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Friday, April 09, 2010


Having had no little measure of success with his scores for the Oscar-nominated animations Coraline and The Secret of Kells, Bruno Coulais returns to a field he is much experienced in, the scoring of documentaries; firstly, with Disneynature's Oceans, which opens in the US on April 22nd, and for which there appears to be a generous budget, and a commercial album release on Columbia France. I shall be reviewing this soon, but at this time I turn my attention to the second documentary, Focus Features' Babies, opening in the US on May 7th; a film that spans the world, chronicling the lives of four babies in Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo, and which has seemingly a more modest music budget, but then when you're as inventive a composer as Coulais, modest budgets pose no obstacle, and in fact it may have been an artistic choice to go with a canvas that includes a string quintet, wind orchestra, ethnic instruments, piano and percussion - oh, and a lot of toys! Another key element are the vocal stylings of French artist Rosemary.
I have no soundtrack album details for Babies, but surely someone will pick it up. In the meantime, the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, have kindly sent me a CD of his music, so that I can at least tell you what to expect from his score when viewing the film.
The disc is quite brief at under 28 minutes, but the times passes breezily and opens with Rosemary's first offering, the quirkily propulsive "Baby." "Bayarjagal" follows, a light and atmospheric piece for harp and percussion. The sunny "Hattie" again features Rosemary, whilst "The Babies" is another quirky and propulsive offering. "Marie" appears quite mischievous, whilst the dreamy "Ponijao" again features Rosemary, who continues into "Waking Marie," which briefly reprises the "Baby" theme, which also features in "The Market.
"The Toilet" has a 'cat and mouse' feel about it, whilst the toys come into their own on the percussive "Windmills," with Rosemary and a small vocal ensemble also feature. "Hair" follows, with Rosemary offering a more subdued vocal, and also "Baby Game." "Falls" is piano and percussion driven, and appears to reflect the thrills and spills of those first tiny steps - and tumbles. But once mastered, "First Steps" fairly races along, with a development of "The Babies."
The penultimate track, "Sleeping Hattie" features piano, with a sprinkling of stardust; whilst "Lullaby" concludes proceedings in soft and gentle repose.
This is a charming and delightful little score, which I do hope is made available for you all to add to your Coulais collection.


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