Right Now in The Soundtrack Show

Danny Elfman's origin story is as fascinating as his music. We discuss his incredible success with Oingo Boingo, as well as his long-time collaboration with director Tim Burton. We explore the origin of his European "Doom-pah" sound, his humor, and his very first films with Burton: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and Beetlejuice.

The Goonies: the Music

The music of The Goonies is a unique mix of classic film scoring, 80s pop, and film nostalgia, all combined with Dave Grusin's contemporary musical sensibilities. The result is a very effective film score that breathes life, adventure, and humor into this cult classic.

Casablanca: a Musical Movie Commentary

Let's sit back and enjoy Casablanca and its music with this feature-length commentary. Max Steiner's wonderful music is dissected, and many behind-the-scenes stories about Casablanca's production are discussed. The commentary also touches on the fascinating stories behind the actual Warner brothers.

Casablanca: the Music and History

One of the greatest films to ever be produced by the classic Hollywood studio system features a song that infuriated composer Max Steiner. Regardless, he produced one of the most memorable and effective film scores of his entire career. The history of Casablanca's troubled production is explored, as is the time period: Casblanca debuted shortly after the United States entered World War II.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Music (part IV)

Our look at the music and sound of Raiders of the Lost Ark concludes with a breathtaking truck chase, scoring Indy in disguise, and the climactic opening of the Ark. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Music (part III)

Our adventures continue with Indiana Jones in Cairo, where John Williams and Steven Spielberg masterfully use film score and diegetic music to tell a story of mystery, danger, and romance. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Music (part II)

We take a much closer look at the music of Raiders, starting with the opening adventure in South America. Specific musical moments in the film are discussed and analyzed.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Music (part I)

Our musical adventures with Indiana Jones begin by taking a close look at the inspiration behind Raiders and its film score. We break down the main musical themes, including the famous Raiders March, Marion's theme, and a theme for the Ark.

Introducing: Ephemeral

Ephemeral, a podcast by Alex Williams, consists of stories that may be unfamiliar, but the themes are universal; it's a window into our own fragile, material existence that begs the question, “How will I be remembered?” This clip from the "Sounds of Silence" episode covers the four minutes and thirty three seconds that changed the course of music history, and features musicologist and composer Kyle Gann. The entire first season of Ephemeral is available now, and learn more at www.ephemeral.show

Middle Earth Music: an Interview with Author Doug Adams

Author Doug Adams shares his exciting experiences as he was writing his comprehensive book on the music of The Lord of the Rings.

The Fellowship of the Ring: the Music (Part III)

The languages of Middle Earth are more than just vital to the Lord of the Rings: They are an essential part of Howard Shore’s operatic film score.

The Fellowship of the Ring: the Music (Part II)

We continue our look at Fellowship by discussing the beautiful and familiar music of the Hobbits, in all its permutations. The musical connections between Hobbits, the One Ring, and Gollum are explored, and we break down the theme for The Fellowship of the Ring itself.

The Fellowship of the Ring: the Music (Part I)

Our first look at not only the film scores of Middle Earth, but also at composer Howard Shore. The creation of his music for Fellowship is examined, as is the source material for these amazing films. Themes are broken down, and the overall style and approach of Shore's music is analyzed.

Wagner: the first Lord of the Ring

Film music has its roots in 19th century opera. The fascinating and controversial life and music of Wagner is explored, as well as an overview of how film music has its roots in opera. Musical examples are played, and history is uncovered.

Rocky IV and Transformers: an Interview with Composer Vince DiCola (Part II)

In part 2 of our interview with composer Vince DiCola, we discuss his work on the 1986 animated feature, Transformers the Movie. His influences are explored, and comparisons are made between his approach to songwriting versus film scoring. 

Rocky IV and Transformers: an Interview with Composer Vince DiCola (Part I)

In our interview with Vince DiCola, we learn about how he became the composer for Rocky IV. We explore his musical background as a drummer and keyboardist, how he was influenced by progressive rock, and we discuss his innovative use of synthesizer. Songwriting for Staying Alive is also discussed, and learn the story of how DiCola made it in Hollywood. 

The Empire Strikes Back: the Music Part IV

Our final look and listen to the music of The Empire Strikes Back covers the end of the film, and its main location: Cloud City. We listen to more restored music during the lightsaber duel, explore even more themes like Boba Fett's theme and Lando's Cloud City theme, and we examine how John Williams carefully scores the trap that awaits our heroes, playing against the gorgeous visuals and the illusion of safety that they present.

The Empire Strikes Back: the Music Part III

Our in-depth look at The Empire Strikes Back continues as we examine the middle of the film: the asteroid field, the planet Dagobah, and more. Continuous changes to the final score are discussed, and we get our first listen to an instrument that makes its debut in the Star Wars saga: the synthesizer.

The Empire Strikes Back: the Music Part II

We look at the music of the first act of The Empire Strikes Back: the planet Hoth. Multiple cues are discussed, as well as the creative process of iterating on musical ideas. We even get to hear restored music that was written and performed for many long sequences, but was cut from the film. Lastly, we focus on the battle in the snow, and the moment that the Imperial March is established as a theme for Darth Vader himself. 

The Empire Strikes Back: the Music Part I

When approaching the film score to The Empire Strikes Back, the sequel to the unprecedented smash hit Star Wars just three years before, John Williams made it all look easy. It wasn't. The pressure was intense, and the timeline was challenging. We discuss the initial spotting session for Empire, as well as the new, central musical themes that emerge in this sequel... one that changed the Star Wars franchise, and its music, forever.