Denis Villeneuvethe big screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune is a huge hit and a pretty great movie. Hans zimmerThe score, as well as the sound design of the film, can shake your bones in a theater equipped with Dolby Atmos and is probably the least subtle part of the film. Some music fans might have thought “wow, he’s stepping into Dead Can Dance territory here,” especially on tracks like “Paul’s Dream” and “Gom Jabbar” which feature mystical chants and moans. There is a reason for this: it is in fact The dead can dance‘s Lisa Gerrard on the soundtrack.
“There was an incredible commitment from singer Lisa Gerrard, who was in Australia, and I kept torturing her and she invented this language of her own,” Zimmer said. Indiewire. “It could come from the future, it could come from another world. And there was this linguist [David Peterson from ‘Game of Thrones’] on the film, who invented a language, and I chose things that would sing well.
Gerrard, who also worked with Zimmer on the Gladiator score, is part of a choir of singers that the composer has used on Dune, led by singer Loire Cotler, who represents the dominant women in history: Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), mother of the central character Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet); the mysterious order of Bene Gesserit; and Chani (Zendaya), the Fremen freedom fighter who inhabits Paul’s dreams. “Denis and I decided early on that women drive the story and have the strength,” Zimmer added. “And so I thought of some extraordinarily talented singers, and I kept thinking, wherever you are in the future, the instruments will change due to technology, and we could be a lot more experimental, but the only one thing that remains is the human voice, of which there is a lot.
There are actually three different Dune soundtracks available: the soundtrack, the “Dune Sketchbook” which includes extended sequels of all the music created by Zimmer for the film, and a soundtrack associated with “The Art and Soul of Dune” (Insight Editions) which is a book about the film. You can listen to Gerrard and Cotler on Sketchbook of the dunes below.
Dead Can Dance’s fall tour has been postponed due to Covid.