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JXL's Godzilla vs King Kong

dcoscina

Senior Member
First, I have to say I've been a lifelong fan of Godzilla going back to my childhood in the '70s. I love Akira Ifukube's portentous theme and ingenious way of relating the size of these leviathans in music terms. I've never loved North American interpretations of Godzilla however. They always seem to miss the boat as it were. The 2014 Godzilla was a snoozefest and I didn't care for Desplat's score, even though it was cleverly done. I was hopeful for Kong of the Monsters but that was even worse. McCreary's score also seemed to just be Ifukube on steroids. It didn't really bring anything new to the table.

Enter 2021- new director- new composer. Godzilla v Kong. Watched it this morning on iTunes. Suitably impressed. One, the pacing of the film is SOLID. Great combination of fast cuts but also deliberate dolly shots and static imagery. Two, the director GETS that these huge creatures don't move as fast as previous movies would suggest they can. From our perspective, they would be moving in slow motion and for the most part, GvK obeys the laws of physics. Thankfully. Three- JXL's score. I am not a rabid fan of Tom's music to be honest. I think it works in the films he's scored and for me, that's fine. But he really delivered a unique, exciting, and ORIGINAL score here. Yes, he has his own portentous Godzilla theme (which reminds me of a Zemlinsky song cycle, and ya know why? I'm bloody fine with that!). But he also has some wonderful synth textures and I even heard a moment with some clever low wind writing. I enjoyed it and found it really elevated the story, especially the dramatic moments between Kong and the little girl. One moment in particular actually floored me- not an action set piece, but a dramatic moment. You will know what I'm talking about if or when you see it. It takes place on the ship, in the rain at night. That's all I will say.

Any complaints? Well, some of the score sounds like it was done on samples, not real musicians, and I wished some of the orchestral moments were more organic sounding. But I do like his harmonic language and musicality, regardless of the vehicle with which it is delivered. I enjoy the use of synths and it provided a nice element that worked within the narrative. I will be listening to the score on Spotify shortly to re-visit these cues that I enjoyed.


On an unrelated note, Tom's dog recently passed. As a dog owner, my heart goes out to him. :(
 

Markrs

Complete Beginner
First, I have to say I've been a lifelong fan of Godzilla going back to my childhood in the '70s. I love Akira Ifukube's portentous theme and ingenious way of relating the size of these leviathans in music terms. I've never loved North American interpretations of Godzilla however. They always seem to miss the boat as it were. The 2014 Godzilla was a snoozefest and I didn't care for Desplat's score, even though it was cleverly done. I was hopeful for Kong of the Monsters but that was even worse. McCreary's score also seemed to just be Ifukube on steroids. It didn't really bring anything new to the table.

Enter 2021- new director- new composer. Godzilla v Kong. Watched it this morning on iTunes. Suitably impressed. One, the pacing of the film is SOLID. Great combination of fast cuts but also deliberate dolly shots and static imagery. Two, the director GETS that these huge creatures don't move as fast as previous movies would suggest they can. From our perspective, they would be moving in slow motion and for the most part, GvK obeys the laws of physics. Thankfully. Three- JXL's score. I am not a rabid fan of Tom's music to be honest. I think it works in the films he's scored and for me, that's fine. But he really delivered a unique, exciting, and ORIGINAL score here. Yes, he has his own portentous Godzilla theme (which reminds me of a Zemlinsky song cycle, and ya know why? I'm bloody fine with that!). But he also has some wonderful synth textures and I even heard a moment with some clever low wind writing. I enjoyed it and found it really elevated the story, especially the dramatic moments between Kong and the little girl. One moment in particular actually floored me- not an action set piece, but a dramatic moment. You will know what I'm talking about if or when you see it. It takes place on the ship, in the rain at night. That's all I will say.

Any complaints? Well, some of the score sounds like it was done on samples, not real musicians, and I wished some of the orchestral moments were more organic sounding. But I do like his harmonic language and musicality, regardless of the vehicle with which it is delivered. I enjoy the use of synths and it provided a nice element that worked within the narrative. I will be listening to the score on Spotify shortly to re-visit these cues that I enjoyed.


On an unrelated note, Tom's dog recently passed. As a dog owner, my heart goes out to him. :(
Not lovely Enzo :emoji_cry:
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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I know- this image kills me... it's my worst fear... my dog Theo is 9. I love him more than life itself..

sorry, I guess this thread took a dramatic u-turn.

But back to the score- some of the quieter moments with the ethnic winds really work well, especially for the Kong material. While I love the bombast of the Godzilla theme, the resonating part of the score is the Kong stuff.
 

