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CD: Music from the Transformers Trilogy (2011)
Review Rating:   Very Good
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Silva Screen
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October 3, 2011

Tracks / Album Length:

16 / (58:11)


Composer: Steve Jablonsky

Special Notes:

8-page colour booklet with liner notes by Michael Beek.
Comments :    

Silva Screen’s compilation of themes and dramatic highlights from the three (thus far) Transformers films directed by Michael Bay is a fitting sampler of the musical heroism and melodrama steeped in each respective film, and the amalgam of cues performed by London Music Works and select cues by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra flow quite seamlessly to create a satisfying narrative.

The trilogy’s design follows the patented blockbuster sound of orchestral, choral, and electronic music pioneered and supervised by Hans Zimmer, and while Steve Jablonsky is one of Zimmer’s primary protégés, there are distinct aspects which reflect Jablonsky’s own knack for melody and spatially enhanced chord progressions.

Not unlike his prior score for Bay’s The Island (2005), Jablonsky likes to bridge action and dramatic peaks with sustained or slowly shifting chords. Vocal lines, banks of strings and synth chords seem to expand and blur simultaneously, and the effect on the listener is akin to a slow, sinking sensation. It’s a clever concept that’s consistent throughout the suites in this CD, with some counterbalancing from an ethereal female voice, as in the moody “Infinite White.”

The heroic theme and its variations are fairly generic, and bear more than a passing familiarity to the Zimmer-supervised music for the Crysis 2 [M] videogame. “Optimus Vs. Megatron” also bears strong similarities to Clash of the Titans (2009), composed by Zimmer protégé Ramin Djawadi, whereas the central percussion section of “Dark Side of the Moon” evokes Christopher Franke’s counterpointing rhythmic textures in Tangerine Dream’s The Park Is Mine (1986). (Even if it the cue wasn’t inspired by Franke’s percussion style, it’s a solid cue in its own right, but its resemblance to “Swatting ‘S.W.A.T.” is quite striking.)

Separated from Bay’s cinematic bombast and wraparound surround sound mixes, it is pleasing to appreciate the nuances in Jablonsky’s cues, particularly the character-driven cuts, such as “Sentinel Prime,” with its keyboard intro that builds into a robust theme rendition with agreeable orchestral emulations. There’s also nice contrast between the fat lower brass drones and warm, choral-drenched chords in “It’s Our Fight,” with a ricocheting backbeat and mechanical rhythmic pattern.

Silva’s CD features the label’s sleek production values, and Michael Beek’s liner notes expertly tread the fine line between acknowledging the value and efficiency of Jablonsky’s music while paying note to the composer’s stylistic lineage to Zimmer’s, and the patented Remote Control Studios sound.


© 2011 Mark R. Hasan

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