Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 April 15 • Monday

This had to happen one of these days. Our 564th Soundtrack of the Week features a certain Hans Zimmer. But this is very early Zimmer, a score which was a collaboration with Stanley Myers. It's The Zero Boys, on blue vinyl!


This is an interesting score. Hans Zimmer was a young German composer almost nobody had ever heard of at the time, and Stanley Myers an established composer who thought that Zimmer would do a good job.

According to director Nico Mastorakis’s liner notes, Mastorakis had already worked with Myers on a couple of movies and Myers came up with the idea that Zimmer would write synthesizer-based music for “some action sections”.

I haven’t seen the movie but listening to the record gives me a sense of something more collaborative than that. Myers’s strings and Zimmer’s synths are frequently working together as well as weaving in and out of each other.

Between the two of them they come up with a wide range of sounds, moods and textures. Often the sounds of the synthesizers give a strong indication of the film’s mid-1980s origin—not a bad thing—but at other timed will back up Mastorakis’s remark that Zimmer could “squeeze amazing sounds out of ordinary synths”.

The two sides of the record are very different. I wonder if Side A is Zimmer and Side B is Myers.

Side A is more swinging and melodic, even poppy in places, and I thought I heard the influence of Ennio Morricone and John Barry in spots. (There’s also a short and silly Bach quote.) A romantic acoustic guitar piece comes out of nowhere and earns a response from some menacing sounding synthesizers.

The music on Side B is almost certainly for die-hard soundtrack freaks, though. There’s very little that could be called melodic or groovy or lyrical or swinging, but if you like dramatic underscore, atmospheres of tension or suspense or horror—the synths quote Bernard Herrmann’s famous Psycho violins—and of course action cues, then you’ll have fun with this.

Apparently there are some unused pieces included in this release but no clue what they are.