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All about beasties

September 3, 2022

Steven Price’s latest score is for the thriller “Beast“, in which Idris Elba and others have to escape from a beast (spoiler alert: it’s a lion). A quick glance at director Baltasar Kormakur reveals he likes to makes movies about people escaping from all sorts of peril, such as the ocean (“Adrift“), a mountain (“Everest“), another ocean (“The Deep“) and so on. He also seems to favour short titles; as well as working with many different composers from Clinton Shorter to James Newton Howard to Hildur Gotnadottir and Dario Marianelli.

Lions are very popular in films and they have inspired many great scores, such as “The Lion King“, “The Lion in Winter“, “The Wind and the Lion” and of course “The Ghost and the Darkness“. The latter is arguably most closely related to “Beast” in terms of storyline, and frankly is far superior, but I’m not sure it’s really fair to compare.

Price’s “Beast” is pretty much everything you have come to expect from the Oscar-winning (“Gravity“) composer, i.e. lots of electronic effects (reverses, crescendos) and syncopated layers of percussion and staccato strings. Price has scored a few thrillers now and applies everything’s he learned on those in “Beast“. Vocals add human interest and a bit of locale, breathing adds tension, whilst percussion and ostinatos add shedloads of urgency. It is unmistakably Steven Price, yet it’s not overly derivative of previous works. It’s a solid score with a few outstanding cues, but I must admit that it’s a bit anonymous on the whole. The score offers plenty of harmonic content, melodic elements and moments of drama and reflection through cello and guitar… Basically what I’m saying is that it’s not just drums and drones; and as such it exceeds expectations and is more enjoyable than the majority of modern thriller scores. Yet the melodic parts aren’t strong enough to make it a totally memorable score. Still, I enjoyed it and I expect that any fans of the composer will too. [26 tracks, 73m]

Article by Pete Simons (c) 2022 Synchrotones

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