November 24, 2002

Catch-up (part 2: My Donnie Darko Soundtrack)

[Continued from yesterday.]

Now I’ve got the DVD-ROM in my Win2k box. I tried three different DVD “ripping” (“decoding”?) applications from DVD decrypter, SmartRipper, and vStrip. DVD Decrypter [sic] was easy to use and worked first time off. I got it to extract a VOB file. (I’ll come back to the others later.)

Now that I had this VOB file, presumably unencrypted, I needed to get the AC3 stream out of it. I tried using BeSweet and BeSweet GUI for this. I was able to get BeSweet to generate an AC3 file, but as near as I could tell it was decoding it to PCM/WAV, then re-encoding it to AC3! Who wants that? Not darky. After playing with it for a long time, it always seemed like it was doing unnecessary steps.

After playing with BeSweet long enough, it occurred to me that perhaps I should try opening the file with Sound Forge to test if it really did recognize it. Of course, it did not. Even if I ripped it to “AC3 WAV” (presumably AC3 audio in a WAV package) no dice. Lesson to the reader: Sound Forge 5.0 does (did?) not do AC3, at least not out of the box with no plug-ins.

So now I needed a WAV file, and BeSweet looked happy enough to make that. BeSweet sure does have a lot of options though. In the end I think I was able to make it generate a PCM WAV file at 48KHz, but not in 24-bit. (BTW, Andy wants you to do know that he doesn’t think AC3 on a DVD is 24-bit. I’m just unsure.) I was displeased with this. I also think it was trying to normalize the files, or resample them itself, and I don’t really trust anyone but me and Sound Forge to do things like this.

Then I remembered a utility I had downloaded earlier, HeadAC3he. A little poking around and I realized that HeadAC3he does a simple decode from AC3 to PCM WAV. It would do 24-bit, 48KHz (not resampled, as near as I can tell) and seemed to allow me to turn off normalization. It had significantly less options, which is probably good for a beginner like me. (Note that I think HeadAC3he is pretty much just a front end for Azid.) HeadAC3he, though, wouldn’t give me a straight AC3 stream.

So next I tried SmartRipper. It looked like it had pretty much the same features as DVD Decrypter, which means I couldn’t really figure out how to make it strip the AC3 from a VOB file and write it to a separate file.

So I tried vStrip, and it had more options, including ones that explicitly indicated they would write the AC3 to a separate file. It even offered to put “AC3 headers” on the file, though it wasn’t recommended. Tip for using vStrip: to select just one chapter, right click the chapter and hit the selection that’s something like “set beginning and end from this chapter”. vStrip actually seems to work based on some linear address within the DVD title, so clicking this sets the beginning and end addresses from the beginning and end of the chapter. Another tip: when it wants the IFO (or IDX? INF? Something like that) file for the title, and you’re doing title one from the DVDVOB_01.IFO (instead of something like VOB_01_01.IFO); this file is for the whole DVD or something, and vStrip won’t be able to read it to get (presumably) the list of chapters and stuff. In the end, vStrip did give me an AC3 file that I was able to decode with HeadAC3he. However, playing the file it sounded sped up and screwed up, which I’m guessing was some sort of sampling rate problem. At any rate, I was exasperated with the situation at this point, so I threw out the more difficult to use vStrip.

Back to SmartRipper, I managed to find a tutorial somewhere on the Internet (sorry, link lost now) talking about how to do exactly what I wanted to do: rip the AC3 stream (correctly) from a file using SmartRipper. The trick is selecting the “Demux” option in the channel selection when you select the audio stream (i.e., 0x81 in my case for the two channel DD audio). If you select just the chapter you want, and just the audio stream, and the demux option, it magically takes the filename you’ve chosen to save to and appends some information to make it unique and indicate that it’s an AC3 stream; it tacks on a .AC3 extension too. I popped this file into HeadAC3he and voila! A correct-sounding WAV file. For the record, I found SmartRipper’s interface to be better in the end, if not exactly prettier, than DVD Decrypter’s interface.

