“The Geometry of Circles” is an old Phillip Glass-scored Sesame Street cartoon that folks seem to have loved as kids. It spooks the heck out of me (as minimalist music always seems to) . If I’d seen it at the age of 3 I would have had nightmares.Still, it’s brilliant, check out the first 30 seconds, especially the 2-note repetitions, to get the idea:
Watching Transformers, the Decepticons music reminded me of it. Getting past the movie’s booming percussion, dark tones and gigantic reverb, it
shares the same minimalist techniques – repetitive rhythms and stark arpeggios. And in particular, a 2-note motive.
I sort of wondered – maybe this choice was the composer’s way of keeping the story kid-like? Transformers are toys, after all, and I related to it like one of my childhood fantasies. Why not use minimalism to suggest the absolute clarity of good guys vs. bad guys?
Can you hear the similarity? Listen to the vocals starting about 1:30 into this remix:
So is this theory right? Here’s what the composer Steve Jablonsky has to say about it:
The Decepticon theme was an experiment. I had no idea if it would work, but as soon as I heard the choir sing the first few bars, I was happy. It’s not really a theme that you can whistle. It’s more of an evil chant. I wanted it to feel somewhat ancient, and I had a lot of fun with it.
OK, Sesame Street isn’t much of a source of ancient evil chants. So there goes that theory.
Still, I’d say he hit the mark.