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MP3: After... (2006)
Review Rating:   Good  
Film Music Downloads (Sweden)
Catalog #:
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December 18, 2007

Tracks / Album Length:

18 tracks / (42:05)


Composer: John Cameron

Special Notes:

Downloadable album from Film Music Downloads
Comments :    

Since 1969, John Cameron has been scoring a wide, eclectic variety of film, TV, and documentary productions, yet he's remained pretty much below the radar in spite of being a veteran film composer. His most iconic scores include Don Sharp's Psychomania (1971), Peter Medak's The Ruling Class (1972), TV's The Protectors (1972), Sunburn (1979), and several noteworthy TV movies: Witness for the Prosecution (1982), the superb Jack the Ripper (1988), and his Emmy-nominated score for David L. Cunningham's The Path to 9/11 (2006).

After... (2006), also directed by Cunningham, marks a rare return to feature films, and while his score has to coexist with music by the Crystal Method, Film Music Downloads' soundtrack album contains a decent chunk of score that maintains its own distinct narrative.

Cameron's use of electronic elements is largely concentrated on shock cues, and they're superficially generic, in the sense tension is derived from clusters of pinched electronic dissonance and long moody swathes of synthetic strings that lack the kind of ambient depth usually present in thriller scores with a design towards dramatic and ambient functionality. The shock stabs are very retro, but Cameron infuses what could've been a familiar collage of sustained chords, loud stabs, and minor experimentalism into a sometimes intriguing mix of drifting idioms with vintage sounds (some quite reminiscent of Fred Mollin's TV work, such as Friday the 13th).

The main theme for After is based around a semi-tragic three-note motif, and the strongest cues are derived from intimate chamber renditions with strings and woodwinds; Cameron extracts some lovely moments of self-examination, and childish angst associated with being abandoned by a parent in a large urban complex; the tenderness within Cameron's arrangements are both soothing and aching, and the simple cues are firm emotional anchor points to the characters who dare to venture into Stalin's secret subway system and encounter ‘more than they expected.'

Wafting between the chamber cues are little hints of jazz – subtle, plaintive sax, or some funky rhythms – and fat analogue electronics that, deliberate or not, create a musical environment that's not time-specific. “The Genetic Laboratory” heavily recalls eighties synth scores with its long string chords, and “The War Room” has dominant, sterile metallic percussion, electric guitar, and synthetic chimes.

Brief vocal passages are also layered into a few sparse cues like the dreamy “The Train,” as are waves of processed instruments, and the usual mélange of keyboards, bass drones, and pensive motifs comprise stalking cuts like “Escape to the Train,” where Cameron fuses eighties synths with some seventies keyboard riffs.

After is too light for a thriller score – the discordant synths in “The Torture Chamber” and propulsive percussion have little hint of any genuine mortal trauma – but there's some intriguing attempts to blend classical, jazz, and electronica within the confines of a tightly budgeted work.


© 2008 Mark R. Hasan

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