So now I could make WAV files for each chapter I wanted. I will say that the files seemed to have a lot of background noise. I’m hoping that’s accurate from the DVD and not an artifact of the process I used to get the audio from the DVD. I tried running Sonic Foundry’s Noise Reduction plugin over the audio a couple times but it made the voices sound unacceptably modified. I need to play with it again, I think, because the noise on some of the tracks seems really noticeable, especially when you turn it up loud (like I have to on my shitty car stereo when my engine is being especially loud).

I used Sonic Foundry CD Architect to put the CD together and Sound Forge to edit the files. I did a bunch of fade in/fade out at the beginning/end of tracks, which was especially necessary with all the background noise in some cases. It was hard to get a clip of the characters speaking from the middle of the scene where there might not have been a lot of silence around the part I wanted, because then I had to fade in or fade out very quickly and it sounded kind of funny. I played with taking a bit of noisy silence and pasting it repeatedly at the end of a file, for example, but wherever the paste starts you hear a click; any suggestions for getting rid of this would be welcomed.

As far as normalization, the people at Hydrogen Audio would probably like you to know about MP3Gain. This utility will apparently normalize an MP3 in place; as in, it doesn’t require a decode to PCM, normalize, then a re-encode back to MP3. Pretty neat. Not useful for what I was doing, of course, but still pretty neat. MP3 gain, however, does talk about how you should normalize for “loudness” and not maximum peak value. This sounded like a good idea; I think (hope) this is the same feature as normalizing to “average RMS value” in Sound Forge. However, when I looked at the DD soundtrack tracks I ripped (using EAC BTW) they all seemed to be peaked right at 0dB. I took this to mean they normalized to 0dB peak value, like I thought most every CD usually is. Reconsidering this right now, I suppose they could have normalized the RMS value and just did some “dynamic compression” or whatever when it was going to result in clipping; I should probably try this, though honestly normalizing to maximum peak sounds fine in the result. My clips are still normalized to 0dB peak value.

I needed some songs (see track listing below) which were in DD but not on the soundtrack. I tried LimeWire (Gnutella network) first and found several of the tracks I was looking for. LimeWire and Gnutella are not specifically geared towards MP3, though, so there weren’t any options for searching for minimum bit rate and things like that. Plus, it seemed I was finding all 128Kbps tracks. Unacceptable. I then tried Kazaa and there wasn’t a lot of anything there either. Then I got WinMX. If you want to do music sharing, it seems WinMX is the client to use. In addition to having its own network, it will also connect to any number of OpenNAP networks (which are surprisingly – to me, at least — still in existence). Its interface seems a bit shoddy, but it works. I got a number of fast downloads, too. It’ll even let you do a search for “MP3/Ogg files of at least 192Kbps” (of course, I’m not quite sure what that does for an Ogg file). I found most every track I wanted there.

Without further adieu, here is the listing for my DD soundtrack as it stands now:

