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Daybreakers by Christopher Gordon

Daybreakers

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 Daybreakers (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon
Daybreakers (Soundtrack)  by Christopher Gordon
Daybreakers (Poster and Memorabilia)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daybreakers (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon

Daybreakers
Composed by Christopher Gordon
Lionsgate Records (2010)

Rating: 6/10

Buy Daybreakers (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon at Amazon.com Buy Daybreakers (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon at iTunes.com



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“...ultimately there are some truly gorgeous moments in DAYBREAKERS, and CHRISTOPHER GORDON addresses them with appropriately stunning music, but they’re separated by such vacuous and unnecessary spans of ambient meandering . . . that the listening experience feels too uneven and unsatisfying to excel."

An Undying Genre
Review by Marius Masalar

Among the stream of recent media ventures capitalizing on the craze started by a certain author who castrated the vampire myth with her book series, it’s refreshing to see a more sober and — dare I say — authentic rehash. The Spierig brothers wrote and directed an interesting genre clash in DAYBREAKERS, landing somewhere in the sci-fi/vampire horror crossover zone that the BLADE series inhabits, and yet managing to be sufficiently distinctive.

In an appreciated break from expectation, this film’s dark sci-fi world is graced with a primarily orchestral score by talented Australian composer CHRISTOPHER GORDON, whose work was probably not familiar to American audiences until MASTER AND COMMANDER. GORDON has had a fruitful year, with this score and MAO’S LAST DANCER, from last year, thrusting him into the limelight and earning him an award for Best Original Music at the AFI awards in December. While MAO’S LAST DANCER deserved its award and showcased the best of GORDON’s talent, DAYBREAKERS falls a little short, providing a largely inconsistent underscore of significant orchestral might but little sophistication, occasionally punctuated by gorgeous interludes.

Opening strongly with “Immolation” (1), a patient but ultimately ferocious cue, the score then lapses into four minutes of brooding textures in “Nightfall” (2) before regaining a bit of vibrancy with the warm and haunting “Humans” (3). Sporadic string solos and subtle electronics introduce us to the plight of our race in this cold and hopeless world. Even though the male choral clusters throughout “Subsider” (4) make for a great effect, there’s little else to back them up and make the atmosphere more interesting to listen to until “On The Run” (5) brings in some heavy unaccompanied percussion work and injects some motion and primal drama into the soundscape. An awkward cut midway through that track leads into the second half, in which the human themes are restated more dramatically and more beautifully — GORDON seems closer to his usual standards in this cue.

With a title like “Blood Lust” (6) and a length of more than seven minutes, one might expect this track to be a showcase action cue. One would be wrong. So very wrong. Lonely strings are soon joined by a choir to make a sparse and brief melodic statement, but after the 2-minute mark there is nothing to hear but extremely quiet and static textures. “The Winery And The Café” (7) happily makes up for that by being an unexpectedly stirring cues. A heartfelt and sensitive theme is expertly woven together with subtle strains of tragedy and tension. A drop off partway through the cue leads to another patient but terrifying build, led by the choir. “Fermentation Tank” (8) continues on well by revisiting the previous cue’s thematic material with more solo strings — the plaintive instruments of choice for representing the humans’ plight, it seems. The rest of the orchestra provides a rousing concluding statement, with the large horn section out in full force. “Ambush” (9) marks a noisy return to the action percussion, with tam-tam swells and various shakers punctuating the heavy drums. After a brief pause, GORDON brings in the rest of the orchestra to support the quieting percussion. It all makes for a cool but strangely un-cohesive track.

The solo horn opening to “Resurrection” (10) leads into a brooding but powerful piece of music, with more heavy percussion highlights. GORDON is still holding back though, with nothing really aiming for the heights of orchestral power he’s capable of wielding. Unsettling processed brass gives way to sheer choral cacophony that Christopher Young would be proud of in “Drought” (11), but each effect is presented on its own and separately…and the result lacks the sophistication and musical tact with which the “other” Christopher implements similar structures. “In The Sun” (12) is a peaceful but moving track, with some gorgeous choral melodies carrying it to a mighty climax that is easily one of the score’s highlights. “Blood Brothers” (13) is another unnecessary and uninteresting ambience track.

“Spread The Cure” (14) is what long tracks should be like. Serving as a brilliant and articulate suite of the material in the film, GORDON finally lets loose here, especially after the sixth minute. Everything from the plaintive string solos, to the brass fanfares, to the choral elements, to the quiet electronics are thrown in here, and unlike in many of the other tracks, the combination feels coherent. The track is a tour de force in any case, and along with “Daybreak” (15) — which features a beautiful statement of the main theme — provides a satisfying conclusion to the score material. “Running Up That Hill” (16) is the necessary pop addition, and it actually seems like a fitting conclusion to the album, fitting the mood of GORDON’s score while providing some extra rock punch.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think that the biggest problem with this album is that there’s too much music on it. I say that because ultimately there are some truly gorgeous moments in DAYBREAKERS, and CHRISTOPHER GORDON addresses them with appropriately stunning music, but they’re separated by such vacuous and unnecessary spans of ambient meandering — clearly not GORDON’s forte — that the listening experience feels too uneven and unsatisfying to excel.



Rating: 6/10

 

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Immolation 3:06  ****
2 Nightfall 4:42  *
3 Humans 2:39  ****
4 Subsider 2:00  **
5 On the Run 3:10  ***
6 Blood Lust 7:26  *
7 The Winery and the Cafe 3:52  *****
8 Fermentation Tank 2:10  *****
9 Ambush 2:17  ***
10 Resurrection 4:01  ***
11 Drought 2:26  **
12 In the Sun 6:42  *****
13 Blood Brothers 2:43  **
14 Spreading the Cure 11:17  *****
15 Daybreak 6:24  *****
16 Running Up that Hill (by Placebo) 4:54  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 70 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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