CD: 12 Monkeys (2015)

August 19, 2015 | By


12Monkeys2015Score: Very Good

LabelVarese Sarabande

Released:  July 31, 2015


Tracks / Album Length:  12 tracks / 31 mins.

Composer: Trevor Rabin, Paul Linford

Special Notes:  n/a




Tasked with creating a sound that would match the new 12 Monkeys TV series, yet somehow harken back to the story themes of the original 1995 film, Trevor Rabin and Paul Linford’s score uses pulses and chimes to infer physical and emotional states where there’s no firm historical rooting, no grasp of time or style or culture.

Rhythms and waves of low chords act as the dramatic propulsion units which guide the cues into statements of unease and fear, but the composers stay away from bombast or overt action writing, letting the music seep in and out much in the way Vangelis’ Blade Runner (1982) would emerge from sound design, or unfurl after a thick, watery bass chord.

Fans of Rabin will appreciate the low-key approach, and his collaboration with Linford steers Rabin away from the clichés that dominated the testosterone heroics of his best-known works, especially Armageddon (1998). The main theme (“I am the Clock”) does contain a swell of synth strings and sampled chorus redolent of The Island (2005) – perhaps samples from the same central bank of emulations used by colleague Steve Jablonsky – but these familiars are fleeting, and it’s the use of chiming tones which make 12 Monkeys a concise, sometimes taut work that also leaves room for small moments of character reflection.

“Cole on the Move” is the score’s most overt action cue with textures and flittering fuzz effects, but everything’s still measured, even in the denouement where woody tones never accumulate and explode into a flurry of cacophony (although there’s a quick descent into dissonance). “The Pallid Man” has some heavy percussion clusters, but their impact comes from light electro-distortion, and “Time is Cruel” has some rhythmic textures before Rabin and Linford return to the sampled strings and chorals of the opening track to infer a slightly more grand orchestral design, but the score ultimately winds down with a subtle keyboard track (“Act of War”) where the main theme is diluted and unfolds in hesitant spurts.

While a brief album, Varese Sarabande’s release features a fair sampling of cues that shows a more restrained, focused side of Rabin, using a softer palette to support the show’s post-apocalyptic and time-travelling actions of a hero lacking a sense of permanence, and ultimately grappling with tragic loneliness.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



Additional Links:
Editor’s BlogComposer on IMDB  —  Composer Filmography —  Soundtrack Album

Select Merchants: — BSX — Intrada — Screen Archives Entertainment

Tags: , ,

Category: Soundtrack Reviews

Comments are closed.