Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Music by Bruno Coulais
32 Tracks 59:44 mins

If you haven't already seen Henry Selick's stop-motion animated feature Coraline, just to remind you that it is now available on DVD, and sports a score by three-time Cesar Award winner Bruno Coulais. The composer's music for Les Choristes also earned him an Academy Award nomination and one of his many TV assignments, Sometime in April, also received an Emmy nomination.
Despite the composer's impressive credentials, I have found it difficult to warm to his work thus far, which is often a little unconventional for my tastes. Coulais has a penchant for children's voices in his scores, hence the success of Les Choristes, and again, with Coraline, they are present, in the form of the Children's Choir of Niece, in a number of cues, like "Dreaming;" "Installation;" "The Supper;" "Mechanical Lullaby;" "The Party" and "End Credits," which actually opens the album in a nicely propulsive way; along with his own vocals, and even those of voice cast member Teri Hatcher. Strangely, the children are often singing in French, but largely not songs as such, but random words. Altogether, quite charming, I must say. There's also an original Coulais song, in the form of the quirky, but catchy "Sirens of the Sea."
As for the instrumental offerings (sometimes enhanced by the voices of the Choir of the Hungarian National Radio), they are also often quite quirky, like "Bobinsky;" the zany "Mice Circus;" the Latin rhythms of "Spink and Forcible;" "Wybie that Talks;" and "The Famous Mister B;" but occasionally have a suitably dreamy and fairytale quality, like "Dreams are Dangerous;" the lovely "In the Bed;" "It Was Fantastic;" "Reunion;" and the more menacing "Ghost Children;" "Let's Go;" "Playing Piano;" "Dangerous Garden;" "Coraline Dispair;" "You Know I Love You;" and "The Hand."
In addition to Coulais' score, there is the original "Other Father Song," written and sparsely performed by They Might Be Giants.
At the end of the day, this is certainly the best thing I have heard thus far from the composer and his exposure to US audiences with Coraline can only be of benefit, though it remains to be seen whether he will attain parity with the likes of Alexandre Desplat, who now seems firmly established there, whilst continuing to work in his native France.


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