1. Carpathian Ridge

20. We Are Losing Them (clip)

2. The Killing Moon

21. Slipping Away

3. Wake up (clip)

22. Wacko Son (clip)

4. The Tangent Universe

23. Rosie Darko

5. The Artifact and the Living

24. Cellar Door (clip)

6. They Said He Was Doomed (clip)

25. Cellar Door

7. Head Over Heels

26. Hungry Hungry Hippos

8. The Plan (clip)

27. Ensurance Trap

9. Middlesex Times

28. Proud To Be Loud

10. Superhero (clip)

29. Love Will Tear Us Apart

11. Manipulated Living

30. Tragedy In Their Blood (clip)

12. Ms. Farmer’s Card (clip)

31. Under the Milky Way

13. Philosophy of Time Travel

32. Waltz in the 4th Dimension

14. Every Living Thing Dies (clip)

33. Time Travel

15. Liquid Spear Waltz

34. Mad World

16. Gretchen Ross

35. Did You Know Him (clip)

17. Stupid Bunny Suit (clip)

36. Did You Know Him

18. Notorious

37. Mad World (alternate version)

19. Burn It To the Ground

Some notes: I’ve used poor/inconsistent capitalization above; I apologize. If I include a formal track listing with the final version (which I think I would) I’ll make better efforts to correct it. “The Killing Moon” is by Echo and the Bunnymen, heard at the beginning of the movie while Donnie is riding his bike home. “Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears is played during the tour through the school and introduction to all the characters at school in the beginning of the movie. (Was it his first day at school? I kind of think it was. October?) “Notorious” by Duran Duran is what Sparkle Motion dances to.

“Proud To Be Loud” is supposedly credited to “Dead Green Mummies” on the film, but is apparently by either Pantera or Keel. Pantera may have done a remake of Keel’s song, but the Pantera album “Proud To Be Loud” appeared on was in 1988 according to All Music Guide (Power Metal I believe; hey, are albums underlined? They are right now) so I figure this is likely the correct song/version/whatever. Also note that the few times I’ve found this track by “Keel” on WinMX, it has always sounded identical to the ones credited to Pantera. This song, BTW, is playing the first time we see the party in the Darko house, as Donnie is walking down the stairs and pulls the hood on his sweatshirt up over him. It’s quite faint, but I was able to pick out some vocals and this indeed sounds like the Pantera tracks I’ve been pulling down. I may stick a clip of Elizabeth saying OK to the party but “it has to be small” preceding this; it looked to me like the party was anything but small. I also don’t like Pantera, so believe me when I say I’ve considered not including this track at all.

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” is by Joy Division (IIRC) and is playing when Gretchen arrives at the party. “Under the Milky Way” is by The Church, played when Donnie and Gretchen are coming back downstairs after… er, spending some private time together upstairs. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.) I had to get Gretchen saying “some people are just born with tragedy in their blood” (something to that effect, at least), but it’s got “Love Will Tear Us Apart” audibly playing in the background. I’d love to sync this up with the actual song, perhaps, or get rid of it entirely, but I’m not sure either are particularly do-able. Right now, the end of that clip has an annoying drum beat that’s particularly loud for some reason, louder than the song during the rest of the clip. It’s really pissing me off. I with they had included a version of the audio without any music in it… but who the hell would want that, besides me?

As you’ve noticed, this has become somewhat of an obsession for me. Though the result is 37 (or 38) tracks, I assure you it still fits on a 74 minute CD. The songs from the score and my clips are real short. Oh, and before I forget, finding out which songs were in the movie was helped a great deal by the Donnie Darko FAQ, which may be unattended these days. Note that I do have INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” in a reasonable quality, but because it wasn’t used in the final version I opted for leaving it out. I doubt I could squeeze it in to a 74 minute CD anyway. At some point I will release at least some of these tracks, probably, and maybe the CD Architect file. Maybe I’ll even send the full album to people who ask nicely.

I’ll close this out now and move on to my laptop adventures for the next entry. Maybe I’ll go clean my bathtub and/or some kitty poop before I do that. Dinner with the parents tonight at 1830 at the Melting Pot.

Comments (43)

  1. March 4, 2003
    Jeff Masters said...

    Glad to see that everyone loves that movie as much as I do, including the soundtrack. I was wondering if you knew the song that plays in the movie theatre when Donnie sees Frank, during The Evil Dead when Frank asks “Have you ever seen a port-hole?”

    Please let me know if you do.

    Jeff Masters

    by the way, my sister works at the Melting Pot in Kansas City

  2. March 4, 2003
    Cial said...

    The Missing Song! ;b

    Hi! I’ve found your page when I was making my own full-track CD of Donnie Darko. I’d the 18 CD tacks but… where have I record the rest of songs?

    Anyway… at the end of the page you ask for the song that plays in the movie theatre when Donnie sees Frank.

