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Soundtrack Review

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Jim Henson: Idea Man
Original Soundtrack


Composer: David Fleming
Label: Hollywood Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 31 May 2024

David Fleming's original score for the documentary Jim Henson: Idea Man is available via released by Hollywood Records. The film chronicles the story of extraordinary artist and visionary Jim Henson. In his 36-year career, Henson created some of the world’s most cherished characters, including The Muppets and all of Sesame Street’s iconic residents. Henson also directed beloved fantasy films like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Jim Henson: Idea Man is an unprecedented, intimate look at Henson’s career and complex personal life. The film is the definitive portrait of one of the world’s most inspiring and iconoclastic creators...

As a lifelong fan of the work of Jim Henson I was really looking forward to seeing this documentary on his life. I was really pleased to get the chance to review the soundtrack. I was hoping that it would have the same emotional impact as Joshua Johnson's score to I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.

On the first play through I wasn't overly impressed. There didn't appear to be any real emotional themes to get behind. To be fair, I did have it on in the background while I was doing other things, and so didn't give it my full attention. When I relistened to it, giving it my full attention, I was struck by how varied and layered it was. The score contains 22 tracks (41 min, 30 sec) and there are a number of beautifully melancholic themes, the most notable one appears in the opening 'Jim' and then echoes throughout the album. This theme is fun, upbeat and mysterious... Perfectly reflecting the man himself.

Fleming reflects on the score “Jim Henson was a creative force whose imagination exploded with colour and energy. With the score for Jim Henson: Idea Man, I wanted the music to capture the same kinetic joy that Jim injected into his stories, while also underpinning the quiet spirit at the centre of that whirlwind. It was an honour to reunite with Ron Howard to help explore the life of a man whose work has resonated so deeply with so many, including myself."

While I loved this score, I managed to boil it down to 8 tracks that I could listen to for years to come. I was particularly struck with the upbeat, bouncy segment that emerges in the second half of 'Keep Moving Forward'. If that doesn't bring a smile to your face then you've obviously never been touched by any of Henson's projects.

A delightfully original and memorable, complex collection of themes.


Darren Rea

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