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CD: Red 2 (2013)
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July 29, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

25 tracks / (61:04)



Alan Silvestri


Special Notes:

12-page colour booklet.

Comments :    

With a larger music budget for the sequel to Red (2010), Alan Silvestri opted for an almost 50/50 split of electronics and orchestra, using brass and strings to boost the scope of select dramatic events, but always maintaining a digital edge by using heavy bass beats and subtle pulses. The strange thing about Red 2 is Silvestri’s choice of electronic sounds. The echoing distortion and rapping timbre in “Speaking of Sarah” are modern, but the backbeats that launch the main theme are vintage late eighties – a little raw, maybe, with a rhythmic pattern tied to old-style drum machines.

The combination of old, new, and classical sounds suit the multiple generations of spies and assassins in the sequel, and in the album’s first set of cues, Silvestri layers in some familiar synth textures and light techno beats. (In “Han” there’s even a synth shakuhachi flute, endemic to most 80s and 90s scores.) Hammond organ emulations add extra colour and humour to “Marvin at Work,” and perhaps more cleverly there are echoes of Christophe Beck’s own Red theme in “To Paris,” blended with Silvestri’s urgent string patterns and reappearing in a more urgent variation in “Paris Chase.”

The blend between orchestral and electronic is seamless, as are the fluid transitions between restive cues, lighthearted moments, and surges in fast-pounding action, but Silvestri doesn’t stray far from his chosen palette. The same 7-note B-section of his main theme is oft-repeated, however, making Red 2 a little monotonous. The orchestral support in “Hole in the Wall” enhances the desperation, and concluding tracks such as “Plumbing” have a heavier orchestral component, especially with brass instruments, but unlike Beck’s Red, Silvestri’s score seems designed to support onscreen action than character arcs. It’s still a slick, wholly functional score, but it lacks some of the charm and freshness which made Beck’s effort more affecting.

La-La-Land’s cleanly mastered CD also includes a synth demo of the main title music, which closes the CD’s solid running time.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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