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Composer Hans Zimmer On ‘Man Of Steel’ Music: ‘Hope And No Cynicism’ [Audio]

Film composer Hans Zimmer participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” on Tuesday in which he discussed numerous topics including digital audio gear, favorite works of his own, musical heroes like Kraftwerk, the challenges of working as a composer in Hollywood, and of course his music for the new Superman film Man of Steel. One of Christopher Nolan’s key collaborators on the celebrated Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films, Zimmer said viewers/listeners can “Expect hope” from his Man of Steel score. “Hope and not cynicism. The opposite of The Dark Knight.”

Zimmer’s remarks should help assuage the fears of some Superman fans who’re anticipating an inappropriately dour vision of Superman from co-writer/producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder, both of whose previous superhero films — The Dark Knight Rises and Watchmen — were distinctly dark and deconstructed takes on the superhero genre. Zimmer added that his work on the Man of Steel music is also meant to “celebrate hard-working, simple, blue-collar people in the Midwest who never get celebrated.”

A magnificent piece of Zimmer music is heard in the most recent Man of Steel ads, featuring the composer’s ingenious blend of synthesized sounds, processed percussion and traditional orchestral elements. You can hear additional samples of the Man of Steel score in the player below. I’m waiting until I see the movie. Yes, music cues count as spoilers for me.

Other Superman information from the AMA:

- The Clark Kent theme was the most difficult composition of Zimmer’s career. “…because I was procrastinating for so long, trying to shake off the enormous shadow that John Williams’ Superman theme cast.”

- Zimmer’s process hinges on “falling in love” with a film’s characters. “I grew up with comic books, so I am a huge Superman fan, so that actually became very daunting because I didn’t want to ruin one of my favorite characters for a whole generation.”

- Zimmer worked with the veteran electronic dance music producer Junkie XL on the Man of Steel score. The two have previously collaborated a number of times, including on The Dark Knight Rises. “I come from electronic music, and have always tried to bridge the divide between classical and electronics.”

- The Man of Steel Z+ app approximates Zimmer’s own listening experience. “They measured my ears and how I hear it in my room, so it’s as if you are actually listening through my ears, in my room.”

- Zimmer’s sonic trademarks like the extremely loud noises in the Batman and Superman recordings come from his prodigious use of vintage synthesizers. “I actually assembled my collection of Moog synthesizers when everybody was embracing digital and throwing out the old analog stuff. God, were they wrong. The thing that pins you to your seat in Dark Knight or Man of Steel is Professor Moog’s 40-year-old invention.”

Be sure to check out the completed AMA for much more fascinating and even quite personal insights into the work of Hans Zimmer, including a look at the lavish studio in which he created his memorable work with Christopher Nolan.

Zimmer’s Man of Steel score is on sale now digitally, on CD and limited edition vinyl. The film, based on the DC Comics creations of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, opens in the US this weekend.

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