Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Under The Skin Score Review

Check it out... if utterly infuriating, vomit-inducing, repetitive and mindless thematic material sounds right to your taste.

Skip it... if you, like most people, hate scores with utterly brutal, repetitive, and nausea inducing music.

"Few listening experiences are as completely atrocious as this."

It's not often a day comes by when I can say that I can make a reasonable comparison between any given score, and my least favourite score of all time, that being the hideous Battlefield 3 score, by Jukka Rintamaki, and Johan Skugge. I've rattled on about it's uninspired and disgraceful thematic material far too often, so I'm sure you've be acquainted with this atrocity before; I even wrote a review a while back, which I'll link here; beware, the formatting is a little under par. It's obviously a pile of steaming shit in my eyes, and so when the time comes that I can plausibly compare another score to this utterly abysmal piece of work, it should be celebrated as something of a rarity. Well, alas, my friends, for celebration is required then, as I've found another one. I've found one that I may not just be able to compare to Battlefield 3, but I may be able to condemn as worse than that garbage. Now, what score could have possibly achieved this almost unachievable low, you ask? Well, none other than the score you're looking at right now. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the worst score I've ever heard, Under the Skin, by Mica Levi. 

I would like to make mention early on during this review that my writing here will undoubtedly seem stilted and informal, as well as poorly constructed, and for that, I apologise. It's just when a score this bad crosses by me, my thoughts seem to jumble together, and writing a coherent, straightforward review can be quite the challenge; there's just so much to criticize, and yet so little to truly comment on. The skip it and check it out sections really emphasized the repetitive nature of this score, though I feel like I do really need to stress that factor; this is a repetitive score from beginning to end. There are 6 minute pieces that do little more than repeat themselves, with the same constantly irritating, infuriating and unimaginably boring motifs and riffs possible. At least Battlefield 3 had variation, somewhat... ok, it had next to no variation what so ever, but nonetheless, at least melodies changed every few pieces. Well, Levi here thought that was a waste of time, creating and recording new melodies, so instead, we get the same crap near every time the track changes. Maybe there's a note here or there that's changed, but that doesn't make for much enjoyment, or change the fact that this is an utterly mundane effort. Actually, using the word "effort" seems like a bit of a stretch; if you look up the definition of effort, the description you should get back should read "a vigorous or determined attempt," and this is most certainly not a determined attempt. That final word there, actually, is all I can accredit Levi with accomplishing. It was an attempt, if not anything more. In a sick and twisted kind of way, I should praise the ingenuity of Levi; somehow, he created something that's even worse than the mind-numbingly stupid and infuriating Battlefield 3. So good job Levi... in a horrible kind of way.

The names of the cues really represent the kind of experience you'll be shifting through here, funnily enough. The first piece on the card, Creation, is the creation of the dreadful theme that you'll hear more than too often throughout the score; I see the piece Drift as drifting through a vast expanse of shit, as the music slogs away at a slow, drift-like pace; Lonely Void is self explanatory; Love is an almost bearable love track, and Death is the nail in the coffin (pun!) that serves as the death of my patience, once and for all. And finally, Alien Loop is just that; a loop of crap. -Bad transition into different segment-What was the thought process behind this score?! No doubt the director tried to dictate every single aspect of the score, as so many do, and in turn ruined this score from the get go. But still, Levi could've done something to add proper melody and coherency, and let this be a somewhat bearable listening experience. No, that's stupid; lets create something that sounds completely alien to every single listener, but in the worst possible way. I'm not stating that I dislike originality, because no person could really believe that; this score is original in it's own sick and twisted way. Levi attempts to adopt some kind of tone with the score that has it sticking out from the crowd, but in creating this monster, she's standing out in the worst possible ways. For the most part, throughout this score, I could not understand people's fascination with what's been developed; I've met a few people who actually could not only bear this score, but enjoyed it. A review by Heather Phares states "The score's star, however, is a creeping three-note motif that is even eerier because of its simplicity and strange familiarity. With just a few tweaks, Levi makes it sound menacing, seductive, or vulnerable," which is something I'd usually be able to understand. Generally, I can understand and often agree with the perspective of a reviewer or a fellow listener, but not in this case. A score like this can illustrate the individuality of humans, and just how far our taste in music can stretch. Myself, I see this as one of the worst scores I've ever heard; others, including Heather here, as well as many other reviewers such as Alan Rogers and Jon Clark, take this as something much more than just your average run of the mill score. Most reviews I've come across report this as not necessarily the most enjoyable score, but something that traps you in it's relative grasp, in it's intense web, and opens your eyes to new and reinvigorating ideas for music. But if this is new and reinvigorating, then I don't think I'm prepared for the next generation of film scores. This is just too much ambient noise, and out of the context of the film, which I'm yet to see, it isn't worth looking at. No doubt this will split the entire scoring community into two halves, and if you enjoy it, then I'm jealous. If you appreciate what Levi is trying to accomplish here, then I can somewhat understand your point of view. But for me, this is just not my ball park. It's tremendously bad in my case, and makes for a horrible listening experience. You can purchase Under The Skin on Amazon here



Junkie Score: 11.90
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