XPeriments from Dark Phoenix – Hans Zimmer

You’ve heard Hans Zimmer in movies, creating the soundtrack to epic stories, but, on this album, he lets loose and writes a love letter to music itself. They could never put these songs in a superhero film for obvious reasons and I’m okay with that; this work is innovative, wacky, pretentious, and attention-grabbing. At times, it feels like Zimmer transcribed the feeling of moving onto another dimensional plane, yet it has distinctly modern influences which ground the song in contemporary music, like the fast percussion of “X-SI” and “X-MP”. The obvious standout is “X-HZT”, which people think stands for “Hans Zimmer Theme” and is 17 minutes of pure unsettling bliss, with an otherworldly constant groove and superbly alien chords; my favorite thing about that track is the vocals, which do something I’ve never heard before in a perfect way. If you like Hans Zimmer’s other work and want an anthemic orchestral piece, check out “X-MP”, a booming full-orchestra piece that brings in the beat to great effect. If you like Nine Inch Nails, especially their album Ghosts I-IV, you should definitely check out “X-HD”, which uses buzzing tones and fast percussion that reminds me of them. If you like guitar solos, check out “X-X”, because, once you hear a Hans Zimmer guitar solo, (it comes in at the end) your life will never be the same. You can sort of see how he’s friends with Billie Eilish if you dissect this and her debut album; of course, no music unsettles me quite like this album. I’d also compare this album to Nonagon Infinity, as it has a similar set of rhythmic patterns and a similar set of motifs around a common theme, which becomes very evident among the perfect synths and guitars of “X-MDP”. There are a lot of chord movements I really like that create a specific feel in the listener, and I’d love to examine them, but the only harmonic choices I know that handle unsettlement are Phrygian and Locrian mode mixture, and he’s leagues above that. The whole album is incredible, to the point that I’d call it mandatory listening for any producer, composer, or aficionado.

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