Sunday, 12 January 2014

All is Lost Score Review

Title: All Is Lost

Composer/s: Alexander Ebert

Track Count: 11 tracks

Length: 45 minutes

Year of Release: 2013

Hello again! I'm back, and with a review to the newly crowned Best Original Score for the Golden Globes; All Is Lost, by Alexander Ebert. To be honest, before the award ceremony premiered today, I didn't even know the film or score existed, which makes winning pretty impressive in my eyes. Coming from nowhere to beat out Steven Price's incredible score for Gravity must mean good things, hopefully! Let's see whether this score is worth the attention! 

To begin with, All Is Lost, for the most part, is a very calm score. After reading the IMDb synopsis, I know the film is about isolation and a single man's fight for survival. Ebert really does ease you into the feeling of isolation. Piece 3 and 10, Virginia's Dream and Excelsior and the All Day Man really highlight these thoughts. They leave you feeling quite isolated and lonely. Piece 10 and 11, were, to add to the calmness and isolation, incredibly emotional, and left me with a lump in my throat that didn't seem to want to go away, and for good reason. They were both incredibly well composed, smart pieces which really did take my breath away. 

Unfortunately, a lot of this score feels as if it's dragging on. Our fourth track on the card, The Infinite Bleed, lasts for a total of 8 and a half minutes, and gets frustrating and irritating at the 2 and a half minute mark. That leaves 6 minutes to trudge through. 6 minutes of brutally irritating, painful music. That's not the half of it. So many pieces within the score are long, slow and awfully loud. I had to readjust my stereo volume a countless amount of times, simply because the volume on the slower, more painful pieces spiked to incredibly loud propositions

Ebert certainly goes for that atmospheric, almost claustrophobic sound for a lot of this score, most noticeably on the longer pieces. When he uses it more sparingly, it can be quite affecting. It feels as if the sound is closing in around you, and it caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end at various points in time. Unfortunately, when used in the longer pieces, it can really wear thin. Breaks are very much necessary when your attention span starts to wither under the constant hammering of synth and strange, foreign noises. The same riffs can repeat for up to 4 minutes at a time, and it inevitably makes the score feel very repetitive and bloated. Listening to the same music for extended periods of time, over and over again does not make for an enjoyable listening experience. 

Ultimately, the question that I'm going to ask myself at the end of all this is whether or not this should've beaten out Gravity for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes. And should it have? Certainly not! Gravity is a marvel of ingenuity on Steven Price's part, whilst All Is Lost has few highlights. This is not too bad of a score; it's just not worth any of the hype surrounding it. I'm probably not going to come back to this one any time soon, which is not the best of comments to leave you on, but that's ultimately how I feel.

1. Excelsior
2. All Is Lost
3. Virginia's Dream*
7. Dance of the Lilies
10. Excelsior and the All Day Man*
11. Amen

Junkie Score: 64
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