PULSE
Music composed by Elia Cmiral

Label: Lakeshore Records
Catalog: Promo
Year: 2006
Tracks:

1. Goodness Of The Girl (Intercooler)
2. Delay The Wait (Overnight Lows)
3. Josh's Secret
4. Lost Soul in Library
5. Ghost in Bath
6. Computer Center
7. Izzy Deceased
8. Mattie Walks Home
9. Stone's Death
10. Alone with Ghosts
11. Suicide
12. Remembering Izzy
13. Video Diary
14. Mattie Has a Dream
15. Leaving
16. Mattie's Hallucination
17. Dancing Ghost
18. Sad and Scared
19. Phantoms Attack
20. Printer
21. Dexter Gets a Visitor
22. Crazy Ziegler
23. Wall of Pipes
24. Mattie's Nightmare
25. Escape
26. Not Over Yet
27. Esto Es Lo Que Hay (Los Amigos Invisibles)

Total Time: 48:09
Rating:

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha


The wave of remakes inspired by Japaneses films continues with Pulse, a Wes Craven-penned thriller that tells the story of young computer hackers who channel a mysterious signal that opens a doorway to another world, full of forces looking for a portal to cross over in order to wreak havoc. The film, directed by Jim Sonzero, is scored by Elia Cmiral and the Lakeshore Records album will hit store shelves on Sept. 5th. However we did receive an advanced promotional copy of the album, including only Cmiral's score (the regular album also features three songs by Intercooler, Overnight Lows and Los Amigos Invisibles).

Born in Czechoslovakia, Elia Cmiral wrote scores for several European films and three ballets before coming to the United States to attend USC's famous Film Scoring Program. His first work in America was the tango-based music for Apartment Zero. By the mid-1990s, after scoring the Nash Bridges television series, Cmiral was selected to score John Frankenheimer's suspense thriller Ronin, starring Robert DeNiro - for me, his best score to date. Following the success of Ronin, Elia has continued to provide highly original and evocative scores for major Hollywood studios as well as independent filmmakers, including Stigmata, Battlefield Earth, Bones and Species 3.

Pulse is Cmiral's second collaboration with Craven, having scored Wes Craven Presents: They in 2002. Now, Cmiral crafted a contemporary electronica/modern orchestral score. Using an ISDN connection from his home in Los Angeles, he conducted seventy minutes of score with a sixty piece orchestra located in his native Czech Republic. With three programmers to handle the huge amount of sound design and five orchestrators, he used extensive synths and percussion programming, a programmed choir and live voices including his own. According the composer the work was intense, and Sonzero has made him explore every possible or impossible musical and sonic corner.

In fact, after listening the disc's 38 minutes of Cmiral's score, we can notice that this is an atonal, dissonant, very experimental and heavily sound design based music. Unfortunately, apart the images the music does not succeeds to be an easy listening experience: there's no clear estructural development, no theme or motif to catch our attention - only "Video Diary", with its solemn string chords, give us a hint of a thematic idea. But most of time there's just a certain number of significantly recognizable sounds which the composer used throughout the whole score, like an extremely low single pulse tumbledown. Tender piano occasionally makes appearance, but atmosphere and chills, courtesy of sinister strings and clusters of electronic sound, remain the essence of the score.

At the end the composer deserves to be congratulated for his decision to avoid the clichés of the classic horror orchestral score that the producers wanted. Instead he created a succession of suspensefull ambience music interrupted from times to times by orchestral/electronic thrills. Although the resulting score did not please me very much, at least it showcases a genuine attempt of creative effort. Something currently very rare.

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