CD: Man on a Mission (2010)

March 3, 2013 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: La-La Land Records/ Released: November 9, 2012

Tracks & Album Length: 24 tracks / (65:13)

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Special Notes: 12-page colour booklet with liner notes by the composers and executive producer Brady Dial / Limited to 500 copies..

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Composer: Brian Satterwhite, John Constant

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Review:

Alternately known as Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars, Mike Woolf’s doc chronicles Garriott’s 2008 flight into space, and features a score composed by Brian Satterwhite and John Constant. Only a few main themes by Constant were retained in the film – according to the CD’s liner notes, newcomer Constant wasn’t fully versed in composing to picture – while Satterwhite was brought in to fill in the film with material that both supported the film and maintained some continuity.

Both composers shared a keen interest in the film and space flight, and their contributions make for a sometimes untraditional score, but there is cohesion in spite of differences in writing styles. Constant had fun evoking a bit of Ennio Morricone in his opening cue “Building a Rocket” with Spanish flavoured trumpets and rhythms, and his “Hover on a Wish” features an ethereal tone that rises above a vintage synth beat. The concluding track “Astro Glo” is locked to a light dance beat, with chiming keyboards and vintage synth chords.

In each of Constant’s cues, the music drives forward with circular patterns before a quick fadeout, whereas Satterwhite clearly wrote to picture, addressing both onscreen actions and ongoing dramatic subtext. His instrumental palette isn’t too dissimilar from Constant’s, and both composers played with organic and processed sounds, and on occasion evoked some of the vintage electronic sounds of Tangerine Dream. Satterwhite also crafted some orchestral-styled cues (“Final Exams”) which combine a march and heavy percussion with pulsing keyboard tonalities.

It actually takes a few listens to acclimatize to the score’s fairly intimate tone, but the soundtrack – including Constant’s unedited cues – works on CD. The mastering is first-rate, and both composers crafted a warm analogue sound which probably gave the doc a more tactile sonic design, helping to bridge the gap between the film’s human and otherworldly characters.

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© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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