Syncsmith presents - Graded 02 : Hodge
Navigating the exhuberant tour schedule and distinct aversion to self-gratification we sat down with Bristol based producer and sound engineer Hodge to extract a chronicle of soundtracks and film scores that have helped influence his career to date, notably his recent trailer for Korean cult film "Believer".
10 - Interstellar [Hans Zimmer]
Zimmer on form as ever, such a captivating soundtrack which uses a beautiful melodic theme and delicate dynamics to capture emotion, human fragility and the colossal size of the mission so well. He creates such an amazing feeling of tension in some of the scenes its almost too much. The wave scene for example is one of the best scenes for me as the music handles so many emotions from the scene so well; the loss of a close colleague, a missing loved one plus your own impending destruction and each second means so much more.
9 - Koyaanisqatsi [Phillip Glass]
I’ve a particular soft spot for the Candyman theme, but Koyaanisqatsi is probably the soundtrack that impresses me the most. As someone who is obsessed with dance music I guess it makes sense that I’m drawn to his music. Glass plays with loops and repetitive structures much like the best dance music does. I love hypnotic, tense, rolling music in general and Phillip Glass probably does that better than anyone else. The main focus here is that for me the soundtrack really makes this film, like all of Glass’s work it’s so hypnotic and it completely draws you in.
8 - Pi [Clint Mansell]
When I first saw Pi I was about 13 or 14 I think and I loved it straight away, it felt like the future, it came out in 1998 and was the first time I’d heard an amen break used in a film and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. The soundtrack features huge artists like Aphex Twin, Orbital and Massive Attack but its interspersed by original pieces from Clint Mansell and his tracks match the rest so well. It’s a huge testament to him that you can skip through the entire soundtrack and it all sounds like it belongs to the same world.
7 - Twin Peaks [Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch]
I love this clip where Angelo Badalamenti is explaining how he wrote the main themes to Twin Peaks whilst David Lynch explained the scenes to him. The musical talent here is obvious but the understanding and interpretation of mood is where the genius comes in. Badalamenti absolutely nailed Lynch’s intentions by creating a weird mysterious sense that something is happening and its not quite right. All the time sitting infront of a piano whilst someone else explains it to him. Madness!
6 - Hackers [Simon Boswell]
One of my favourite films ever and I’m probably just wedging this in as I love it so much. It’s got this kinda faux-future feel to the whole film sonically and visually. Rollerblading hackers taking on a cooperation? I’m sold. Laser flashes and synth sweeps to show digital files flying about, crazy vocal processing for the virus to talk. The keyboard taps are foley’d using this satisfying Sega Megadrive thud and its all set over this killer groove. Kruder & Dorfmeister, Leftfield & Carl Cox on one soundtrack, mind-blowing!
5 - Purple Rain [Prince & Michel Colombier]
Kind of cheating here, but come on. Masterpiece!
4 - Escape From New York [John Carpenter]
I could have picked any of John Carpenters work, it’s just obvious that he has to be included in this. Every time I hear the main theme of Escape From New York it just makes me smile. If the vocal in Ghost In The Shell is one of the most iconic in cinema then the same can be said for the lead synth line in this. I could listen to the loop roll on forever. Throughout the rest of the film drones and evolving pads are used to create this really tense atmosphere and one of my favourite moments is that repeating percussive hit with bird like LFO’d synths.
3 - Eraserhead [David Lynch & Alan Splet]
I could read about the way that Lynch and Splet made the sounds all day, with loads of super creative DIY techniques used, recording air passing through a plastic bottle with the microphone placed inside the bottle whilst it floated in a bath tub for example. Rumbling bass, drones, hisses are used to create one of the most ominous soundtracks ever made. It’s got this real terrifying and unsettling industrial feel throughout the film and is so effective that it changed the way that people looked at sound design forever.
2 - Ghost In The Shell [Kenji Kawai]
Everything about this soundtrack is just huge, that opening percussion tambourine hit immediately sets the atmosphere and the vocal that follows has to be one of the most iconic vocals ever used in cinema. The main thing for me is one of the most effective uses of reverb I’ve ever heard, from the melodic elements (vocals, synths etc.) to the percussion whether its the huge Taiko-esque drums, soaked synths or vocals everything is super wet and it creates this sense of unbound space and somehow totally heightens the spiritual feel of the film.
1 - Bladerunner [Vangelis]
One of the issues with an article like this for me is that I absolutely love films in general and to be honest if I did this selection in 2 weeks time I probably would remember a different choice and include that over something else. I’ve got some super obvious choices in here because I’m just being honest rather than trying to be clever and choose something for the sake of it. Bladerunner is absolutely my first choice on every occasion and needs no explanation. One of the best films ever made with undoubtably the best score too.
Graded is a feature where we hold an intimate fireside session with one of our coveted artists and discover the films, the soundtracks and the cinematic scores that have inspired them and challenged their very thought process on filmic composition. The film scores selected may have proved poignant and aligned with emotional times in their development or conversely may have provided a catalyst for research into new techniques or technologies, either way the tracks and scores selected are inspirational, they are personal, they have helped forge a tailored approach to composition and are a vital component of our artists intrinsic direction in sound design.