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Wednesday, July 08, 2009


28 Weeks Later
Music by John Murphy
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1097 (US)
23 Tracks 74:25 mins

John Murphy's score to the sequel to Danny Boyle's nightmarish 2002 movie 28 Days Later was previously available as an iTunes download, but here, in this expanded edition CD release of just 1500 units, La-La Land Records has expanded the music content by more than 10 minutes and also includes, as a bonus track, a 13-minute interview with the composer, conducted by Daniel Schweiger, who also contributed the very detailed booklet notes accompanying the disc. The two combined just about make up the definitive word on the score for the film.
And what of the score itself, well, I confess I have not seen 28 Weeks Later, but did see its prequel, the largely experimental and atonal nature of the music of which was effective in the context of the film, but left no lasting impression on me, I have to say. Needless to say, I did not acquire the soundtrack in this case.
Murphy's score for 28 Weeks Later similarly offers little to me as heard away from the film, although it may well be effective on screen, though I don't hold out any great hopes. Again it is often atonal in nature, and perhaps even more experimental, relying mostly on a small core of musicians, but adding choir samples, a string section and featuring the unusual sound of the Zither-like Hakbrett, which had its heyday in the '60s, as employed by the likes of John Barry and Roy Budd, as well as the Mellotron, used by the Beatles on songs like "Strawberry Fields. Much of the resulting music was then processed to give it a "raw, unpolished sound."
Murphy reprises his key melodies from the first film, his "Virus Theme" and the "28 Theme," which is undoubtedly the most memorable piece of music from 28 Days, a steady, guitar-lead builder. The album's final cue, "Hymn to England" offers an optimistic conclusion at least.
If you're not a fan of the film, and are therefore unfamiliar with Murphy's music, go to to check out some samples. Maybe this score will be more to your liking and move you to order your copy. I can certainly recommend the booklet, which is quite excellent and I love the idea of including an audio interview with the composer. If only more scores could be so lovingly presented.


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