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Thursday, September 21, 2006

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW - Prehistoric Park

Prehistoric Park
Music by Daniel Pemberton
iTunes download
31 Tracks 55:04 mins

An enjoyable romp for kids and adults alike was the recent ITV series Prehistoric Park, which utilised the technology first dazzlingly displayed in the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs and subsequent sequels. The show saw Nigel Marven go backwards and forwards in time, through a portable time portal, to collect prehistoric creatures for a huge and very unusual wildlife park. OK, so some of the humour may have been a bit infantile, but one couldn't help but be swept up at times by the fantastic creatures trotted out before us, most of which were pretty convincing.
The music score was provided by a new name to me, Daniel Pemberton, whom I later discovered has been on the scene for some time, composing music for films and particularly TV, where he seems to almost have cornered the market in scoring reality shows. Not having time to view such fare, this is why I was obviously unaware of his talents. He has also ventured into the videogame world with hi score for The Movies, which was named as "the best videogame soundtrack in the world for 2005" by From the looks of his upcoming assignments, we are sure to be hearing much more of this talented composer in the near future, with scores for Channel 4's Interference, the BBC's The Haunting of Toby Jugg and "Alive: Kidnapped in the Killing Fields" from the makers of Touching the Void.
The music of Prehistoric Park features the 70-piece City of Prague Philharmonic, an orchestra that is now very much finding original film and TV work, having been utilised over the years by Silva Screen in their excellent compilation albums. Pemberton also adopts innovative electronic sound design for the bleaker landscapes on display during the series - tracks like "Like Nowhere on Earth," "Barren and Strange" and "Ice Planet."
The main theme is first heard in "Opening," building majestically from a jungle drumbeat, a feature found frequently in subsequent tracks. This is followed by a more leisurely, awe-filled variation in "Entering the Park." The music for "The Time Portal" is a further variation, ending in a big, adventurous climax.
The undoubted highlights of the cues that follow are the action pieces, again largely driven by that jungle drumbeat and other percussion. Tracks like "Cave Bear Chase," Buffalo Stance" and Cheetah Chase" provide a fair bit of excitement, with "Saving the World" moving impressively to a triumphant climax. "The Great Escape" is another action piece, starting off quite comically before turning more menacing as Nigel is pursued by an escaped T-Rex.
The penultimate track, "Returning to the Park" provides a serene conclusion to events, before the main theme is given a short, powerful burst in the "End Credits."
At present the score is only available as a download through iTunes, where you can find it along with an increasing number of film scores for purchase there.


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