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Soundtrack review: Interstellar (Hans Zimmer – 2014)

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Soundtrack review: Interstellar (Hans Zimmer – 2014)

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As Hans Zimmer suggested, I chose to take the journey of Interstellar at the cinema first. I know how Hans works with Christopher Nolan, how close he is to the movies and how the music blends with the visuals, so I trusted them both. Even if I knew I was going to spend many hours in the future listening to this score separately, I wanted it to have the memory of the movie imprinted. This is a case where not only does the music enrich and complete the film, but viceversa as well. In my rankings, each score also gets a nostalgia grade and this is hard to achieve by new compositions so early. But with an amazing movie like “Interstellar”, things changed. The movie was so beautiful, so visually striking, so heartfelt and such a beautiful story that as soon as I got out from the cinema, with that organ still shattering my insides, I felt as if I’d known it for years.

“Interstellar” was the most beautiful cinematic experience of my life, both visually and from a musical point of view. I got out of the cinema shaken and moved. And I couldn’t wait to listen to the music again.

I kept my eyes closed while listening to this score for the first time, I wanted to be able to remember, dream, foresee, live. It starts as if I’m waking up inside a dream, slowly opening my eyes and senses and easing into the new world… ”Dreaming of the crash”, “Cornfield chase” and “Dust” are beautiful and haunting echoes of what’s going to follow. Hans Zimmer is building this imaginary world with the first three cues… He’s drawing the sky, the stars, the oceans, the life. The biggest organ in the world starts flapping its wings slowly. That organ is the sun that sustains life in the world of the Interstellar score. In the beginning it is gentle and soft, like rain in that sunny world. It brings a little sadness and a feeling of deep loneliness. “Day one” is like listening to your own heartbeat after many days of complete loneliness.

The addition of the soft water sounds in some of the cues (the beginning of “Stay” for example) is brilliant and will help me relax and dream better at night for years to come. Everything in the first half of the score evokes the infinity of space and the eerie feeling of drifting in it. “Stay” is the first heartbreaking cue from this score. It’s 7 minutes of music thin and heavy as a led wire. It builds up into a drill that makes its way into your heart.

When “Mountains” begins I thank myself for the decision to listen to this score with my eyes closed… A wooden metronome is ticking while the music is slowly building in the background, until it explodes and if you don’t have your eyes closed you will miss the beautiful imagery that this cue will paint inside your mind. “A place among the stars” is a repetition of previous motifs, but it’s ok because I will not get tired of them.

I think “Coward” marks the moment when I detach completely from the real world and get immersed in what Hans Zimmer created. The organ sounds rise and rise until they become beautiful and deafening and the cue reaches an incredible climax. This is the standout cue of the regular release, which focuses more on the quiet part of the music.

The Deluxe edition brings seven more tracks. I’m hoping this is where the action and the powerful organ were hiding. I missed them in the first 16 cues. Something is still resonating inside me and hasn’t found its match in the sound. I am still waiting… The quiet ambient cues are addictive though and pull me right back in… ”Atmospheric entry” is pure atmospheric bliss… just soft sounds, nothing else…

“No need to come back” is the saddest and most ominous cue of the score. This one goes so deep that I almost lose my breath when I’m listening to it. The blood that flows through “Interstellar” is melancholy and this track is the heart that pumps it. It might get unbearable to listen to in some moments because it’s so heavy and hopeless. It builds up from a single note to a thick dark mist that slowly surrounds you until you cannot move.

This was the last step before the “Imperfect lock”. Ever since I saw the movie, once particular piece of music has stuck with me… It was the moment when I almost jumped out of my seat, with my heart in my throat and deafened by an unbelievable organ build up. The anticipation for this track was almost choking me. I put the volume to the max and waited to be amazed… But the cue wasn’t there. “Imperfect lock” is another almost perfect cue from this score, but not the one I (and, probably, most of the fans who saw the movie) was waiting for…

…so we got the deluxe edition and it’s still incomplete…This really disappointed me. I understand the need to have a regular edition and an extended one. But Watertower Records took it too far this time. As a die-hard fan, I will order and buy the Illuminati edition which will (hopefully) deliver the cues that are missing, but this is wrong…The Deluxe edition should have had all the good stuff and the third release should have had some bonus material. This way, I think many fans are going to be frustrated. I mean imagine if Christopher Nolan did this with the movie: he would release a regular 1.5 hours edition… then a 2 hour deluxe edition which would be missing a couple of the best and most important scenes and only the third and most expensive release might be the complete one. I find this wrong…

Still, the music is unbelievable and I cannot complain. The 91 minutes of this release are perfect. This is the score of the year so far and I don’t think this will change. Hans Zimmer continues to be in a state of grace and he can do no wrong. “Interstellar” reaches an unprecedented level of excellence and I am amazed that after “Inception” and “Man of steel” which seemed pinnacles of Hans’ career, he was able to stun us again with an even more beautiful composition. I cannot get the sound of this score out of my head, I cannot shake those blissful organ motifs that are echoing inside me and I will listen to this score, incomplete as it is, over and over again… There are objects drifting forever in space without any chance of leaving their confines, and “Interstellar” will remain to orbit my heart forever…

Cue rating: 98 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 91  / 91

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Dreaming Of The Crash

Cornfield Chase

Dust

Day One

Stay

Message From Home

The Wormhole

Mountains

Afraid Of Time

A Place Among The Stars

Running Out

I’m Going Home

Coward

Detach

S.T.A.Y

Where We’re Going

First Step

Flying Drone

Atmospheric Entry

No Need To Come Back

Imperfect Lock

What Happens Now?

 

 

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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9 Comments

  1. Mayank Nailwal 20th February 2016

    So glad to know there is someone in the earth else than me who loved the soundtrack of Interstellar as much as I did. Wonderfully reviewed. I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future. Cheers 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 20th February 2016

      Thank you so much for your kind words.. Please come back, new reviews every day 🙂

      1. Mayank Nailwal 11th June 2016

        You’re most welcome. Sorry for not leaving comments everytime but trust me, I always read your reviews. I mean not of every film but a lot of which I see. I have a bunch of favourite film critics but when it comes to analysing soundtracks, you’re the only guy whom i trust. Keep up the superlative work! Cheers ☺

  2. Luqman 11th June 2016

    Your review is exactly how I felt about the film and the score. What an amazing experience. Never have I ever cried in awe at a film in a cinema.

    Reply

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