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.