Latest Shiny Thing

I like what I like….

I’m off to ApolloCon this weekend. (My schedule of panels is at the bottom. When not at one of the places listed, I can reliably be found in the bar.)

I get to panel on one of my favorite subjects: Soundtracks! I love a good movie soundtrack; I’m not sure I’m a connoisseur, but I like what I like. Actually, I know enough to parse out the technical craft of a piece, but that’s actually of lesser importance to me than the emotional effectiveness of a score. Yes, this means I occasionally love a good, schmaltzy love theme, or a rousing, bass heavy, over-synthesized battle theme.

Like how I don’t particularly care that many of Hans Zimmer‘s scores sound exactly alike, with too much synthesizer and the base jacked up to 13, and it doesn’t matter because it’s awesome monster-fighting, ass-kicking, demon-vanquishing music, and frankly I like the way it makes my speakers buzz. It’s also a great cue for the family: Don’t open the office door when the floor is vibrating; it means there’s some serious slaying going on.

I don’t even have to particularly like the movie, either. There are a couple of movies I didn’t care for at all, but the soundtracks are on my regular rotation. Planet of the Apes, for example. (Actually, lots of Danny Elfman scores fall into this category, because I’m not a Tim Burton fan, but I love the music for his movies.)

Not everything has to be bombastic. I’m currently enamoured of the soundtrack to "Up" which has some delightfully engaging, sort of swinging and approrpiately retro melodies. It’s a complete contrast to Star Trek (by the same composer) which is by turns dark and spacy and heroic. (Michael Giacchino is my current darling.)

So I guess for me, what works in a soundtrack is the story it tells, and the emotional journey it takes you on. In this way, a well crafted score is a lot like a tone poem of a classical composer, or a ballet score. I’ve heard John Williams’ Star Wars scores arranged as a concert peice, and a good CD of a score does the same thing–arranges the music cues into a symphonic story.

Care to give me any material for my panel? What makes a good soundtrack for you? Do you like some good smchaltzy stuff? Lots of bombastic? Can you enjoy a soundtrack without having seen the movie?

ApolloCon Schedule
Fri 8:00PM – 9:00PM Raiders of the Lost Maguffin
Rosemary Clement-Moore, Gail Dayton, Tim Frayser, Joe McKinney
Discuss the appeal of action adventure novels.

Fri 10:00PM – 11:00PM Building the Perfect Soundtrack
Rie Sheridan, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Stina Leicht, Amy McNally (M)
Discuss the use of music in television and movies.

Sat 10:00AM – 11:00AM Readings
Martha Wells, Rosemary Clement-Moore

Sat 4:00PM – 5:00PM Southern Goth: Bayous, Mint Juleps, and the Grotesque
K. Hutson Price, Mel. White, Alexis Glynn Latner (M), Caroline Spector, Rosemary Clement-Moore
Panelists discuss why the South is such a ripe playground for the fantastic.

Sun 10:00AM – 11:00AM West Sidhe Story: Fairies in Urban Fantasy
Patrice Sarath, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Kimberly Frost, Rie Sheridan, Stina Leicht

ETA: It occurs to me, I’m repeating myself. I did a post about writing music not long ago. *sigh* I fail at the bloggernet.