Pirates On Stranger Tides: The Score



Today sees the release of Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Score. The fourth installment of Disney’s series, and the third album attributed to Zimmer. Technically, it’s his fourth as he wrote and contributed on the first movie’s score, but due to contractual obligations wasn’t allowed to put his name on the project, instead giving credit to Klaus Badelt.

From what I’ve read, the scripts for Pirates 5 and 6 have already been written to complete this newest trilogy.

When I first saw the trailer for 4, I really wasn’t super impressed. I mean, yeah it had Penelope Cruz, and Ian McShane, but it was hard to not feel like the series was played out. The score for the 3rd movie was so epic and had so many themes, how could you keep putting fireworks on top of explosions.

After hearing the score for 4, my worry was unfounded.

Instead of chasing the epicness of it all, Zimmer decided to pull back and create a more subdued vibe. Truly, with the addition of guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela, the score, at times, takes on some very intimate tones.

The soundtrack has quite a few tracks, but only 11 of those are score, the rest filling out the album are remixes. However, the 45 minutes of score we do get is chock full of awesome.

The album starts with a track called “Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow.” A very light opening with Jack’s theme coming in solo string, and repeated in the violins. Soon the percussion and brass show up to elevate the intensity, but they don’t push it to 11, they keep it nice and relatively calm.

The next track, “Angelica”, begins with a very crunchy cello playing a tango rhythm. Soon joined by our Spanish guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela, the tango becomes more complicated and filled out. Portions of the orchestra accompany the guitars and solo cello to complete the track. This cue works very well for how Penelope’s character will be portrayed in the film, and the addition of the guitarists creates a nearly unassailable authenticity. The instrumentation that Zimmer uses, and the genre (tango) really remind me a little of Zimmer’s score for Sherlock Holmes, except, without the flair.

The first track to truly feature Rodrigo y Gabriela is “The Pirate That Should Not Be.”


Yeah. These guitarists are amazing! And I love that they are on this score. When they start rocking out on their classical axes, I can’t help but be reminded a little of Apocalyptica, the group of four cellos that play covers of heavy metal songs.

The track immediately following is called “Mermaids.” Immediately, high, ethereal voices are present, with some interesting orchestral colours. Not sure what the female voices represent though… kidding. But seriously, the quality of the choir and the space they are in sounds amazing. I would venture to guess that this is the track that Eric Whitacre worked on for the score, as reported in his blog back in January. There are some great vocal things happening with voices fading in and out with (almost) creepy feelings… siren-esque. Probably one of my favorite representations of the mermaids alluring voices.

On the score, Rodrigo y Gabriela have three tracks that feature them almost exclusively, “The Pirate That Should Not Be”, “South of Heaven’s Chanting Mermaids”, and “Angry and Dead Again”. I have a very difficult time deciding which one is my favorite because they are really great. They did a great job of working in the old pirates and Jack Sparrow themes within their pieces. I’m going to be very interested to see how these pieces are worked into the film itself.

Another new theme for the score comes in the form of “Blackbeard”, Ian McShane’s character. The theme is very plodding, but it includes a little bit of distorted electric guitar. The way Zimmer wrote and had it orchestrated fits in really well with the Pirates idiom. At times the theme even almost sounds like a variation of the pirate themes that came before. I daresay that this track is potentially the biggest, breadth-wise, of any other on the score. Full orchestra and choir combine to make it quite huge, and the descending theme moving higher and higher doesn’t hurt very much either.

I definitely love this score. I may be biased here, but the fact that Rodrigo y Gabriela are major contributions to this score, not to mention the little bit of Whitacre that I can hear, this score has quickly become my favorite Pirates score. If Pirates 5 ever does get made, I’ll be very interested to see where Zimmer takes it next.

Wesley – A short film

Last week I went to Portland’s showing of some entries for the 24 hour short film competition. Ben wrote the music for one of the entries, so that was pretty awesome!

But one of the films they showed was from theĀ 2010 Grand Prix Film Race called Wesley. It was pretty awesome and had won some awards from the competition last year including Best Writing and Best Actor.

I emailedĀ Ken Korpi, the Writer/Director/Actor to let him know how much I enjoyed the film, and he emailed back letting me know about the Web Series they created out of the footage they had shot.

[quicktime width=”600″ height=”500″]http://reedreimer.com/Video/wesley.mov[/quicktime]

So if you’re all caught up on Curtain Call, you should definitely watch the Wesley series!

All these cool shows and their main titles

I watch a lot of TV. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I justify it by saying its research for when I’ll eventually be hired to make music for TV shows. One thing that I’m loving about shows on now are the intros… not only the graphics, but the music as well. So I just wanted to share with you a couple of my favorites from this years shows.

First, we have the opener for Showtime’s The Borgias.

The music is by Trevor Morris and is pretty awesome. Not only does he use a choir singing some Latin to represent the church, but also a classical guitar slinging some great licks to represent the “Spanishness” of the Borgia family. Although, with the amount that they have sex, you’d think they’d be French… ba dum.

Next up we have one of my favorite graphic intros for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Ramin Djawadi came late into the game to replace Stephen Warbeck, for whatever reason. Not much of the music from the show has struck me as anything spectacular, but I do like the intro. But the graphics get me… I mean, combining castles and steampunk… I’m all over that!

This show isn’t on anymore, but I dearly miss it, and it’s great opening sequence. HBO’s Deadwood.

David Schartz is the composer responsible for the awesomeness that is the Deadwood music.

Other honorable mentions:

The Book of Mormon



If you want to smile today, head on over to NPR to listen to Robert Lopez, Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s ‘The Book of Mormon’ in its entirety! Beware, some of these lyrics are definitely not safe for work. It’s the original Broadway cast recording.

Since I’m not going to NYC anytime soon, I sure hope this starts traveling soon! I may just have most of the lyrics memorized by then.

The official soundtrack doesn’t get released until next week, but this recording should hold you over.

Please enjoy this hilarious musical about our favorite church of Latter-day Saints.

Watch the video below to hear Matt Stone and Trey Parker talk about their journey to making this most awesome musical.

New Harry Potter Trailer

The new trailer is out, and it is pretty awesome! JS Hanson is the composer for this recent trailer

I particularly like the disjointed theme at the beginning of the trailer. It really matches the dark flow of how the trailer was edited.

I really wish it was a sign that Alexadre Desplat was going to use some more of the themes from earlier in the series to tie it all back together, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

The only thing I didn’t necessarily like was the orchestral rock theme that starts at 1:13… it was okay, but too Zimmery. Aside from that, I can’t wait to see it, and this trailer makes that wait just a little harder. Pretty sweet!

Curtain Call Composer's Wrap

Suspect: Patrick Felton

Ben and I received notice that all music for the series has been approved.

In my opinion, the music has definitely improved with time, with some of our best cues still to come in the episodes that haven’t yet aired.

In fact… my favorite cue that I wrote is in the finale, episode 17.

I’ll fill you in on the details soon as Ben and I get everything cleaned up for posterity.

If you haven’t yet, now’s the time… go and watch Curtain Call!

Here’s a cue from the most recently released episode…



Music of a different flavor

I’ve spent the last few days in Louisiana taking contractor license tests, but I can say without a doubt that one of the coolest things I did while there was witness this impromptu concert on a random sidewalk adjacent to Bourbon Street.
As we were walking around the French Quarter, I commented that it’d be great to hear some New Orleans Polyphony… lo and behold, these guys broke out with some great music.
It’s not something I listen to very often, but you’ve got to love this kind of jazz!!!