5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Ryan Amon has composed a stunning score for Elysium that's full of character and style and makes for a fantastic listen,
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
Composer Ryan Amon, a name I must confess I have never heard before has burst on to the scene with his score to the last summer blockbuster of 2013, Elysium. The score uses mainly the orchestra and a whole host of electronics and synths. There's some epic percussive sections at points, and occasional uses of choir and vocal soloists. This is one of the best, if not the best summer score of 2013 in my opinion.
The album runs at just over 70 minutes and has 29 tracks so forgive me for not going into every track in depth. The album is largely comprised of action tracks, some of my favourites were the outstanding "You Have No Idea" (Track 12) . There are nods to the Zimmer school of action scoring, "Zero Injuries Sustained" (Track 10) sounds like something you would have heard off any of Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. "Heading to Elysium" (Track 18) is fantastic and as it heads towards the climax theres some great string writing and light backing from the choir. There is some dull material present - "Darkness" (Track 5) has getting on for 4 minutes of repetitive percussion loops and ambient textures for pretty much the whole track, the same can be said of "The Raven" (Track 13). There are also some rather unpleasant sounding grinding synths in "A Political Sickness", and whilst it might work in the film, on album it doesn't make for a good listen.
This album has one of the strongest ends to a score album that I can remember for some time. The final three tracks that close the album, "Breaking a Promise" (Track 27), "Elysium" (Track 28) and "New Heaven, New Earth" are sensational, and of a generally slower pace than the preceding tracks, and was a welcome change of pace and style. Lisa Gerrard style vocals are delivered in "Breaking a Promise", that is a different version of "I don't Want to Die" (Track 15). "New Heaven, New Earth" starts off with percussion and a bit of ethnic flavour followed by a section that you will either love or hate, where there's a progressive increase in the string now being played. Screechy is the only word I can use to describe it, but it does work within the track.
The sound of the album is superb and the mixing is fantastic. The orchestral brass sections really pack a punch, and the electronic and orchestral sections where combined sound fantastic (even though some of the electronics weren't to my taste).
Overall, this is solid score release from Amon. There are some cracking action tracks here, but occasionally the album is let down by the more electronic tracks that seem to just be endless drones without a huge amount of development. I was going to take a star off for that, but after several repeat listens I have to say the music has grown on me, and whilst I might not like every track, I do think Amon has tried to do something a bit different here beyond your typical summer soundtrack. I hope Amon is a name we will hear again in the future - the guy has talent, and although I can't put my finger on exactly what, has a bit of extra musical spark that gives his music character. Despite some flaws, it is none the less a 5* score to my ears. Enjoy!