Audio: On the Score with Ramin Djawadi

By • July 2, 2013

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

As he showed with a certain red and gold superhero that rocketed him to Grammy-nominated Hollywood heights, Ramin Djawadi is a composer who has the musical savvy and the technical know-how to meld man and machine with a blaze of multiplex glory. The German-born, Berklee grad learned the dynamics of how to propel action with an rock-orchestra beat with the likes of Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt, coming into his own with additional thrust on “The Time Machine” and “Equilibrium.” Debuting with 2003s African drama “Beat the Drum,” Djawadi has excelled in the rhythmic excitement of “Thunderbirds,” “Blade: Trinity” and “Iron Man.” Crafting his own musical reactor of strings, samples, percussion and guitar adrenalin, Djawadi’s answered the call to energetically suspenseful duty on “Medal of Honor,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Red Dawn” and the Grammy-nominated series “Prison Break” and “Person of Interest.”

So when the Earth is in danger from being smashed to pieces by the giant Kaiju emerging from the “Pacific Rim,” it’s only natural that director Guillermo Del Toro would phone Djawadi to craft the musical approximation of skyscraper-sized robots to take on a veritable Monster Island. The result is a blast of popcorn-munching militaristic fun that takes Djawadi’s action sound to its deliriously bombastic heights. A ragingly symphonic patriotic theme rocks out with electric guitars as a Russian chorus sings the glory of the country’s red robot. The musical sonic booms we know and love join with lumbering brass for a titanic sense of evil as the state of the sampled art unleashes sci-fi powered punches, all while eerily beautiful voices fuse the twin hemispheres of human mecha pilots when the score isn’t goofing a little bit with rhythm and blues vocalese. Simply put, Djawadi’s “Pacific Rim” delivers just about everything you’d want in a giant mecha soundtrack, showing that there are still new ways to play kinetically melodic musicals size in the post-“Transformers” age.

Still, it’s a question whether or not “Pacific Rim” will achieve Del Toro’s aim at turning the stuff of American fanboy love for all robot-monster things Japanese into the hit stuff of an international franchise. But there’s no doubt that Ramin Djawadi has already been sitting in the musical catbird’s chair for a show that’s slayed the world over. Namely, it’s the musical Iron Throne that Djawadi has presided over for the last three seasons (and several more to come) of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

For a cable series that’s turned the sometimes-cheesy sword and sorcery genre on its head with a thoroughly adult (if still skin-loving) sensibility, Djawadi has created his own strikingly distinctive sound that hears the razor’s edge between magical, and political cunning in this ever-Machiavellian world. It’s a melancholy tone that finds the dark beauty in the often-bad behavior of its multitudinous characters, linking these ever-wandering warriors with ethnic, neo-Medieval music, sorcerous tonalities and powerfully restrained orchestral writing – as “realistic” a score as fantasy has ever gotten. But even though bleakness seems to have drawn the winning hand at the close of the show’s third season, Djawadi’s writing has achieved new dimensions, taking epic dragon flight with a symphony and chorus that hints at a grand musical scheme yet ahead.

Photo by Matthew C. Hartman

Now on a new episode of On the Score, Ramin Djawadi talks about the elemental power of music to throw a monster-smashing punch, or subtly wield a dagger into a rival kingdom’s back.

Click above to Listen Now

a Buy the Soundtrack: PACIFIC RIM
a Buy the Soundtrack: GAME OF THRONES SEASON 3
a Buy the Soundtrack: GAME OF THRONES SEASON 2
a Buy the Soundtrack: GAME OF THRONES SEASON 1
a Buy the Soundtrack: IRON MAN
a Visit Ramin Djawadi’s website

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