Before there was ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,’ there was . . . Goblin?
Guest blogger Tim Martens continues his “Pilgrim”-age with a deeper look at the sonics of “Scott Pilgrim vs The World.”
There have been plenty of articles documenting and analyzing the video game and pop-culture references in the upcoming comic-book adaptation “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Far less, however, has been written about the influence of Italian prog rock band Goblin on the movie’s musical score, released Tuesday via ABKCO Records.
Composer Nigel Godrich‘s music for the film definitely contains moments that recall the work of the group, perhaps best known as the go-to band for horror master Dario Argento. But the idea for the homage sprang from the mind of “Scott Pilgrim” director Edgar Wright, a devoted fan of the Italian filmmaker. Before Godrich completed his score, Wright used Goblin — and lesser-known selections from Hong Kong martial arts films — as temp music in the movie…
Masters of heavily synthesized rock ‘n’ roll creep-outs, Goblin crafted a catalog that has a spooked air about it, yet there’s also enough of a digital influence to see how it could have worked in the video-game-inspired world of “Scott Pilgrim.” On the whole, Godrich’s work is more electronic and less metal than Goblin’s, but cuts such as “The Vegan,” “Rumble” and “Talk to the Fist” have flourishes that sound like the band, only modernized.
Godrich’s pieces, of course, also come with the occasional nod to 8-bit video game sounds.
The hope, said Godrich, was to give “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” the feel that a rock band was behind the score.
“It’s the idea that you had a band basically playing,” he said. “[Wright was] talking about kung-fu movies, and there’s a number of them that had Krautrock going through them, like Neu! tracks. They’re completely out of context if you sit down and think about it, but it worked very well because there’s a band playing. So there was always this idea of a band, and they come in and go out.”
At 38 tracks, the score is quite expansive and includes pieces from electronic artists Osymyso and Dan the Automator.
“This movie is such a genre-hopping thing,” Godrich said. “There are several different modes of the soundtrack. There’s action movie music, and there’s a blaxploitation bit, and there’s a John Carpenter bit. Edgar has an encyclopedic knowledge of scores, and he would put stuff over that he thought I should see. I would take that as a starting point — or ignore it completely.”
Now head over to Pop & Hiss for a detailed look at the music of Sex Bob-Omb, the fictional band introduced in Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s comics and brought to life for the screen by Godrich and Beck.
– Todd Martens
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Images, from top: Mark Webber and Michael Cera in “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” (Universal Pictures); a “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” promotional poster.