This is an interesting excerpt about the score for GRAVITY by Steven Price from the Wired article linked earlier in this thread.
I LOVE the score and have been pretty much listening to it nonstop since the film came out:
“Ordinarily in an action film you’re often competing with explosions and god knows what else, whereas with this [movie] music could do things a different way,” Gravity’s composer Steven Price told WIRED. “With everything we did we would try and look beyond the normal way of doing things. … [For] some of the action sequences where there are explosions, I knew that my music had to – those explosions had to be inherent.”
So what went out the window (or airlock) in the process? Percussion. Omitting it was Cuarón’s rule, Price said, to avoid the “cliché of action scoring.” Instead they wanted to get the same swooping cinematic effect without using the usual tricks, like loud drums and crashing cymbals. There are booming ominous tones, mind you, but not the thud of timpani drums often in thriller or action flicks.
The composer, who previously scored Attack the Block and The World’s End, also was tasked with conveying the emotions characters were feeling, but that they couldn’t necessarily verbalize. His job, essentially, was to make the audience understand what a character was feeling through mood music — meaning he would place overwhelming sounds in places where, say, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) couldn’t easily say, “Man, I sure am overwhelmed by all this space.”
As a result the score for Gravity serves as more than just musical accompaniment – it also provides the movie’s sound effects. There are some non-music sounds that would be space audible, like the ones transmitted by vibrations characters feel in their spacesuits, but for the most part everything that happens in open space is accompanied only by Price’s music and the voices of Stone and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), which “freed up the rest of the frequency spectrum for me,” Price noted.
Price used a mix of organic and electronic sounds to meld the natural world of space with the mechanical world one of the space exploration. There are also moments where he took an analog instrument – a cello, for example, or even a human voice – and ran its notes through a synthesizer or processor in order to create a whole new sound. And for the opening song on the score, “Above Earth,” Price took a track he was already working on and slowed it to about 1/60th its original speed. “Basically,” Price said, “what you’re hearing is the space between the notes.”
Perhaps the most interesting sound in Gravity is one that – like a scream in space – you can’t really hear in the film. There’s a fizzing noise at the end of the song “ISS,” created when Price funneled a trumpet recording through an old synthesizer that he’d borrowed from a friend. The effect sounded great, but it ended up destroying the music machine. While it’s difficult to discern during the action of the film, the noise is audible on the soundtrack.
“You can hear the synth dying,” Price said. “We killed it. It synthed its last. It made a great noise, but sadly not one I can ever repeat.”
It will be Oscar nominated for sure and I'll be very happy if it wins.