    I’ve found this information too!

    The following lines are pasted from a forum:

    “Missing music, February 21, 2003

    Reviewer: A music fan from Los Angeles

    A classical piece is played during Donnie’s conversation with Frank in the movie theater and in the ending credits, titled “For Whom the Bells Toll,” by Steve Baker and Carmen Daye. Name of the album is Voicing the Classic Part 2, produced by Associated Production Music. However, neither the song nor the album is available to consumers, which is a shame because this song was the reason I bought the soundtrack in the first place. I really loved that melody and wish I knew where to find it…. However, you have to be a regular customer who works in showbiz or some kind of venue that relies on a constant flow of new and interesting music.”

    Cheers! ;b

  3. May 5, 2003
    Kandis said...

    Has anyone ever heard Finch’s cover of the Mad World song?? If you have please e-mail me, and let me know where I can find it…..


  4. June 11, 2003
    Tom Holloway said...

    Good to know someone else out there admires “Donnie Darko” way too much–like me. I was going to set about creating a soundtrack (like you have)until I happened upon your great log of how you did. I am VERY interested in obtaining a copy of your finished product, either electronically or hard copy. Any possibility of doing so would be forever appreciated!
    P.S. Has Baker & Daye’s “For Whom the Bells Toll” made its way onto your soundtrack since last posting? I guess that would be the capper.
    –Tom Holloway

  5. September 6, 2003
    Keri said...

    Hello, Yeah, fellow lover, whatnot..I’ve been looking all over the place trying to download Head Over Heels, and I’m too cheap to buy it…do you have any suggestions? Oh, your soundtrack sounds really nice, I thought the official one was a little lacking although still satisfying…

  6. October 22, 2003
    Megan said...

    wow. it looks like you’ve put a lot of work into compiling this list, and i think it’ll be worth it.
    i’d also be really interested in getting a copy of your finished product.


  7. November 2, 2003
    Laura Dixon said...

    Where can I find the Donnie Darko version of Mad World by Gary Jules as a .wav file? i really want it so i can have it as my start music when I log onto my profile.

  8. November 2, 2003
    Laura :p said...

    I would also really apreciate a copy of your soundtrack, i was very intrigued by your specific parts of the film in which the music was played, i myself is a big Donnie Darko fan, its a brilliant film!

  9. November 9, 2003
    Lisa said...

    I’ve seen DD yersterday and now I am, as everybody, constructing my own Soundtrack (Is the only film I know in wich the Soundtrack is made by songs appearing, songs never arrived to, and songs people can imagine on the movie (i.e. Just like heaven)).
    I have problems to find some tracks, and at least one confussion: The “Ave Maria” and the “For whom the bell tolls” I found are the same song ┐wich is the wrong one?. The one I have is supossed to be at the end credits and theater scene.
    It hasn’t to be a easy Soundtrack the one for Donie Darko..

  10. December 6, 2003
    Beth said...

    uhhhh DONNIE ::dies::

    I love Donnie Darko

  11. December 13, 2003
    Mat said...

    Very nice work. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of ‘For Whom The Bells Toll’ though.

  12. December 13, 2003
    bec said...

    Wow, I am impressed by your compulation. I too would be interested in getting a copy of the soundtrack. I actually have a large number of people that would be interested in getting even a small portion of the songs you have found.
    please feel free to contact me if you are interested in sharing.


  13. December 28, 2003
    brandon said...

    Donnie Darko sound clips. I am looking for audio clips from the Donnie Darko Movie. I am also creating a custom soundtrack by mixing the score and the sountrack. I really want audio clips to compliment this. Thanks. -b-

  14. January 8, 2004
    Helen said...


    I don’t think what I say may impress you considering many people have praised you on your list. But to be honest, your list is very complete and I am speechless. I have been searching for the songs and came across your link and what caught my eye was the part “Maybe I’ll even send the full album to people who ask nicely.” So I am sending you this message hoping that you will send me a copy…I am actually in search of the songs as a present for someone that very much adores the movie.



