'Inception' Score Also Read the Dream-Levels-Slow-Things-Down Rulebook

July 29, 2010

Soundtrack spoilers! Holy cats, guys, did you realize the big "Bum bum! Dreams!" part of Hans Zimmer's Inception score is largely Édith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”--the song used to jolt our dreammasters--slowed down? Just like how it would be in deeper dream levels! If you did realize that, congratulations on either having well-trained ears or watching the video earlier in the week. If not, watch the video now and mind-applaud how clever that is.

Below the cut, Zimmer himself responds, telling us that we're jerks for not realizing it sooner.

From the New York Times (via /Film):

[Hans Zimmer] said the sonic similarity was not only intentional but also the one element of an enigmatic movie “that wasn’t supposed to be a secret.”

Speaking of the viral video, Mr. Zimmer excitedly said: “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. I was surprised how long it took them to figure it out.”

The musical cue, Mr. Zimmer said, “was our big signpost” in the film of its characters’ moving from one level of dreaming (or reality) into another. “It was like a drawing of a huge finger,” he said, “saying, O.K., different time.”

Mr. Zimmer said the idea for this musical game had begun with Mr. Nolan, the film’s director and writer.

“He had the Édith Piaf always written in the script, the ‘da-da, da-da,’ ” he said, imitating the cadence of that song. “It was like huge foghorns over a city, and afterward you would maybe figure out that they were related.”

Technically, Mr. Zimmer said, his score is not a slowing-down of the French song, which was composed by Charles Dumont and recorded by Piaf in 1960, but is constructed from a single manipulated beat from it.

“Just for the game of it,” Mr. Zimmer said, “all the music in the score is subdivisions and multiplications of the tempo of the Édith Piaf track. So I could slip into half-time; I could slip into a third of a time. Anything could go anywhere. At any moment I could drop into a different level of time.”

And did you realize the Shrek soundtrack is all variations of a single beat from Smashmouth's All Star?

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