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Hans Zimmer to Score Blade Runner 2049 with Johann Johannsson

By Kevin Burwick — July 30th, 2017

Hans Zimmer will be scoring Blade Runner 2049 with Benjamin Wallfisch as well as the previously announced composer Johann Johannsson who has been attached to the movie since the beginning. The music and sound design of Ridley Scott's 1982 movie Blade Runner was composed by Vangelis and is considered to be a legendary and important piece in the electronic music genre. Vangelis wrote the majority of the original score in London at his studio, writing and recording everything on his own.

Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve spoke to France's Cine Live about the musical change in direction and was translated via PressReader. The director says that Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch are coming on to help Johann Johannsson with the score, which has been called a monumental task by Johannsson. Villeneuve explains.

"Johann Johannsson of Iceland composes the main theme as planned. However, given the scale of the task, Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer joined the team to help Johann. It's hard to get to Vangelis angle. We have Johann's breathtaking atmospheric sounds, but I needed other things, and Hans helped us."

Denis Villeneuve has previously worked with Johannsson on Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. Wallfisch is best known for composing the score to Hidden Figures and the upcoming movies Annabelle: Creation, and the remake of Steven King's IT.

Johann Johannsson has been attached to Blade Runner 2049 since the project was announced. The composer has praised the work of Vangelis on the first Blade Runner movie as well as other work that Vangelis has done and stated that following in his footsteps is "an enormous challenge of mythical proportion." It appears as if Johannsson wasn't kidding since Hans Zimmer and Wallfisch have been brought on to help finish the project, which is an exciting prospect to see what the trio come up with together.

Villeneuve has said in the past that Johannsson has written a new theme that has firm influences from Vangelis' work on the original movie and that will apparently remain in the finished movie untouched. Vangelis recorded, mixed, and produced the score for Blade Runner in his studio Nemo Studios in 1982. He used a lot of contemporary synthesizers to create atmospheric soundscapes to match the feeling of the scenes. Vangelis also started to use the synthesizer for sound design and foley purposes, a technique that has since become commonplace in Hollywood, but was revolutionary at the time. In addition to the synthesized sounds, Vangelis also brought in natural sounds like a Fender Rhodes piano, though it was modified through the use of electronic devices.

Vangelis' score for the original Blade Runner movie was so popular among soundtrack and electronic music fans that it was heavily bootlegged throughout the 1980s. It is apparent that the legend of Vangelis looms large over Johannsson and Villeneuve and bringing in Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch should go a long way in helping to capture the feeling of the first movie. Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters on October 6th, 2017. In the meantime, check out Vangelis' score to the original movie below.

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