Tag Archives: MICHAEL ABELS.

NOPE.

From filmmaker Jordan Peele comes Nope, which has been met with so many varying reviews which sad to say have been mostly negative. Which is a great pity because I have to say I loved Get out and was ok with Us. I think that with both these movies I was more in love with the music than the movies, and it looks as if Nope is going to fall into the same category for me at least. Composer Michael Abels is in my humble opinion one of the most talented and innovative composers working in Hollywood today, he wowed many with his atmospheric score for Get Out and further cemented his place in film music fans minds with an even more affecting score for Us.

So Nope I was hoping would be a fusion of both and more, well it is indeed.  The composer has I think created some of the most memorable musical moments in films in recent years, take a listen to Nightbook’s for example, and his inventive soundtrack for Allen vs Farrow, (one of my own personal favourites) as well as the soundtrack for Bad Education, and these all-display moments of musical genius and include ample amounts of both undeniable talent and boundless versatility. The composer seems to have a knack of creating music that works so well for each project but also has to it a sound and a style that makes it just as functional as just stand-alone music.

The score for Nope is no exception to this rule, and I have to say that Abels music outstrips the actual movie for which it is written in both quality and entertainment values. I always remember watching Us and, in a sequence, thinking this music is great, so at the time I was more entertained by the drama and inventiveness of the music than the action on screen. Which is no way a criticism of the composer, on the contrary it is a plus for his prowess and artistry in scoring the picture. Nope has had a similar effect upon me I prefer to just listen rather than watch if you know what I mean, the film for me was a little lack lustre, with Peele I think suffering from the Shyamalan effect as in his first movie being awesome and all subsequent projects leaving audiences wanting and flummoxed.  The score however, never let me down and all my expectations of another great soundtrack from Abels were met and more.  

The work is a nail-biting collection of action themes the music filled with apprehension and having to it a visceral, malevolent, uneasy atmosphere, but saying that there are a few interludes that pop up here and there when the listener will probably think “where did this come from”?  Like, the cue Jupiter’s Claim for example, which could easily be from a western with a score by Steiner, Newman or even Broughton (think Silverado/How the West Was Won).

The composer at times combines a more conventional or Americana sound with action led music resulting in the magnificent cue entitled The Run, which is straight out of the Elmer Bernstein handbook “How to Score movies.” It is these little passages, and outbursts that keep the listener interested.

This is another interesting score penned by Abels, which is interspersed by various songs from the likes of Dionne Warwick, Cory Hart, and Jodie Foster. This is a score that I recommend without reservation, every cue is a triumph, every track wow’s and each piece delights.  So I suppose I am saying Yep to the music. And thanks to the composer for a Morricone tribute on the final track, brilliant.

US.

US

A score that did attract my attention recently is from the new chiller US, which has an interesting and innovative soundtrack supplied by composer Michael Abels, (GET OUT). The score for me has got to be the most un-nerving and at the same time most alluring in recent years and one I seemed to be compelled to revisit at any opportunity. It has the effect like when you know something is going to scare you or horrify you and you know only too well that you should not look but guess what you do. Well US, the score is cut from the same cloth, because I know it’s going to unsettle me but hey, I will just take a little sneak listen, then a minute or two later off come the headphones and Ok, lets listen to something else shall we(he says reaching for the CD of MARY POPPINS). So, US, is at the top of my dare you to listen to this on headphones and alone and if you are brave after dark. It’s a malevolent sound that the composer has created, spidery, dark, sinister and at times grating slightly chaotic and strangely attractive. I love the composer’s deployment of choir, which at times is Morricone/Elfman-esque and his utilisation of solo violin and delicate sounding piano in a handful of the cues, which although calming conjures up an underlying musical presence that is less than welcoming and re-assuring. When the violin is combined with choral work it has to it a style and sound that can be likened to that of composer Elliot Goldenthal, a style that is apparent in his magnificent score for INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, if I am to attempt a comparison this is probably the only example I can think of. In fact, the choir that is utilised throughout, kind of has a retro sound, as if it has been lifted from a vintage horror, like ROSEMARYS BABY or DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES both by the legendary Christophe Komeda. The subdued voices which are times childlike therefore even more disturbing are effective within the context of the movie, but  also are wonderful entertainment value away from the images, the choral work being an affecting component of the score and also being memorable and unsettling when listening to the music removed from the movie. I do think it is probably the voices within the score that create the unworldly sound and purvey an aura or atmosphere that is filled with dread and fear, these vocals are supported, underlined and punctuated by cleverly placed sounds and musical sounds creating the perfect persona for the mood of the movie and giving every scenario within it a deeper sense of tension and dismay.

usa

 

The music is highly innovative and has to it a hypnotic and mesmeric style and sound. Listen to BATTLE PLAN and like me I know you will be suitably impressed, driving strings act as a background to choir in this short but superbly effective piece. Plus, the track PAS DE DUEX is a delight to hear with wonderfully rhythmic strident strings that are interspersed with pizzicato effects and underpinned with synthetic stabs. The composer also makes inventive use of the hook from the song I GOT FIVE ON IT by the Luniz which features as the end cue on the recording and incorporates the three note motif into the cue, The version on certain sites is different from the CD release, with the download versions omitting three vocals which are used on the soundtrack.   This is one soundtrack you cannot miss, a must have work, have you ordered it?