Reimagining The Sound Of 'Sherlock Holmes'
By James Grahame
Sherlock Holmes is back, although not quite the way you remember him. Gone are the horrendous deerstalker caps and "Elementary, my dear Watson" nonsense. In their place, director Guy Ritchie gives us bare-chested fistfights, vertigo-inducing carriage chases and explosions galore. Not the sort of thing you'd usually expect from our Victorian hero. Somehow, it all works. Robert Downey Jr's neurotic action-hero version of Holmes with Jude Law as his sidekick Watson gives the franchise a much-needed kick in the woolen trousers.
It's not just the look that has been reinvented. Composer Hans Zimmer leaned on the unique talents of our old friend Diego Stocco, who once destroyed a piano with a blowtorch and has been known to make music with live trees.
Stocco's latest Frankeninstrument is the Experibass -- a multi-headed beast which incorporates bits and pieces of violin, viola and cello amplified through the body of a double bass (don't worry, luthier John Wu graciously provided parts from mortally wounded instruments to create this unique musical monster).
In Diego's capable hands, the instrument is breathtakingly energetic. It offers up a unique palette of ethereal screeches, mournful drones and relentless resonant percussion. Zimmer encouraged him to explore the edges of the instrument's sonic capabilities. Stocco told me, "It's actually very exposed in the mix, if you take a listen to the previews of tracks 1, 7 and 12 [on the soundtrack CD] you can hear the grooves played with drum sticks and hands, the heavy bowed basses and lots of other colors."
Love it or loathe it, Sherlock Holmes has been dragged into the 21st Century with Guy Ritchie's frenetic directorial style, Hans Zimmer's organic score and Diego Stocco's magnificently mangled instrument.