|My life this week:
"Age of Empires III: Asian Dynasties."
The Forbidden Kingdom
and David Buckley.
|Separate. Dissimilar. Yet when interwoven, all-encompassing.
Wait, what? David Buckley? Who the hell is David Buckley? I'm glad you asked.
|Cambridge-educated, choirboy-turned-film-composer David Buckley scored The Forbidden Kingdom, an enchanting Hollywood-release fantasy-wuxia movie I'd never even heard of until I found it on my DVR (My wife: "I thought the kids might like it,") pairing Jakie Chan & Jet Li for the first time on the Big Screen, and yes, its as exciting as it sounds - of course nothing of this scope works without supporting accompaniment, which is where Mr. Buckley comes in.|
|Akin to hearing the fantastic DVD-menu to Stardust for the first time (Ilan Eshkeri's "Cap'n's At The Helm") and the unsuspecting "Holy Crap!" score which followed, David Buckley's The Forbidden Kingdom punctuated similar evocations throughout. Starting right in by setting the underlying motif in the main title (The Mountain of Fruit & Flowers), the album jumps to the festive "Peach Banquet" tying the album together audibly rather than following the film.|
|While I've certainly enjoyed Tan Dun's more...accurate...period scores, David Buckley was able to fully open the door cracked by Bear McCreary [in his use of ethnic instruments] by applying them to a film in which they were actually applicable. Where as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero were Chinese films this release was Hollywood, intended for Hollywood audiences in both scope of story, and soundtrack.|
|In Buckley's words from the TrackSound Interview, "In the end, we decided that the overall tone of the score should not be overtly Chinese. Rather, it should be something that would be accessible for western audiences and acceptable to eastern audiences." Now I can't speak on the behalf of the Eastern audiences, but I most assuredly enjoyed the mixture of Asian-flair and full-on orchestration - and I'm a huge fan of McCreary so I hope you took that comparison as a compliment!|
|"Hops' Shop" is, at times reminiscent of Jablonsky's Transformers but in this listener's opinion that is not a bad thing. "Tea House Fight" is Jackie Chan's first big fight in the film, and the 4:23 track certainly doesn't disappoint - the brass is shiny and bold and the strings stirring! For me, though, finishing my taekwondo workout to "As One Tale Ends..." is the pinnacle of the album, though he gets major props for the funky throwback end-credit sequence, "...Another Tale Begins."|
|Thank you Mr. Buckley for the wild ride!|