Page 4 of 4
I see his influence now mostly in scores and I think it’s too bad because he’s kind of used in a superficial way. There are a lot of other resources — meaning the way he writes, the way he arranges — that nobody uses. They get from him what is really the least-interesting aspect. He was one of the first guys in Italy to own a Moog that is as big as a washer and dryer, for instance, so he was experimenting in electronic music, which for the most part goes unnoticed. And he was a pioneer in the use of avant-garde music in not only horror movies, but much more mainstream projects. So it’s too bad that in general his admirers don’t go as deep as possible with his material. They’re kind of just scraping the surface of what this man is able to do.
Daniele Luppi composed the 2004 tribute album An Italian Story and will soon release his second CD, Rome. Luppi arranged two Gnarls Barkely CDs and contributed to Rob Marshall’s Nine.
Morricone is a part of everyone’s DNA. His most famous scores are special because of their boldness and simplicity. It takes a special kind of courage to hang a whole score on two notes. At the same time, in movie music those two notes are only as special as the picture they accompany.
One really cool thing about him is that he started as an arranger. He worked for RCA in Italy as an arranger. He did a lot of pop records. He was classically trained, but the nature of the job of being an arranger is you have to interface with many types of music and forms of orchestration. John Williams is another one like Morricone. He was Johnny Williams the jazz arranger before he was a movie composer. Being an arranger and a composer require you to put on many different hats, which is tremendous training for film scoring because you know how the instruments work and what they sound like. You become acquainted with the people who play the instruments, which allows you to understand how they fit together.
Jim Lang scored Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold! series and has arranged, produced and played on records for many artists, including Smokey Robinson, Steve Wynn, Vince Gill and the Four Tops.