By Jay Hunter – Either totally overlooked or hugely admired, composers are an integral part in how we watch our favourite shows and movies, whether we realise it or not. In a year where the synths came back with vengeance, Jump Scare counts down the best soundtracks of 2016.
10. Sing Street – Various
John Carney’s upbeat 80s “boy meets girl” story is largely embellished by it’s brilliantly catchy tunes. Original songs nestle in next to The Cure, Duran Duran and Motorhead. The only thing that stopping Sing Street from climbing this list is it’s decent into generic anti-authoritive pop rock with songs like ‘Brown Shoes’.
9. Moana – Various
An absolute barrage of Disney songs littered the Dwayne Johnson led, Moana this year. Although not all of them hit, catchy whimsical tunes like ‘You’re Welcome’ are destined to be drummed into parents eardrums for months to come.
8. Victoria – Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm’s gentile score becomes ever more integral to Sebastian Schipper’s one shot movie. An impressive improvised style allows Frahm to turn time into a malleable tool to further the movies narrative.
7. Captain Fantastic – Alex Somers
Alex Somers was joined by Sigur Rós vocalist Jónsi to compose Matt Ross’ delicate family movie, Captain Fantastic. An aching, melancholic score that furthers the movies tone.
6. Arrival – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Jóhann Jóhannsson has long been a highlight of movies that haven’t fared well critically (Battle: Los Angeles), thankfully this time his beautiful score accompanies a beautiful movie. Experimenting with the human voice, Jóhannsson embellished the movies organic, alien tone perfectly.
5. The Revenant – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner
Ineligible for The Academy Awards, the trio behind the movie that finally won Leo the Oscar recycled previous composition into a hybrid of orchestral and electronic sounds. Speaking to Vinyl Factory, Sakamoto stated; “It was always my intention to write something that complements the stark, cold simplicity of nature“. Quite.
4. The Neon Demon – Cliff Martinez
Returning from a career defining score in Drive, Martinez and Nicholas Winding Refn team up once more. A smorgasbord of heart-stopping tunes, the wall of sound goes for creepier tones than previously touched upon by Martinez.
3. Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
When QT recruited movie score maestro; the very legend himself Ennio Morricone, to compose an original piece for his nasty western chamber piece where the results ever really in doubt? Of course not, the Tarantino and Morricone marriage is everything you ever wished for, as The Hateful Eight score is a grand and oh so definitively Morricone ode to the bleak nihilism of Tarantino’s blood sprayed snowy vistas. An absolute triumph of classic cinematic music.
2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL
Whatever your feelings about the movie, there’s no denying Hans Zimmer is at the peak of his powers here. Combining cataclysmic, bombastic tracks with sombre operatic moments, Batman v Superman serves more as a “best of” album for Zimmer who said he is now departing from superhero scores. Oh, and that Wonder Woman theme.
1. Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
Dixon and Stein’s brilliant nostalgia-electro score that accompanies the series that took the world by storm. Like Stranger Things itself, the soundtrack is indebted to John Carpenter with its sudden synth shrills, ominous heavy percussion and wild shades of flamboyant neo-gothic tension.