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 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Anyone heard this score?

It's actually pretty good, and Elfman really made the most of some primitive analog synth equipment in an era when Harold Faltermeyer was using the mathematical perfection of the synclaiver digital system and the Sony RCM 3324.

It's an ambient piece with little thematic devices, and what it lacks in the same years Top Gun's productuion polish and state of the art computer magic it makes up for in spirit and mood.

VERY inventive. Where has THIS Danny Elfman gone? frown

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 12:24 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, I agree that it's a nice score, although it doesn't really remind me of Faltermeyer. It's far more textural and dark for the most part, incorporating a long line of percussion (synthesized or not). Elfman has grown away from this now, obviously, and I am very thankful for that. Because even though this is a charming effort, it is unmistakably very 80's and passé. And often a bit too simple.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 12:39 PM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Do you own the Music for a darkened theatre CD?

The first track from this score on that is VERY Faltermeyer influenced, with a clicky drum loop sequenced effect that is REALLY trying to emulate that synclavier and CS80 emulator percussion from Top Gun- except, it was done ENTIRELY with TWO analog synths and a copule of very basic disco sequencers!!!

In the movie there are also instances of very weak jan Hammer style drum padding too, that don't sound too great now and weren't state of the art then.

However, this was also a one man show, one of the few times that Elfman has been directly involved with the hands on control of his instruments.

I agree that it is definitely dated nostalgia, Thor- but WHAT nostalgia!!! I'd love to see Elfman pull out the drum programming and protools for a updated synth effort now!

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 12:50 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

***Do you own the Music for a darkened theatre CD?***

Of course. And the entire soundtrack CD as well. I can see that the main theme has a Faltermeyer vibe to it, but if you have the whole soundtrack you'll find that Elfman's score is less stable and less theme-oriented than the typical Faltermeyer score.

***However, this was also a one man show, one of the few times that Elfman has been directly involved with the hands on control of his instruments.***

Actually, Elfman ALWAYS has complete control over his scores and ESPECIALLY what instruments are being used.

***I'd love to see Elfman pull out the drum programming and protools for a updated synth effort now!***

Look no further than PLANET OF THE APES, a fantastic score with more drum loops than one rave party can hold (combined with lots of acoustic percussion). Yet never going overboard in a negative sense.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Hey Thor,

What did you think of the mix of the score in the film? I wasn't too impressed... I did notice the ambient as opposed to thematic direction in the score, but you could tell that the tpyes of sounds Elfman (or rather the movie's producer and Estevez?) were after were Faltermeyer-ish. Especially the desired layering effect (that Elfman never achieves convincingly due to his lack of technological resources).

My comments about Elfman having more hands on direction refer to the fact that he actually performed this ENTIRE work himself, as usually when using an orchestra he gets a Shirley Walker or Bill Ross to do a lot of things for him. You could use this score as evidence against any negative comments that Elfman isn't directly involved in his scores like say Williams or Goldsmith (the type of arguments that this guy is often thrown into here and elsewhere).

as for POTA, I thought the score was pretty poor, and a vain, novice, lightweight approach to dealing with modern tribal percussion. To me it sounded like a watered down version of George S Clintons under rated Mortal Kombat score. I can't stand POTA! Give me Goldsmith's oriignal version anyday!

Is Danny scoring Big Fish for Burton?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2003 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

***What did you think of the mix of the score in the film?***

I don't know. I haven't seen it.

***rather the movie's producer and Estevez?) were after were Faltermeyer-ish. Especially the desired layering effect***

Well, they might have been after a sound that Faltermeyer helped define in the 80's, and so the main theme in particular reflects that, but overall I think the score has more in common with the synth work that Danny did with Oingo Boingo at the time.

***as usually when using an orchestra he gets a Shirley Walker or Bill Ross to do a lot of things for him.***

Not a lot of things. They conduct. And Steve Bartek usually gets VERY DETAILED sketches to orchestrate. The prejudice that Elfman doesn't compose his own music is long since passé and has been proven many times to be untrue.

***as for POTA, I thought the score was pretty poor, and a vain, novice, lightweight approach to dealing with modern tribal percussion.***

Well, that's your opinion, and I respect that. But I don't agree with it, of course. I found it to be anything but lightweight, and layered in such a "thick" and powerful fashion that there's pleasure to be gained upon repeated listenings. And the dialectic between acoustic and electronic perc is absolutely breathtaking. I also happen to like Oakenfold's more straight-forward remix at the end.

MEN IN BLACK (1 and 2), MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, PROOF OF LIFE and parts of SPIDERMAN and HULK are other scores that utilize complex electronic textures and drum loops. Maybe FREEWAY as well.

But you won't find anything like WISDOM in his resume. It's quite unique. Perhaps if you checked out some of the Boingo work from the 80's.

***Is Danny scoring Big Fish for Burton?***

Yes. The album is due December 23.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2004 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I re-listened to this one yesterday, and I say it's still an amazing piece of work, despite the fact that it sounds unmistakably 80's.

I can't believe that I said it was too SIMPLE in an earlier post here. Obviously, I hadn't listened to it in a long time when I wrote that. Coz there are so many layers going on - between synths and percussion - and the occasional acoustic instrument (like a trumpet), yet it doesn't sound as "dense" as in his post-MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE scores. Some parts also remind me of Jean Michel Jarre, particularly the sampled voices (check out Jarre's ZOOLOOK, for example).

It doesn't really settle in a "groove", like Faltermeyer usually does, but has these sort of complex and off-meter rhythmic patterns that somehow seem coherent.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2004 - 9:34 AM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

I still stand by my comments that it is a highly comendable, admirable and charming low-budget Faltermeyer aspirer.

