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Sunday, January 17, 2010


Music by Christopher Gordon
Silva Screen Records SILCD1306
16 Tracks 69:55 mins

Released tomorrow is Christopher Gordon's epic-sounding score for the latest cinematic entry in the currently very popular vampire genre, Daybreakers, a futuristic tale, in which vampires rule, with humans a dying breed - which of course makes for a worrying situation for their predatory rulers.
Highly regarded as a composer of film and concert hall music in his native Australia, Gordon is yet to fulfill internationally the promise displayed in his work for the TV productions of On The Beach and Moby Dick; with his big cinematic break, Master and Commander, turning out to be a hotch-potch of a score - a case of too many cooks. He has however recently won the Australian Film Institute Award for his music to Mao's Last Dancer, and his large orchestral/choral score for Daybreakers promises to make this something of a breakthrough year - at least I hope so.
The disc opens with the dramatic strings of"Immolation," which reach an agonised crescendo, before the cue moves ever more propulsively to a close. "Nightfall" is all rather eerie and ominous, and is followed by the nervy "Humans;" the threatening "Subsider," with its chorus of male voices, pounding timpani and sinuous strings; the powerful "On the Run" with its massive battery of drums and cymbals; and the lengthy and largely gloomy "Blood Lust." A sliver of light shines through the gloom in "The Winery and the Cafe," but is soon overwhelmed by an increasingly menacing chorale, leading to the initially rather tragic, but ultimately quite triumphant "Fermentation Tank."
It's a return to the drums and cymbals with "Ambush," though strings offer grim defiance. "Resurrection" is largely subdued, with just a few more powerful intrusions. Sounding horns play interestingly off one another at the start of "Drought," before an increasingly dissonant choir takes over.
The highlight, for me so far, the weighty "In the Sun" develops a steely determination, reinforced by heavenly choir, before giving way to the initially gloomy, but ultimately inspirational "Blood Brothers." The lengthiest track on the album, the 11-minute "Spreading the Cure" follows, and opens with solo cello, which swings from sombre to impassioned and back again, before those competing horn calls return, heralding, after a brief string interlude, possibly the score's most powerful and exciting passage; initially hugely percussive and then bold and brassy, before choir joins to take the cue to the next level and, after a brief spiritual interlude, a huge dissonant crescendo; the cue ending with a reflective trumpet solo leading to a propulsive and triumphant conclusion.
The penultimate cue, "Daybreak," opens with a powerful drum solo before strings bathe proceedings in light, with triumphant brass support. The solo cello returns to lead the massed strings in poignant reflection, before the cue picks up to provide a real sense of freedom to close.
The album closes with a song, Placebo's version of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," which actually ain't that bad - and, you know, for me to say that about any song included on a soundtrack album is rare praise indeed.
Go to www.silvascreen for further info, samples and to purchase your copy of this fine score on CD or as a digital download.


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