Label: Lakeshore Records
Released: April 29, 2016
Tracks / Album Length: 24 tracks / 45 mins.
Composer: Nima Fakhrara
Special Notes: also available on CD.
The last film executive produced by the late Wes Craven was graced by an inventive score by Nima Fakhrara (The Signal), which is built around “Colleen,” a short theme rendered on piano that trails off like an elegant, long forgotten chamber piece before restarting and re-emphasizing the theme’s inherent tragic tone. In its first incarnation, the theme mutates into fuzzy bass feedback and a trailing done, hinting at some of the intriguing experimental sounds the composer created using organic instruments recorded with a mix of analogue and digital gear.
Girl in the Photographs is like a genetic musical string which doesn’t exactly break apart, but is fractured, flattened, and wrinkled into some surreal sounds. Of note are the strained harmonics of “Passacaglia” which builds towards a cluster of distorted sounds and industrial pulses, and the low frequency pulses and grinding effects in “The Cave,” which ultimately fuse into a shrill cluster. That contrast between uneasily soft (or barely perceptible) sounds and harshness are typical of the score, often inferring an environment that’s not quite clean, or whole, or as still as it seems, but one of the highlights is the brief “The Lake House” in which a swirling group of Herrmannesque chords eddy upwards from grungy tonalities, yet sound like the severe wow and flutter that plagues warped tape recordings.
Most of the sounds in “The Camera” breath and crawl across grubby surfaces instead of building like a traditional suspense cue, and the album does have its share of tracks that blur the line between sound design and score, but Fakhrara summarizes the score with a great recap of “Colleen” in the “End Credit” track, which has two pianos – one in perfect shape, the other way out of tune – playing in tandem to create a warped musical track that’s more successful in conveying the mossy, malodorous presence of a ghost than a mass of digital filters.
Lakeshore Records album features an excellent programme of cues. Several are quite brief (just around a minute), but Photographs is a small gem bereft of many typical horror scoring clichés.
A podcast interview with Nima Fakhrara is also available.
© 2016 Mark R. Hasan
Category: Soundtrack Reviews