The past year of cinema has been accompanied by some magnificent film scores, with the composers perfectly shaping the unforgettable images of 2014 .
1. Alex Ebert
Lead singer and songwriter of Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magentic Zeros, Alex Ebert, won the 2014 Golden Globe for Best Original Score for his work on J.C. Chandor’s film All is Lost. Ebert has reunited with Chandor to work on A Most Violent Year. The stand out original track America For Me shows Eberts anger towards what is to be a good citizen while you also support negatives by being this. It’s interesting to see this personal song within the soundtrack for a film on corruption. The whole soundtrack is influenced by America in the 1980’s and is a character study of the lead Abel, creating a calming yet powerful outcome.
2. Mica Levi
The lead singer from Micachu and The Shapes this year stepped into film composing. She created A beautiful soundtrack for Under The Skin perfectly enhancing Scarlett Johansson’s seductive performance whilst also creating an unsettling feeling throughout. The track ‘Love’ is the perfect example of this, the slow paced beauty being contrasted by seemingly tense chords pulls together the desired image of the unusual.
Levi said of her own work that 'it's not necessarily going to sound very nice. It's supposed to be physical, alarming, hot.' This is definitely achieved through the use of the viola being able to contour the flow of the film. I would be interested in following Levi through her work if she did any further composing.
3. Justin Hurwitz
Hurwitz is a long time friend of Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, so it was no surprise for him to be asked to help create the soundtrack for the Oscar nominated film. The duo have previously collaborated on what started as a student film 'Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench'. From there their collaborative friendship has bloomed and Hurwitz is expected on Chazelle's next Singing In The Rain style feature. Hurwitz says planning for the soundtrack of Whiplash began even before filming which is unusual in film production. Hurwitz got to improvise and play his own music with fantastic big band pieces. The music is the glue to the film, without the perfect soundtrack it wouldn't be what it is.
A whole film score composed of a drum beat is an unusual route to go down, but for the Alejandro González Iñárritu masterpiece Birdman Sánchez has completed this major task. The constant drumming helps you see the theatre style of the film and confuses the line between reality and fantasy. Michael Keaton's performance is amplified by the beat following him round, showing his mental instability and the pressure he faces. Birdman was nominated for Best Original Score, but has now been disqualified due to the ratio of classical music to original score.
5. Jonny Greenwood
Radiohead lead guitarist, computer programmer, composer. Johnny Greenwood has an impressive resume behind him. His first work as a composer was on the documentary Bodysong, showing the story of human life through found footage. He's gone onto score many films thereafter. His most recent work is on Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice. This is the third time he has scored one of Anderson's films. The score was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the soundtrack includes an unreleased Radiohead song. There are elements of the score which are dreamlike and subtle but the soundtrack itself contrasts this with funky beats. Greenwoods work is forever developing as he makes his mark as one of the greatest modern musicians.