Recommended Reading Dept: the New Yorker’s Alex Ross spends some time with Michael Giacchino, who’s responsible for the music on Lost. The link goes to an abstract, but trust me, you’ll want to read the full article, which combines close access with serious insight -- about the show, about Giacchino, and about the vicissitudes of film and television scoring.
I’ll admit to following Lost, in the same way that a certain kind of smoker cops to his habit: guiltily, helplessly, with a lot of self-conscious grumbling. (I originally started watching for vaguely homesick reasons: most of the location shooting takes place around my old stomping grounds.) But Ross is right to single out the music for appreciation. It’s one of the few aspects of the show that has never failed to deliver, season after season.
Here at The Gig, we’ve brushed up against Giacchino, whose track record also includes a lot of work for Pixar. (He won an Oscar this year for Up.) He’s an interesting character, independently of his Lost affiliation. Ross does a great job of articulating exactly what he accomplishes on that show, though -- the savvy combination of expressive timbral effects, sweet-sad harmony and outright percussive weirdness. The overall effect is, as he notes, almost subliminal: you notice the score, certainly, but it doesn’t feel artificially imposed. (Ross quotes Michael Emerson, who plays Benjamin Linus, saying something to the effect of “You feel like the music is in your head.”)
I was especially tickled to learn that Emil Richards, a percussionist of legendary Los Angeles studio credentials, was so deeply involved in this show. Apparently this is old news to diehard Lost fans; here’s an ABC video podcast about Giacchino, from a few years ago.
I love when Giacchino is talking with Richards, beginning at 6:30, and mentions that he’ll be working on the next Star Trek film. “No, I’m not on that one,” Richards says. “No, no, no. No -- yes you are, because I’m doing it!”
Update: Ross provides one more reason to like this guy.
Update: And this guy.