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Chernobyl composer Hildur Guðnadóttir interview

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
Totally agree. NCFOM is one of my all-time favorites and the fact that one of my favorite composers (CB) had almost no music in it doesn't make it any less so. The fact that it is a successful mainstream film is nothing short of miraculous imo. I think there is a difference between minimal music (minimalist?) and minimal use of music though.
 
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timprebble

timprebble

Sound designer, Composer, Sound library developer
This is just proof of how weird time this is. It is a good series, but so good, before ppl even saw it whole? Sheep mentality is strong here. After the first episode it already had insane ratings, sorry, but even with its qualities, it is not as good to be judged like this right away.
Really? You can't work out whether you like a series until you have watched every episode? That seems quite odd. I knew I loved Breaking Bad from the first episode. I didn't need to watch the entire series to make that decision. The ideas behind it, the writing, the casting, the characters, the story are all apparent from the first episode.

Chernobyl for me intrigued from the first episode...

ps ratings happen after people watch it, not before. So not sure how something rating well is the reason people can watch it 'as sheep' before its received any ratings????
 
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timprebble

timprebble

Sound designer, Composer, Sound library developer
I think there is a difference between minimal music (minimalist?) and minimal use of music though.
I think they are part of the same conversation though.
And I think it is an interesting conversation...

The two composers who opened my mind to minimalism are Arvo Part, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sakamotos score for the film Tony Takitani is incredible, emotionally deep & complex... AND very minimalist. (The Revenant is good but less minimalist to my ears) While Arvo Part hasn't written for picture, his music has been used in a number of films and what he can say with a few notes is more powerful than the maximilism of some epic scores...

I guess my point is, like all music there are good examples & bad examples of every style, genre and approach.
 
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timprebble

timprebble

Sound designer, Composer, Sound library developer
I agree. He's not referred to as a minimalist but couldn't John Carpenter be considered one? And when's effective I can't imagine anything else..

Funny story, many years ago when American Beauty was released I visited a friends house who is a very experienced film composer & who has a classical background, and when I started raving about Thomas Newmans score for American Beauty she stopped me, dug through her CD collection, and put an Arvo Part CD on... ah! Whether Newman deliberately referenced Part or not, it was very apparent as a precedent.... And OMG how many times have those AB cues been used as temp music in films!!
 

marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
I am curious to hear what the actual 'score' sounds like. Because I also didn't hear a lot of music... but I still felt that the musical underpinnings of the show were very effective. Someone else on this thread mentioned the idea of feeling unsettled the entire time... and I think the soundtrack did that - even if it was synth pulses or drones or other FX devices.

Whatever it was, it worked for me. I was completely drawn in to the story, like when I saw Interstellar in the theatre for the first time... With Chernobyl, I just got sucked into the story, which is the whole point of this scoring shit in the first place! Great work.
 

Dr.Quest

Senior Member
This is just proof of how weird time this is. It is a good series, but so good, before ppl even saw it whole? Sheep mentality is strong here. After the first episode it already had insane ratings, sorry, but even with its qualities, it is not as good to be judged like this right away.
This makes no sense. You can of course judge it as you watch. You can see the quality right away! If it's rating high before it's over it means lots of people are watching. It's that simple. If they lose numbers before it ends then they haven't maintained it but I can't see people dropping out before watching it to the end.
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
A film that I think is an interesting reference for minimalist score is No Country For Old Men.
I read some people think that it has no score, but it actually has about 20 minutes of score - it is just mixed very quietly. (I wanted to know so I exported the soundtrack from the DVD and crawled through it. At times where I thought there was maybe a quiet drone there was actually an orchestral cue, but playing very quietly.) I personally thought that film worked incredibly well with a minimalist score approach, but it was interesting to discover that there may well have been a full score available in the mix because it means the end result is not arrived at by some whim or high concept.

That may have been the case with Chernobyl, we will never know.
But what we do know is that it is the director who makes the call on how much score is commissioned for a show, and then it is collaboration in the final mix that determines how much of that score we the audience end up hearing.
huh. I just saw that the other day and thought "I don't think there's any score here." Then I saw the credits to Carter Burwell.
 

