Tears in Rain

Rutger Hauer’s perishing soliloquy, colloquially known as Tears in Rain or The C-Beams Speech, is the last piece on the soundtrack:

“I’ve…seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those…moments will be lost in time, like…tears…in rain. Time…to die. I have known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Offworld and back…frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion…I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it, felt it…!”

Image © IWDRM.tumblr.

Thematically, the music ties together several previous cues including the opening ‘main’ theme and the love theme.

The main theme motif is modulated up through various keys, using a sort of call and response between a Rhodes and the CS80 sound. Vangelis then slides into the love theme’s harmonies before flirting briefly with some Chariots of Fire-esque lines around the 2:00 mark:

Roy Batty’s character throughout the film, and this scene in particular, has had a lasting impact on music and culture. It even has its own Wikipedia entry, and of course it’s been sampled within an inch of its life:

Shroombab & Polarity – Bad Motions [2003]

DJ Fav – Lost In Time (Lost Mix) [2006]

Zomby – Tears in the Rain [2008] (not DnB shocker!)

London Elektricity – Attack Ships On Fire [2008]

Miscellaneous Sounds

The soundtrack is laden with beautifully crafted foley, spot FX and incidental music, many of which has seen itself on to other records looking to capture the atmosphere it conveys.

Image © IWDRM.tumblr.

International Rude Boyz – Paragone [1993]

Rufige Kru – Manslaughter (Part One – Runners Edge) [1993]

B.L.I.M. – Headspace [1996]

Tango – Fever [1996] (making heavy use of the Reese Bass sound) [RIP Tango].

Ed Rush & Nico – Technology [1997]

E-Z Rollers – Synesthesia [1997]

Dom & Roland – Mechanics [1997]

Photek – Axiom [1997]

Psion – Tyrant [1997]

Ryme Tyme – Control [1998]

Trace & Nico – Replicant [1999]

DJ Red ‎– Near Earth [2001]

Accidental Heroes – Forgotten Worlds [2002]

Fracture + Neptune – Continuities [2005]

Calyx (ft. Ill.Skillz) – Thru Your Eyes [2005]

Jeff Mills – Deckard [2005] (and the rest of the EP)

Masheen – Essence of Life [2006]

Dom & Roland – Deckers Theme [2008]

Dom & Roland – Through the Looking Glass [2008]

Fracture and Neptune – Reality Hoax [2009]

Original Sin – Solar [2009]

Fanu – Something A Little More Radical [2010]

And Finally…

I’ve published this today as it turns out to be Roy Batty’s inception date (unless I’ve been duped by a hilarious internet hoax). This really is one of the most fantastic sci-fi films of a generation, both sonically and in terms of its writing (shame Ridley Scott largely went on to do a load of nonsense afterwards).

Rumours confirmation of a sequel or reboot makes me shudder a little with fear and excitement at the same time (though mostly fear). Here’s to hoping they don’t do a Terminator with the franchise, or indeed let it become a franchise full stop.

Lastly a huge thanks to film buffs Mike Hall and Daryl Bär (both of Hot Donkey) for their help with some of the fact checking about the production and release of Blade Runner, and as ever a massive two thumbs up to Tim Cant for his Rain Man-like knowledge of DnB samples and letting me screen grab his Sylenth.

Blade Runner 2049

The new film is actually quite good, and as there will be a plethora of literature cropping up about the film as a whole, I will refrain (as that’s not what you’re here for) and simply discuss the soundtrack.

The sounds and visual of the original picture were undeniably a selling point and I can’t think of another film where the two are more closely related or embedded in the culture surrounding the film.

Blade Runner 2049 paid homage to the visuals of the first, though lacking some of the more noir-y scenes compared to the first, instead opting for a bleaker tundra. I felt the soundtrack did the same; whereas Vangelis’ score was epic (in the truest sense of the word) at times, Blade Runner 2049 meandered around more industrial sound design.

I was disappointed to learn that in the build up to production, Jóhann Jóhannsson was replaced by Hans Zimmer, allegedly to get a closer sound to Vangelis. The soundtrack was good but I don’t know to what end this goal was achieved. Jóhannsson’s work on Arrival was incredible and one of the better contemporary sci fi soundtracks I’ve heard.

I find that there is sometimes a temptation to over-think sci fi soundtracks with futuristic exercises in sound design but Arrival bucked that trend with some fantastically composed music. I would have been fascinated to hear what Jóhannsson could have done with Blade Runner’s world.

Hans Zimmer didn’t do a bad job [like, who would I be to criticise anyway, lol]. – I never felt aware that I was watching a film, but by the same token immersion doesn’t equate with quality and I don’t think 2049 matches the original in this sense at least. A tough task and a credible effort.

I didn’t really feel the last scene’s reprisal worked all that well; a sort of convoluted round that flirted around the original’s main theme without ever giving that payout. A bit like the whole film. Maybe I’ll rethink this in a few weeks!

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