Danny Elfman “Big Mess” & Hans Zimmer “The Art and Soul of Dune” (2021)

     My friend David is one of a kind.  He is one of the most unique people I have ever met, but even more so, he is one of the kindest, most selfless, and genuinely good people I have ever encountered.  I discussed him previously when we listened to Oingo Boingo, and as a fellow blogger and music fan, he is definitely a recurring source of motivation and inspiration on this project.  We met as coworkers in the mid 90’s and we came together with several other friends to form an alliance of runners that continues to limp on (literally) to this day in 2022.  We have logged thousands of miles together over the years, and music is just one of many topics that comes up when he and I, along with others like Dr. Mike, Dwayne, Steve, and past participants like Jim, Mike D., Dave the Sloth, and our runner friends du jour.

     As I asked him for a contribution to the nearing end of my blog, he was the first to suggest two albums, asking me to choose between them.  I decided that for my friend, I certainly could and would invest the time to listen to both albums.  The first taps back into his love for Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo, with Elfman’s second solo album “Big Mess”.  For all of the music Elfman has produced over the years, I’m shocked this is only his second solo album.

     I expected more bouncy 80’s pop and I was caught off-guard by the darkness and intensity of this record.  My first reaction was that it reminded me of Nine Inch Nails, and I wasn’t surprised to learn of some involvement by Trent Reznor in some of the follow-up production on the album.  It may have been a little dark and daunting for me, but if I had to pick out three tracks as favorites, I will go with the opener, “Sorry”, a really intense but enjoyable grind, “Dance With The Lemurs”, which gets me a bit closer to the Oingo Boingo sound I expected, and “Insects”, which actually was a reconfigured Oingo Boingo song that was originally released in 1982.  The new version of “Insects” still had that Nine Inch Nails edge to it, so I went back to the original and was surprised to hear how intense that song was 40 years ago.  Maybe I don’t know Oingo Boingo or Danny Elfman as well as I thought I did…

     His other pick was the recent new score of “Dune” by Hans Zimmer.  This was a hypnotic, trance-like sound of monochromatic sounds and chords that lasted for nearly two hours.  I don’t see myself coming back to this one often, but it did serve as the ideal soundtrack for a grueling run in the summer sun, and I could only think of my friend David as he battles the heat and elements in a much more profound and extended manner than I.  One of the tracks, “Arrakis”, opens with a middle eastern drone, and I am reminded of when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed their tribute to the sands of Kashmir with an Egyptian orchestra.

     For the past two summers, interrupted by wildfires, David is working his way down the entire Pacific Crest Trail.  He has already covered all of Washington and Oregon, which is just mindboggling to think about, and is currently just past Lake Tahoe as he works his way towards the last 1,000 miles down to Mexico.  I highly encourage you to subscribe to his daily blog, wanderingdave.com.  His stories are hilarious and adventurous and moving and unforgettable, just like David is.

     The thousands of miles we have logged together have made me a stronger and healthier man, but it is my soul that is truly enriched by David.  He is a church deacon, a master homebrewer, a disc golfer, a home gardener and farm-ranch owner, a deceptively good pool player, a passionate sports fan, and a devoted lover of music (particularly Danny Elfman), family and friends.  I can’t say enough good words about this man, but hopefully this blog and even more so, his blog, will fill in the gaps where I fall short.  I love David and all of my running friends, and I look forward to many more miles, stories, and songs together.

David, Dwayne, me, Pete, & Dr. Mike – How Many More Miles?

Published by tacopepper

A music fan...

One thought on “Danny Elfman “Big Mess” & Hans Zimmer “The Art and Soul of Dune” (2021)

  1. First, Dave, I am speechless for you kindness and generosity. I cherish your friendship. I am happy that you struggled a bit with my offerings. But you handled them well. One thread you may have overlooked and which is important to me is the ability of music to tell a story. Albums are better at this than songs. So I applaud you for reviewing entire albums. I would love if you would look at the arc of an artist body of work. Anyway, I have enjoyed your blog immensely and I hope you find a way to keep on writing.


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