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

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Small Island
Music by Martin Phipps
MovieScore Media MMD0008
23 Tracks 36:28 mins

BBC regular Martin Phipps is responsible for the score to the recent drama series Small Island, based on the Andrea Levy novel of the same name. It's nice to see that MSM seem to have developed a relationship with the BBC, as so much fine music for their productions has sadly gone unreleased in the past. It is hoped that this will now not continue to be the case.
But back to Small Island, and Phipps has produced a conventional orchestral score, but with a Jamaican twist. Opening track "Mother Country" has an easy, travelling quality, with guitar adding that island feel; and is followed by the piano-lead, optimistic, if restrained "Bernard." The brief "War" is suitably grave, with "Present Day" making an optimistic return with the laid-back island feel of "Present Day," the central theme of which is to appear again in later tracks. Tragedy follows with "Hurricane," whilst "A Fine Joke" flows positively after a restrained start.
In subsequent tracks, Phipps' music continues to swing between the aforementioned optimistic, island-influenced sounds, and more serious, dramatic, and sometimes heart-tugging underscore, with just a touch of humour thrown in. Overall, it is fine melodic music, where practically every track has something to offer, though the spare piano solo of the final track "Humming Bird" does end things on something of an anti-climax.
Available as a digital download only, go to for details, as well as a trailer for the show.


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