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Soundtrack Review

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The Secret of the Immortal Code
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Pantawit Kiangsiri
Performed by: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: MovieScore Media
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 06 December 2019

MovieScore Media release the soundtrack for the Chinese science-fiction movie The Secret of the Immortal Code by Thai composer Pantawit Kiangsiri. Directed by Wei Li and Nan Zhang and stylishly shot in black and white, the film takes place in a dystopian future where the world's population has become sick. To save her dying sister, Ziqi Lin embarks on a journey to the Arctic to seek the last hope, with guidance and help from a pharmaceutical tycoon Dr. Yao. Unknown to Ziqi is that the journey of hope is actually the part of a dangerous conspiracy that threatens everyone's life...

Those of us of a certain age will have a huge grin on their face when listening to Pantawit Kiangsiri's score for The Secret of the Immortal Code. If you grew up going to the cinema in the '80s (or are just a lover of '80s movies) then you'll feel the spirit of Jerry Goldsmith woven throughout this 25 track (1 hr, 07 min, 29 sec) album.

It opens with 'Main Title (Theme from The Secret of Immortal Code)' which has a hint of Christopher Young about it (most notably his work on both The Fly II and Hellraiser). However, there's an unmistakable air of Bernard Herrmann's main theme for Vertigo that is front and centre. 'The Mission' also has hints of 'Mars' from Gustav Holst's The Planets.

But it's Jerry Goldsmith's sci-fi scores that are referenced throughout - everything from his work on the Star Trek movies, Alien and Total Recall. And this, to me, elevated the score from being not just an enjoyable soundtrack in its own right, but also a loving tribute to one of the most notable composers of that era. It also shows how much of a fan Kiangsiri is of Goldsmith's work and '80s sci-fi in general. This isn't the sort of trick a composer could simply pull off by listening to a few old scores. It's obvious that Kiangsiri has a deep love and understanding of Goldsmith's huge body of work.

Unlike a lot of composers, Kiangsiri is not backward at coming forward when discussing his influences: "After producer Wang Donghui explained his vision to revolutionize Chinese science fiction with The Secret of Immortal Code, I immediately knew it was a chance to fulfill my childhood musical dreams. I wanted to create something excitingly new but at the same time, making musical tributes to my favourite sci-fi film scores of the past. In the orchestral part, I paid homage to my composer heroes such as Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, James Horner or Christopher Young. As for something new, large chunks of the music were scored by using only double bass with soloist Ryan Baird coming up with a variety of strange sounds that can be produced by this instrument acoustically."

This is a wonderful score, which really captures the essence of '80s sci-fi and brings it kicking and screaming into the here and now. You'll have hours of fun spotting the subtle (and occasionally not that subtle) musical references.


Darren Rea

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