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
have a percussion-influenced mix of sound design and traditional
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.