Monday, November 05, 2012

New Soundtrack: Cloud Atlas

As I type these words, I haven't seen Cloud Atlas yet. But I've been listening to the music for almost two weeks now. Along with the extraordinary visuals in the extended trailer online, I was taken with the music from the start. A little research told me most of the trailer's music wasn't from the film -- but one of the main themes was, and that was enough to whet my appetite for more. •• The movie is directed by three directors, Larry and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. And the score is composed by three composers, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil, and Tom Tykwer. I've been a fan of the composer Tykwer as long as I've been a fan of the director. His work on Perfume and The International were fluid, melodic, and unforgettable. I knew Cloud Atlas would be no different -- especially because music plays such an important role in the narrative. •• The opening notes of the soundtrack are the opening notes of that trailer -- and for anyone who's into film music, the melody's plaintive, wistful longing is magnetic. The melody is heard throughout the score is one way or another, layered with different orchestration and variation as the film's many stories unfold. Sometimes adventurous, sometimes mysterious, sometimes symphonic, this main theme is a versatile beauty. Love theme, march, action set-piece. •• The score culminates in the full "Cloud Atlas Sextet for Orchestra," a 5-minute track that reaches for the classical stars and sometimes, at some moments, achieves it. It sounds like a very old piece of music, which is sort of the point. I kept wishing for more: more development, more variation. (Its brevity is my only beef, really.) I think I could listen to a half hour of it, in awe of unexpected arpeggios and turns of musical phrase. But as it is, there's just the 5 minutes and they'll have to do until (unless) someone sees fit to expand on it. •• For now, what we have is a film score that seems to bring to the film an emotional layer that can only be carried and realized by music. It is the characters' souls and inner longings. Cloud Atlas promises to be an epic film -- and its music more than fulfills that promise.

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