Composer Roman Molino Dunn has created an atmospheric and inventive soundtrack for the movie Snakehead, the orchestration in particular the percussive elements of the work are impressive and interesting.

The music has various shades and styles and the composer fashions dark and strident themes that become haunting and absorbing as the work opens up and develops. Sister Tse, leaves China on a container ship, but as soon as she arrives in New York she is held by the authorities and her daughter  who is still a baby is taken from her as she is arrested. She returns to the city years later in the hope that she will be able to find her daughter. But first she has to pay a debt to the Snakeheads or smugglers that got her into the United States. As she struggles to pay this debt the Snakeheads try to force her into prostitution, but because she remains strong and stubborn soon rebels and for this is severely punished. Because of her resilience and her steadfast resolve, she is noticed by one of the crime boss’s Dai Mah, who takes an interest in her.

Sister Tse is a mere errand rat but with the help of Dai Mah she soon begins to rise within the ranks of the organisation. The score is a shady and at times dark sounding work and underlines perfectly the various scenarios that unfold within the storyline. The composer has created a score that contains many musical colours and textures, it is for the most part an apprehensive and tense sounding work, but every so often a theme seems to rise from the darkness and elevates and supports the action on screen beautifully, the composer adding atmospheric touches at key moments within the movie that give these scenes or situations a greater impact.

There are symphonic elements within the score, but it is the synthetics that make the statements here. The composer combining both the electronic with the conventional to bring to fruition effective and affecting moments.  Well worth a listen. Available on digital platforms now.

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