Composer Steve Jablonsky has been involved on all of the TRANSFORMER movies, the latest installment being TRANFORMERS 4-AGE OF EXTINCTION and as this was released the fifth installment was announced, with Jablonsky at the musical helm of the production. The music that the composer has written for the series is obviously dramatic and action led, his scores for the series enhance, support and even manage to elevate the action taking place on screen to greater heights. The score for the latest installment is no exception to the rule that the composer has applied on its predecessors, high octane and powerful with a driving and fearsome fervency that catapults the audience to the very edge of their seats and also creates tension and anxiety as it enhances the knock em down and drag em out story lines. Saying this however, the composer also infuses a great deal of emotion into the scores and gives the mechanical giants on screen a heart and soul his music acting as a connection between the watching audience and the mechanical stars of the production. Jablonsky’s highly percussive and driving score for TRANSFORMERS 4-AGE OF EXTINCTION, is in my opinion one of the best scores for the so far quartet of movies and contains some real heart stopping and commanding musical moments, the composer integrates both symphonic and synthetic elements into his work and maintains a strident and unrelenting pace throughout the score, percussive components acting as a thundering but rhythmic background to brass stabs that are rasping and aggressive, strings that are cutting and imposing and to this he adds electric rock guitar rifts which further enhance and embellish the proceedings, his score simply builds tension upon tension until it reaches an crescendo or climax and then all of the musical elements seem to explode into a cacophony that is exciting and expressive. The composer also makes effective use of solo voice both female and male which again brings another level to the score. This is in no way a typical actioner soundtrack as it also has to it an upbeat and memorable resonance, with infectious bass lines, cadenced passages being relayed via the up tempo and feverish percussive beats. If you are looking for subdued and delicate this is the wrong score for you, however if you are looking for an onslaught of pure musical thrills.BUY now.
Lots of dark and atonal film scores around at this time and some are just that, atonal, having very little depth or substance and containing a mere scattering of thematic material. AUTOMATA however is an exception to the rule in this particular category. It is true to say that composer Zacarias M de la Riva has fashioned a soundtrack that is quite shadowy and fearsome sounding in places but there are a number of interludes or cracks within the score that let in some welcomed light and interestingly original musical moments. The composers use of choir within the opening track on the compact disc evoked for me memories of James Horner’s opening music for KRULL, but the choir soon melts away and is replaced by a hauntingly beautiful cello, which has a melancholy and melodic persona and is successful in relaying loneliness and vulnerability in a short passage, this is underlined by suspended strings that create an uneasy atmosphere that is apprehensive and also foreboding, the sadness and fragility of the solo cello soon being overwhelmed by the dissonant strings. The composer utilises both symphonic and electronic instrumentation within the score and fuses these together with ease, at times segueing between the two or combining both to create an effective and affecting sound. Choir is also placed well within the score, which too creates a chilling and uneasy aura. Strings are used predominantly to generate a core theme or a foundation on which the more melodious music is then built upon, the composer giving glimpses of romance or delicate intricacy from time to time and then at other points within the score bursting into serene, beautiful and rich workings of the themes that have previously been hinted upon, expanding these into glorious performances that are overflowing with emotion. It is also the string section that is called upon to purvey a mood of urgency at certain points within the work with their driving and at times harsh and serrated performances. The composer also draws the brass section into the proceedings giving the work a dramatic and more fuller sound, strings combine with choral performances too which can be likened to the impish and childlike sound that has been achieved so many times by composer Danny Elfman, this is a highly original sounding work that oozes tension and is filled with a sense of nervous apprehension the composer builds rigidity masterfully with his dark strings and synthetic drones but also brings forth a lushness and a calming ambience with choir, strings and solo cello. An outstanding score, which you should own.