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Hannibal (Brian Reitzell)

August 15, 2014

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


Brian Reitzell, 2014, Lakeshore Records
S1V1: 7 tracks, 72:36 | S1V2: 6 tracks, 70:31

What is it? This television drama tells off the beginnings of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, one of the literary world’s most fascinating characters. Originall created by Thomas Harris, the character was, of course, made famous by “Silence of the Lambs” and its two sequels “Hannibal” and “Red Dragon”. The score for this tv show is by Brian Reitzell.

What does it sound like?Visually it’s so artfully done and quite fantastical, so I see it like an opera staging, otherwise I might be more disturbed,” said Reitzell of “Hannibal”. “Listening to the music alone is scarier than in the context of the show.” Reitzell’s score is atmospheric, with little or no melodic content. Large parts consist of sound-design. Some chords, some harmonies or some solo lines may float to the surface, but there is little to hang on to; other than sound itself. “Oeuf” offers a few notes on a saxophone that sound like the beginning of a melody, or rather like a fragment of one, but it never develops any further – not in the melodic sense. It does grow as an atmospheric element, building to a little climax, after which the cue changes direction and starts to build again. “Trou Normand” offers a melancholy cello solo. On other occasions Bach’s “Aria” from the “Goldberg Variations” makes an appearance. “Entree” contains some intense action music, based around hectic percussion, granular synths and cacophonous noises.

Is it any good? To be honest, I’m struggling with this. It’s a very difficult listening experience – and I suspect that is exactly what it is supposed to be! It is as unsettling as it is mesmerising and fascinating. Yet I cannot see myself returning to these albums often. If you are into sound-design and appreciate the manipulation of sound and the slowly evolving atmospheres then “Hannibal” is worth checking out – it is clear that a lot of work has gone into ‘the sound’ of “Hannibal”. For the more casual listeners there may not be enough (harmonic or melodic) meat on the bones to sink their teeth in. Let this rating be a reflection on my personal tastes, rather than on Reitzell’s workmanship.

Rating [2/5]

Review by Pete Simons, (c) Synchrotones

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