Brow Beat

How Interstellar’s Stunning Score Was Made

Watching Interstellar, it’s easy to get caught up in Christopher Nolan’s gorgeous, data-rich visualizations of black holes and tidal waves. But as I wrote last week, the film’s score—composed by longtime Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer—is equally (if not more) impressive, both in terms of its emotional heft and its success at finding musical analogs for many of the scientific concepts explored on screen.

In a rare move, Zimmer decided to delay release of the soundtrack for a few weeks after the film’s opening, an effort to encourage audiences to experience it in context and on large theater speakers before revisiting it on their earbuds. That opportunity has finally come with the release of the album on Nov. 18, and in honor of the occasion, Slate is debuting a featurette about the making of the score.

The minidoc offers further details about Nolan and Zimmer’s collaborative process, including the desire to avoid sci-fi genre clichés and to allow Zimmer the freedom to create a largely independent work of art that functions in concert with the film instead of just supporting it. We also get a peek inside London’s Temple Church, home of the massive pipe organ that figures prominently in the music. Nolan explains that he wanted a “feeling of religiosity” in the mix, and, as it turned out, virtuosic organist Roger Sayer was the man to deliver it.

When you’re ready to revisit those profound bass notes and ethereal arpeggios, you’ll have three options to choose from, some of which come with special commemorative packaging: a Star Wheel Constellation Chart Digipak (16 tracks), a deluxe digital-only version (22 tracks), and an Illuminated Star Projection Edition, which includes 30 minutes of otherwise unreleased music (28 tracks). 

Read more about Interstellar in Slate.