Pop Culture Pick: Blade Runner

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Leeds electronic scene cohort and threads radio regular Hachine drops in to share his love of cinematic classic, Blade Runner. Directed by Ridley Scott, the epic follows Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Fold) a blade runner who must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

I know it’s been written about a million times before but I can’t ever get over the Blade Runner soundtrack written by Vangelis. The sounds Vangelis chooses are descriptive of the world you’re seeing on the screen and this welds the sound to the image in a way that few other soundtracks have managed. 

Vangelis worked closely with Ridley Scott, getting early cuts of the scenes as they came in. As he watched them he improvised pieces of music based on the visuals he was provided. This method allowed him to get a close connection to the source material and made the soundscapes reactionary. 

I watched everything I could about this film when I was younger and, after finding out his method of improvising to film, it is something I have used a lot in my own work. Even for the track ‘Infinity’ I think I was watching ‘The Expanse’ with the sound off, playing with CS-80 VST’s for the synth melodies. It works for every genre but using this in dance music can imbue the track with a tone and sense of place you can’t get unless you have that picture in your head.

I think my favourite moment from Blade Runner is the opening scene. Broad giant reverb on low hits, contrasted with the beautiful thin lead on the CS-80 with that pitch bend down on the CS-80’s touch strip. This industrial lonely palette of sound tells you everything you need to know about the world before the opening credits have even finished and sets my hairs on end.

I can’t believe how long it took me to find but here’s an amazing video of how he would improvise back in 1982. It shows how expressive his set up was and how insanely different his sound is from anyone else.

One of my favourite tracks that samples Blade Runner is ‘Solitary Flight’ by Theo Parrish which I was very lucky to hear him play out in Leeds, just before the world closed down a year ago. The sample he’s using is actually an orchestral version of Vangelis’s ‘Memories of Green’ played by the New American Orchestra.

A track with another Blade Runner sample I only found when I was researching a few of the finer points for this article, is ‘Angels’ by Vex’d, which is just outrageous.

The Blade Runner sound and stylisms have been used all over dance music in House, Techno, Dubstep, you name it. The key thing that draws people to the sound is the tension and futuristic human connotations. Tension, tension, tension, and then some more tension and a beautiful leadline. An amazing formula indeed.


SC: https://soundcloud.com/hachine
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