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Soundtrack Review

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Black Panther
Original Motion Picture Score


Composer: Ludwig Göransson
Label: Marvel Music/Hollywood Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 02 March 2018

Marvel Music/Hollywood Records release the album of the Black Panther score, composed by Grammy®-nominated composer and songwriter Ludwig Göransson.

Black Panther marks Göransson’s third collaboration with director Ryan Coogler (Creed; Fruitvale Station). The Swedish-born composer recorded the score in London with a 132-piece western classical orchestra, African percussionists and a 40-person choir. 

Göransson travelled to Africa to record, research and learn from as many musicians as he could find. One of the instruments that caught his attention was the talking drum, which together with West African sabar drums and ceremonial rhythms, became the foundation for the score, which incorporates 28 tracks (1 hr, 35 min, 07 sec).

Even if you don't enjoy this score, although I can't think why you wouldn't, you have to admire the lengths that Göransson has gone to in order to deliver something a little bit different and something very memorable. The talking drum was primarily used for T’Challa’s main theme, with one hit per syllable of his name played on the drum.

For Erik Killmonger’s theme, the name was sung and screamed into a fula flute to convey the musical interpretation of the character’s ferocity. Sabar drums were used to propel the story and to highlight both the country of Wakanda and T’Challa's movements, especially in his fight scenes. Sabar drums are used in traditional African wrestling making them perfect for the action scenes. Göransson’s biggest challenge was to blend a western classical orchestra and modern production with traditional African rhythms and harmonies.

There's so much to soak up here, and the themes which weave themselves throughout the score are a welcome relief from the usual superhero themes that have become a little cliched, but personal highlights include 'Waterfall Fight'; 'Ancestral Plane'; 'Wake Up T’Challa'; 'The Great Mound Battle'.

I couldn't help smile listening to ' United Nations / End Titles'. There's a segment that sounds a little like John Williams's 'Augie's Great Municipal Band' from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

Overall this is an interesting score that adds something a little different to the mix.


Darren Rea

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