Denkii

Active Member
Right. Ok. For the last time:
I had the same problem with your user name a while ago and since it's reoccurring it's telling that your behavior can play a role of why people read it like that. That and your name is an e short which makes it even more ambivalent ;)
 

handz

Senior Member
This makes no sense. You can of course judge it as you watch. You can see the quality right away! If it's rating high before it's over it means lots of people are watching. It's that simple. If they lose numbers before it ends then they haven't maintained it but I can't see people dropping out before watching it to the end.
Sorry but no, you cant. Remember lost? How awesome it was and then ended like absolute trash? This wasn't the case as the "Script" was already known, but for me, it was just a good dramatization of a historical event ( with overly dramatic sound design plying all the time) not much added value.
 

handz

Senior Member
Really? You can't work out whether you like a series until you have watched every episode? That seems quite odd. I knew I loved Breaking Bad from the first episode. I didn't need to watch the entire series to make that decision. The ideas behind it, the writing, the casting, the characters, the story are all apparent from the first episode.

Chernobyl for me intrigued from the first episode...

ps ratings happen after people watch it, not before. So not sure how something rating well is the reason people can watch it 'as sheep' before its received any ratings????
"I knew I loved Breaking Bad from the first episode. I didn't need to watch the entire series to make that decision."

This makes no sense, absolutely. There were so many series I never finished watching even I liked the first episodes, they just became boring and lame (and same count for many movies, which had great intro part and then it was weak) . Judging from the first episode is really not even close to being objective.
 

Whatisvalis

Active Member
"I knew I loved Breaking Bad from the first episode. I didn't need to watch the entire series to make that decision."

This makes no sense, absolutely. There were so many series I never finished watching even I liked the first episodes, they just became boring and lame (and same count for many movies, which had great intro part and then it was weak) . Judging from the first episode is really not even close to being objective.
I think you are missing the fact you can love something stylistically, even if the execution fails later on. Some stuff just resonates.
 
OP
timprebble

timprebble

Sound designer, Composer, Sound library developer
"I knew I loved Breaking Bad from the first episode. I didn't need to watch the entire series to make that decision."

There were so many series I never finished watching even I liked the first episodes, they just became boring and lame (and same count for many movies, which had great intro part and then it was weak) . Judging from the first episode is really not even close to being objective.

Maybe your judgement is off?
Perhaps you need to invest more time in developing and trusting your instincts?

But it also makes me wonder how it is you could ever decide to work on projects, that haven't even been made yet?
Its our job to assess the worth of a project based on incomplete information - often just from a script and some meetings...
To experience a single completed episode of a new series tells you a LOT more than that.
 
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j_kranz

Active Member
Awesome series and awesome score... interesting that a lot of folks thought there was no score, I thought it was almost wall to wall (maybe I was listening close as its the kind of stuff I dig). Great stuff, hope to hear more from her!
 

Dr.Quest

Senior Member
Sorry but no, you cant. Remember lost? How awesome it was and then ended like absolute trash? This wasn't the case as the "Script" was already known, but for me, it was just a good dramatization of a historical event ( with overly dramatic sound design plying all the time) not much added value.
You just argued against yourself here. You can indeed judge as it goes and as you watch it. Again, if it falls down that does not discount the wonder of season one. Lost had very high production values with a great cast and wonderful music. Chernobyl has as high or more except we kind of know the ending here. I get it that you don't like Chernobyl but it is good televison. I would love to have my name attached to a project of this caliber.
 
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VinRice

... i am a robot ...
Holy crap. What a piece of TV. Binge-watched last night. I knew the story of course but not quite the extent of the sacrifices they had to make. Meticulously researched. A prime example of what happens when objective truth is sacrificed on the alter of political 'faith'. The score was perfect for the subject matter and modulated precisely with on-screen action. Much harder to pull off than it seems I imagine. There were definitely notes, just very long ones.
 
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