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Synth soundtracks – the OFFICIAL SampleNerd  lowdown: part II

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Welcome to Synth soundtracks – the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II. This is the catalogue of the best synthesizer soundtracks listed as being amongst the best of the genre. According to; and

Let’s go!

It Follows

Image shows the film cover for the 2014 motion picture It Follows.  From the article: Synth soundtracks - the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 2014

Score: Disasterpeace

Verdict: Creepy both sonically and visually, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows temperately builds the lurking unknown with skill. Perfectly encapsulating the relationships between a group of young people who are trying to make sense of their friends unique horrifying experience.

Instrumentally, It Follows has a distinctive 1980s Rolandesque sound. Often sparse and sometimes quirky, Disasterpeace provides a soundtrack well suited to the almost Super 8 Spielberg quality of the film.

Perhaps not too surprising as Disasterpeace has cited John Carpenter as an influence for this score, utilising additional electronic sounds to create a retro and atmospheric sound.

This film is a winner. Watch it!

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Image shows cover to the 1983 motion picture Scarface. From the article: Synth soundtracks – the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 1983

Score: Giorgio Moroder

Verdict: What better way to enjoy the exploits of despicable characters for two hours than having Moroder at the helm?! With a low key entrance, a visit to the disco and a sweet melody that turns sour. Moroder provides an OST quite different from the extravagant NRG he is most famous for.

At the 41st Golden Globe awards in 1984 Flashdance won for Best Original Song. Still, how bad can it be to lose to yourself? Moroder said of the Scarface OST:

I was very happy with the music. I think it was one of my best scores. I liked the combination of electronic and rock music. I think it fit the mood and the style of the film very well.

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Image shows the film cover for the 2011 motion picture Drive. From the article: Synth soundtracks - the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 2011

Score: Cliff Martinez

Verdict: With the clipped thud of a kick drum dominating the roar of the engine as an opener, we find the story of a quietly spoken getaway driver embroiled in the complications of a life of love and a life of crime.

SOUNDTRACK VS SCORE: Providing some confusion initially, as it appeared there were two soundtracks to the movie, the erstwhile that accompanies the film and then the official released version. It appears that as films are edited and scenes are changed or omitted, some tracks that were originally intended for the score no longer ‘fit’. However they are still in keeping with the films ethos or are of particular commercial value so may be included separately in the films subsequently released soundtrack.

Nevertheless, Clint Martinez obviously engineered the soundtrack with a great deal of care and attention. And a shout-out has to be given to Johnny Jewel whom had originally scored much of the films music and whose composition remains within it. Lastly, once Ryan Gosling was attached to the movie he was given free reign to choose director and composer, the soundtrack was curated to invoke a sense of loneliness, nostalgia and intensity.

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American Gigolo

Image shows cover to the 1980 motion picture American Gigolo from the article: Synth soundtracks – the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 1980

Score: Giorgio Moroder

Verdict: Batting off with Call Me, this second Moroder appearance aimed to meet the modernism and sophistication of the protagonists world.

The soundtrack composed mostly of synthesisers and drum machines is fairly intermittent as the film itself is dialogue heavy. We do on a few occasions however have the appearance of an instrumental version of the Blondie co-written No. 1 which gives us chance to appreciate how nice the melody is all by itself.

It’s a good story, as we watch the once-polished gun-for-hire learn what hubris is as he tries to save himself from a murder rap.

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Image shows the film cover for the 1981motion picture Thief. From the article: Synth soundtracks - the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 1981

Score: Tangerine Dream

Verdict: Being nominated for Worst Musical Score at the second Golden Raspberry Awards (John Barry “won” that year for The Legend of the Lone Ranger) didn’t stop Tangerine Dream entering the UK at no. 43 with their score to this neo-noir heist thriller.

In an era where it’s analogue all the way it’s still worth a listen. After all, if anyone can wield a synth its Tangerine Dream. They aimed to create music that worked both as background and foreground music, blurring the lines between soundtrack and narrative.

Micheal Mann said of the score:

The music of Tangerine Dream is a sonic landscape that complements the visual landscape of the film…. [their] music is like a parallel reality.

collective discussions about the film

A remastered version was released in 2013 by Perseverance Records correcting previous release errors.

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Flight of the Navigator

Image shows cover to the 1986 motion picture Flight of the Navigator. From the article: Synth soundtracks – the OFFICIAL SampleNerd lowdown: part II by

Year: 1986

Score: Alan Silvestri

Verdict: The second personal pick. Seriously, how can this fabulous soundtrack not be in any of the three lists used for this series?

Silvestri’s use of the Synclavier and DX-7 for this movie was masterful. The score elevates the entire story as we watch the hopes, tragedy and adventure 12 year old David Freeman, it is fairly emotive stuff!

A good example of sampler ‘cross-pollination’, There was a tendency in the early years of samplers to ‘borrow’ each other’s sounds. This can make identifying what sampler was used in a piece of music difficult to pinpoint. Comparing timelines of products against a composer’s work can help learn what was used where.

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Part III out soon! 🎞

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