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Composer Hans Zimmer: 'music is not the ugly stepsister of cinematography anymore'

Composer Hans Zimmer: 'music is not the ugly stepsister of cinematography anymore'

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Hans Zimmer has scored a lot of movies over the last 29 years, even winning an Academy Award for The Lion King, but in recent years he's been most closely tied to producer and director Christopher Nolan's films. In particular, his score for Inception was seen as one of his best works, with its fusion of electronic effects and strings that were particularly well-suited to Nolan's dream world. The collaboration between Nolan and Zimmer continued with Man of Steel, and Zimmer took to Reddit today to answer questions in an AMA session ahead of the movie's release this Friday.

"I'm working on my psychedelic, country-western heavy metal album."

Zimmer talked with fans about the past and future of movies, film scores, technology, and how technical advances still haven't matched the evocative qualities of more traditional music. "We have so much CPU power at our fingertips now, and don't actually know how to have as expressive an interface as a simple bow on a string," Zimmer said. He also feels like music has become increasingly important in the moviemaking process in recent years, even taking a little bit of a crack at the 3D trend. "Remember, we've been in 3D forever, because we've had 5.1 [surround sound] — the visuals are only just now catching up!" says Zimmer. "And it seems music is not the ugly stepsister of cinematography anymore."

He also addressed the categorization of his music as "epic" by saying "I don't know why my music is so epic, it's just how I hear things in my head." Despite that "epic" reputation, Zimmer said that he typically employs "very simple devices and tunes." (That's in pretty dramatic contrast to his studio, which is anything but simple.) And as for his score for Man of Steel, Zimmer said it was the "opposite of The Dark Knight." Listeners can expect "hope and no cynicism," Zimmer says. "Trying to celebrate hard-working, simple, blue-collar people in the Midwest who never get celebrated."