José Herring

Senior Member
First, I have to say I've been a lifelong fan of Godzilla going back to my childhood in the '70s. I love Akira Ifukube's portentous theme and ingenious way of relating the size of these leviathans in music terms. I've never loved North American interpretations of Godzilla however. They always seem to miss the boat as it were. The 2014 Godzilla was a snoozefest and I didn't care for Desplat's score, even though it was cleverly done. I was hopeful for Kong of the Monsters but that was even worse. McCreary's score also seemed to just be Ifukube on steroids. It didn't really bring anything new to the table.

Enter 2021- new director- new composer. Godzilla v Kong. Watched it this morning on iTunes. Suitably impressed. One, the pacing of the film is SOLID. Great combination of fast cuts but also deliberate dolly shots and static imagery. Two, the director GETS that these huge creatures don't move as fast as previous movies would suggest they can. From our perspective, they would be moving in slow motion and for the most part, GvK obeys the laws of physics. Thankfully. Three- JXL's score. I am not a rabid fan of Tom's music to be honest. I think it works in the films he's scored and for me, that's fine. But he really delivered a unique, exciting, and ORIGINAL score here. Yes, he has his own portentous Godzilla theme (which reminds me of a Zemlinsky song cycle, and ya know why? I'm bloody fine with that!). But he also has some wonderful synth textures and I even heard a moment with some clever low wind writing. I enjoyed it and found it really elevated the story, especially the dramatic moments between Kong and the little girl. One moment in particular actually floored me- not an action set piece, but a dramatic moment. You will know what I'm talking about if or when you see it. It takes place on the ship, in the rain at night. That's all I will say.

Any complaints? Well, some of the score sounds like it was done on samples, not real musicians, and I wished some of the orchestral moments were more organic sounding. But I do like his harmonic language and musicality, regardless of the vehicle with which it is delivered. I enjoy the use of synths and it provided a nice element that worked within the narrative. I will be listening to the score on Spotify shortly to re-visit these cues that I enjoyed.


On an unrelated note, Tom's dog recently passed. As a dog owner, my heart goes out to him. :(
I'm looking forward to seeing this in theaters now that our King and Lord Gavin Newsome has so graciously allowed us to enter a movie theater again. (I'm just joking but not really, fed up with the restrictions).

I've grown to really like JXL's work. As with anything new it takes a little getting use to but once I heard his scores a few times then I started to dig his approach to scoring.

But, I'm encouraged by the fact that he really is breaking new ground in film and there's a new major voice that is unique and distinct. And, he shares a lot of what he does on Youtube. Between him and Zimmer and friend Clay Duncan my production chops went from nothing to at least I can stand to listen to my solo productions now. It's only taken me 10 years to learn how to program synths and samplers correctly :)
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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I'm looking forward to seeing this in theaters now that our King and Lord Gavin Newsome has so graciously allowed us to enter a movie theater again. (I'm just joking but not really, fed up with the restrictions).

I've grown to really like JXL's work. As with anything new it takes a little getting use to but once I heard his scores a few times then I started to dig his approach to scoring.

But, I'm encouraged by the fact that he really is breaking new ground in film and there's a new major voice that is unique and distinct. And, he shares a lot of what he does on Youtube. Between him and Zimmer and friend Clay Duncan my production chops went from nothing to at least I can stand to listen to my solo productions now. It's only taken me 10 years to learn how to program synths and samplers correctly :)
I think sometimes film score fans are too distracted by the delivery and don't listen to the actual musical content. Between Justice League and GvK, I've gotten a lot more respect for JXL's harmonic sensibilities. His scoring choices have never been questionable for me- he's always provided very suitable underscoring. As more of an orchestral purist, I will admit that I prefer my orchestral music not layered with synths or at least for there to be a distinct organic element to it like Goldsmith and Goldenthal were often able to produce. but I also admit that's on me and my own personal bias. Nothing about his ability.
 

jonathanparham

Senior Member
I've grown to really like JXL's work. As with anything new it takes a little getting use to but once I heard his scores a few times then I started to dig his approach to scoring.

But, I'm encouraged by the fact that he really is breaking new ground in film and there's a new major voice that is unique and distinct. And, he shares a lot of what he does on Youtube. Between him and Zimmer and friend Clay Duncan my production chops went from nothing to at least I can stand to listen to my solo productions now. It's only taken me 10 years to learn how to program synths and samplers correctly :)
Don't come to my town. I'm cool, but a lot folks are pissed at the mayor and governor. lol

Back on topic. I first noticed Junkie XL during Mad Max. I left the theater wondering who the composer was. The music and well-developed sound design by the recordists blended so well. Don't feel I always get that balance of sound effect and score. I listen to his "We aren't things"cue when I go to bed.

