- Audio CD (Jan. 22 2002)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Soundtrack
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- Run Time: 144 minutes
- ASIN: B00005UWHH
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,314 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Black Hawk Down Soundtrack
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Black Hawk Down is the fifth collaboration between composer Hans Zimmer and director Ridley Scott, and following Gladiator (2000) and Hannibal (2001), their third in fewer than two years. Though set two millennia after Gladiator, Black Hawk Down's unrelenting African warfare has much in common with the former blockbuster. Zimmer opens with comparable Arabic flavoured atmospherics leading to his trademark pulsating percussion and razor-sharp digital production values. The Andalusian colours of his Mission: Impossible 2 inflect the catchy world music/dance ballad "Barra Barra" before the score diversifies through textures that blend moody American (blues) and African folk elements with passages of programmed suspense underscore and electronic, sequenced fury. With so many elements fused into polished, perfectly organised musical landscapes, the result is occasionally like a compilation of elements from all Zimmer's recent hit scores. In battle cues such as "Tribal War", relentless rhythm takes over, but it is for the hymnal "Gortoz a ran", the haunted pure beauty of "Still", and the lament of "Mogadishu Blues" that this release is more likely to be remembered. As with Pearl Harbor, Zimmer concentrates on emotion over action, though here his work is influenced by the real folk music of the people involved, and hence the more moving for it.--Gary S Dalkin
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There is a suitable combination of conventional music composed and recorded in "song" format to match the atmospheric pieces which are obviously created exclusively to score the film; the talent used is widely varying (World Music mainstay and collaborator with the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Michael Brook places his signature "infinite guitar" on display to great effect, and the vocals of Baaba Maal, Lisa Gerrard, and Denez Prigent are truly awe-inspiring; the weight of generations of starvation and clan warfare are achingly apparent).
But for me the soundtrack revolves around two compositions near the beginning and conclusion of the CD. "Barra Barra" is possibly the contemporary pop song statement that sums up the soundtrack's soul and the conflict as protrayed in the film and book "Black Hawk Down"; instrumentally the traditional percussion and oud-like instruments favored in the North African desert accompany a very menacing vocal provided by Rachid Taha, coupled with robotic and distorted electric guitars over a techno/hip-hop beat. It will be instantly recognizable from the movie scene and will no doubt bring images of using a high-powered and highly modified M-16 to hunt wild boar from the deck of a Black Hawk helicopter on "another taxpayer-sponsored DELTA safari".
The second song that never ceases to bring tears to this Celtic-blooded listener's eyes is the late Joe Strummer's reading of "Minstrel Boy" as performed in an abbreviated version (the version that appears on the Mescaleros' album "Global A Go-Go" is almost 18 minutes long!) for this soundtrack. In the film this song is played as the cargo bay closes on the transport plane that will bring the bodies of the American soldiers home and the credits run. Sean Connery was also singing this song as he met his end in "The Man Who Would Be King", as well). It's lovingly arranged and Strummer's delivery is suitably anguished. It's not really a song lamenting the fallen in war inasmuch as it is a song about a choice to fight and die in freedom rather than living in slavery, so the lyrics don't necessarily fit the mood of the film (from the US side, anyway), but the mood of the song, somber with its military march rhythym and pipes/strings accompaniment are definitely suitable.
There are other selections I enjoy..."Mogadishu Blues" (which isn't really a "blues" at all, not in the traditional understanding of the term in Wesrtern music, anyway), "Vale Of Plenty", and "Still" being among them. "Leave No Man Behind" perfectly underscores the severity of the conditions as the battle entered its second day, the odds against those pinned down, and also the steady determination to bring them back. The ambition of the album "to play music no one's heard before", as stated in Hans Zimmer's liner notes, is remarkably similar to the inspiration that drove Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to set off in the musical direction they took with Led Zeppelin over 30 years ago; to play good, hard rock and roll, but to flavor it with musical stylings all over the world. Listening to the "Unledded" reunion concert from a number of years back is not unlike listening to this soundtrack CD; I can't help but think that Page & Plant would be fans of this score and that if Led Zeppelin were formed thirty years later than than were, they would be major contributors on this work, as well.
In the movie, a slight but recognisable main theme can be heard. But it's not prominently featured here. Which is a shame. The full score to this movie is 95 minutes long. This CD contains 50 minutes of music and 3 songs. Only one of them 'Gortoz A Ran-J Attends' has any consistency within the score. Minstrel Boy by the late Joe Strummer and the truly wretched Barra Barra do not belong on the CD at all.
I don't think this CD speaks volumes of Africa's musical culture. Zimmer did a better job of this in The Lion King. Sure there are some cues are sound unmistakably African (such as the calming 'Of The Earth') but it still all feels uninspired. Unlike other Zimmer scores such as Broken Arrow or Crimson Tide the action cues fail to charge you up (probably because the film is full of horrific violence and NOT action). 'Chant' is the only track that has any coolness to it in this sense.
It's far from Zimmer's best work. But it's interesting and a worth picking up cheap.
One thing I think makes this album stand out is the blending of the indigenous music to really give the feel of the area. The meeting of Eastern and Western musical scales is nearly perfect--those inevitable quarter-tone dissonances only add to the effect. I also think Mr. Zimmer deserves credit for taking advantage of the similarities in four disparate musical influences: African, rock, blues--and Irish! Many of the scales and pitch-bending techniques are similar, and they blend seamlessly here.
Speaking of blending, one way I know ahead of time if a movie's soundtrack will be good is if I find myself paying as much attention to the music than to what is actually going on. One effect that definitely got my attention was in the song "Synchrotone". The music seemed to weave in and out of the sound of the travelling Black Hawks, playing on and even intensifying the sound of their rotors! The Keyboard Magazine article leads me to believe the effect used was an intentional destruction of the sound quality, resulting in a rough sound that blended with the growly sound of the rotors.
I also noticed in "Synchrotone" how the wailing electrical guitar that did a fantastic job of emulating the pitch-bending of the African stringed instruments. This East-meets-West blend hearkens back to "Burra Burra"...making a very interesting point about how despite the enmities in the area, music is transcending all of those boundaries. It is fitting--in the end, Black Hawk Down is not a movie about "us and them", but about *people*.
As most people have mentioned, "Gortoz a Ran" is definitely a standout track. Although in another language and based in another tradition, the simple, beautiful vocals are evocative almost in the way of Pink Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky". Though many of us cannot understand the words, the voice itself tells the story. It is beyond words. Simplistic and powerful *because* of its simplicity, this is one of the best songs on the album.
The interesting thing about "The Minstrel Boy" (an Irish folk song) is that it goes back to a very common, American instrument--with haunting effect. Hear the high tone of the Hammond organ floating softly above the notes of this song...the effect is perfect. I will mention again how Mr. Zimmer takes advantage of the similarities between disparate musical styles--in this case, Irish and Arab fiddle techniques. One would expect this track to be completely out of place just to look at the song listing--yet it fits perfectly with the soundtrack as a whole!
Hats off to Mr. Zimmer for a daunting task completed in an incredibly short amount of time!
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews