Composer Steven Price has found a unique niche scoring movies dealing with outer space. Following alien horror comedies “Attack the Block” and “The World’s End,” his career took a much more serious turn when Alfonso Cuaron chose him to write the music for “Gravity.”
Price, who has only scored three films, was originally brought on as the film’s music editor, but after a number of conversations with Cuaron, his role changed and, Price semi-jokes, the fear set in. “The great thing about working with Alfonso is he challenges you to think a bit different. He was adamant that we weren’t going to do traditional action scoring. It wasn’t going to be heavily orchestral. It wasn’t going to be percussive. You get very excited about that in the meetings and then you go to the studio the next day and realize you actually agreed to do something you had no idea how you were going to accomplish.”
Cuaron also wanted the music to surround the listener and feel immersive. “Alfonso would talk about defeating the tyranny of the center,” Price says. “He wanted (the music) to move around, like you were following the characters.”
Price was free to create his own galactic soundtrack, which he did by combining acoustic and electronic elements. “If I recorded, say, a cello, it would go through electronic processes so it developed a different kind of character,” he says.
Wanting to give the score a human element, he took breathing and singing sounds and ran them through electronic processors and even brought in a maestro at playing wine glasses. “It sounds kind of otherworldly, but also human, you hear the skin against the glass,” Price says.
“It was a matter of trying different approaches until I felt I was helping the audience feel like they were there with her.”