Have you ever seen a movie where music composer John Williams did a movie score? His film scores for movies such as Star Wars, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and so on have entertained us for more than four decades. Some of his influences for the first Star Wars soundtrack may have come from a particular work by composer Gustav Holst. Holst’s most famous piece is “The Planets,” which was a suite of seven movements, each named after a planet and its corresponding astrological character.
In “The Planets,” the seven movements correspond to Mars (War), Venus (Peace), Mercury (the Messenger), Jupiter (Jollity), Saturn (Old Age), Uranus (the Magician) and Neptune (the Mystic). Each movement has a different character to it. For example, Mars is heavy and insistent with horns and drums, like a general marshaling his troops for a battle, while Neptune has a lighter, more mysterious feel to it using woodwinds. And each movement also is tied to the astrological character of the subject.
A new group has taken a similar approach to Holst in their new CD Eight Moons, composing songs about eight of the major moons with names of the gods – from Mars to the distant dwarf planet of Eris. Omnimi seems to seek a blend of classical, choral, and world music to evoke some of the same powerful feelings as Holst’s work – from the dramatic to the relaxing.
And, like Holst, each track feels as though it should be part of a movie soundtrack. “Phobos – Mars I” with its merging of a choir and driving percussion would be at home in a film like the upcoming Conan reboot starring Jason Momoa coming to theaters in 2011. There’s almost a desert feel to some of the percussion, giving it a vaguely “Arabian Nights” flavor.
From Phobos we move to “Io – Jupiter I,” which has a less insistent beat but somehow manages to fill the room with power with higher voices and strings building and building. What’s intriguing is there’s a rock guitar in the middle punctuating the lighter vocal performances, bringing this tune into a more modern era. Parts of the melody would feel right at home in the recent trailers for Chrisopher Nolan’s Inception.
My favorite of the tracks is “Neso – Neptune XIII” which manages to capture an ethereal, almost fairy-like sound and merges it with the incessant roll of the sea. Neso in Greel mythology is one of the goddesses of the sea and one of the 50 Nereids – one of the sea nymphs. Through a use of interesting beats behind the scenes along with the strings and voices it truly feels as though you are rolling along the waves.
Ultimately, I think Omnimi has done an amazing job in composing some truly unique songs in a Holst style. Movie directors and producers seeking full-sounding orchestrations for their own films would do well to give Eight Moons a listen to see how they might be worked into current productions. Hopefully we’ll hear more from Omnimi in the future!
For more information about Omnimi, be sure to check out their website at OmnimiMusic.com.
This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.
p.s. Pick up the CD here: