Monday, January 22, 2007

A Score to Settle

So, the thing is, what I'm about to talk about spreads off into 3 major topics: movie scores, Top Gear, and Craig Armstrong. While movie scores and Top Gear will for sure get their own entry at some point, today, we're gonna focus on Craig Armstrong. Alright, so ever since Jurassic Park came out, I've developed a strong liking for movie scores. I listen to them all the time, and I found out quickly that I wasn't alone. Anything from Horner, to Williams, to Zimmer, to Silvestri, to Rabin, and the list goes on. Recenlty, I've grown to love James Newton Howard (King Kong, Lady in the Water) and Michael Giacchino (Lost, M:I:3). But there's a new kid in town. And by new kid, I really mean, he's been around forever but I've only discovered him recently. That's the way it usually works with movie score composers for me. They have one score that grabs me, then I IMDB them and find that they've been around forever.

Well, the "new" kid in town is Craig Armstrong. He has been around for awhile. Probably most famous work is featured on Moulin Rouge (he did the original scoring for it, and possibly worked on the songs, not sure. But someone else was the main guy in charge of the actual songs). Anyway, the reason he came into my eye...errr...ear, was a little show called Top Gear (cough, greatest show ever). Top Gear is notorious for using pre-recorded music, whether it be Coldplay, the Chemical Brothers, or movie scores from The Matrix, Apollo 13, and Batman Begins. It works superbly well.

But the scores that really hit home in Top Gear are the ones done by Craig Armstrong. These scores really rock. I use the word rock 'cause they really do. Like Craig Armstrong does an amazing job of taking traditional movie score arrangements, and pumping them up by adding strong percussion and electronics. For all those Top Gear fans, you have to get your hands on this music. For those who don't, just take a listen to "ESCAPE" on Craig Armstrong's Plunkett & Macleane soundtrack - you'll get an idea of how cool his music is. I mean he does have his regular sounding stuff, and mellow sounding stuff (World Trade Center), which is really good for sure - but it's his heavy percussive, crazy epic scores that really shine.

So for any Top Gear or Movie score fans, you should definitely get your hands on Craig Armstrong's work. Can't decide what to get? I'd start with any album that has "Escape" on it (either the Plunkett & Macleane soundtrack, or the Craig Armstrong's Works collection). He's definitely made it into my list of new favourite composers. Oh and by the way, if anybody wants to know what song was playing that certain episode of Top Gear, check out:

Stay tuned for a write up on Top Gear itself, and on score composers themselves. Until then, thanks for reading.

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