  15. January 9, 2004
    darkness said...

    Helen, I tried to send e-mail to you but Prodigy refused my mail (probably a dial-up user blocking list). If you can mail me from another e-mail address I’ll send you the necessary information.

    If I’ve missed anyone’s request, either here or via e-mail, apologies.


  16. January 10, 2004
    helen said...


    Thanks for replying. I tried to email you initially but it came back with a delivery error. I just attempted again but the same issue occurred. So as of right now I am not quite sure what to do. Any advice?


  17. January 13, 2004
    Randall Flagg said...

    Many of you are wondering about that very slow, beautiful and haunting classical/operatic piece in the film Donnie Darko. It is indeed called “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (it is NOT Ave Maria which is an entirely different song) written by Carmen Daye and Steve something or other. Here’s the thing – it is well-nigh impossible to get as it is NOT a commercial piece and is owned by a production company and used in production pieces (whatever THEY are). Here is the

  18. January 15, 2004
    Vanessa said...

    Hi, After hours of searching on line for the actual 80′s soundtrack of Donnie Darko, it makes me mad that they only did the score! So it seems as though you are the only brilliant one to have done what you did. What do I have to do to get a copy of your soundtrack? I don’t have a CD burner, and I wouldn’t know where to begin to even try to download music. (I’m not computer literate.) So, if it’s a possibility to get a copy I’d be very grateful, or I’ll have to settle with buying the Score Soundtrack. =( Thanks for your time. Vanessa in So. California =) Please respond, with a yeah, or nay. Thanks!

  19. January 18, 2004
    Jay said...

    Is there any way to get the cd, Voicing the Classic – Part Two? Theres gotta be away to get it without going through all the hassel. If anyone can get that email me. especially “For Whom The Bell Tolls”

  20. January 18, 2004
    Mark said...

    here’s a link with the full soundtrack CD, plus most of the 80s songs from the film:

    and here is an mp3 of “for whom the bell tolls” (the cimema music)

  21. January 19, 2004
    Makilach said...

    I think what you have done is awesome. I tried once to create my own Final Fantasy SDTK and it did not go so well (probably due to my limited audio manipulation skills). I would love to have a copy of your work digital or hard copy. Anyway thanks for posting this, I really appreciate an expanded list for the SDTK.

  22. February 5, 2004
    Scott said...

    Mark! Thank you so much for providing a link to “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.. it’s so beautiful. I’ve been looking for it for over a week after finally seeing Donnie Darko..

  23. February 16, 2004
    joseph said...

    if you still need help polishing up your soundtrack, let me know. I am a music editor and can make it sound perfect. I even have some of the original material (like the score) already.

  24. February 20, 2004
    renee said...

    Hi, i had come across this site while desperatly trying to find the 80′s songs in the Donnie Darko movie. The most impossible to find is the “proud to be loud” by the Dead Green Mummies . I cant seem to find anything on that song!! From reading above it says that it may have been performed by Pantera instead? is that the exact song? and is it possible to be able to download the mp3 anywhere???? help pleeeeze!! ive been lookin for weeks- im an 80′s addict

  25. February 26, 2004
    Linsey said...

    I AM SO ECSTATIC RIGHT NOW! I can’t believe I finally found “for whom the bell tolls!” I have been looking for it for so long and it’s one of my most favorite songs from the film! I can’t believe it’s hardly anywhere online! I’m happy. Thanks Mark! You’ve made my day. I’m gonna add it to my soundtrack!

  26. March 6, 2004
    Ryan said...

    Thank you sooooooooo much for the link to “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. This song is so eerie yet so beautiful at the same time. I absolutely love it. I was going to kill myself if i couldnt get it. Thank you.

  27. March 21, 2004
    Lidia said...

    Thank you so much for posting this information! I’ve been collecting my own Donnie Darko soundtrack and this site has been so helpful! I am eternally grateful. Especially for the link to “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. That song had been killing me! Thanx again.

