Label: Lakeshore Records
Released: December 23, 2014
Tracks / Album Length: 13 tracks / (32:25)
Composer: Marc Streitenfeld
Special Notes: Available digitally (Dec. 23rd 2014) and on CD (March 10, 2015)
Although the score is built around a main theme – a series of step-like notes with sudden pauses and melody redolent of a child’s song – there’s a fascinating blend of unique sounds that allow After the Fall to stand on its own as a moody concept album depicting human desperation.
It’s also a cross-cultural score where the instrument and harmonics consists of sometimes disparate sounds: water glass tones in the first cues bars, Asian harmonies that morph into something more Celtic, sounds processed in reverse and back, and aspects of sound design applied as musical ornamentation.
“Connect” is where the score shifts to a darker emotional plain, and Marc Streitenfeld (Prometheus) emphasizes grinding string bass or string reverberations, with high pitched grating and electronic gyrating sounds (“Robberies”) using feedback, or a loose theme variation on an Ondes Martenot (“You Never Know”). “Wrath” isn’t filled with bombast or all-out distortion, but rather a grinding pulse, drifting echoey sounds, and a brief cluster of static before the main theme returns in a more desperate guise on cello.
The score’s closing cues are more intimate, recapping the main theme in arrangements that are quite poignant, especially “Virtue,” where instead of adding reverb to the instruments’ tones, Steitenfeld creates an echo akin to a whale sighing in the distance. Paired with emulations of folk woodwinds, it’s a striking beautiful use of instrumental colour.
The intimacy of After the Fall isn’t hard to miss – smaller instrumentation, slight digital enhancements, and some fascinating theme variations – but it’s the way the score just emerges, hovers, and gently recedes with a series of calm, closing statements that make this small, relatively brief score such a treat. It could be longer, but everything that needs to be stated about the characters and conflicts already exist within Steitenfeld’s precise narrative.
© 2015 Mark R. Hasan
Category: Soundtrack Reviews