MP3: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The (2015)

September 7, 2015 | By


MazeRunnerScorchTrialsScore: Excellent

Label: Sony Masterworks

Released:  September 11, 2015

Tracks / Album Length:  21 tracks / 76 mins.

Composer: John Paesano

Special Notes:  CD release date Oct. 2, 2015




John Paesano’s background in scoring video games is evident in this extremely taut, action-packed score that mixes straight dramatic action cues with a slight level of wry humour, using a large orchestral palette and occasionally hefty doses of modernism.

“Opening” establishes the score’s measured bombast and slowly developed theme with gyrating strings, and it’s an almost de rigueur statement designed to get audiences ready for full-scale action. Paesano’s style is a little reminiscent of Marco Beltrami, especially in the blurred, frenetic strings in “Your New Lives” and syncopated percussion.

The fat synth chords are typical for the action genre, but Maze Runner is filled with all kinds of marvelous details, making the score a perfect showcase for the composer’s own orchestrating skills.

A recurring piano motif is perpetually-elliptical, inferring an unending quest, whereas almost any chase cue – “You’ve Got to Get Out of Here” in particular – is filled with fast movements typical of a classic Goldsmith score: compressed rhythms, layers of clattering backbeats, and furiously churning strings that capture the motion of a figure leaping, dodging, ducking and rolling through a jagged landscape. Especially noteworthy is the precision of Paesano’s orchestrations where the density of instrumentation can change within a few bars or less, seamlessly delivering musical colours in the way film edits convey masses of flames, explosions, and a quick plummet down a safe hole.

Electronics never dominate but do materialize to add colour or heavier drama to certain cues (“Uninvited Guest” has a pulsing beat that starts thick and heavy, thins out, and crackles a bit before returning for the cue’s finale), and there’s a maddening quality to the layered rhythms at the head of “Learning Tower of Scorch” before the cue alternates between quick recessions and sudden burst of energy akin to an action cartoon.

The score’s final quarter offers a few calm spots – longer and more emotional theme material – plus one final chase cue (“Hello Thomas”) that reintroduces the various rhythmic motors before a return to the opening theme, performed with warmer colours and slight choral emulations.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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