Music By Steven Price
Watertower Music NLIN39478
16 Tracks/Disc Time: 61:17
In a year a few very solid films which includes one of the more interesting and mature films that was missed during the summer which was "Mud", this fall should have one of its' strongest contenders come Oscar season in January. The film is Alfonso Cuaron's ("Great Expectations", "Y Tu Mama Tambien") thrilling and visual masterpiece "Gravity" starring Oscar winners George Clooney (the upcoming "The Monuments Men" in which he also stars and directs) and Sandra Bullock ("Speed", "The Blind Side") which has been revered by Director James Cameron ("Avatar", "Titanic") as "the best space film ever". The film is a visual thriller that takes place just above Earth as medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kawalsky (Clooney) work together in a race against time to survive after a major accident leaves them adrift in space.The film also co-stars Oscar nominee Ed Harris as the voice of Mission Control.
Films that really revolve around two central characters are somewhat very difficult to score or even write an inspired score for. Just writing a film score to a space film that revolves around the terrors of outer space such as Jerry Goldsmith did in the unforgettable "Alien", which give him alot of trouble. Cuaron entrusted the films' musical score to composer Steven Price, who this past summer scored the Simon Pegg - Nick Frost end of the world comedy "The World's End" and has served as a music editor for many composers including David Arnold, Hans Zimmer, Patrick Doyle, James Newton Howard, Anne Dudley, and Howard Shore as well as a music programmer/musician for Trevor Jones.
The score to "Gravity" is essentially a musical exercise in music and atmosphere dominating where the films visuals really dominate instead of dialog. Price literally is the voice of the film, well almost since he has George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to make matters all that much better. The music is primarily electronic with moments of orchestrial flourish and a wordless female vocalise. Parts of it does try to echo James Horner's brilliant and vastly superior score to "Apollo 13", which is not a bad thing when it's done right. Price's score does work and I will tell you why. It just simply does what it's expected to do, create drama, thrills and enhance the acting of Clooney and Bullock. In that regard, it really does work especially within the film, but on its' own, that's another story.
The score opens with the atmospheric "Above Earth" which becomes a more melodic dream like track that is very soothing and establishes the score's main theme backed with a female vocal solo. Price soon ratches up the tension and suspense with "Debris", a track filled with pulsing, sample electronics and continues with the following tracks "Void" and "Atlantis" where the atmosphere continues to get a little harsher as each track goes by. "Don't Let Go" is one of the albums stand out tracks and set pieces that also include "Tiangong" and "Shenzou", later in the album which really do underscore the films' final moments really perfectly. "Don't Let Go" really develops the films suspense and drama as the track just builds and builds until it has a solid conclusion musically. There are other quieter moments such as "Airlock" and "Aurora Borealis" that add some nice tender moments in a time of crisis as the dream like theme from "Above Earth" makes an appearance. "Gravity" is another standout track giving you some room to relax with acoustic guitar and electronics that are really good.
Watertower Music's lengthy album is one that is hit and miss at times. It definitely is a score that does get better as it goes along, but the problem is that it takes a hell of alot of time getting there and maybe that's just the point. Utter patience. Price's score has a pretty solid texture to it and moments of stand out melodic material, but he really hits you over the head a times with the electronics early on and that's why I didn't like about it. Too much too soon. I will say that once the score gets going, it really is good. The score is very original, but you feel at times you've been down this road before at times. I will give it an affectionate thumbs up because it is very strong for its' genre and it is a score that the more you do listen to it, the better it does get.