Monday, 9 December 2013

Past Spotlight-Oblivion Score Review

Title: Oblivion

Composer/s: M83, Josh Trapanese

Length: 1 hour, 9 minutes 

Track Count: 17 tracks

Year Of Release: 2013

Hello! I'm back with another past spotlight, again, and this time it's for Oblivion. This is one of my favourite scores of the year, for it's really good use of synth, and techno feel. The film, Oblivion, I actually thought was fairly underrated, and I also think this score hasn't received as good ratings as I think it should've. But that's all my personal opinion, what would I know! What I do know, is that I love this score, and I've listened to it countless times, and I simply haven't got bored of it. It's as emotionally gripping every time I go back to it, as it was the first time I had a listen. So, let's see what's so good about it!

I'm a fan of M83, since before this score came out. I really recommend his album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, for it's heavy techno feel which really works. The man knows how to create something artificially awesome! So it was no surprise to me when I heard some of the previews for Oblivion, that it sounded very synth-based. I've made it obvious that I hate a synth-based album, generally. You'll find that most sound very one dimensional, and they don't have that human element that orchestral music can provide. Fortunately for me, M83 knows how to make synth work, and I'll tell you straight off the bat, it damn works here! If you're a fan of synth, you will adore this score!

The score has two sides to it; the touching, beautiful side, and the heavy synth/brass side. This contrast can be seen between the first two pieces. Jack's Dream, one of my favourite pieces on the score card has some beautiful orchestral music to start us up. Some soft piano gets you really tender for an emotional roller coaster. And then Waking Up pounces on you, with some hard hitting brass and synth. This contrast sounds strange in theory, but it certainly works here. It makes for a touching, dramatic score which pleases all your senses. 

The action cues that lie here, to be completely honest, are some of the best action cues I've heard all year. The capture the peril, the danger perfectly, and have you gripping your chair. Odyssey Rescue was a perfect example of this, in my case. The awesome percussion within the piece brings a real sense of urgency to the game, which I loved! Canyon Battle feels like a battle, with a constantly evolving and dramatic beat and rhythm which raises in volume, pace and octave to get you on the edge of your seat. It's pretty hectic music, that will raise the hairs on your neck for sure!  

There are some down points within the score. Tech 49 isn't as magnificent as the standard the pieces before it set for it's lackluster climaxes, despite the fact that the theme towards the end of the piece makes a wonderful stand. Losing Control falls into this pit again. It doesn't have many stand out moments of awe, unfortunately, and it doesn't feel like like it has a sure sense of direction. Sure, these few examples point out flaws, but fortunately, they're quite insignificant in the whole scheme of things, and these down points are few and far between. 

When M83 wants you to feel, he brings the feels in bucket loads! Jack's Dream and StarWaves are perfect examples of this. StarWaves has a sombre and uplifting tone to it, and it has you at the point of crying, or at least in my case it did. Jack's Dream, like I've stated before, opens up with that beautiful piano and soft orchestral music. It's quite pretty and touching, to say the least. One of our final pieces, Undimmed By Time, Unbound By Death is one of the most heart-wrenching cues I've had the pleasure of listening to. He sends us off with some calm and touching music, which will have you both wanting more, and tearing up. He knows how to get an audience, a listener, feeling stuff, and he capitalizes on that here.  

I must say, the final piece on the standard edition that I'm reviewing, Oblivion, which features the beautiful singer Susanne Sundfør, is touching and powerful. Sundfør sings over the theme, and she really adds something good to it. She nails it on the vocal front, and like a lot of this score, hits the tender chords hard. It's a great little extra M83 got together, so I credit him for it. 

This inspiration for this score, I just couldn't think of it. It was lying there, waiting to be found, but it never presented itself. That was until I saw another review of this score which perfectly explained the inspiration. You can hear the Zimmer here. Some of the pieces here could be slotted into something like The Dark Knight or Inception, pieces such as Waking Up or Canyon Battle, and you wouldn't hear or feel much difference in tone, sound, direction, etc. This begs the recommendation to all Zimmer haters, I think you'd better stay away from this score. I love it, yes, but that's because this music appeals to me, and I'm a huge fan of Zimmer's! Zimmer haters, I'm sure, will bash this score to the moon and back! 


Conclusion:
Whilst it doesn't have the best Junkie Score we've seen all year, Oblivion is still one of my favourite scores released in 2013. It's incredibly emotional, epic and powerful. You'll surely come back to this baby soon for a revisit. M83 has knocked it out of the park, and I really hope this gets you into his band wagon, for he's done some really awesome stuff. There are certainly down points here, where the music falls a little flat, and repetitive. But the positives far outweigh these substantial negatives, so they don't bum the score down too much. Unless you're not into synth and brass based music, this score is certainly a huge recommendation from myself!


Individual Piece Scores:
Jack's Dream-95
Waking Up-100*
Tech 49-76
StarWaves-100*
Odyssey Rescue-88
Earth 2077-100
Losing Control-70
Canyon Battle-91
Radiation Zone-80
You Can't Save Her-83
Raven Rock-98
I'm Sending You Away-100
Ashes Of Our Fathers-86
Temples Of Our Gods-72
Fearful Odds-100
Undimmed By Time, Unbound By Death-100*
Oblivion (Ft. Susanne Sundfør)-100*

Junkie Score: 90.52