- Audio CD (20 July 2009)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Soundtrack
- Label: Black Records
- ASIN: B002FG9NLY
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,095 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Moon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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Unavailable in the U.S.! the soundtrack to the film by Duncan Jones, composed by former Pop Will Eat Itself frontman, Clint Mansell. Moon is a critically acclaimed 2009 British science fiction film about a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Earth's moon.
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Moon [Blu-ray]  [Region Free], as you probably know, was a film about Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a lonely man on a lunar mining station with nothing but a robot called Gerty, his plants, a surprisingly detailed model of his home town, and the endless, beautiful, barren moonscape for company. The grandeur of the stars and the grey deserts he traverses in his moon rover, are spellbinding, and are given a sense of drama and purpose by Clint Mansell's soundtrack. It's a haunting mix of ambient atmospherics, that wouldn't be out of place on Brian Eno's Music for Airports, and more traditional melodies for piano and strings. It has a structure and direction to it that makes it fascinating, and makes great use of silences, whether to create a sense of space as echoes fade away or by abruptly stopping instruments, like radio signals suddenly cut off. In the same way that the Inception Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer used slowed down samples to create an exciting musical idea which was grounded in the premise of the film, there is never a moment in the Moon soundtrack that doesn't reflect the coldness and vastness of the cosmos, and the melancholy of a lonely man trying to find his place in it.
The main theme is a piece entitled Welcome To Lunar Industries which bookends the soundtrack, opening the album with a rush of harmonics and a swell of noise that snaps out of existence as a piano begins to tap out the main melodic theme of the score. Behind the evolving melody, unearthly wails and electronic sounds build and a steady drumbeat appears, propelling the score forward and giving the whole piece a sense of purpose. The very natural sounding piano contrasts sharply with wailing harmonics and atmospherics processed through self-oscillating long chain delays. This sets the tone for the rest of the album with many of the pieces in the suite running together (perfect for vinyl fans). Tracks like Two Weeks and Counting and Are You Receiving use this template to underscore important moments in the film, playing with clever contrasts in texture and melody.
The track Memories (Someone We'll Never Know) tones down the atmospherics (but doesn't entirely dispense with them) for a gentle piano piece, starting so slowly you can hear each reverb tale between the notes. About halfway through, a violin appears, sustaining at first on a single note and then picking up the melody, before a lyrical cello section closes the piece. The Nursery adds a music box chime to this mix and feels both sadder and more intimate than what has gone before, yet remains a little alien too. We're Going Home combines themes from The Nursery and Memories before breaking into the main melody, feeling more intense now as it's backed by growling distorted guitars and synths.
The closing version of Welcome To Lunar Industries (Three Year Stretch) contrasts a plain electronic beat and soaring string section which briefly quotes Memories, before launching into the main theme for a final time. As the pattern of the plain beat shifts subtly back and forth, a bright clean electric guitar and sample of backwards piano dual with each other, their stuttering signals set against the propulsive beat. The main piano figure returns with for the climax and the piece ends with the rasp of synth and the pulse of the piano fading into space and then disappearing with a snap.
The vinyl pressing of this soundtrack is wonderfully quiet, which is essential for music like this, and while it's not quite 180g, it's not flimsy either. The cover uses the film's artwork, the portrait of Sam against circular background, with glossy stills of Sam Bell and Gerty on the inner sleeve (a plastic liner might have been kinder to the record though). The graphic design on the label, although attractive, is a bit too minimalist for me as I struggled to tell side A from side B. Just so you know, the picture of Sam is Side A. There was no download code included, but it is priced accordingly so no complaints from me.
Overall, this score balances lyrical orchestral instruments with more abstract electronic elements maintaining a beautiful, melancholy effect. It makes you feel cold and alone as if lost in a vast space, but the steady beat and precise melody means it never loses it's sense of purpose, or degenerates into mindless noodling. Every note, harmonic or wash of reverb has a purpose here, and contributes to the emotional journey. If you loved the film you'll be delighted to know that the soundtrack stands up well as a suite of music. If you are interested in hearing modern electronica ideas combined with a classical influence, why not give it a try.
I must admit to having given up on finding great new Sci-Fi scores in film, having recently become in awe of Bear McCreary's talent in his wonderful final season 4 score for Battlestar Galactica: Season Four , so to find this felt like a real gem.
Clint Mansell's score is predictably sparse but surprisingly robust on repeated listens. It compliments the film perfectly and if you dig a little deeper, begins to throw up subtle changes in the few recognisable cues that emerge from the movie.
Special mention goes to the track 'Memories...' - it is a wonderfully affecting piece of music, containing nowt much but an ethereal piano, before a Cello moves in by way of a final refrain. My favourite track on the album.
In short, if you're a fan of the scores that accompany the classics that 'Moon' was unashamedly trying to emulate, you'll love this.
I really recommend it and the price at the moment seems to be very reasonable.
On its own it just works as a beautiful suite of piano led pieces that are both emotionally rich yet wierdly alienating. A really great album to chill out to.
This soundtrack is perfect for the film. All the feelings of isolation, despair and eventual hope are represented by the keys here which are all right on the nose. If you play Eve Online, this makes a nice background for mining missions.
I love downloading music from Amazon, especially now that the postal strikes have decided nothing is being delivered on time any more.
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