Saturday 8 January 2011

Basking in the Sound of Gold

I'm in the middle of drawing some new Alien President strips at the moment, but I'm taking a break for a few minutes, because it's not the easiest work in the world.  The combination of historic US architecture and semi-relistic humans is very taxing on my pencil-weilding skills, especially when the two things have to share panel space, as they do in Episode 13, which I just finished drawing.  It came out alright - the White House is more or less recognisable as such, I think (although once I've scanned and coloured the drawing, it won't be so white any more), and the humans are pulling the faces I wanted them to pull, so I think I can chalk that one up as a success.  Mind you, it turns out that the name of Darlan's presidential aide Cindy Payne was very well chosen: she's been a real pain in the art department.  She's a lot nicer to look at than her brick-shaped colleague Watson when I get the illustrations right, but it takes several times as long to draw her as it does him.

So I decided to put down the pencil and do something else for a bit before trying to tackle the limousine that I need to sketch for Episode 14.  And while I'm not drawing, I'll write some stuff.  I.e. this stuff that you're reading right here and now.

While doodling for the last... not sure exactly how long, but getting on for an hour... I've been listening to Murray Gold's Doctor Who soundtrack.  I had the Series 3 and Series 4 CDs ages ago, but somehow ended up missing out his original album from Series 1 & 2.  However, I was given a copy of the missing disc as a Christmas present, and I've got it on speakers right now.  As I type I'm on track 21, The Lone Dalek.

The interesting thing about going backwards like this is that some things (e.g. The Doctor's Theme, The Face of Boe and UNIT) are familiar, being variations on some of the same themes that appear in later albums, while there are other things that I'd completely forgotten about.  Cassandra's Waltz, for example, came as an out-of-the-blue surprise when I first listened to the disc a week or two ago.  I'd seen the episode involved, but completely forgotten the music.  I only remembered the Madame du Pompadour melody by virtue of having rewatched The Girl in the Fireplace not that long ago.

Cue next track on the hi-fi...

The nice thing about having the music on its own, in isolation from the episodes it comes from, is that sometimes you like the score better than the script.  For example, I never really liked The Impossible Planet as an episode (or two, as the case may be), but the corresponding track on the CD is a really nice one.

Now, here's the important bit: *insert metaphysical glitch here*  I'm sure I was going to say something all profound and meaningful about this album.  However, in keeping with a long-standing personal tradition of mine, I've totally forgotten what I was going to say.  Isn't that clever?

So instead I'll have a little ramble about my musical tastes in general.

Anyone familiar with my CD collection will know that nearly all of it consists of film music, and what wasn't written for the screen is in a neo-classical vein.  I'm not a fan of pop 'music' (note deliberate use of quote marks around the word there).  And one of the things that irks me most about film score CDs, apart from the way some engineers manage to get all the ID3 metadata wrong, is this infuriating habit so many album producers seem to have of releasing a disc which is 90% perfectly good film score, and then throw a nice rancid dead fly into the ointment in the form of a pop song that has little or no bearing on the film's narrative, and clashes horribly with the style of the rest of the CD.  How to Train Your Dragon is a case in point: tracks 1-23 and 25 are all orchestral score by John Powell (who is a bit inconsistent sometimes, but Dragon finds him at his best) - and then track 24 is a really naff song where I can't even make out what they're on about.  Bolt is another one: again, Powell does some nice things with the score, but the album is let down by multiple horrible vocal pieces.  Why do they keep doing that?  For goodness' sake, if you've hired a composer, then let them score the end credits.  Don't rope in some ghastly pop band to ruin the soundtrack.  Look at Spielberg and Williams: no pop songs.  Just score.  Imagine how much worse Jurassic Park might have been, for example, if Spielberg had brought in a pop singer for the end credits.  Scary thought.

Thank goodness Doctor Who has a proper instrumental theme tune and not an end-credits pop song, eh?

Stats time:
  • 11 For 11 status: 5 down, 6 to go - I'm ahead again and I'm nearly half-way there!
  • Latest book read: Stuart Olyott's commentary on Ephesians
  • Latest film/TV watched: Murder on the Orient Express
  • Latest music listened to: re-read this blog post and take an educated guess!
  • Latest food/sweets/whatever eaten: one of the home-made chocolates Sophie gave me for christmas
  • Programs and web pages currently running: Outlook 2007, Word 2007, Windows Explorer, Firefox (tabs: Google Image Search "the white house"; Blogspot Create Post;
  • Webcomics posted today: Cylinder and Miserable #1123

- The Colclough


  1. I really really want to get the sound tracks for Doctor Who (partly to add to my collection of things Doctor Who, partly because the music's awesome) and also, have you watched the Doctor Who proms? That is one prom type thing that I would actually so badly love to go see.
    In terms of pop music, I don't like pop music in the sense that I don't like the music that is popular in the charts however I do like a lot of stuff released on DFTBA records (with youtube origins) that is pop music style at time but with words that actually mean something and are not about someone having trouble talking about phone signal in a club *coughladygaga*.
    Oh, and when I read that you were ahead I was all indignant that you weren't then I checked the time stamp and I then felt a bit sheepish :/ you were ahead but I will overtake you!! mwah ha ha! (ie I'm currently in procrastination and ranting mode so another blog will get done. Yes, two in a day cause that's how I roll. Though it's more stuttering leaps than a gentle roll.)
    Hmm, this could almost be a blog in itself if it made any sort of sense! :)

  2. i did see the DW prom on telly this year. was good. obviously. especially the dalek bossing the conductor around B]

    re: pop songs that mean something - my personal definition of 'pop music' is 'n: meaningless mass-produced aural rubbish', and if a song makes sense i prefer not to besmirch it with the term 'pop' even if it is stylistically pop-ish. i like to think of youtube / other grassroots quasi-pop as a separate genre.

    i've been making a point of checking my blogger dashboard very carefully before posting anything claiming to be ahead in the race. just in case =]

  3. To solve the youtube not being pop problem I've been trying to train Windows Media Player to put all my youtube music under the genre 'DFTBA'. It's sort of working! lol :)