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Monday, July 07, 2008


Music by Thomas Newman
Walt Disney records D000 174302 (US)
38 Tracks 62:07 mins

The latest animation from the Walt Disney/Pixar Animation Studios, WALL.E, tells the story of a lone robot, left on Earth when the planet was evacuated, who comes a cross a research robot named Eve, who realises WALL.E has discovered the key to the planet's future and races back to space to report these findings with WALL.E in hot pursuit.
Writer-Director Andrew Stanton had worked previously with Thomas Newman on the wonderful Finding Nemo and reunites with the composer on this project. Interestingly, songs from the musical Hello Dolly, performed by Michael Crawford, and Thomas' uncle Lionel conducted the orchestra for the 1969 film version. Other songs featured on the soundtrack include La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong and an original collaboration between Newman and Peter Gabriel on "Down To Earth." Gabriel also had a hand in a couple of the orchestral cues.
Newman's score for the film has a very important part to play, as it very often has to carry the action in the absence of dialogue, and it has already received much critical acclaim.
The score opens quite mysteriously and wondrously, with "2815 A.D." Following some semi-comic ramblings, "The Spaceship" brings some drama and considerable orchestral weight to proceedings (along with sound effects, which I could have lived without. There are others throughout the album, but mercifully few, and they don't really distract from the music too much). "Eve" follows, bringing a suitably romantic lift to proceedings, as it bubbles along. Some tension follows in "Worry Wait," but "First Date" returns us to the romantic mood, in syrupy '60s style, complete with vocal group. But it doesn't last long, before "Eve Retrieve" bursts into powerful action. "The Axiom" follows, with the strings singing joyfully, before being brought to an authoratitive and weighty close.
More '60s cheese follows with the short advertising jingle, "BNL,"again featuring the vocal group from before. "Foreign Contaminant" sees the composer return to action mode, with the largely breezy "Repair Ward" and "72 Degrees and Sunny" following. There's a return to action throughout the few quite brief cues that follow, before "Define Dancing" returns us to the bubbling, romantic mood for subsequent cues, with even a waltz briefly entering in "No Splashing No Diving."
It's back to the breezy theme from before with "M-O," before darkness descends with the threatening "Directive A-113." Suspense, action and menace combine in "Mutiny!," before "Fixing WALL.E" brings a somewhat ethereal feel, before ending on a defiant note. Brassy heroics announce the "Rogue Robots," who then go on the march in proper military fashion. The following "March of the Gels," whilst still propulsive, is in less conventional fashion. Tense, powerful action features in "Tilt," with choir taking it to its conclusion. Heroics follow over the next few action-packed cues, ending somewhat low-key in "Static." "Horizon" concludes the score, very much as it opened, with a return to that initial sense of wonder.
As with many of Thomas Newman's past scores, the cues are often quite brief, but flow together nicely on this album, so that one is barely aware of where one starts and another ends.
Perhaps reflecting WALL.E's job in "Waste Allocation," the CD's packaging in made from recycled material, and looks it, but this is a nice touch, and even the colourful inserted booklet is recycled, and features plenty of stills, a note from the director, plus full musical credits and lyrics for "Down To Earth."
Come Academy Awards time, it would not surprise me in the least if Newman gains a nomination for this fine score.


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