Features and Columns · Movies

Soundtracks Go Old School With New Vinyl-Only Releases

By  · Published on November 22nd, 2012

We may stand in line to get our hands on the latest technology and watch as record stores close their doors as more and more music fans turn to iTunes and digital downloads instead of physical CDs, but there is still something about vinyl records that keep people coming back for more. While digital files are crisp and polished, it is almost impossible for a studio to duplicate the richness that comes from vinyl – plus those little imperfections and pops that come from listening to a record can sometimes be the best part. Even though CDs may seem like they are becoming a way of the past, there is a new trend coming forward and one that seems to be popping up more and more with soundtrack releases – the option to get these compilations on vintage vinyl.

While he is known for creating electric scores for films such as Traffic and Contagion, Cliff Martinez’s work is also layered making it a prime choice to take a spin on the ol’ record player. This year Martinez’s work got the vinyl treatment twice with Milan Records releasing his dark and seductive score for Arbitrage and Mondo releasing his iconic score for Drive as a double vinyl album and enlisting artist Tyler Stout to create the album cover and package design. While the large cover that house these records allow artists more room for creative expressive and memorable images, it is the records themselves that give these scores added depth, providing music meant for the big screen an appropriate forum through which to take center stage.

One of the most anticipated films to come out this year was The Dark Knight Rises and its soundtrack from Hans Zimmer did not disappoint. Zimmer’s score helped highlight the various emotions felt by all the film’s characters, both new and old, and his work got the weight it deserved with a vinyl release that allowed listeners to truly focus in on the music and all the feelings it so deftly conveys. Also released this year was a vinyl version of Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s score for The Master where he once again joined forces with director Paul Thomas Anderson (he previously scored Anderson’s There Will Be Blood) to created a score able to highlight Anderson’s ability to bring out memorable performances from his actors.

This new trend was not simply showing up with recent releases; films and soundtracks from years past are also finding new life on people’s record players. For those ready to line up this Friday to score some Black Friday sales, 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, as reported by Paste Magazine, is being released on vinyl in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary and even gives you the choice of getting your copy in either blonde, blue, brown, orange, white, or pink. Also being given a limited, Record Store Black Friday vinyl release is the soundtrack for Moonrise Kingdom – a great addition to the record collections of fans of Alexandre Desplat and Mark Mothersbaugh (whose scored pieces are the only tracks featured here).

Releasing soundtracks on vinyl is not an entirely new concept and SoundStageDirect is selling a good number of past releases for films such as Vanilla Sky, Kill Bill Vol. 1, and The Graduate. With the season of shopping right around the corner, these vinyl releases may be the perfect gift for your movie loving, record player owning friend (or family) member.

Listening to records not only sounds different, it is a different experience. You must sit and listen to the music. It is not a format you can take on the go or listen to while driving in the car. You certainly can sit around and listen to CDs or iTunes, but because doing so is your only choice when listening to vinyl, it makes the experience seem more special. Soundtracks are already unique because they relate to specific images and emotions audiences felt when watching that film and combined with the process of listening to vinyl, these feelings are all the more heightened and memorable.

Do you prefer vinyl or digital? What soundtrack would you like to see released as a record?

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