CD REVIEW: Ben Kopec - Epic Orchestral & Cinematic Rock for Film Trailers (CD Sampler)
By: Neil Thomas
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
Genre: Music for Film, & TV Productions
Weakness: CD has a limited appeal as a commercial product in its own right
Ben Kopec is an established composer for movie and television. His work to date includes music for MTV, Showtime, A&E (Gene Simon’s Family Jewels), Sony Pictures, FOX Sports. His film credits include “The Curse of Micah Rood”, “Never Surrender”, “Peril of Cemetery Road”, and “Inertia”. This latest CD, released in 2011 includes six pieces designed to demo his exceptional talent and ability, increase his exposure and raise his profile.
The CD kicks off with “Coup d’etat” a short but extremely dramatic opening piece with an incredible drum sound, full on orchestra and choir, together with industrial-esque knotted and gnarled guitar that has been sampled and reconstructed. There is passion and drama in this piece and when you hear it you are transported straight to the cinema. The feel and vibe here is definitely one of excitement and the short pulse of energy that you get from a dramatic one minute high octane movie trailer. The second piece “Epic Cataclysm” carries on the theme with another high production choir and string ensemble. Kopec builds some tension and then introduces driving drumming set against staccato choral and string work, again it isn’t hard to imagine Cruise or Willis tearing across the screen on a motorbike or fighter jet, saving the world to this soundtrack. The third piece “Ancient Mystic” has a little more melody and atmosphere and has a slightly more even dynamic. Strings and overdriven guitar are the main instruments here and I can imagine a deep male voice over explaining the initial phase of the plot quite easily. This is epic stuff and would fit easily into movie trailers. In “Page of Wisdom” the pace slows again, with more emphasis on atmosphere rather than drama, yet it builds to a crescendo and stops suddenly (as a lot of movie trailers do) leaving the title of the film and the major credits as the reverb trails off. “Between the Gods” gives a much darker feel reminiscent of the psychotic/serial killer movies or even the modern horror genre. The last track “The Great Adventure” has a lilting rhythm with a lot more light and shade allowing for the movie dialogue to sit on top of it. There are mood changes in this piece, which show off Ben’s flexibility and versatility – this amply demonstrates how much of a viable product Ben and his studio are.
The production quality of this CD is second to none. Each piece has been thoughtfully worked out to fit its own objectives. What we don’t know is whether these are examples of commissions that have been used in film trailers already – or if Ben has written and recorded each piece as a demo of his talent. If it is the latter, then Ben certainly deserves full marks for imagination and vision. As a set of pieces for an average listener this has limited appeal, however if you happen to be looking for music for a movie trailer – this CD has examples of everything for the high octane drama genre.
Overall this is a very impressive CD of music, provided that the listener accepts the purpose of the demo. Whilst the pieces have commercial potential in the field of film and television, as stand-alone pieces of music they don’t really hold up – but then again, why would they? As a regular cinema-goer, I can see exactly how well these pieces could be integrated into the right trailer, and listening to this CD made me realize how easy it is to take the music for granted. It is used to build emotion and control atmosphere in films, yet how many of us consciously think about it whilst engrossed in a movie. I will definitely be paying more attention the next time I'm at the flicks – and I will be looking out for Kopec's name in the credits too!
Neil Thomas (UK)