Released in 2006, KM 31 (KILOMETRE 31) is a horror/mystery/ thriller directed by Mexican born filmmaker Rigoberto Castaneda, who’s other credits include NECROFILIA (1997), VOLVO EN UN MINUTO (2007) and BLACKOUT (2008) as well as a number of shorts and television series such as TERMINALES (6 episodes) 2008, PARAMEDICOS (4 episodes) 2012 and most recently HASTA QUE TE CONOCI (3 episodes) 2016. KM, 31, s central character is Agata Hameran (Lliana Fox) who whilst driving along a lonely road hit’s a young boy, she stops and leaves her car to help the boy but is then herself run over by another car and as a result is plunged into a deep coma. Agates twin sister Catalina although not close by feels the pain her twin is experiencing and hears her whispering to her asking her to help. Catalina and Agata have experienced a telepathic link since the sudden and tragic death of their Mother when they were young girls and are able to communicate without having to speak. Catalina and her partner Nuno along with Agata’s friend Omar go to the place where the accident happened and begin to investigate and soon discover that the area is well known for a number of unexplained accidents that many put down to being caused by supernatural forces, many have apparently been caused by the ghost of a woman who lost her son in an accident at the site many years previous. After a while it becomes apparent to Catalina that her sister is not only in a coma but is trapped between the land of the living and the afterlife. The sequel KM 31, SIN RETORNO is in post-production at this time.
The musical score for KM 31, is the work of the highly talented composer Carles Cases. Born in 1958 in Sallent, Barcelona, Catalonia Spain. He began his career as a film music and audio/visual music composer in 1989 and has in recent years been responsible for some of cinemas most interesting and original sounding scores as well as acting as a producer for other artists. Yet it is probably true to say that he remains virtually unknown outside of his native Spain and outside of the film music collecting fraternity for his contributions to movies and television. Cases has written the music for a wide range of motion pictures that include, comedy, horror and westerns. The Maestro excels at creating haunting and highly thematic musical compositions and is easily able to adapt his ample composing skills to any genre of movie, his music not just underscoring or supporting any films storyline and scenarios but enhancing and ingratiating them, giving each and every project he works upon greater depth and higher levels of impact.
Cases trained in pianoforte and Cello at the Conservatorio superior de Musica del Liceu and continued to take further instruction in harmony and jazz-piano at The Hastad Academy of Modern Music, he then studied orchestration and composition at The Instituto Superior de Arte da la Habana. During the 1970,s he became a member of Luis Roviras Big Band and as the 1980,s dawned he formed the Carles Case Quartet and also performed at numerous music events all over Spain whilst being a cello player in a string Quartet.
The composers score for KM 31, is at times quite low key in a sombre fashion yet manages to bring much to the proceedings, it seems to underline sequences with a somewhat forthright sound or just hovers in the background heightening the tension and creating layers of atmospheres which purvey an aura and mood that is filled with mystery, apprehension and fear, it is a vibrant and original sounding score at certain points that serves the movie well and although largely action or atonal lead also has a life of its own away from the films quite harrowing and anxious storyline. The composer’s music is at times also high profile and jagged sounding, with rasping brass flourishes augmenting and punctuating driving strings or virulent and spiteful sounding stabs from the same string section, it is a score that has numerous faces, in it is also romantically laced at certain points, the composer ushering in calming interludes which act as a welcome respite in a sea of highly charged musical compositions that are foreboding and for the most part unsettling. The compact disc opens with CLIMAX, which begins with low strings that introduce a brass fanfare of sorts that is not majestic but urgent and threatening. The composer then introduces a fairly up-tempo background of struck strings that add an even more threatening and imposing sound and atmosphere to the cue, however although the cue can be categorised as action or maybe atonal, there is also present a beautiful sub theme which lingers underneath all of the deliciously thundering elements which include numerous effective percussive sounds and also some fascinating wood and brass combinations that are underlined and supported by swirling strings and unforgiving brass. The tracks on this release are all fairly lengthy in their duration, which I think is a good thing as it allows us the listener to appreciate the full effect of the cue and also lets one hear the composers score building and developing.
Track number two, INVESTIGACION for example is over ten minutes long, again the composer employing dark and low strings which are accompanied and supported by the use of brass and percussion, the composer also introducing pizzicato strings as a background but then the mood alters and the cue transforms into a more settled sound which is effected by the strings that carry an adagio like melody that swells into a more romantic sounding piece, this mood and sound is also present in track number three, OMAR MUERTO, this is also predominantly a string led composition, with the odd eruption here and there where Cases introduces and brings into the equation brass and a smattering of timpani and icy sounding piano and somewhat urgent woodwind. This is a score that I know you as an aficionado of film music will enjoy immensely, there is so much going on within the work, it twists and turns, jumps and jolts moving along at pace then slowing to weave itself around whatever is happening in the storyline, it calms and even soothes at certain points, creating a false sense of security and harmony, before erupting into a more threatening and disturbing musical entity. As the score progresses you will become immersed and mesmerised by its brilliance, its ingenious orchestrations and also its overall quality.
This will be the second release of the music of Carles Cases on Kronos records the first being THE UNGODLY MUSIC OF CARLES CASES (KRONCD019) which includes music from two movies, THE UNGODLY and DAGON. The latter being a newly recorded selection of tracks from that score. Let’s hope that KM 31, will be the second of many to be released on the Kronos label by this truly gifted and inspiring composer.