“Terminator: Messiah”

From my Soundcloud page:

” Terminator: Messiah” A track inspired by the Terminator franchise. (Terminator theme by Brad Fiedel). After the intro, my Terminator theme comes in at around 2:10. I tried to capture the flavor of Fiedel’s theme–in particular the “machine heartbeat” percussion sound–without actually ripping it off.

At 6:47, John Connor’s Messiah theme comes in. The goal was to highlight an aspect of the John Connor myth that I don’t think has been emphasized enough in the films or the series.

And I close with Brad Fiedel’s well-known theme. I hope he doesn’t sue me.

This track is a couple of years old. I’ve been listening to some of the older stuff  on my Soundcloud page (organizing my material, trying to decide what to keep, what to clean up, and what to throw away–good-bye, bad wanna-be-Metallica-song-with-bad-guitar-playing-by-me!) when this track caught my ear again. It’s far from perfect, and if I had to re-do it, there are a few things I’d probably change. But I’ve decided that I’d rather move forward and not try too hard to change the past. I’m an endless tweaker, and I could probably spend the rest of my life tweaking, adjusting, re-mixing, etc. the same song, over and over. Also, this track is an example of where I was at the time, so I guess its imperfections give it some charm.

Yeah, yeah. That’s all good stuff, but I still just gave it a quick re-master to clean up the sound a bit! My excuse is that it’s like dusting off the old track… and patching up a few scratches and dings.

I got the idea for this track shortly after watching “Terminator Salvation.” Danny Elfman did an excellent job with the score, and although a lot of people were upset that the famous Terminator theme was hardly in the film (and not at all in the soundtrack album), I was actually pretty glad Elfman did his own thing. More original material = more interesting. So after listening to his work, I wondered what I could come up with. (Also, the excellent “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” TV series was still fresh on my mind, so that played a part in this as well.)

With that in mind, onto the track itself… After a lengthy intro (yeah, I do long intros), we get the “machine heartbeat” theme. I’ve read that composer Brad Fiedel was going for a heartbeat-sounding rhythm in his original score for “The Terminator.” But since it’s not a human heartbeat, the rhythm skips around and doesn’t sound quite natural. Here is my interpretation of a machine heartbeat.

I also wanted to explore the “messiah myth” around the John Connor character. The Terminator films are excellent action movies, but they are also high-tech modern day “prophecy” stories, foretelling the end of the world and the rise of a savior. So near the end of the track, I introduce Connor’s quasi-religious “messiah” theme. I am pretty pleased with the sound of the choir/brass combination–that might be my favorite part of the track!

And yes, I had to end with that familiar theme, in case there was any doubt this was inspired by Terminator.

Some reference material… Three percussion-driven Terminator themes…

Brad Fiedel’s original Terminator theme:

Bear McCreary’s theme for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”:

And Danny Elfman’s main title theme for “Terminator: Salvation” (percussion theme starts around 50 seconds in):