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The Machine (Tom Raybould)

June 21, 2014

Synchrotones’ Microtones Review… all of the opinion, less of the words.

cover_machineTHE MACHINE

Tom Raybould, 2014, MovieScore Media
20 tracks, 55:12

What is it? The story is is set in a dystopian future where Britain’s Ministry of Defense wages a never-ending war with China. Scientists Vincent (Toby Stephens) and Ava (Caity Lotz) are tasked with developing the world’s first artificially intelligent robotic soldier which sounds and looks like a human. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned.

What does it sound like? The electronic score comes courtesy of Welsh debutant Tom Raybould. As with some of the aforementioned scores in this Snap Shot review, Tangerine Dream and Wendy Carlos appear to be amongst the key influences. I might add Vangelis and John Carpenter to that list. There is a definite retro sound to this score, whether deliberate or not. It’s hard not to be reminded of “Blade Runner” or “The Terminator” (or even “The Fog” for that matter). A lot of it is understandably dark and oppressing, though some cues allow for soothing piano play. As with “Real Humans” there’s a strong focus on lower register sounds. A lot of the music is ‘felt’ rather than ‘heard’. Having said that, “The Machine” also utilises Vangelis-like arpeggios and synth leads that more easily catch your ear.

Is it any good? It’s a dark atmospheric score, that occasionally manages to catch your attention through “Blade Runner” and “Terminator”-like sounds and techniques. It’s not as good as the former; nor as memorable as the latter. Like the other scores in this Snap Shot article, it is very well done. The sound and style are very well researched and applied. It’s atmospheric and undoubtedly works well in the film, but where it’s lacking is in its storytelling. It’s got a recognisable main theme; it would be nice to hear it applied more often.

Rating [2,5/5]

Review by Pete Simons, (c) Synchrotones

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