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Monday, January 09, 2017

Birdman Soundtrack

Ironically, the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media went to a soundtrack that wasn't even eligible for an Oscar, Birdman. The original drum soundtrack was by Antonio Sanchez, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deemed that it had too much other music (including pieces by Mahler, Rachmaninoff, and others) that it wasn't eligible. Well, rules are rules, but I'm glad the Grammys recognized it.

I've always been drawn to drumming. Other people may play air guitar, but I air drum, or at least drum on my steering wheel. When I saw the movie, over two years ago now, I was immediately struck my the mostly drum-only score, which has a jazz feel but also some rock and roll. There's jokes about using the drum solo as a time to go pee at a concert, but I like drum solos, and I've tried to appreciate the difficulty of drumming (I sure picked up some of that in Whiplash).

Rodriguez's score creates a kind of chaos, as when drumsticks crash it almost sounds like walls breaking down, our the loss of sanity by the main character, played by Michael Keaton. It certainly isn't soothing--if you listen to meditation music there isn't much drumming.

The rest of the music is also wonderful. It includes part of Symphony No, 9 by Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 2 in E Minor by Rachmaninoff, some Ravel, some Tchaikovsky, and an absolutely lovely choir piece, "Chorus of Exiled Palestinians," by John Adams.

I don't know many soundtracks anymore, but this one is a good one, and even after several days of playing it I'm not tired of it and hear more things.

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