dream Is Collapsing”, but with a more solid rhythmic bass; some passages even remind one of Clint Mansell’s “Moon.” “Waiting for a Train” , almost ten minutes of melancholy ambient, and “Paradox” lead up to “Time”, the final song and another of the emotional highlights of the album, a moving conclusion for an journey unparalleled in the soundtracks of 2010. The film and the soundtrack of the year, together. And we don’t even need to wait until December to say so: nobody can touch either one. David BrocHans Zimmer - Dream Is Collapsing - Inception Hans Zimmer - Old Soul - Inception