Stories » Johann Johannsson uses theme of communication between humans & extraterrestrials for 'Arrival' soundtrack / Variety

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Johann Johannsson uses theme of communication between humans & extraterrestrials for 'Arrival' soundtrack / Variety

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There are many classic science-fiction scores, from the all-electronic "Forbidden Planet" to the all-classical "2001: A Space Odyssey." So the challenge for today's film composer working in the sci-fi genre is to find a fresh approach. For "Arrival," Iceland-born, Berlin-based Johann Johannsson used the film's theme of communication between humans and extraterrestrial visitors as his starting point, with much of the music based on unusual vocal sounds. For "Passengers," set on a spaceship traveling to a distant planet, L.A.-based Thomas Newman employed a hybrid orchestra-plus-electronics approach for the people on board and the crises they face. Says Johannsson about his third film for director Denis Villeneuve: "I knew from the time I read the script that the human voice would play a big part in the score, and that there would be a lot of writing for voices. But I wanted very unconventional, avant-garde, extended-technique choral writing as opposed to the more traditional choir sounds."

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