MP3: Advantageous (2015)

September 7, 2015 | By


Advantageous2015Score: Excellent

Label: Good Neighbors Media

Released:  July 24, 2015

Tracks / Album Length:  23 tracks / 42 mins.

Composer: Timo Chen

Special Notes:  n/a




Newcomer Timo Chen’s music for the sci-fi drama Advantageous is primarily synth-based, although some of the integrated sounds stem from an electric violin and an instrument Chen crafted himself, dubbed the Jimbow, described as “a voltage modified rotary tool” for buffing and grinding surfaces.

As with virtually all of the sounds in the score, Chen has processed all synth and organic material into a graceful cloud that isn’t ambient, nor amorphous, but oddly calming. Based around a simple piano motif (beautifully heard in “Photos”), Chen has his thematic material drift without abrasion, flow like silky waves that nevertheless form ethereal moods, and rhythms that range from soft patterns, rustic violin strokes, or deep bass pulses.

“The Experience” marks a shift where a smattering of organic string, metallic tones, and cloudy emulations of a chamber orchestra and piano describe a journey of curiosity, exploration, and ultimately a state of contemplation (the latter evoked through peripheral metal chimes). Chen also makes frequent use of sounds that flitter at a higher frame rate between left & right channels, as with the string bowing near the end of “Pier.”

The final third of “The Experience” is also fairly quiet, and indicative of the vast levels of dynamics which mandate the score be heard either through headphones, or in a completely still room, so Chen’s atmospheric sounds can slowly emerge and seep into the listener.

It’s rare when a composer scales back the power of electronics from heavy John Carpenter beats, pulsing bass-heavy rhythms, or free-form music to thematic material that’s been distilled to its most essential sounds, with specific instruments and emulations allowed to breathe without a locked tempo. Advantageous has a decisive narrative, and a fine balance of short and more contemplative cues which make up this fairly engrossing portrait of characters in a dystopian sci-fi tale.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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Category: Soundtrack Reviews

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