Vinyl Vlog 559

Vinyl Vlog 559

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Monday, 18 July 2022
COLUMN

Dune
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Hans Zimmer

Can you believe they made a Dune movie AGAIN? And that it turned out THIS good? Jodowosky’s Dune opened my world to the mythos surrounding the book and to Jodorowksy himself. My cultural world was changed after watching that documentary, so of course, after seeing David Lynch’s movie, the idea of a new Dune movie is a loaded proposition to me. What was a good sign was that Denis Villeneuve would be directing. The man has proven himself as being a person with a grand vision who is able to deliver the kind of large movies that make you think. He’s the blockbuster equivalent of coming out of an art-house movie and not knowing if the main character has been dead the whole time. With Villeneuve it’s heady in a good way. Also, Arrival is one of the greatest movies of all time. And his brilliant Bladerunner sequel further proved that the man can do a lot with a pre-conceived idea. So, expectations were high. 

What was not good news was the casting. Look, big stars are the death of any movie, because you end up looking at the star and not the character. And honestly, few big stars really live up to their popularity. As soon as the cast of Dune was being announced, it became clear that Villeneuve doesn’t think any of his roles are too small for multi-million-dollar actors. Chalamet is fine, just fine. Oscar Isaac is fantastic. Rebecca Ferguson and Stellan Skarsgard are interesting. I roll my eyes at Jason Momoa (though he comes across like a loveable oaf quite effectively). Javier Bardem and Zendaya are completely unnecessary. They have 5 lines at most and Zendaya is reduced to far-away shots reminiscing perfume commercials. Also, we can agree she’s overrated, right? 

Villeneuve was somehow able to present the massive scope in which Dune is told, and that’s no small feat. He does this by focusing on set design and actually showing its size on screen. Something tells me these are real locations and not CGI, or maybe it’s just the way they’re shot, because the way the scenes are established, with acting happening in wide shots is something refreshing (though it shouldn’t be). Villeneuve also knows how to get the most of his characters and particularly the leads. Dune is a complex fantastical story (that, granted, I’m familiar with already), and his characters all stand out as unique entities contributing to the story. They move along their established parameters in this chess game and it’s riveting learning about this world through them. Every shot and scene is beautiful and compelling and you’ll hardly feel the 2.5 hours it takes to tell the first part of this movie. 

Of course a massive movie like this deserves a massive musical composer and they don’t come any bigger than Hans Zimmer these days. The man has done it all, from Disney animation in the 90s (he did Lion King!), to Chistopher Nolan movies (he did the Dark Knight!), and now being the main go-to guy for blockbuster Warner Brother movies. What you get from Zimmer in the Dune soundtrack is music every bit as grandiose and wide-ranging as you would get from the movie itself. There is nothing here that is subtle, or lo-fi, or cute, just balls-out intensity. Zimmer even claims that he was trying to think in an unearthly scope by creating new instruments (I think he means new synthesizer noises) for the different planets in the Dune storyline. Of course, you’re going to get that trademark Zimmer “KWAAAAA!!!!” noise, but there are also pounding drums, marching bagpipes, that Arab ancient lamentation vocalization and it’s all front and center. Zimmer’s soundtrack is viscous and think, just like the sands of Dune. 

There is no better outlet for this music than Mondo. They have shown time and time again that they know exactly how to handle these types of releases. In fact, if you’re a blockbuster movie and your vinyl is not released through Mondo, you’re doing something wrong. Mondo released a different “Dune Songbook” edition with alternative versions of the songs, but this is the proper release right here. Everything about this release is cool, the cover art (showing the more subtle stylization of the DUNE title), the slipcase it comes in revealing our main characters once it’s removed, the full color gatefold and fully printed sleeves depicting the characters, and even the obi strip which adds a touch of class. I’m even willing to overlook things if it as pressed on black vinyl, but of course they went with a gold black mystical color. Simply no detail was overlooked and no expense spared. This is a soundtrack worthy of the Dune movie, and a perfect depiction of what vinyl soundtracks represent. 

Who knows what the future holds for Dune, but this is about as good of a start as the story can get. And the vinyl is simply marvelous. Bravo. 

Get it from Mondo!

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