Reznor, Ross is a dark success

Published 5:19 pm Saturday, November 8, 2014

David Fincher’s film “Gone Girl,” based on the Gillian Flynn novel, has garnered much buzz lately but not just for the movie or book. The soundtrack, scored by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is sure to be a contender for best score come awards season.

On their latest soundtrack, the Academy Award-winning duo behind the score for Fincher’s “The Social Network” and Fincher’s version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” take their unique style to a darker level — a much darker level.

The first time I listened to the largely electronic soundtrack I was alone in a dark room. By the time I got to the grinding, screeching track “With Suspicion” it made me uncomfortable enough that I turned around to close the blinds.

Email newsletter signup

Musically, and in terms of the film, that’s a good thing. The book and film focus on a wife’s disappearance and the subsequent reaction in by her husband, the media and the community. The score clearly fits the dark subject material.

“Sugar storm,” a track with sparse vibraphones and bells feels vaguely reminiscent of the haunting piano-based song “Hand Cover Bruise” from “The Social Network” soundtrack. However, Reznor and Ross take the “Gone Girl” soundtrack in a more subtle, distant, ambient and downright creepy.

Though inventive and certainly fitting of the book’s subject, the score lacks a bit of the depth and variety of the soundtrack to “The Social Network.” But that doesn’t make it any less effective.

 Instrumental background

When I’m looking for music to listen to while working, I often turn to instrumental or ambient music, like the “Gone Girl” soundtrack. Here are a few instrumental soundtracks to listen when craving ambient music:

Soundtracks to “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

The dup of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross flex their creative muscles on these soundtracks, but do it in a way that’s a little less haunting than the “Gone Girl” soundtrack.

 Soundtrack to “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master”

Just like Reznor and Ross are now mainstays in the scores for the films of director David Fincher, Radiohead musician Jonny Greenwood is now the go-to for director Paul Thomas Anderson. While haunting and creative like Ross and Reznor’s scores, Greenwoods orchestral scores has brought new fans to the genre. Greenwood is scoring the upcoming Anderson film “Inherent Vice,” which looks like a knockout and more upbeat than their prior collaborations.

 Soundtrack to “Contagion”

If you like the music of Ross and Reznor, composer Cliff Martinez is perhaps their closest contemporary scoring films today. His score for “Contagion” shares many electronic and instrumental qualities, but the music is a bit more driving.

 Soundtrack to “Blade Runner”

The Godfather of the modern movie soundtrack very well may be Vangelis, the Greek composer most famous for the lead track for “Chariots of Fire,” but perhaps is best work is the “Blade Runner” soundtrack, which is a precursor to many film scores today.