The advent of synthesizers offered filmmakers exciting new options for music-to-picture. For one, the sound captured the zeitgeist of 1970s and '80 futurism. Another more practical reason is that hiring a synth-savvy composer was far less expensive than commissioning a John Williams-level orchestra, which has a lot to do with why Red Bull had materials with which to compile this list. It's not a great list -- it includes some films that only have one or two synthy songs, and excludes such masterpieces as Wendy Carlos' score for A Clockwork Orange and Michael Lehmann Boddicker's whimsical analog work on Buckaroo Banzai, but that an energy drink purveyor is talking about it proves the point that synth soundtracks are a Big Deal.
The most up-to-date bookend on the synth soundtrack phenomenon would be the outstanding Netflix series Stranger Things, penned and knob-twisted by Austin-based electronic whiz-kids Survive.
What if the sounds in your head are cinematic in scope but you happen not to be hooked up with a green-lighted movie or TV series? Some electronic composers are not letting that get in their way, as this article on artist-to-fan site Bandcamp shows. You heard that correctly: There are a slew of talented electronic artists out there making soundtracks for imaginary films. A more jaded impulse might be to dismiss this as an impractical exercise, but hold on a minute: Other forms inspire and structure musicians' creativity, whether they be straight-up three-minute pop songwriting, EDM floor-bangers, prog "rock operas," or the ambient soundscapes of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. So why not a film that doesn't exist? Imagining what the story requires at any given moment might well cause a composer to think in a way that he or she otherwise wouldn't have come upon.
I went through the article and listened to all the audio examples, and I encourage you to do the same, because ... this stuff is good. Some of it is so good that I can imagine the scenes that might play out to the various cues and passages. Which begs the question: Is it possible that an up-and-coming indie filmmaker might discover one of these soundtracks and make a film around it? Might that inform the storytelling in a way that creates a new and engaging dramatic experience for the audience?
Stranger things have happened ...
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