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Soundtrack Review

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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Oscar Fogelström
Label: ScreamWorks Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 21 December 2018

Screamworks Records releases the original movie soundtrack to Aurora to coincide with the film’s premiere at the Metro Manila Festival. In this supernatural feature, directed by Filipino Yam Laranas, a passenger ship runs aground on the rocks of an island. A woman and her sister are obliged to find the missing dead for a bounty to survive. The Swedish composer Oscar Fogelström believes the film asks a lot of questions about our mortality. The idea from the start was to write a requiem for the dead, and also to have the music speak for the water – which features in so many scenes – by having a swelling back and forth...

'Surge Sursum' is an introductory operatic vocal piece, for the rest of the score. There are 18 tracks, most of which are around the two- or three-minute mark. This makes for a pretty segmented and disjointed whole. What would have worked a lot better is a handful of music suites – or even a single concerto - so you can appreciate the changes and direction. Separately, they don’t feel a part of something significant. Let me give some examples.

In 'Across the Water', the background opera becomes shrieking strings and intermittent percussion. It’s briefly dramatic but contains repeated sequences. The promised ebb and flow, as in the movement of the tide, makes its appearance here. 'The Dead Will Find Their Way Home' has more of a traditional horror style, with dramatic noises like you would expect in a religious-themed chiller. 'No Escape' has chanting reminiscent of a black magic ritual, which turns to eerie noises and a deep bass. 'One Thousand Voices' has a melancholy sound which is too often returned to. In fact, you end up in a kind of stupor listening to a pattern quilt of unexciting musical textures.

Disappointingly, everything seems dreary and dreamlike, with very little inherent tension, suspense or trepidation. There’s no sense that something remarkable is happening on screen, as much of the pace and volume is flat. It’s like listening to a church mass, with choir and orchestra, when everyone is hung-over and just going through the motions (as unlikely as that is to happen). My comment seems to suggest I dislike that genre of music but, much as I don’t seek it out, the final short track 'Aurora' is a quite impressive Requiem in Latin which wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Cadfael. However, long before then I’d become tired of the overused themes and lack of ‘oomph’ (that’s a technical term, you know).


Ty Power

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