  28. March 27, 2004
    Lance said...

    Finally! “For Whom the Bell Tolls”! Thanks so much for providing the link. This is one of the most moving and beautiful pieces of film music I’ve ever heard.

  29. March 31, 2004
    Chris said...

    I’ve been looking all over for the “Wake Up” clip to use for my startup sound. Haven’t found anything though and though I just ordered the DVD I don’t have the tools on linux to rip it… could you possibly either point me to a link to it or send it to me? Thanks for all your work!

  30. April 14, 2004
    Anonymous said...

    i also desperately require the ‘wake up’ clip to make my soundtrack complete.could u possibly sent me a link to a site where i can download it. cheers dude.

  31. April 14, 2004
    darky said...

    Person asking for the wake up clip above, you’ve neglected to leave an e-mail address. Either leave one or mail me directly, please.


  32. April 15, 2004
    Henry said...

    i now enclose my e mail address

  33. April 15, 2004
    Anonymous said...

    ps are you aware u can download ‘for whom the bell tolls’ @

  34. May 6, 2004
    DanaMarie said...

    I tried emailing you, but it came back to me failed. So, this is my overly sad and pathetic attempt at asking nicely for you to please, please send me some movie sound clips. I have the rest of the soundtrack already and some clips, but it’s just not *complete*. I’m not sure if you have all the clips and just didn’t put them on your soundtrack, but I have some that you don’t have listed. Maybe we could trade? Either way, I would seriously love you x 752. :)

  35. May 6, 2004
    darky said...

    For the record I fixed my e-mail address, so I should receive mail to once again.


  36. May 17, 2004
    Dan said...

    I stumbled on your site after almost finishing my DD Sountrack, even with for whom the bell tolls. Which is also weird that I have the stuff in almost the same exact order as well. Anyway I am looking for some clips to add. Can you be of any help? Thanks

  37. June 10, 2004
    Frank said...

    hey, i’ve been looking for days for DD wav files .. if you can point me in the right direction , let me know … thanks

  38. June 27, 2004
    Barst said...

    there’s already said/asked quite a lot about “for whom the bell tolls”, still i’d like to ask: if that song is called “for whom the bell tolls”, then what does the version of “ave maria” used in the film sound like? what do you know about the song “show me” i can’t find it anywhere, neither can i find “lucid assembly”.
    i do have a song called “lucid memory”, which is supposed to be in the film, but you don’t mention that song on your site.
    i’ve never heard “hungry hungry hippos”, and no other site than this one, mentions the song, why is that?
    i’ve heard “never tear us apart” has been used for the director’s cut, in stead of “the killing moon”, and “west end girls” in stead of “notorious”, so perhaps you can put these tracks on your UST as bonus tracks, if you like.
    PS i don’t have “never tear us apart”

  39. March 2, 2005
    Ben said...

    Good job! OK, so this comment is a year or so late. I was wondering if I could trouble you for the “Wake up” .wav file?

  40. March 2, 2005
    Ohad said...

    Hey guys i was wondering what song was played on the party ? Before donnie goes upstairs ? anybody knows ?
    It was quite a fast beating dark rock song.
    Btw i saw it on the director’s cut (dunno if it matters).

    thanks :)

  41. November 23, 2005
    SimpleCivil said...


    The song that was played at the party before he went upstairs was “Under the Milky Way tonight” by “The Church”
    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of “For whom the bell tolls” mp3. I downloaded it last year from but that link is no longer working. It got erased from my
    computer and would love to have another copy


  42. April 8, 2006
    Collie Entragain. said...

    I have “For Whom The Bell Tolls” downloaded SimpleCivil.
    Leave your email address and I’ll send the MP3 to you.

  43. May 3, 2006
    STEVE said...

    I would absolutely love “For Whom the Bells Toll”!!!
    Thanks in advance.