Music composed by Christophe Beck
Label: Varèse Sarabande
302 066 633 2
Year: 2005

1. Main Title
2. DeMarco's End
3. Ferry Crossing
4. Insomnia
5. Ninjas
6. The Hand
7. Gnarly Gongs
8. Stick
9. Just Sit Quietly
10. The Kiss
11. Escape from McCabe's*
12. Tattoo
13. The Forest
14. Wolf Run
15. Typhoid
16. Just a Girl
17. Homecoming
18. Candle Trick
19. Kirigi
20. Hedge Maze Brawl
21. Elektra's Second Life
* Co-composed by Kevin Kliesch
Total Time: 45:21

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha


I don't know if it is a conscientious decision, but the canadian-born composer  Christophe Beck is often attached to strong female characters. For TV's favorite Vampire Slayer Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Under The Tuscan Sun's Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) he wrote music for thrills, action, love and romance. Now it's time for Elektra (Jennifer Garner), the Frank Miller creation that was the best reason to watch the 2003 movie adaptation of Daredevil

This is the first action-adventure film score for Beck, plenty of martial-arts fighting, exotic locations, some fantasy elements and, of course, a strong heroine. However, if you are expecting some "Buffy-esque" kind of music you will certainly be disappointed. Christophe Beck's approach to Elektra was to experiment with different and unique scoring methods. As the composer states, "One thing I wanted to try for a while was to create textures and music beds and edit and manipulate them to create both strange and familiar musical elements."

Beck initially prerecorded with an orchestral ensemble and manipulated parts of the recording to product an abstract sound design. Later he recorded the more traditional segments of the score with an 83-player orchestra. As result we have a percussion-influenced mix of sound design and traditional orchestration. This means that sometimes you will not hear music properly speaking, but sounds provided by percussion, woodwinds and electronics instead. Once more, my bigger claim here is the lack of themes. For sure there's a theme for the title character, but there's no space for great melodies or brass fanfares: Beck's main goal is to establish atmosphere and ambience above all else. The performances of the sometimes imponent Elektra's theme at the "Main Title" track and it's full statement in "Elektra's Second Life" are more melancholic and nostalgic than heroic.

For the several martial arts and action sequences Beck makes a creative use of electronic bass and percussion, sometimes adding strings and horns to the mix ("De Marco's End", "Ninjas", "Hedge Maze Brawl"). But even at such moments the score's sound design is present thanks to distant bells, chimes and distorted voices. "Stick" is one of the score's highlights, with its well balanced mix of action and ambience. Some melodic stuff arrives at "The Kiss", a gentle piano and strings version of the Elektra's theme that reminds me a lot the Buffy / Angel's love theme. "Homecoming" is a beautiful and spiritual cue mostly with piano and strings. "Typhoid" provides an ominous ambience to depict the infamous villainess, Typhoid Mary.

In my opinion, Elektra could be a better work if it had more themes and less sound design. Anyway Christophe Beck deserves to be commended for make a real experimental move, instead to just lie down himself and recycles his own (and sometimes other composer's) material.