Gravity



Pro: Unique; Shenzou is brilliant
Con: Style won’t be for everyone

Bottom Line: An excellent soundtrack that may take some getting used to, but is well worth the effort.

I was intrigued by the music of Gravity when first watching the movie. It was at the point when Sandra Bullock’s character first goes spinning off into space after the debris storm. It was disjointed, yet not. Synthetic, but with purpose. In short, it was interesting – and not like any soundtrack I’d ever heard before.

The runtime of this soundtrack is about 71 minutes, with Don’t Let Go the longest at 11:11 and Soyuz shortest at 1:42. While much is in the same style, Steven Price works with a purpose that should be obvious to most listeners, but doesn’t make it any less interesting. I think in that case, I’m going to forgo a track-by-track description, and just let it all out at once.

1. Above Earth - 1:50
2. Debris - 4:24
3. The Void - 6:15
4. Atlantis - 3:43
5. Don't Let Go - 11:11
6. Airlock - 1:57
7. ISS - 2:53
8. Fire - 2:57
9. Parachute - 7:40
10. In the Blind - 3:07
11. Aurora Borealis - 1:43
12. Aningaaq - 5:08
13. Soyuz - 1:43
14. Tiangong - 6:28
15. Shenzou - 6:11
16. Gravity - 4:35

It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that the composer and director had a little chat about what was going to go down in this soundtrack. Steven Price had his work cut out for him as we’re in space – and the music was going to have to fill up a lot of that empty space where you might normally find background sounds. Likewise, it had to help echo that sense of…void is the best word I can describe it. And it does. You won’t find a lot of typical anything here. Percussion as we’re normally used to hearing in films is essentially nonexistent here aside from the occasional bumps and beats which may or may not be real instruments given a new layer of electronic power.

That’s the vast majority of this CD – synthed up instruments that were probably real at one point and then tweaked and layered and transformed into these…sounds. I say they were probably real because they just don’t have that same full synthetic flavor that I’m used to. It’s different and that’s what adds to its appeal and intrigue. What’s more, I say “sounds” because it almost really is a very intelligent blending of specific sounds rather than pure music. Vibrations and dots and blips and things flipping in and out. Occasionally you do hit real, full instruments without their electronic alloy – but they only show up at very specific, very meaningful times.

It’s not hard to see that non-synthetic instruments as well as chorus are used during times when Earth intrudes upon space. This includes both the planet and the touch of humanity. It’s hinted at in the first track, “Above Earth,” and “Don’t Let Go.” These are also some key moments in the movie where we see the character Stone discover things about her present, herself, and even a bit of her future. “Airlock” is almost like a lullaby as Stone goes into her little embryonic-like image, which in some ways is like the beginning of her transformation back to life.

The two best tracks on here are, hands down, “Shenzhou,” and “Gravity.” They’re the kind that can bring tears to your eyes. “Shenzhou” is, simply put, beautiful. I’ll throw in powerful for good measure. I listened to it to the point that I forced myslf to stop, lest I kill the song, and I didn’t want to do that yet. “Gravity” is also strong (no pun intended, hur hur), though I personally prefer “Shenzhou” more, but it is better to have one right after the other for good measure.

It’s not really the kind of soundtrack you listen to for enjoyment the way you might with, say, Pirates of the Caribbean,” and it’s certainly not something you’re going to listen to in order to relax. Rather, this is the kind of soundtrack you listen to for the soundtrack’s sake. Not even to necessarily be reminded of the movie. Just…for it. For its uniqueness. And for “Shenzhou.” 110% for “Shenzhou.”

NT


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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.