LOST: Michael Giacchino

There’s a nice profile by Alex Ross of Michael Giacchino, the composer for “LOST” in this week’s New Yorker (I’m not going to bother linking to it because it’s behind a paywall). I’ve never been a big fan of the music on LOST. Even though, as I learned from the article, all of the music is recorded with live musicians, the arrangements can feel a little cheap. Furthermore, his themes are weak. I can name innumerable times where a dramatic moment in the show has been undercut by a heavy-handed theme that turns drama into melodrama. He relies too often on a couple of cliches of choice, see the trademark trombone glissando; tinkly, New Age-y piano noodling; and directionless string pads.
I did reconsider my position a bit after reading the profile. I did realize that the meat-and-potatoes, drama-inducing music cues usually work for me–the 98% of the score that wouldn’t make it onto a soundtrack CD. I have a lot of respect for Giacchino’s working methods and the way that he supports studio musicians. It’s clear that, by virtue of the successful films that he’s scored, he has a tremendous amount of power in the filmmaking hierarchy. I should also mention that I’ve liked certain others of Giacchino’s scores; his Academy Award-winning score for Up didn’t make a great impression on me, but his score for The Incredibles is one of my favorite movie scores ever.

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