Can’t not have music playing when I work. The pencils become stale and the inking tedious. Sure I listen to a handful of bands, but I tend to prefer instrumentals so I don’t have some guy telling me what to think the music is trying to say — know what I mean? And I guess, by that same logic I don’t stick to the iconic scores coz they’ll get me thinking about the movies they came from, even subconsciously. I mean I love Williams, Zimmer, and Horner, but few things are weirder to me than drawing a superhero sequence to the Back to the Future soundtrack.
“This ends NOW! Face the wrath of my… MARTYYY!!!”
No. So here I poke at you with five (of ten) of my favorite movie scores to listen to when bands don’t cut it. The list tends to change depending on my headspace and the actual material I’m working on, but this is the soul of it.
The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
You can’t go wrong with Yoko Kanno when you’re looking for a mix of classical and tech. The GITS score’s rich strings inspire grand themes worthy of everyone’s inner Shirowe. I make sure this is playing when any piece of art calls for something epic or a climactic scene needs sprucing up.
This is probably the single most-listened-to soundtrack I own, as I most enjoy it in conjunction with a suspenseful read. The Hitchcock-esque pulses have served as accompaniment for such books as Locke and Key, The Surrogates, 30 Days of Night, Fell, and most recently Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing.
Cowboy Bebop: Music for Freelance
While Kanno’s original jazzy score for the series continues to be among the best ever for any animated work, I find it to be too upbeat for working late at night and can be a bit jarring. The remixes in this volume are a great alternative while still capturing the happy-go-lucky essence of the initial Seatbelts renditions.
The Matrix: Reloaded (and Revolutions)
Sure, The Matrix films have one of the most identifiable themes around — what I can only describe as drunken warp-trumpets on speed — but the second and third film’s action sequences didn’t use as much Manson and Zombie, and so the musical score’s energy is much better distilled.
Now and Then, Here and There
Not since Glory have I heard so rich a dramatic symphony, and I first found it in an unsubtitled cartoon that literally got me all man-teary more than once. I listen to this soundtrack when drawing dramatic and altogether uplifting scenes, though the darker melodies aren’t anything to scoff at either.