You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fighter’ taps Brook’s avant-rock sensibility

Michael Brook - 'The Fighter,' 'Country Strong'

Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional.

For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in “Fighter” were orchestrated with bowed wine glasses and processed marimbas.

“I like to use both an intuitive and experimental approach,” he explains. “You start by setting up the experiment in a rational way with a rigid structure.”

Brook’s deft application of both minimalism and the occasional forceful crescendo in “Fighter” succeed in accentuating a torrent of emotional currents, not to mention the intensity of mano-a-mano battle, washing through the gritty, blue-collar Americana of 1970s Lowell, Mass.

Like Danny Elfman, Brook’s avant-rock roots helped form a distinctive film resume, defined by his signature tonal atmospherics in scores for “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Into The Wild.”

But early in his musical career, the Canadian-born Brook worked as an engineer with U2 producer Daniel Lanois. His background as a performing musician, producer, and inventor of the perpetually looping “infinite guitar” led to a long association with Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. There he crafted a series of exotic, acclaimed recordings that fused traditional ethnic voices and instrumentation with the pulsing throb of the latest electronic beats, most notably with the late Pakistani Sufi master, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

“Anything you do in music affects what you do later in music,” explains Brook. “Using studio equipment to manipulate sound was something I learned from Brian Eno.” Eno’s penchant for sonic design and minimalism is echoed in the music he composed for “The Fighter.”

“Something that struck me about it was how eerily real it felt,” he says of the film, “like an ‘uber-documentary,’ it had a sort of hyper-reality to it.”

Given the heady subject matter and the steady inclusion of classic rock and R&B songs, Brook’s scoring had to focus on a few critical scenes. “You look at the part of the scene that’s not on the screen, then you try to complete it,” says Brook. “Particularly working in ambient music, you actually want to give someone an incomplete piece of music, and allow the listener to put something of themselves into it.”

Get more from Eye on the Oscars: Music:
Music branch can’t please all the people | Song category hangs by thread | Daft Punk immersed in ‘Tron’ | Songs in contention
Contenders:
Michael Brook | Carter Burwell | Danny Elfman | Grizzly Bear | Jan Kaczmarek | Rachel Portman | Anton Sanko

More Film

  • Cinema Audio Society 2018 Winners: 'Dunkirk,'

    'Dunkirk,' 'Game of Thrones' Win Cinema Audio Society Awards for Sound Mixing

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • Kazuhiro Tsuji Darkest Hour Makeup artist

    'Darkest Hour,' 'American Horror Story' Lead Make-up and Hair Stylists Guild Winners

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • Isle of Dogs

    The 10 Best Films of the 2018 Berlin Film Festival

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • Indian Actress Sridevi Kapoor Arrives For

    Legendary Bollywood Actress Sridevi Dies at 54

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • NMHC Impact Awards

    Aubrey Plaza, NHMC President Call Out Under-Representation of Latinos at Impact Awards

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • Emma Chambers'HOW DO YOU WANT ME'

    'Notting Hill' Actress Emma Chambers Dies at 53

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

  • Las herederas The Heiresses

    Berlin Double Silver Bear Winner 'The Heiresses' Sells Major Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Having fashioned the underscore for David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the forthcoming Gwyneth Paltrow country music vehicle, “Country Strong,” Michael Brook’s profile as a film composer appears on the upswing, but his methods are anything but conventional. For example, the rich textures and swelling ambience that accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s and Christian Bale’s performances in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content