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Between Music and Sound Design: An Interview with Composer Cliff Martinez

  • MUBI
Above: Composer Cliff Martinez. Photograph by Robert Charles Mann.

Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, Georges Delerue, Toru Takemitsu...sometimes it seems like cinema's greatest composers are all behind us. But just as films were not "better back then," soundtracks weren't either. Looking for great soundtrack artists nowadays is akin to looking for great movies: there seems a lot more of everything, and it takes a roving gaze (and ear) to find that excellence and expression splintered across film festivals, creaking home video releases, YouTube videos (see, recently, a gathering of music by Jorge Arriagada for Raúl Ruiz's films) and other disseminations of the ever-widening world of cinema.

While I may look forward to a film by a director I like, or one shot by a cinematographer I'm interested in, it's not every day I'm excited to hear a movie. One major exception to this aural ignorance is a name that
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