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10 Cloverfield Lane (Music from the Motion Picture)
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Composer Bear McCreary’s score for 10 Cloverfield Lane is a masterful assemblage of elements including a 90-piece orchestra, a 45-piece string ensemble, a grouping of 30 celli and 8 bass, and a string quartet. These traditional instruments are combined with two unusual feature instruments, the Yayli tanbur and the Blaster Beam, an experimental instrument built and played by Craig Huxley. “Bear has written an incredible score for [director] Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane,” said producer J.J. Abrams. “It is tense, emotional music that gives the film scope and heart, augments the surprise and horror. It’s an homage to Herrmann, but wholly original at the same time. I'm deeply grateful to Bear for his contribution to this movie.” TRACK LIST: 1. Michelle 2. The Concrete Cell 3. Howard 4. A Bright Red Flash 5. At the Door 6. Two Stories 7. Message from Megan 8. Hazmat Suit 9. A Happy Family 10. The Burn 11. Up Above 12. Valencia 13. The New Michelle 14. 10 Cloverfield Lane
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Congratulations to Mr. McCreary, and the entire team behind 10 Cloverfield Lane - both in front of and behind the camera - on delivering a chilling, visceral, complete cinematic experience. This is the kind of movie no one will forget their first viewing of...the mystery, the dread. The accompanying score is one that is going to stick with us all for all time.
I rarely get to go see movies in the theatre and out of all the ones that I am eagerly waiting to be released on BluRay, this one is probably the one that I am on pins and needles to see the most. The reviews are great, the trailer looks mysterious, and the soundtrack is awesome! One of the great things about the CD release is that it comes with a massive 24 page insert with photos from the movie, photos of the scoring recordings, musician credits, production notes, and a very detailed account of the score creation written by Bear McCreary. The insert contains a fascinating account of how the score was developed and fun insights into McCreary's creativity as a musician and composer. Some amazing facts about the score is how much McCreary studies the characters and the fact that he visits the set to get a feel for the movie and it's story. I know many composers do this, but to hear McCreary's account of going to the movie set to study some of the smallest details like the vents/air ducts in the bunker and feeling the claustrophobic atmosphere in some of the spaces is pretty intense. McCreary's goal was to capture the musical sounds of the subterranean bunker and the people within.
The score opens with the beautiful piece entitled "Michelle" (track 1). The cue begins with a single instrument, the Tanbur. This exotic Middle Eastern instrument has been used by McCreary before in his "Da Vinci's Demons" TV scores. What's interesting about this single instrument is that this cue and technique is inspired by McCreary's mentor, Elmer Bernstein. Wow...didn't know that Bernstein was his mentor! The liner notes state that Bernstein felt that the opening few seconds of a score were the most important because it was here that you would have the audience's full attention before they get lost within the visuals and story. Bernstein felt that beginning a score with a single instrument that would represent the film, was a good practice and apparently one that McCreary has put into play within this soundtrack. This opening track really does set up the entire score and I hear a sadness and mystery in it that sets a tone for the film. McCreary plays with this theme throughout the score and I love the sound produced by this instrument.
Another interesting fact concerning this score is McCreary's use of a very unusual instrument known as the Blaster Beam. I never even knew that this instrument even existed, yet I'm very familiar with the sound. I actually thought it was just sound generated by an electronic keyboard. It's basically a 12 to 18 foot long metal beam (sometimes made out of aluminum), that has wires under various degrees of tension that are struck with sticks, pipes, or fingers to create some very bizarre and amazing sounds. Jerry Goldsmith used it for his "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" score as a way to identify V'ger. I looked it up on YouTube and you can see some video demonstrations of the instrument. McCreary contacted Craig Huxley, the same guy who played the instrument for the Star Trek film, and used him for this particular score. A great piece in this score that highlights the Blaster Beam is "Hazmat Suit" (track 8). You can hear this fascinating instrument throughout the score and McCreary uses it masterfully.
McCreary adds a lot of musical textures to this score including layered vocals by Raya Yarbrough on pieces like "Howard" (track 3) and various other unique instruments that create a gloomy, frightful, and mysterious atmosphere within this bunker and the people we are observing. The score, sounds very classic to me, but with some unusual modern instrument enhancements. Reviewer Paul Allaer mentioned that the score has a very Bernard Herrmann sound to it and I agree. It has that Hitchcock movie vibe to it but also an ingenuity that gives it a sound of it's own. The liner notes even mention McCreary and J.J. Abrams discussions concerning Herrmann and Goldsmith's styles.
It's simply a fascinating score to listen to and I really appreciate the great liner notes provided by Sparks & Shadows that bring a lot of insight into the making of the music. Bear McCreary fans will not be disappointed with this release and the composer continues to shine with yet another amazing score. The CD release contains 14 tracks with a running time of 64 minutes. The CD insert is wonderful but the thing is so big that it barely fits into the insert slots on the front of the case! It's a wonderful release and I highly recommend picking this one up!
1. Michelle (4 out of 4 stars)
2. The Concrete Cell (4 out of 4 stars)
3. Howard (4 out of 4 stars)
4. A Bright Red Flash (4 out of 4 stars)
5. At the Door (4 out of 4 stars)
6. Two Stories (4 out of 4 stars)
7. Message from Megan (4 out of 4 stars)
8. Hazmat Suit (4 out of 4 stars)
9. A Happy Family (4 out of 4 stars)
10. The Burn (4 out of 4 stars)
11. Up Above (4 out of 4 stars)
12. Valencia (4 out of 4 stars)
13. The New Michelle (4 out of 4 stars)
14. 10 Cloverfield Lane (4 out of 4 stars)