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Soundtrack Review

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Game of Thrones
Season 5
Music from the HBO Series


Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Label: WaterTower Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 June 2015

With each new season of Game of Thrones comes a new album with the best of the season's music. The show has benefited from having a single composer throughout its five season run, Ramin Djawadi. Djawadi has created scores for numerous films, including Iron Man, Deception and Pacific Rim. Not confining himself to a single genre or presentation he has also provided scores for television series such as Prison Break, Persons of Interest and of course Game of Thrones.

The new collection opens with the main theme, I can hear you humming away to yourself already. The main theme is a good introduction to Djawadi’s work, in that it is made up of a simple repeated musical phrase, which metamorphoses as the piece progresses. In the case of the main theme this is obviously heading towards a satisfying crescendo. The reason that I point this out is that this structure holds for many of the eighteen tracks on the album. In its construction and explorations on a single theme it very much reminds me of the works of Phillip Glass. Being that this is season five, the track is slightly longer (1 min, 39 sec) to accommodate the ever growing opening sequence.

'Blood' (1 min, 33 sec) is another full orchestral piece. One of the things you notice is that after scoring the show for five seasons he has a lot of character and action themes to draw upon and in this sense 'Blood', for the most part, revisits the same theme as the opening sequence, but where there is something quite strident about the first piece, 'Blood' is more of a feeling of threat and foreboding.

'House' (5 min, 09 sec) and Djawadi conjures a dreamy, ethereal soundscape provided by the string and woodwind section. Of course, this is Thrones, so occasionally an atonic raspy string section breaks through, like a reminder that everything is not going to be ok.

'Jaws' (2 min, 31 sec) starts with a melancholic violin before being interrupted by musical discord. The track settles down to the show's general feeling of dread.

'Hardhome' gets two tracks: 'Part 1' (5 min, 07 sec) and 'Part 2' (4 min, 32 sec). 'Part 1' starts out quietly before being interrupted by the urgency of sawing violins, which are joined by strident drums. Elements from the main theme are woven in between the main melody, like a form of musical contest. 'Part 2' sees a return to the 'Hardhome' theme and is, overall, not dissimilar to 'Part 1' in its construction.

'Mothers' (2 min, 15 sec) is another of the shorter string pieces which succeeds in being haunting with just an edge of dread.

The themes and structures are revisited throughout the final tracks, swinging between beautifully sweeping violins to teeth rattling discord, as the music reflects the sorrows and lows of the story.

The remaining tracks are 'Kill' (2 min, 07); 'Dance' (3 min, 09 sec) revisits both the main theme and Deneris’s more militaristic theme. I’m guessing, here be dragons. For the rest you get 'Kneel for' (4 min, 45 sec); 'High' (3 min, 23 sec); 'Before' (2 min, 38 sec); 'Atonement' (2 min, 54 sec); 'I Dreamt' (2 min ,17 sec); 'The Wars' (4 min, 48 sec); 'Forgive Me' (3 min, 18 sec); 'Son of' (5 min, 18 sec); and 'Throne' (1 min, 20 sec) is reminiscent of Aragon’s song in The Lord of the Rings, but with more of an eastern feel to the music.

Overall it’s an impressive album. Some may accuse it of reusing too many themes, but they are never presented in exactly the same way. The experience is more akin to viewing events through a prism, things which seem the same are revealed in their differences.


Charles Packer

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