CD: Trailerhead – Triumph (2012)

November 16, 2012 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: Immediate / Released: October 23, 2012

Tracks & Album Length: 23 tracks / (76:00)

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Special Notes: Gatefold case with mini-poster / CD contains 2 bonus mixes.

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Composer:  Immediate Music

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Review:

The third and final volume of Immediate Music’s Trailerhead series offers a meaty 21 selections of grandiose cues (23 tracks on the CD release), and most of the tracks are full-blown orchestral recordings, with few lacking the large chorals typical of the Immediate Music sound.

Album producer / co-composer Yoav Goren’s picked fairly lengthy cues for this CD, and the title track (“Destiny of the Chosen”) is a perfect example of the circular structure where the music builds, recede, rebuilds, recedes, and either ends with a series of large percussion stabs & choral declarations, or crests and ends with a bang. Tantamount is a sustained heroic mood, and Goren’s cues wiggle their way through different instrumentation and tempi in classical, classical-rock fusion, or digital remixes with accelerated rock rhythms, as in “Tales of the Electric Romeo,” or the techno-based “Burden of Atlas,” one of the CD’ longest cues.

Perhaps part of the reason the cues work on CD is due to our exposure to the orchestral-rock fusion and bombast perfected and perpetuated by Hans Zimmer – standard sound in late 80s / early 90s big budget scores. Goren’s writing is specifically designed to make a statement, sustain a mood, and build towards the main credit or ad tagline caption that ends trailers. A prime example is “Battle for the Soul of the Universe” with its somber opening bars, and sudden switch to rock with massive brass and mixed chorus, which could easily work for an action film, spy thriller, drastic crime thriller, or epic sci-fi saga.

The percussion hits, brief pauses, and sometimes near-hysterical chorus slam the listener hard, and because we’re trained to respond to those sounds, it’s not difficult to visualize explosions, montages of swinging punches smash-cut to exploding spaceships, and a neck-of time escape from a tunnel engulfed in fire. That reflects an almost hard-wired association among modern filmgoers with trailer music and specific montages, making the CD engrossing in spite of the cues not being part of a singular soundtrack.

A few more somber cues – the ethereal lament “State of Endless Grace” – are interpolated between the clear-cut action cues, giving the listener some respite before the next assault or sudden switch to more militaristic fare like “Excalibur,” which could easily work in any Michael Bay film. Other cues have slight evocations of things Goldsmithian (notably Total Recall) or even BT (namely Stealth in Goren’s “Ageless Empires”), but it’s more a use of rhythmic hooks from those scores instead of mimicry or soundaliking.

Goren recorded large orchestras and choirs, and the payoff is music that has huge, sweeping scope, and small moments that offer more delicate contrast. The first-rate engineering ensures all the nuances of the orchestrations are crisp, and the CD’s packaged in a retro, gatefold sleeve with a mini-poster for the cover art.

Unlike the Themes for Orchestra and Choir – the professional library CDs used by music editors – the Trailerhead series is designed for editing + listening, hence the lack of repetitive alternate cues.

Some might find the Immediate Music is too self-derived (which some cues are, not to mention the occasionally heavy-handed chorus), but this is a rare example where trailer music can function outside of its commercial realm and highly specific design.

Other CDs in this series is the eponymous Trailerhead, and Trailerhead: Saga.

Also available: a podcast interview with composer / Immediate Music founder Yoav Goren.

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© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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