By Miles Raymer
December 02, 2014 at 07:34 PM EST
Tim Navis

Along with producing electronic music under the name Deru, producer Benjamin Wynn is also an Emmy Award-winning composer and sound designer. Those two aspects of his musical identity collide on the latest Deru album, 1979, which is not only available in vinyl and digital formats (through Friends of Friends Music) but as a set of nine short films by director Anthony Ciannamea housed in a custom made handheld video projector.

“TV and film scores are something I’ve been working on and thinking about for a long time,” Wynn writes in an email. “While most film scores only serve the project they’re attached to, the outstanding ones stand on their own as great music. The following are some of my favorite transcendent scores from the last decade or so.”

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Cliff Martinez – “First Sleep” – Original Version

“If this weren’t a film score and simply an album, I would love it just the same. Martinez’s use of steel drums seems like a weird choice on paper, but makes perfect sense in the context of the film, sounding both human and alien, recognizable and foreign at the same time.”

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Sinoia Caves – “Elena’s Sound-World”

“I love this film and score. There have been few synth scores that I find as compelling as this one. Everything from drone textures to ’70s-style synth anthems are created with authenticity. Like the film’s visual direction, the score is both period sounding and new at the same time.”

Only Lovers Left Alive

SQÜRL – “Funnel of Love”

“This is an excellent, moody and evocative score that fits the lifestyle and ‘coolness’ of the film’s characters. The main character is a vampire whose hobby is music. You really believe that he’s been holed up in his apartment for hundreds of years trying to get to the essence of this music. It’s an example that the most memorable film scores are often the most unique.”

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – “Rather Lovely Thing”

The Assassination Of Jesse James is compelling music weather you’re watching the film or simply listening to the score. The music references the time period of the film but also makes beautiful music regardless of that context.”


Johann Johannsson – “The Candlelight Vigil”

“Johann Johannsson is a reminder to me, along with people like Max Richter, that the most beautiful scores are often the simplest. Simple not in terms of sophistication, but in knowing that musical ideas are best when presented clearly, unfettered with complexity. It takes courage to present musical ideas in their core, most fundamental form.”

Under the Skin

Mica Levi – “Andrew Void”

“I’m happy to hear processed sounds making their way into film scores. I love that sonic palettes are being expanded in terms of what can be considered a film score, as this wasn’t the case just 10 years ago. This theme, as well as the opening titles to American Horror Story, are impressive examples of processed sounds being used as the main musical materials and not just as textures in the background.”

Waltz With Bashir

Max Richter – “The Haunted Ocean 4”

“Max Richter’s score for this amazing movie is simple, elegant and beautiful music, uncluttered with noise. It is an example of composing with restraint with an underlying theme that resonates throughout the music.”


Michael Nyman – “The Morrow (from Gattaca)”

“I love Nyman’s themes. This score is so memorable and classy. He’s a master.”


Cliff Martinez – “Rubber Head”

“This music created a perfect mood for the film. It makes great driving music and serves the underlying dark tones of the plot. That’s why I’m a bit perplexed that a DJ at the BBC has decided to re-score the film using a crew of different electronic music producers. Why mess with something so good? The newer music will have an exquisitely hard job rivaling the original.”

Donnie Darko

Michael Andrews – “The Artifact & Living”

“This score is classic in my book. Andrews’ instrumentation of upright piano, subtle strings, manipulated voice and vocoder, synth pads, and reverb is golden. His melodies are simple, beautiful, and memorable, and his reinterpretation of Tears for Fears’ ‘Mad World’ is mind blowing.”