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Interstellar Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Review

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2019-3-14-Interstellar

Tracks:

1. Dreaming of the crash
2. Cornfield chase
3. Dust
4. Day One
5. Stay
6. Message from home
7. The Wormhole
8. Mountains
9. Afraid of time
10. A place among the stars
11. Running out
12. I’m going home
13. Coward
14. Detach
15. S.T.A.Y.
16.Where we’re going

 

The film critics’ universal grievance of the overwhelming loudness of the Interstellar soundtrack in the cinemas was justifiable, but so was the intent of the collaborative artistic expression of the movie by Christopher Nolan, the film’s producer/director, and Hans Zimmer, the music composer. Nolan intended to break with Hollywood tradition of post-filming music add-on and instead conceptualized the movie with a musical expression of his vision from day one. Per Nolan in the CD booklet: “To me, the music has to be a fundamental ingredient, not a condiment to be sprinkled on the finished meal…. giving [Han Zimmer’s]musical and emotional instincts free reign, so that the seed from which the score would eventually grow would be fused with the narrative at its earliest stage. “One does wonder if this approach and the exhaustive efforts undertaken was necessary while the conventional method has been adopted successfully for decades by many great Hollywood filmmakers and composers.

With music becoming a front-and-foremost element in the filmmaker’s creation, Interstellar thus morphed into a space opera of sorts, in which the audience is being dictated what emotional response is appropriate as intended and when to be awestruck. I would’ve been lost to the Nolan/Zimmer consortium if the artists were less capable talents. For Interstellar truly is an adventure of the human mind, constantly accompanied and guided by the musical soundtrack.

But more importantly, the Interstellar CD is an audiophile’s soundtrack! In the CD booklet, Zimmer recounts his creative process in delicious detail: “It all started with Chris’s idea: ‘How about using a pipe-organ for this score?'”

And what a score it is. Two London churches became the venues for recording, namely AIR Studios and Temple Church. The rest of the ensemble? “No big epic action drums. Gone were the propulsive string ostinati… to be replaced by large sections of woodwinds, four concert grand pianos, harp and marimbas.”

Again, Zimmer’s own description of the sound of a pipe-organ: “You feel the great, rasping breath inside the bellows like a monster waking deep inside the earth…. You feel that each note is shaped and given life by great gulps of air…. [the venue of a church] amplifies this vast soundscape such that it becomes totally immersive. You need more than the organ. You need to actually feel the space itself.” And I just happened to have the audio tools to experience that feat. The Destination Audio Vista horns, driven by the First Watt SIT-1 monoblocks with the 47 Laboratory 4741 Izumi CD player and Pass Laboratories Xs Preamp, alternating with the Bricasti Design M1 dual-mono DAC, pumped such air and acoustical bottom-end energy into my room as I’ve never experienced, and what a feeling of space the system conveyed.

By virtue of modern-day recording technology and techniques, this CD eclipses the long-time audiophile reference disc on Proprius, Cantate Domino in sheer sonic enormity and prowess.Adding to the experience was the First Watt SIT-1, substituting for Destination Audio’s own complimenting 45 triode monoblock amplifiers. Nelson Pass’ use of the Static inductance Transistor behaved like a triode vacuum tube in its low impedance characteristic, worthy of induction into the circuit wizard hall of fame. The extra juice from the SIT-1 fed to the DA horns translated into faster transients and improved spectral extensions. The Pass devices could replace triodes for all intents and purposes while lasting longer than tubes, but 45 diehards could just stick to the tube monoblocks by adding a top-flight solid-state DAC with output volume control for a little added measure of tautness, such as the Bricasti Design M1 dual mono DAC.

The huge Destination Audio Vista midrange horns specialize in doing what many large speakers have in common: pushing an abundance of air right at its mouth to deliver even the slightest variation in dynamics and output with life-sized dynamic scaling. Concert going is fine, but when the realism of live musical performance is accomplished in the listening room, the emotional rawness of towering works begins to reveal itself as never before. Hence, the essence of hi-fi.

Despite Interstellar being a 72-minute soundtrack, the very masterful instrumentation carries the listener through the happenstance like going through a spatial singularity. While the music is cut into sixteen tracks, it was essentially one continuous composition that speaks with a seamless artistic voice for the sake of condensed but evocative storytelling. Tracks lasting no more than two minutes, three minutes, four minutes were interspersed with more massive-sounding segments towards the end.

Interstellar the movie would’ve been at the same level of the Carl Sagan epic Contact, and Mission To Mars had it not been for the time-travel predicament. The best science fiction story to me is one that deals with the issue of the period without the chicken-and-egg double-backing to the past. The fact that there is so much suffering in the world, and that we are still not aware of any time-travel related incidents is evidence enough that either time traveling is such a meticulously executed activity that all traces are seemingly erased from detection, or the human race never made it before the time traveling dynamics are figured out. To even entertain the notion that we will be able to restrain from using the technology once it’s invented is unthinkable.

And, Mr. Nolan, Matt Damon does not a murderous psychopath convincingly make. I, for one, could not connect emotionally to the nefarious deeds portrayed.

Secondly, the music and the movie were overwhelming, indeed, especially in the theater. The soundtrack thus presents the only avenue in which we can take a step back and feel the drama musically and with discretion, and what was revealed was Zimmer’s mastery in melding instruments for a cohesive but otherworldly soundscape.

Perhaps most telling of what Chris Nolan and Hans Zimmer achieved is in the following excerpt from the CD booklet, again: “No big epic action drums. Gone were the propulsive string ostinato that had worked so well for us over the past ten years, to be replaced by large sections of woodwinds, four concert grand pianos, harp and marimbas…Large choirs became an investigation of exhales rather than melodies, and creating impossible to sing soft harmonies which served as a human reverb for the pianos.”

 

Review system:

A.R.T. Super power cables
A.R.T. Analyst SE XLR, RCA and Speaker Cables
47 Laboratory 4741 Izumi CD player
Bricasti M1 Limited Edition dual-mono DAC
Pass Laboratory Xs Preamp
First Watt SIT-1 monoblock amplifiers
Destination Audio Vista horns

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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One Response to Interstellar Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Review


  1. Afshan naz says:

    Execellent sound track ,more sound track

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