Composer Ludwig Goransson has had a lot of press recently, and in my opinion, this is well deserved attention. The composer has scored two big movies which I have no doubt are popular and will be popular. CREED and BLACK PANTHER are both very different movies but each of them contain such effective and innovative scores. The composer who is not yet 30, is certainly talented and original in his approach to scoring movies and listening to both CREED and BLACK PANTHER back to back, I think that we will be hearing his music and seeing his name on many film credits to come. He has the knack of combining, ethnic, electronic and fully symphonic styles, fusing them together with what seems to be consummate ease to create some powerful and striking themes. BLACK PANTHER is in the film news a lot after the hype it received and also now it is released people are raving about it, CREED is wonderfully anthemic, and I have to say each listen reveals another sound another little nuance or a grand sounding musical passage. But BLACK PANTHER is a real tour de force in mixing so many styles, As I have said both movies are very different, and the scores too are quite far apart stylistically, BLACK PANTHER relying upon a strong African flavoured ethnic background that includes voices and powerful percussive elements, on which Goransson builds his dramatic and commanding score. Its ominous and almost fearsome themes demanding that the listener take notice. CREED to is a powerful work, but has to it a more contemporary sound, the composer utilizing the familiar and infectious ROCKY theme as penned by composer Bill Conti. Goransson keeping the ROCKY fanfare and elements of GONNA FLY NOW close, as he blends into the mix his own original themes for the movie to create a highly motivating and stirring musical persona, that adds much to the movie. What attracted me so much to this score was the way in which Goransson has fashioned his own ROCKY theme, or at least a theme that is very similar in places and utilised it as an underlining statement to Conti’s composition. But then we hear the composer’s innovative talent in places that is present in cues such as BREATHE, MOVING IN WITH ROCKY, SHED YOU etc, which are fusion of voices, electronics and a jazz orientated style, that at times bursts into something that resembles drum and bass. So, the score for CREED is I suppose a cross between old school film scoring and contemporary styles that are beginning to work there way into film music in recent years. But saying this the composer has got the mix just right, and we hear Goransson’s central theme lacing Conti’s original musical ideas to form something that is not only perfect with the images on screen, but also is a wonderfully entertaining listen just as music. I found the score inspiring as I felt that film music of the future will be safe in the hands of such a composer. Of course, as with all ROCKY scores there are some fantastically dramatic and stirring set pieces within the score such as.
IF I FIGHT, YOU FIGHT. (TRAINING MONTAGE) which is worth listening to at least three times to appreciate the choral work and the use of the thundering percussion, that booms throughout and punctuates the proceedings, and its bold brass flourishes that are heightened and embellished further by effective use of soaring strings. Then there are mesmerizing moments where the composer turns to faraway sounding horns and gracious strings with little touches of choir adding just the right amount of melancholy, I think what I am saying that this is a good old fashion film score, with glimpses of the modern sounds of film music, both of which compliment and support each other throughout, each bouncing off each other and creating something that is certainly worth listening too. The best cue on the score, or at least the best action orientated cue must be YOU’RE A CREED where the composer throws everything possible at the listener but saying this THE CONLAN FIGHT too is a piece that will get the blood pumping with its infectious central theme being performed by horns and strings whilst the percussion goes to work giving it strong support. But I think that film music aficionados will agree with me on hearing YOU’RE A CREED that this evokes memories of the Conti scores and elements of themes and styles employed by Vince DiCola, for ROCKY IV. Plus, underneath all of this is Goransson, adding stabs, punches and body blows, before giving us a triumph and lush sounding rendition of GONNA FLY NOW that although short lived just lifts the piece, and then is even more elevated by the composers own central theme. Do I like this score, umm yes, I guess I do, and you will too. The soundtrack release does have a few snippets of dialogue, but these too are entertaining and add atmosphere to the listening experience.
So, from CREED, I turn my attention to Goransson’s score for BLACK PANTHER, there has been a lot of talk about this movie, it is the first ever Black Superhero, to hit the big screen and he does it in style. The score is a very effective one, again the composer fusing symphonic and synthetic plus injecting African sounds and styles into the equation. The opening cue is an imposing one, WAKANDA ORIGINS sets the scene perfectly for the remainder of the score, voices and fast paced percussion opening the track, and proceeding at an even faster pace until its conclusion. Percussion and African sounding voices play a big role within the work, and these elements are bolstered and enhanced by rasping horns, proud sounding brass, driving strings and even more thunderous percussive attributes. I nothing but praise for Goransson for creating such an interesting and original sounding soundtrack.
He takes the ethnic sounds and melodies and elevates these even further so that they become more powerful and commanding, arranging them for strings and brass throughout, a prime example of this is WATERFALL FIGHT, which begins with wild percussion grunting voices and earthy sounding woodwind, but develops into a highly dramatic piece, with choir, brass, strings and all of which is driven along by the percussion section, to a crescendo, which then goes relents as we experience a glorious melody that is infectious as in foot tapping infectious that brings the cue to its conclusion. There are also some quieter moments within the score, ANCESTRAL PLANE being one of these, cello, string section and voices combine to create a heartrending melody that is romantic yet tragic. This is a score that will delight, surprise and captivate, it is filled to overflowing with such creativity and I am glad to say that Goransson is a composer who is not frightened to experiment with sounds and combinations of instrumentation and voices that ordinarily one would not think of putting together. So, did I like this, oh yes. Go buy it, you will not be disappointed.