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The Heart is a Lonely Drummer

In addition to its other innovations, ”Birdman” employs a musical score that’s almost entirely percussion

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Birdman is a film that breaks rules, including with its score. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu wanted a sonic backdrop that matched his movie’s frenetic spirit, so he turned to his friend Antonio Sanchez, a Grammy-winning jazz drummer. They created a soundtrack heavy on drums, light on melody.

To capture the rough sound Iñárritu desired, Sanchez recorded the tracks on an intentionally ramshackle kit. ”I taped the heads to deaden them, and I put stuff on the cymbals to make them sound broken,” he says. On some tracks, Sanchez dubbed in more drums to amp up the cacophony. ”The more sound, the better,” he says. ”If I had a frying pan that sounded cool, Alejandro would have loved it.”