CD: Dawning (2009)

July 30, 2011 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: Screamworks / MovieScore Media / Released: May 31, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 10 tracks / (30:25)


Special Notes: (none)


Composer: Nathaniel Levisay




Newcomer Nathaniel Levisay makes an auspicious splash with this wonderfully demented horror score that snarls and worms its way through classical-styled repertoire and elements of musique concrete – organic sounds with wooden hits, metallic grinding, shrill fiddling and close-miked effects.

Based around a gentle theme played on solo piano, Levisay quickly jettisons any warm, accessible sounds for pure weirdness, starting with “Can’t Trust Chris With a Gun.” Warped tones on scratchy strings morph into bassy groans, taps, grinding fiddling, and processed tones – all of which converge into a faux crescendo as Levisay yanks away his sounds before they can deliver a sonic wallop.

“The Man” is a modernistic brass collage that groans, twitters, and screeches – all above a constant bass tone – whereas “Are You God Now?” presents a busted up version of the piano theme. In “Was It Beautiful?” morphed sounds are further processed into blurred textures which move neither forward or backward, and the cue closes with a mélange of grinding strings and brief declarations of discord.

Levisay’s essentially crafted a compact musical nightmare where silence and quiet effects are just as effective in scaring the listener as frenetic clamor. At just over 30 mins., the score manages to create the same rich terror as Jeff Grace’s The Roost (2005), albeit with a different arrangement of instruments. Fans of early Christopher Young (or Stomu Yamashta’s weird knocking and groaning effects in John Williams’ equally chilly Images) ought to relish the beauty of Levisay economical score, which manages to evoke more horror using less sounds than the standard Media Ventures confections slapped over the steady remakes of seventies slashers.

Beautifully bizarre.



© 2011 Mark R. Hasan


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