I think that it took Elfman REAL talent to have the themes and the music carry the film, as opposed to technology, as far as synths go in the expense obssessed mid 80s. There are no high tech Synclaviers or Fairlights in sight, yet Elfman has enough faith and skill with his music to release something that doesn't try to compete with say Top Gun or Flight of the Navigator, but still oozes synth genre credibility.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2004 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Thor,
could you also please drop me an email at ahem15@homtail.com too please

cheers

 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2004 - 3:52 PM   
 By:   Natrebo   (Member)

"However, this was also a one man show, one of the few times that Elfman has been directly involved with the hands on control of his instruments"

Please check his scores to “Freeway”, “Forbidden Zone”, and “Dead Presidents” and parts of “To Die For” for evidences of his "one man show" abilities (Also the cartoon “Face like a Frog” and his Pee-Wee’s Playhouse music would fall into this catagory).


"as usually when using an orchestra he gets a Shirley Walker or Bill Ross to do a lot of things for him."

You just need to compare his demo to This is Halloween on the MFADT Vol.2 CD to the final version to hear that his demos sound pretty much complete when turned over to the orchestrators.


Nat

 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2005 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

I just got a CDR that featured Elfman's Wisdom Theme. I have to admit that I have never understood the music of Elfman - but this theme is cool indeed.

A bit like Faltermeyer yes, but not entirely. I think it sounded a bit more like Silvestri's synth-efforts from around the same time.

So this was the *only* synth-score he eve did?

 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2005 - 12:59 PM   
 By:   DeviantMan   (Member)

I think FREEWAY was also a synth only score featured on one of the DARKENED THEATRE collections.

 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2005 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   Olivier   (Member)

I like(d) the theme on the MfaDT disc, but was disappointed when I got the CD; I wouldn't wait for it to end.
I'll have to give it another try.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2005 - 3:47 PM   
 By:   Oblicno   (Member)

I have the Music For a Darkened Theatre cd, and i have to say WISDOM is one of the few tracks i don't really like on it. I wouldn't buy the full length cd if i saw it. I'm not much of a synths fan though, i have to say.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2005 - 7:49 PM   
 By:   ryankeaveney   (Member)

This is my least favorite Elfman score.

Ryan

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 29, 2009 - 3:51 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I've been trying and trying and trying, but I have unable to find this film for a single viewing. That's all I want...a single viewing, a cheap online rental or something, I don't necessarily need to own it.

Can anyone help me out?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 31, 2009 - 2:51 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

PLEEEEEEEEEEASE...?!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2009 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

OK, so one of my longest film quests ended today, as I was finally able to find a shoddy-looking VHS copy of this film that skipped in the last 20 minutes and that had Chinese subtitles. But that's all I could find.

First of all, it's a REALLY good film, directed by Estevez himself (oh, and a small cameo by brother Charlie too!). It's BONNIE & CLYDE meets ROBIN HOOD or some such thing. Or perhaps a better precedent would be BADLANDS, starring Estevez' father.

The segue from disillusioned convict being alienated from society into well-meaning criminal that is in way over his head is made believable. Demi Moore's portrayal of a girl that is at the wrong place at the wrong time - but who loves her boyfriend so much that she just has to tag along - is well-executed too. Not to mention the genuine worry by the parents, played by ALIEN co-stars Tom Skerrit and Veronica Cartwright.

It's certainly a mystery to me why this film was never released on DVD.

So...Elfman's score. It's an absolutely fantastic effort, one of my favourites of his. I've always loved the album, but it was great to see it work in context too. I would say it has more in common with Tangerine Dream than Faltermeyer. In any case, it's totally unlike anything Elfman has done before or since (except maybe some Oingo Boingo stuff).

The catchy main titles give associations to the opening of RISKY BUSINESS, only this isn't so tongue-in-cheek. The highlights of the score are placed over montages of Wisdom preparing to rob banks or the chase scenes with FBI in pursuit. In many ways, the percussive loops and forward thrust foreshadow the Phillipp Glass-ian mode Elfman has explored in recent years. Only in a purely electronic idiom.

I was also surprised to hear many cool pieces that aren't on the soundtrack such as the moody chords for our introduction to Moore's character and then especially the twangy guitar stuff, which isn't as ominous as the selections on the album.

Don't get me wrong...I think the existing album works fine and doesn't really need any more additions. But would I condone an expanded release if some of that guitar stuff was included? You betcha. Yeah, you heard that right. Thor condoning an expanded release. Doesn't happen often.

In any case, it's a film worth checking out for anyone interested in quality 80's films, low budget, but well-written and acted.

(Oh, and Oingo Boingo's song "Home Again" plays over the end credits, a song that is stylistically in line with the rest of the score).

 
 Posted:   Jan 28, 2011 - 1:34 PM   
 By:   ajenodel   (Member)

Sorry, this is a really, really old post (2004) though facts seem to have it Mothersbaugh actually did Pee-wee's Playhouse music (the 1st season I think).

The Elfman connection was from 1985 when he was asked to create score for the very 1st full feature film by Tim Burton -- that was Pee-wee's Big Adventure as we know.
~SB

-- - for evidences of his "one man show" abilities (Also the cartoon “Face like a Frog” and his Pee-Wee’s Playhouse music would fall into this catagory).
--

 
 Posted:   Jan 28, 2011 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   ajenodel   (Member)

The 2009 post about VHS Wisdom:

the title is not on Blu-Ray or DVD (as of Jan 2011) but read on - the Warner Archives series has that movie on their website and it's from a long series of Print-on-Demand listings.

Not like a store bought item and won't have great chapter selections I think but it's official.

~SB

 
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