Next time you find yourself at the cinema watching the latest hip feature, pay a little attention to the film score: there’s every chance an equally cool musician has composed it. Films such as The Social Network, Tron: Legacy and Trespass Against Us all have scores by bands or pop stars rather than traditional film composers.
A film score, as opposed to a soundtrack, is the instrumental music that accompanies a picture, setting the overall mood and tone. Written specifically for the film, it is not designed to stand out but rather to complement the action. Indeed, film-makers often say that the sign of a good score is that the audience doesn’t even notice it. To celebrate the release of Trespass Against Us on DVD and Blu-ray (July 3rd), scored by Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers, we take a look at some of the most stimulating scores by musicians you might not have guessed!
Basement Jaxx—Attack the Block
While it might be a throwback to beloved monster movies of the ‘80s (The Thing, Gremlins, etc.), Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block is anything but a retro act; rather, it retains the fun sensibilities of those classic films while re-packaging them with the rapid pacing and sleek aesthetic of a more contemporary action film. In this way, props must be given to Basement Jaxx whose pounding score gives the chases and action set pieces a distinctly modern feel and a little extra oomph.
Michael Penn—Boogie Nights
Penn first gained critical attention with the release of the single “No Myth” from his 1989 debut album, March. Beginning in 1996 when he co-composed the score for P.T. Anderson’s debut film Hard Eight with Jon Brion, Penn has racked up several notable credentials as a film composer, the best of which is his fantastic score for Boogie Nights. Though the film may be jam-packed with every ‘70s and ‘80s pop song under the sun, Penn’s off-beat score helps to set the tone for the crazy roller coaster of a story that unfolds.
Dust Brothers—Fight Club
As producers, The Dust Brothers have created some of the most defining and celebrated sounds of the ‘90, from The Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique to Beck’s Odelay to Hanson’s “MMMBop.” As the guiding musical hands behind David Fincher’s 1999 masterpiece, however, the group created a chaotic yet exhilarating score that reflected the mindset of that film’s disturbed protagonist.
Daft Punk—Tron: Legacy
If people got excited at the prospect of a sequel to the 1982 special-effects vehicle Tron, the idea that beloved French electronic duo Daft Punk would provide the score most likely made them convulse with excitement. And indeed, whatever your feelings are regarding the film, there is little doubt that the soundtrack not only fits incredibly well with the film and creates a cool-futuristic feel, but also kicks major soundtrack ass.
Karen O—Where the Wild Things Are
When watching Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O perform, you get the sense that there’s something childlike about her. Ignoring the adult subject matter of some of the band’s songs as well as some of her stage antics, Karen O’s sense of boundless energy and relentless enthusiasm lends her a charming, youthful persona. Together with her band The Kids, Karen O presents a score that both invites celebration as well as reflection.
The Chemical Brothers (Tom Rowlands) —Trespass Against Us
Tom Rowlands intense and unnerving score helps to not only convey the films all-action, gritty chase scenes but also highlight the duality of the film’s titular character, Chad Cutler, a man who has spent his whole life growing up in a sheltered, desolate travelling community, only to face moral challenges coming face-to-face with his father, on whether he should start a new life and end his life of crime for good.
Trespass Against Us is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.