@dcoscina similar to you, I'd watch Godzilla on the gym floor of my elementary school on Fridays. I guess Godzilla is becoming another long-running franchise. I occasionally will listen to the Desplat score, additionally I like the choral stuff of McCreary's version, and look forward to hearing Junkie XL take on the franchise
 

AlexRuger

rewgs
A short tribute to Enzo...

Enzo was truly an amazing dog. A nice big gentle pal but always had the energy of a puppy trying to shine through even in his old age.

Here's me and him taking a break from printing stems at like 3am and getting in some cuddle time a few years back...

IMG_20180514_221048_006.jpg

I feel horrible for Tom. Losing a dog is always tough, and he really loved that dog a ton.

Pour one out for Enzo boy tonight!
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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A short tribute to Enzo...

Enzo was truly an amazing dog. Here's me and him taking a break from printing stems at like 3am and getting in some cuddle time a few years back...

View attachment 47156

I feel horrible for Tom. Losing a dog is always tough, and he really loved that dog a ton.

Pour one out for Enzo boy tonight!
:(
 
I used to think JXL was a bit of a 'whole film as trailer music' composer - crash bang wallop and not much going on musically, but the more I listen, the more I appreciate what he's doing. Especially with the latest couple of scores and the work he's done (for free) to break down the process and methodology. Seems like such a lovely chap too - he's genuinely excited to show people what he's doing musically and why he makes certain choices. Looking forward to hearing what he does next.
 

Toecutter

Let's end this peacefully
It's the typical JXL insipid score. His writing is very limited, every film is the same loud and dull stuff, with a pinch of his electronic background that is also very uninspiring. Made the original Desplat Godzilla sound like Beethoven and I never thought I'd miss a Desplat score this much XD Seems like a cool dude but after Justice League and GvK I'm officially done with anything related to Tom. Brain damage, no thank you.
 
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sourcefor

Active Member
Yeah real bummer about Enzo, RIP buddy and JXL seems like a real cool guy taking all that time to explain his cues, real cool! I wouldn’t mind working with him at all!
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
It's the typical JXL insipid score. His writing is very limited, every film is the same loud and dull stuff, with a pinch of his electronic background that is also very uninspiring. Made the original Desplat Godzilla sound like fucking Beethoven and I never thought I'd miss a Desplat score this much XD Seems like a cool dude but after Justice League and GvK I'm officially done with anything related to Tom. Ear rape, no thank you.
I think it's a giant mistake to dismiss anyone even moderately successful musically. Everyone has slightly different experiences and influences - If you think you can't learn something that you can apply to your own work from someone like tom then you're doing yourself a disservice.

Beethoven made one of the most Iconic motifs with 2 different notes.

beethoven.png

If anything - the greats like williams tend to make the absolute simplest melodic ideas into something incredible - something both followable and digestible - but also interesting. Tom tends to fill the sound field with more sound design/larger sections than orchestrators typically would, but his music follows the same rules - 1-2 things at a time, clear ideas.
 

GNP

Active Member
I say Tom's Godzilla score is definitely way better than his Justice League's. But then again, 2 very different projects, very hard to compare.
 

GNP

Active Member
It's funny because I've given up on the whole HZ Hollywood big drums thing. But as a working composer, I still find I can learn alot from the way Tom mixes such a formula. Just in case further down the road, I'm hired to do something similiar, as boring as I myself find it. Still have to keep up to pay the bills!
 

SvenE

My neighbors listen to great music :-)
It's the typical JXL insipid score. His writing is very limited, every film is the same loud and dull stuff, with a pinch of his electronic background that is also very uninspiring. Made the original Desplat Godzilla sound like fucking Beethoven and I never thought I'd miss a Desplat score this much XD Seems like a cool dude but after Justice League and GvK I'm officially done with anything related to Tom. Ear rape, no thank you.
Troll
 

fourier

Member
It's the typical JXL insipid score. His writing is very limited, every film is the same loud and dull stuff, with a pinch of his electronic background that is also very uninspiring. Made the original Desplat Godzilla sound like fucking Beethoven and I never thought I'd miss a Desplat score this much XD Seems like a cool dude but after Justice League and GvK I'm officially done with anything related to Tom. Ear rape, no thank you.
I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. I draw a lot of inspiration from Tom sharing and walking through his scores. As for theme's, my daughter was humming the new the Batman theme without having seen the movie - she just overheard it when I played Tom's walkthrough once a few days back. I'd say that's a decent sign.
 
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