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CD: To the Wonder (2012)
Review Rating:   Excellent  
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May 21, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

15 tracks / 65 mins.



Hanan Townshend


Special Notes:


Comments :    

The increasingly abstract nature of Terence Malick’s directorial style demands a composer with patience and versatility, and newcomer Hanan Townshend has crafted a luscious orchestral score bookended by a lilting, elegant theme (“Marina’s Theme”) based in classical composition, but it’s the score’s middle that really delivers the most interesting material.

To the Wonder feels like a slow submersion into a watery cloud of soundscapes where conceptual designs flow back & forth, sometimes thinning out or thickening into material that never develop into anything melodic. The absence of any tangible melody, as well as thematic material (either from Townshend, or the three classical music extracts) is nevertheless soothing: chords come in a series beach waves (“Deception”) that emulate currents pushing water onto a think beach plateau; and he evokes the circular rusty metallic scraps of Michael Gordon’s Decasia (2002) to create a sense of swirling unease in cues like “Peril” by allowing circular reverberations to drift into increasing disharmony. (A later cue, “Awareness The Train,” blends the blurry sounds with actual train effects.)

The periodic shifting between harmony, brief melodic bits from classical music, and Townshend’s own thematic material make for a fascinating musical journey, and may be a more satisfying experience for those flustered by Malick’s film.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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