I think that over the past three to four years we have seen a fair few film scores that have been surprising to say the least, when I say surprising I do mean this in a positive way, EVIL DEAD for example by Roque Banos was groundbreaking to say the least and also THE CONJURING by Joseph Bishara was brilliantly original and also scared the hell out of you when you listened to alone and unwisely in the dark, so music for horror or thriller movies has in recent times come into its own and although for the most part these scores are not overly melodic they do still seem to create something of a stir in the film music collecting community.
Composer Raphael Gesqua,s score from AMONG THE LIVING fits easily into this category of scores I think, it is not only effective within the context of the movie but also has a place away from images to stand as original and innovative music. Released on MSM/KRONOS this score is in my opinion a must have, it is largely an atonal work and relies on unique sounding orchestrations and composition styles to establish its original and compelling sound. For example the use of a whistler within the score is a brilliant and effective idea and successfully creates an ambiance that is menacing and uneasy, in fact I found it particularly perturbing because a whistle is something that I normally associate with being carefree or happy, but in this case the scenario it creates and the atmosphere it purveys is somewhat fraught and filled with apprehension. The composer also utilizes to great effect, voices, stroked cimbalom, sinewy and edgy strings which are either in the form of a small string ensemble or at times are presented as a solo performance, trills of woodwind, percussive elements and an array of sounds which are either conventional or electronic and could be described as musical or otherwise to fashion a soundtrack that is impressive and highly original throughout. There are also a handful of what could be described as more conformist sounding cues within the work and these are at times delicately constructed with melodic cores and posses a simplicity and fragility to them that is enchanting and affecting, performed in the main by strings and woodwind. However the attraction of this work for me personally is the more unconventional sounding cues, the off kilter guitar, the uneasy sounding strings and the heart stopping stabs that appear out of nowhere and of course that chilling whistle. AMONG THE LIVING has a freshness about it and is brimming with vibrancy and energy, the score literally oozes originality and purveys a real ambiance of tense nervous action whilst at the same time evoking feelings of darkness and desperation that at times have tinges of melancholy. It is a work that should be grasped and savoured by collectors and is a style of scoring that should also be welcomed simply because it is so innovative.