AUDIO REVIEW: INTERSTELLAR / COMPOSER: HANS ZIMMER / LABEL: AT THE MOVIES (MUSIC ON VINYL) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
It's a rare thing that I'm going to say regarding this release, but Hans Zimmer's score for Interstellar might be the first release I suggest against buying on vinyl. It has nothing to do with Music On Vinyl's At the Movies release. As a matter of fact, this is a wonderful version in terms of presentation; the packaging is gorgeous and the liner notes by Zimmer and director Christopher Nolan are insanely good reading.
Bonus points go to whomever designed the LP’s center labels. The record sides are denoted in Morse code, which is a clever nod to an important plot point in the film, as well as just being a nifty way to do things in general.
Heck, I've even come around on Zimmer's music. While I still feel that his rise to prominence is based on pedestrian work for the likes of Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy and The Lion King, here the composer has created something that's as epic as the picture to which it's attached. However, that's precisely why I feel that it being on vinyl hinders the work. Really, what's necessary for the score to Interstellar is that it needs to breathe and stretch out, and restricting your intake of the music to 22 minutes at a time only serves to interrupt the experience.
It's really only on side C that the music really has a chance to expand. Being as how the two cuts on that side are rather epic in length, you're able to listen and feel like something's really expanding in your mind. The ethereal build of Murph might be the score's highlight, and even removed from the context of the film it's emotionally powerful. Paired with Detach, which is the most effective demonstration of how Zimmer can take the powerful pipe organ and use it in a quite delicate and subtle manner, this might be my favorite 20 minutes of music altogether.
However, one side of a double LP does not an album make, and the fact of the matter is that for an experience more true to the film itself, you really need to own this digitally or on compact disc. As good as this sounds – and, again, it really does, with opening Dreaming of the Crash perfectly exhibiting how sonically dynamic this score is in highs and lows – flipping sides and swapping out records distracts from the flow.
If you're the sort who needs to break up Zimmer's score, in order to be able to more accurately process it, this is definitely the release for you. Should you find yourself pausing the digital or CD version of the Interstellar score in order to breath, reflect, and take a moment to go over that which you've heard, then I heartily suggest the At the Movies version. However, to truly, accurately get the entirety of Zimmer's vision without interruption, then you're going to want to look elsewhere – much as it pains me to say so.