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Soundtrack Review

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The Guardian
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Christopher Wong
Label: MovieScore Media
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 30 April 2021

MovieScore Media releases the Original Film Soundtrack to The Guardian, by Christopher Wong. In the movie directed by Victor Vu, Huyen is a backing singer for Vietnamese pop sensation Lam Phuong. When she is gifted a doll called Baby Na she begins to praise the doll for all her successes. But when Lam dies Huyen becomes a suspect, spurring her to delve into the background of the doll and attempt to release herself from its powers. This is the eleventh collaboration between this director and composer. In 2007 Wong was nominated for Best New Composer by the International Film Music Critics Association, for Ham Tran’s feature Journey From the Fall. His other film score contributions include The Rebel, Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass, The Immortal, The Royal Bride and Camellia Sisters. For this one, rather than the normal orchestral leanings, electronics and sound design was used to capture the movie’s mix of the supernatural and Electro-Pop...

The track listing is: 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Suicide'; 'Bad Love'; 'Shocking News'; 'Secret Temple'; 'Shady'; 'Strange Party'; 'Cyberbullied'; 'Proposition'; 'Darker Magic'; 'First Body'; 'Concerned Friend'; 'Second Chances'; 'Accident'; 'Remembrances'; 'Khanh’s Secret'; 'More Bodies'; 'Confession'; 'The Final Stage'; 'A Grand Conspiracy'; 'Moving On'; and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Dolls'.

This composition incorporates a stark contrast between Electro-Pop songs and a dark, underlying current of incidental soundscapes designed to keep the listener feeling uneasily off-balance and out of their comfort zone. The opening music box chimes which play the age-old nursery rhyme are returned-to periodically through the score – particularly towards the end of the collection. Early-on we are offered wandering sound effects, rumbling and sinister noises joined by ominous strings, slams and metallic scraping. 'Bad Love' and 'Shady' are the aforementioned Electronic Pop songs. The former has a nice acoustic opening, before the Electronica takes centre stage, and it ends almost as an easy listening piece. The latter is all-out Electro-Pop. It’s simple but excellent, reminding me more of late 1970s Electronica than a modern club beat – although it would undoubtedly fit comfortably into that environment. Business Proposition is similar in style. If this one isn’t a single, it should be. 'Moving On' is also a song, although in ballad form and more sad and reflective.

The other tracks are all about laying a dark carpet of menace, eeriness and foreboding. We get everything from an ‘Apache’-like Red Indian beat, marching or throbbing bass-lines, scrabbling ambient sounds, windchimes and other unnerving effects, to low and atmospheric reverse synthesisers. There is also moodiness and emotional interludes. Just for a moment Wong strays into John Carpenter’s The Fog territory and puts one toe in the camp of John Williams with a grand and all-encompassing moment. 'Accident' is the only fully dramatic horror piece, encompassing many of the genre’s tropes but in a more diverse manner. 'Cyberbullied' has outré  electronic sounds become more of a cohesive orchestral number. This would have been better as the title theme. This music soundtrack is very proficiently pieced together to enhance each scene in the film but, as a stand-alone score it’s much more of a soundscape, aside from the songs.


Ty Power

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