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 Posted:   Feb 23, 2021 - 9:53 AM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

Lipson published this on Facebook:

Although I’ve often mentioned him before, I’ve decided this week to do a post about Hans Zimmer, another cornerstone person in my life.

The first time I met Hans was in the early 80s. He appeared wearing jodhpurs and riding boots at Sarm East, a basement in London’s East End, hysterical. Thankfully now it’s only the socks. It was instantly obvious that he was a really good guy, friendly, self deprecating, with a great sense of humour. We didn’t work together but the connection was made. It wasn’t until around 2008 when I saw him at a gig and he suggested we work together. I honestly didn’t think it would happen until I found myself mixing The Dark Knight Rises, completely out of my depth.

Someone once referred to Hans as being a genius. I’ve never thought this, especially since the word doesn’t really make much sense to me. What I’ve observed is someone with an uncanny ability to “read” a movie, conjure up an original idea, and then work unbelievably hard in order to realise it. Working with Hans is a constant eye opening experience. I’ve watched him work for weeks on 2 notes. I’ve heard him working on a single synth sound for days. I’ve witnessed him suggest moving a cue by a seemingly arbitrary amount only to watch the scene make so much more sense. If a problem needs to be solved by going from A to B he’ll generally go the opposite way, starting at Z (no pun intended), and often ending up with something worthwhile, sometimes nowhere near B. And if not he’ll simply shrug it off and continue. He has the ability to juggle many projects simultaneously, all the while endlessly researching (probably) on YouTube.

Someone else (a possibly jealous composer) told me he could always recognise a Hans Zimmer score. I’ve worked on a dozen or so scores with Hans and each one has had a very different approach, leading to totally different styles and sounds. Remarkable after scoring hundreds of movies. He’s pretty modest considering the level of his achievements, whilst at the same time having the confidence to make seemingly foolish suggestions, the only way to break new ground. His willingness to share credit has led to innumerable composers becoming successful in their own right. Working with him isn’t easy though; often I’ve assumed something is finished when he’ll casually make what appears to be a ridiculous suggestion that throws all the balls back up in the air. This can be extremely frustrating but never to be ignored as on more than one occasion the improvement has been totally worth the effort.

He’s shown amazing faith in me, setting me tasks that were frequently out of my comfort zone. I’ve spent many weeks at Remote Control, surrounded by hugely talented people, all prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver groundbreaking scores, sometimes whilst under serious time constraints. The level of technical and logistical expertise required in order to keep this ship afloat is mind-blowing. Chuck Choi keeps the engine running smoothly however rough things get. He has more technical knowledge than anyone I’ve ever met. Chuck also has the uncanny ability to coerce me into spending copious amounts of money by constantly convincing me of the need to upgrade my setup. And annoyingly he’s always right.

If I didn’t have such a wonderful manager, Sandy Roberton, I’d insist that Steven Kofsky, Hans’ partner, look after me. Steve seems to me to be the perfect foil, no better person to have steering the ship. The man’s a brilliant negotiator, much to my annoyance, but once a deal has been done he’s super loyal and supportive.

Movie world came into my life at exactly the right time. I was starting to get frustrated with the confines of pop music’s structure and sounds. Scores are the exact opposite, structure being determined by the picture, and sounds by the subject matter. Very often understanding the musical story in a cue is the big challenge. Mixing a cue so that it sounds good isn’t that hard, but mixing a cue so that the listener can effortlessly understand its purpose and emotion is a different matter entirely. The lead vocal is of course the dialog, but the music needs to have its own lead vocal that is crystal clear without interfering with dialog. That’s the true challenge for me, an enormously complex jigsaw puzzle since often it’s extremely subtle. Records can be far more blatant, stating their story without compromise. Cues more often than not have to have their stories insinuated. Mind you, after working on 70 cues for weeks, getting back to a song with its predictability is a healthy and welcome release. But but not for long…….

Thanks Hans.

 Posted:   Feb 23, 2021 - 12:43 PM   
 By:   Totoro   (Member)

Who is Steven Lipson? Is he for sweeden too?

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