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CD: Caprica (2009)
Review Rating:   Excellent  
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La-La Land Records
Catalog #:

LLLCD 1098 

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June 16, 2009

Tracks / Album Length:

18 tracks / (54:05)


Composer: Bear McCreary

Special Notes:

8-page colour booklet with liner notes by director Jeffrey Reiner and composer Bear McCreary

Comments :    

Bear McCreary’s Caprica theme is based around a simple set of notes that lend themselves to diverse moods, and while La-La Land’s album has some thematic repetition, the Caprica score is a beautifully orchestrated work that eases one into the futuristic world of cylons and humans.

McCreary’s grasp of keeping an eye on human elements within an interstellar world grounds the score, so there’s never a moment when one feels the drama is synthetic and perfunctory.

Like his work on the Battlestar Galactica series, there’s a seamless balance between epic and intimate, and the composer’s knack for rhythms and dense percussion textures is evident throughout Caprica, of which the most obvious is the early action cue “Terrorism on the Lev.”

McCreary lays down pulsing ethnic percussion – all rich in organic timbres  - and overlays a solo violin for a sad theme statement, and the combination of minimalist, primal rapping and bass drum hits and a drawn-out melody creates a gripping musical narrative. It’s also a simple method with which the composer can play with density, holding back on the percussion for a brief woodwind interlude, or slam down full percussion with long tonal chords that often hold or fail to develop purely as a means to heighten tension for the corresponding film scene.

The rich textures are deeper in “Cyberlentic Life Form Node,” with Asian bass drums thundering a repeating pattern, alongside rapping clusters and a faint whine designed to augment the scene’s tension. What’s unique about the cue is how it’s completely anti-Zimmer & Co.: the emphasis is on hard, resonating organic sounds for a futuristic drama. While there’s a limitless supply of synth sounds and samples for composers, McCreary uses old-world sounds that de-emphasize the robots and weaponry, and avoids subjecting the viewer to musical clichés that immediately tell audiences when a scene will degrade into a predictable effects-laden showpiece.

Much of Caprica is divided up between three distinct moods: primal angst (percussion), an almost child-like fear of the unknown (mostly through soothing strings and sad melodic interludes), and meditative moments (largely through theme restatements, and arrangements with harp and woodwinds). The score is beautifully crafted for large orchestra, and it’s certainly the most lyrical and accomplished work in McCreary’s canon.

To read an interview with composer Bear McCreary, click HERE.


© 2009 Mark R. Hasan

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