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Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Brent Detar
Label: MovieScore Media
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 30 April 2021

Moviescore Media releases the Original Movie Soundtrack to Separation, by Brett Detar. In the film, directed by William Brent Bell, an 8-year old girl is comforted by the presence of the house’s ‘Gristly Kin’ puppets – based on the works of her father – which help her cope with her mother’s death. However, when her grandfather sues for custody and the babysitter tries to take-over the house, the puppets come to life, with dark intentions. Detar was previously a guitarist for Metal band Zao, before forming Post-Punk group The Juliana Theory. After ten years and four albums he put out a solo album, as well as moving into the realm of film composing. This is the fourth collaboration between Detar and Bell following the success of The Devil Inside (2012) – the others being Wer (2013), The Boy (2016), and Brahms: The Boy II (2020). Detar describes Separation as a film about family wrapped in the guise of a scary movie. His intention is to use music and voices to connect the three family members...

The score begins with a slow and plaintive introduction courtesy of piano and strings. There is plenty of emotive atmosphere, which is intruded upon by heavy foreboding, menace and strange, eerie sounds. Strings create a scratching that joins vocal noises and the three recurring piano notes denoting ‘family’ for this film. I like the fact there is a structure and proper tune, even though there are other things surrounding the piece which keep it off-kilter. Soundscapes produce more menace, with deep vibrations and surrounding weird strings. The intrigue really gets going four tracks into the 13 on offer. The innocence of a tinkling music box and piano is made slightly creepy with thumping periodic base. The mood is both emotional and broody.

At the mid-point there is an almost Aboriginal feel to the proceedings, with added scrabbling and a resonating electronic speech. This is the main turning point, and we are left in little doubt that it all turns ‘Grim’ from here. It has an otherworldly quality. The three ‘family’ notes take on a dark and determined tone. There is inventive use of various noises – including sampled voices to depict a sinister air. Something approaching a dark monk chant and horn-turned-weird moments further enhance the dangerous supernatural element. By the time we reach 'The Crimson Void' a chase-like sequence takes over, with throbbing Electronica and a ticking. We get the basic repeated theme and ‘swarm’ strings. The dark menace continues to get lower and heavier – more prominent – so that it vibrates at times through your centre.

The three repeated notes are, perhaps, over-used, but everything else going on is very effective. The final three tracks see us out more peaceably. There is a slower atmospheric series of noises which segue into a simple restful tune. There is a nice piano piece which is far too short, and as we conclude the proceedings the three notes become a proper melody, but there is still a sense of trepidation as it evolves and attracts new sounds. A good one to finish a very solid composition.


Ty Power