Clint Mansell is among the best film composers in the business, having recently added yet another masterful score to his name with the cheekily bombastic, disorienting Black Swan. That was his latest in a long line of contributions to the films of Darren Aronofsky, having previously worked on The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream and Pi. He also imparted Duncan Jones’ Moon with a haunting ambiance that still sits with me to this day.
These films have ensured that Mansell will always have a place in history, but now it appears his legacy will extend beyond film. He’s revealed that he’ll be providing the score for Mass Effect 3, the conclusion to Bioware’s action role-playing game series. Apparently the developers were in need of a composer with a true sense of the cinematic to close out their sweeping epic. And Mansell is just the guy for it. Learn more after the break.
Mansell confirmed the news in an interview with The Quietus, in which he also discussed branching out on other projects.
Q: Do you do much work for other outlets like computer games? Mike Patton, for example, has most recently voiced The Darkness.
CM: I’m doing a video game this year actually. Mass Effect 3. Funnily enough, talking about Mike, we’ve exchanged emails about the possibility of doing a show featuring the Quartet and people they’ve collaborated with. It’d be a Kronos show, with different rooms for other people to do their thing, then bringing it all together. It’s pretty cool-sounding.
I’m definitely interested in different outlets – that’s one of the reasons I get involved in short films. It’s not so much that I can experiment as it is to be in a situation where nobody’s looking over your shoulder. Short films are usually made by young people and they’ve got ideas I can bounce off. They can take me in a different direction.
So that’s two exciting pieces of Clint Mansell news. Not only will we find out how his abilities fare in the world of gaming, but he may also be collaborating with experimental singer-songwriter Mike Patton, the lead singer of the metal band Faith No More and the composer of the brilliantly insane score to Crank: High Voltage. Considering our most recent news updates about Mansell — his Black Swan score was disqualified from the Oscars, and he was replaced on Duncan Jones’ Source Code due to scheduling conflicts — it feels good to be able to discuss his future endeavors with a great deal more positivity.
Speaking of which: The interview also featured some interesting insight into how Mansell plans to approach Mass Effect 3, which will obviously require a much different musical process since it’s an entirely different medium.
Q: So in a game, the character might arrive at a big boss and you have to have a piece that can quickly become dramatic.
CM: That’s what I’m figuring. As I was saying about Public Enemy and re-working old hip-hop tunes for Requiem, and kind of re-working old ballet tunes for Black Swan, with something like Mass Effect you’re more like a DJ, with all these elements. You’ve got the holding pattern, then the big explosion where you need the score to kick in. Then you need to take it off on a tangent. You’ve got all these different elements that change depending on what the player does. You have to figure out an overall symphony, but be able to break it down into component parts. You can bring the pain when required.
I don’t have any investment in the Mass Effect series, but I’m suddenly keen to see how the third game turns out. With such a gifted composer working on it, at least we know it’ll be filled with music that’s by turns rousing and powerful.
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