CD: Snowpiercer (2013)

August 4, 2014 | By


SnowpiercerScore: Very Good

Label: Varese Sarabande

Released:  June 27, 2014


Tracks / Album Length:  20 tracks / (55:51)

Composer: Marco Beltrami

Special Notes:  n/a




In a weird quirk of fate, Snowpiercer is another epic post-apocalyptic tale scored by Marco Beltrami in which a major creative force on the producing end felt the film needed some ‘fixing,’ but unlike World War Z (2013), Joon-ho Bong’s film managed to be released unscathed, albeit late to North American audiences, and on a limited scale.

Beltrami’s sound for dystopian worlds tends to be large-scale with a few cues goosed with chorals – a demand perhaps imposed by filmmakers / studios wanting their money to bleed offscreen – but Snowpiercer infers its scope with a few moments of big orchestral sounds; most of what materializes are moments of intimacy which, even when tense and horrific, never smother audiences with aural chaos.

It’s also a score that plants just fragments of a main theme, easing portions into the film mix through discrete tracks consisting of rhythms; brass that quietly snarl their attitude rather than make overt and prolonged statements; and the occasional allusions to the characters trapped on a constantly moving train (as with the clacking, hissing sonics in “Steam Car”).

Beltrami also channels his inner Jerry Goldsmith, frequently going for polyphonic rhythms with thematic material hanging above like a swaying, jostling mobiles. Electronic elements are often restricted to fattened or piercing reverberating tones (“Axe Gang”), and modern synth pulses dominate “Seoul Train,” with clacking metallics and synthetic chugging sounds.

There are rare moments of harmony in the score, but they tend to be coloured with melancholy, be it through an introspective piano, or chamber strings used for the score’s closing cue, “Yona’s Theme” (which is actually two tracks: around 3:09, a short source vocal cue plays).

Snowpiercer is a nice change of pace for the composer and the genre itself, and proves not all post-apocalyptic tales require the de rigueur grand sonic approach that’s become the cliché of studio-funded epics.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



Additional Links:
Composer on IMDB  —  Composer Filmography —  Soundtrack Album

Select Merchants: — BSX — Intrada — Screen Archives Entertainment

Tags: ,

Category: Soundtrack Reviews

Comments are closed.