Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer

The man behind today's modern film sound.

Hans Zimmer is a German-born film composer and keyboard player whose music is recognized world-wide. Zimmer is often known for his success in scoring recent blockbuster films such as "Interstellar," "The Lion King," "The Dark Knight," and "Inception," but it is his other musical accomplishments that I find most interesting.

Zimmer has no formal training, but, rather, as a young adult developed an interest with synthesizers and similar equipment and considers himself to be self-taught. Despite his lack of formal training, Zimmer found a spot playing for multiple new wave style rock groups such as The Buggles, who produced the 1979 song “Video Killed the Radio Star," and Helden, who he toured with briefly in the late '70s. After his brief stint as a rock musician, Zimmer partnered with Stanly Myers, a film composer, to form Lillie Yard Recording Studio in London. During his time working with Myers, Zimmer produced a number of scores for small independent films, until the opportunity to produce his first solo score was presented to him by Nico Mastorakis in 1987.

Later that same year, Zimmer’s score for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film, "The Last Emperor," won him an academy award for Best Original Score. The big turning point in Zimmer’s career came in 1988 when he produced the score for Barry Levinson’s "Rain Man." For "Rain Man," Zimmer broke out of the box by creating a completely different sound for what was considered a “road movie” by replacing the commonly used strings and guitars with steel drums. He repeated this process again just a year later, when he composed Bruce Beresford’s film "Driving Miss Daisy," using nothing but synthesizers and samplers.

During the '90s, Zimmer continued to use his “out of the box” style to score multiple award-winning films, such as "Thelma and Louise," "K2," and "Drop Zone." In 1994, Zimmer was approached by Walt Disney Animation Studios to compose the score for "The Lion King." This was the first animated film Zimmer had done in his career, but it won him a total of five awards, including another Academy Award for Best Original Score and two Grammys. In the 2000s, Zimmer’s career blossomed as he did scores for multiple blockbuster movies, including "Black Hawk Down," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Gladiator." Between 2010 and today, Zimmer has composed a multitude of movies and events, ranging from "Inception" to the music for the 84th Academy Awards. Zimmer’s success has continued to grow through the later 2000s as he has scored films like "12 Years a Slave," Tomorrowland," and "Interstellar," and, in 2010, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hans Zimmer’s particular style is very different and unique from many of the other composers of the current time because of his lack of formal training. Zimmer is well known for his unique sounds and very distinct musical scores, especially in his most recent films. Zimmer’s style seems to consistently break the mold for what is expected of a film score. He often uses a very avant-garde sound styles, such as his use of an out of tune piano for the "Sherlock Holmes" film or the use of the traditional African choir and instruments in his "The Lion King" score.

Zimmer’s style does, however, drastically change from film to film, and often correlates directly with the content of the film. This is especially apparent in the differences between his "The Lion King" and "Inception" scores. In "The Lion King," Zimmer relies heavily on the cultural instruments and sounds of the native African choirs to add depth to the story line and tie the visual setting in with the musical setting. The score’s instrumentation relies heavily on the uses of voice and choirs rather than stringed or other European instruments. The score also features many traditional African woodwind instruments and percussion elements, such as bongos and djembe. By replacing the more traditional European style instruments, Zimmer was able to heavily feature the cultures of African peoples, even though the film never shows actual people. The flip side to this is that this score was designed for children, and, therefore, most of the music is structured to be sung along with. Many of the songs feature an unchanging rhythm and repeat the same or very similar words over and over.

Zimmer's Inception score reflects heavily on his own personal music experience in that it heavily features synthesizers and other computer generated sounds and instruments. The instrumentation for this score is incredibly hard to pick apart, because most of it is computer generated and has been altered to best fit the story line. Throughout the score, the music evolves multiple times within each individual track. Zimmer does this to compliment the unfolding of events within the film, and, in many cases, the film develops at same points that the score does. Zimmer shoes his experience and expertise throughout the film by heavily featuring the synthesizer and using it to show the development of on-screen events, which contributes in many key ways to the film score’s development.

It is no surprise that Zimmer’s latest piece is in the upcoming film "Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice," where his sound is paired with the progressive style of Junkie XL. This film has not yet hit theaters, but based on Zimmer’s previous works, this film will likely have a very unique sound when compared to other recent films.

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To the guy that shot my brother...


To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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