Goransson’s unique approach creates immersive sounds
Ludwig Goransson has composed music for some of the hottest movies and shows. He’s played the main musical role in The Mandalorian, Black Panther, Creed, Creed II, Tenet, and Fruitvale Station, to name a few. The artist broke down some of his most notable scores in a new video with Pitchfork.
One thing many of us fail to realize is how collaborative film and TV production actually is. In my experience as a videographer and production assistant, I can surely confirm this. I’ve been on commercial sets with more than 25 people all doing different things. It’s important to realize our favorite movies and shows don’t rest on the shoulders of one person. Yes, the director is the leader. However, no matter how good Spielberg is, that famous Jaws theme was composed by John Williams.
Last September, I masked-up and saw Tenet in theaters. The movie was bonkers. But many of the standout scenes were fueled by Ludwig Goransson’s pulsing score. One scene in particular showcased a risky highway heist. No spoilers. John David Washington’s character leapt from a car onto a firetruck, igniting the action sequence that thrusted viewers into the film’s ridiculous second half. That’s when Goransson’s emphatic score brought the hammer down and literally shook the seats in the theater.
The song featured a bass-heavy beat that originated from actual truck sounds. The beat is the same one Goransson used when collaborating with Travis Scott in Tenet’s original song, The Plan. In the video, Goransson explains the technique of using samples. Not only did he record and sample sounds in Tenet, but he did so in the other film’s mentioned above.
“It’s actually a sound from a truck”
“When he finally jumps on the fire truck, what you hear is this like, super low rumbling bass that’s like, super heavily sidechained,” he said. “And it’s actually a sound from a truck. So I recorded that, put it in the computer, just pitched it down, and put a note to it and put it on the bass track and like, sidechained it. The other part of the same beat is, ah, sirens. So you’re in this world with these trucks and fire trucks and buses. And music you’re hearing is also coming from that world.”
These techniques may not be noticeable the first time you see the movie, or any of the films Goransson composes. However, the sampling of sounds from the film’s environment subconsciously affects the way we perceive the story.
When talking about Black Panther, he said, “I met an incredible talking drum player, Massamba Diop. And he comes from a line of musicians called griots. So, it’s a bloodline of musicians. So, his grandfather’s grandfather’s been playing talking drums through, you know, multiple generations. You can basically say words and communicate with this drum. And I was asking him, I was like, ‘Okay, how would you say T’challa on the talking drum?’ And he played me the rhythm that became part of T’challa’s theme.”
Ludwig Goransson’s approach and techniques make him one of the most sought-after composers in the game. For as young as he is, I foresee him scoring movies for many years to come.