Heavily influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which Stanley Kubrick used Strauss’ ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ to underline the film’s crescendos, Zimmer’s soundtrack provokes deep emotions throughout Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic. The beginning of the soundtrack allows Zimmer to engage the listener with the beautiful track ‘Cornfield Chase’. It’s the first outing of the main theme of the soundtrack; a building organ piece that climbs slowly up the scales with low booming bass, immersing the listener into the soundtrack almost immediately.
‘Stay’ follows a few tracks later, in which violin forces the music onwards over rolling percussion with deep brass and organ, dragging you with it to the heights of its epic crescendo, which encompasses and surpasses the brutal sadness that it accompanies on screen.
The middle of the album is appropriately eerie for its setting, bringing home the unease and constant tension of the film. Almost every track is a gem in its own right; the tentative and soft piano compositions in ‘Messages from Home’ and ‘Afraid of Time’ are simply stunning.
The drama of the film is brought to the fore in the pulsating ‘Mountains’, in which plucked cello and accentuated violin build alongside the sound of a drip which transforms into a tense ticking clock. With the introduction of more layers with piano, organ, brass and emphatic bass drum, the track bursts into life and creates a feeling of heart-stopping peril and drama that isn’t equalled again in the soundtrack.
Interstellar shows us that there is more to Hans Zimmer than we’ve come to expect from soundtracks like Inception and The Dark Knight. This is a Hans Zimmer whose emphatic percussion, emotive strings, and thoughtful piano alongside impactful and Strauss-esque organ blow the listener away. It’s a Zimmer soundtrack that is intensely un-Zimmer-like in the exceptional beauty of its musical narrative, flourishing away from the screen almost as much as it does on it.