Cinema Music / Soundtracks

Of particular interest to me (and I’m hoping others here) is the pairing of sound to image, moving or otherwise. Does anyone do this for a living? Does anyone have experience with it? Who are your favorite composers/artist? Does anyone dabble in video synthesis?

Feel free to take this discussion in any direction.

My current favorite has been the collaboration between Andrei Tarkovsky and Edward Artemiev. Artemiev was one of the first adopters on the ANS synth for scoring films. I highly recommend checking out his work on Stalker, it’s brilliant.


While this comment won’t be on music per se, allow me to note that this film represents pioneering work in sound design as a whole, largely by way of Walter Murch. This direction was hinted at as early even as “TXH1138,” but it’s in this film that his contribution really began to take shape. By “Apocalypse Now,” his genius was fully realized.


worth a watch if you have the time/ability to access.

I think there is a radio 4 version which might not be locked to UK only.


Second that. In fact any of Neil Brand’s documentaries on music are well worth watching.

Hey Jonathan,

I’ve done a lot of freelance work writing music for film - for me it’s all about serving the story.

My favourite composers for film are currently Trent Reznor for his work with Gone Girl and the Social Network, and Olafur Arnalds, who worked on the Broadchurch soundtrack.

I also dabble in video synthesis with Critter and Guitari gear, but I’m not sure how this relates to soundtracks.

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Among the great collaborations of composer and director, one I’ve been heavily invested in this summer is that of Peer Raben and Fassbinder.

Raben worked on nearly all of Fassbinder’s films. Their process is worth studying I think, as much from an editorial point of view as compositional point of view, given how spare some of Fassbinder’s films are in their use of score. His use of sound in fact–both sound design and music–were critical components of his films, acting as commentary, counterpoint, or even almost as characters themselves, not totally unlike what Murch/Coppola were doing at the same time in the US.

Raben was quite versatile, able to compose purposefully saccharine pop or cabaret styled songs, high Modernist ensemble pieces, electronically-textured passages that strongly suggest another great German source of film music, Popol Vuh (see Herzog’s “Aguirre, Wrath of God” for one of the greatest film scores of all time I think), and more.

He also collaborated with Wong Kar-Wai on “2046,” repurposing music he wrote for Fassbinder’s last film, “Querelle.”

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Many shouts to David Shire, for both his wheeling piano score for The Conversation and the twelve-tone funk of Pelham-1-2-3; both are some of my favourite scores.

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One of my favourites - in amongst the ambient and pseudoclassical - is Neil Young’s score for Dead Man, which has a memorable theme and melody, but always seems to work better in the context of the film, as a long ongoing score - composed, I believe, initially by jamming and improvising to the film as watched. The delayed, amplified squeal of the live guitar is just phenomenal; I’ll never forget it screeching as the train comes at the beginning of the film.

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been obsessed lately with 70´s italian music, no matter about genre/style.
lot of these artists were involved into another sound-related scenes, from electro-acoustic to early electronic pop, from jazz to library music: you can always find a little gem on their works.

to name a few: e.morricone, p.piccioni, p.umiliani, a.alessandroni,, a.trovajoli, s.torossi, e.macchi, b.nicolai, a.sciascia, b.nicolai, b.spoerri, etc…


some soundtracks that are not always given the recognition they are due.

John Barry - Walkabout
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Clint Mansell - Pi.
Sinoia Caves - Beyond the Black Rainbow
Young Adam - David Byrne

also second the David Shire & 2046 soundtrack recommendations.


Not to smother this convo but here’s a related one with great recommends

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Went to see Eighth Grade yesterday (great film) and the score by Anna Meredith was so so great. Added so much to the emotional content of the film. I feel like I’ve heard her song “Nautilus” on a number of mixes in the last year or so and didn’t really expect to hear it in the film, but it fit so perfectly in the scene it was used. Such a HUGE sounding piece of music. Surprised that she has escaped any mention on this forum (i searched).

That Artemiev link you provided is great.

Yup, this world is my main squeeze. Credits here if anyone’s interested.

It’s a weird job, and is really not for everyone. Very misunderstood, even by people who are relatively close to it. The business and working conditions can be truly barbaric. But, if your personality checks all the right boxes, it’s extremely rewarding – and the rare moments when you pair with just the right filmmaker on just the right film…man, it can be amazing.


Quickly recommending Mica Levi’s scores for Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin and Pablo Larraín’s Jackie.

Also maybe Jonny Greenwood’s one for The Master. And also maybe… Cliff Martinez score for The Knick? I’m never sure. It threw me in a good way when I watched it.

There’s also a Danish/Icelandic film from last year called Winter Brothers which has an amazing score by Toke Brorson Odin.


The 70s italian library jazz era runs thick in my head & remains inspiring/influential. I think @puggo commended some of the best to listen back to thoroughly.

On another spectrum one of my favorites to revisit for the way it interprets tension / fear / & the unknown is Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack to Alien. It straddles minimalistic melodic composition with acoustic deconstruction explorations wonderfully.

@Jonathan_Riley are you also looking for suggestions in the territory of video art & music videos? As per you’re mention of video synthesis. Because that could be a discussion unto itself as well.