Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bear McCreary

I finally broke down and decided to download the musical track that opened the second last episode of Battlestar Galactica season 2, by composer Bear McCreary. A quick sampling of th original soundtracks on Amazon showed me that it was called, appropriately, "Something Dark Is Coming," and in order to get the track I just downloaded a torrent containing all of the music for the first three seasons of the show. I must say, I'm glad I did.

Bear McCreary is an incredibly talented and diverse musician. I've been listening to the others songs that I recognized by their names, such as "The Shape of Things to Come," and I keep finding myself blown away by the music. Completely independent of the show, the composition conveys a range of emotions and influences that simply baffles me. I haven't gotten much out of the battle music as of yet, it's usually tribal influenced and military sounding drums, appropriately, and it does a great job of conveying the excitement when used in the show; on its own, though, the more energetic pieces don't do much for me. When he's left to more contemplative, slow, experimental and classically inspired compositions, though, it reminds me of Bach's Orchestral Suites, which is simply the best compliment I can think of right now. The tracks perfectly acentuate the show, but more than that they stand as unique and awe-inspiring orchestrations of a wide variety of cultural and historical styles.

It's great music to have in the background, while working, which helps since I'm trying to finish up The Aeneid and The Metamorphoses today, but also great music to just listen to and let wash over you. I recalls why I first started to like Broken Social Scene, in whom the layering and building of different instruments reminded me more of an orchestra than an indie band. It's a totally different way of interacting with sound than I typically find from bands, which isn't to speak ill of "bands" or "indie music," or anything of the sort. It's a totally different type of experience.

One of the most unique things about it, for me, if the amount of emotional investment that the music achieves without lyrics. It reminds me of the bands I listen to for the sound of the words as opposed to the meaning, which is even then an unusual thing for me. I'm so wrapped up in lyricism that I often find it hard to simply let the music hit me independent of the lyrical meaning(s), usually they work together to mutual benefit. Here, though, the music is better off without words.

Anyways, I didn't have a point to this rant, I just wanted to extol McCreary a little bit. Anyone reading this (if anyone does) should find a way to listen to these tracks and just feel the sound. Haha, wow that sounds pretentious and emo. Whatever.

Something Dark is coming
The Shape of Things to Come
Kobol's Last Gleaming
Roslin and Adama
All Along the Watchtower (amazing reenvisioning)

UPDATE: Open this link (I'd recommend in a new window or tab) to hear a sample from Something Dark is Coming. It comes late in the track, missing the brooding intro, but it's worth hearing nevertheless. Also I'm including a link to McCreary's website, since I should have done that in the first place.


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