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Composer: Hans Zimmer (composer)

Label: Reprise

Genres: Score, Orchestral



In the 2000s, one British director came out of nowhere to rise up through the ranks of the Hollywood system. This director, taking on twist-fuelled narratives and iconic characters, has garnered a large fan-base of critics and enthusiastic filmgoers. Of course, I’m talking about Christopher Nolan. Gracefully, several of his features helped shape the past decade’s impact on cinema history. Arguably, his magnum opus is the mind-bending heist-thriller Inception.

To further deliberate on my affection for Nolan, I should bring up his overwhelming process. Seeking originality and resonance, Nolan’s style seeks to fold cities, destroy superhero laws, and turn amnesia on its head. His artistic endeavours boil down to his pitch-perfect team of professionals, working around the clock to build upon his grand visions. One such player is award winning and idiosyncratic composer Hans Zimmer. Known for birthing some of Hollywood’s most infectious scores, Zimmer brings a level of sophistication to every note, track, and compilation.

With Inception‘s soundtrack, Zimmer and Nolan craft a lively aura and epic scope to immerse the listener in. Here, Zimmer’s style throws each track into idealistic dreamscapes. The album, developing a strategic list of the movie’s scenes and twists, clicks with this game-changing sci-fi flick’s structure. The first few tracks slowly build up to the sprawling crescendos and ‘Bwah’ sounds prevalent throughout the film. The first track, ‘Half Remembered Dream’, utilises the score’s opposing forces. The touching, profound moments clash with the bombastic notes Zimmer’s oeuvre is known for.

Not to be overshadowed, tracks like ‘We Built Our World’ and ‘The Dream is Collapsing’ further examine Inception‘s intensifying universe. With expansive rhythms and experimental riffs controlling the score’s climactic moments, this compilation appropriately establishes itself as a gripping labyrinth. From there, Zimmer’s style grows steadily more potent as the proverbial clock ticks down. ‘Radical Notion’ and ‘528491’ highlight the album’s immaculate attention to detail and tonally consistent turns. Moving between orchestral leaps, these tracks amp-up an already stellar compilation.

Recommendations: ‘Half Remembered Dream’, ‘Mombasa’, ‘Time’

Taking this confident score in a wholly different direction, ‘Mombasa’ further elevates Zimmer’s sterling nuances and intricate tangents here. Hurriedly turning to a more percussive and pace-oriented number, this track successfully pushes the score toward its meaningful denouement. Raising the stakes, this multi-faced track is one of many highlights in this immeasurable gem. The next few tracks, however, reset the moody vibes before launching into memorable flourishes. At this point, it’s worth pointing out that this score has gone deeper than expected.

‘One Simple Idea’, flicking this epic compilation from one tonal shift to the next, sticks to a consistent and infectious beat throughout. Addressing the movie’s dulcet tones and relentless nature, this memorable track is worthy of multiple listens. Upping the ante, however, ‘Dream Within a Dream’ and ‘Waiting for a Train’ are the album’s two gutsiest and most insatiable highlights. Switching the mood from collected to disturbingly creepy; these tracks succeed where their imitators falter.

Efficiently, this transcendent score reaches its due course. Providing a succinct and note-worthy end to Nolan’s production and Zimmer’s artistic endeavour, ‘Time’ hits like a jump from the floor to the ceiling. Achieving the correct balance between addictive and conclusive, this track warrants a significant level of focus and reflection. Assuredly, this album deserves careful and definitive analyses. Even those unencumbered with Nolan’s works will have something to add to the conversation. Rightfully so, we must conquer several layers to truly appreciate Zimmer’s haunting work here.

Verdict: Zimmer’s most engaging score, so far. 

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