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Gravity [Import anglais] Bande originale, Import
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Annoncé comme un tournant de la production hollywoodienne, Gravity du Mexicain Alfonso Cuaron se devait de disposer d'une bande originale à sa mesure. Steven Price y pourvoit en offrant un ballet spatial immobile totalement ahurissant. Déjà remarqué pour son à propos dans les films fantastiques loufoques et britanniques Attack the Block (2011) et Le Dernier Pub Avant la Fin du Monde, Steven Price s'inspire ici avec brio de la musique qui accompagnait 2001 l'Odyssée de l'Espace de Stanley Kubrick en 1968.
Sauf que là où le réalisateur mythique s'était servi d'oeuvres de la musique classique avec des emprunts à Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss fils, György Ligeti et Aram Khatchaturian, Steven Price s'est littéralement immergé dans l'espace pour composer une musique en apesanteur. Avec Gravity, on peut dire que Steven Price vient d'inventer la musique interstellaire.
Basé sur un travail des textures musicales, la musique de Gravity nous fait ressentir la dérive des deux astronautes dans le vide. L'impression est sidérante, ponctuée par des voix que l'on dirait célestes. Nous sommes entourés par la musique qui devient une matière qui imprègne notre imaginaire. Les effets notamment stéréophoniques sont nombreux, donnant aux sonorités de Steven Price l'amplitude nécessaire à leur expression.
Lorsque l'action s'emballe, Steven Price répond présent et se fait haletant sur « Fire », rare moment d'accélération sonore. Véritable opéra spatial, Gravity est un film qui fait appel à tous les sens. Il a trouvé avec Steven Price le compositeur adéquat, capable de magnifier les images autant par sa maestria et son imagination que par l'utilisation de la technologie Dolby Atmos. Une oeuvre de référence est née.
Francois Alvarez - Copyright 2017 Music Story
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The score for Gravity is by English composer Steven Price, and this is the second of his two major scores in 2013 (the other being the comedy The World's End) - truly his breakout year. Price is a guitar player by trade, who first cut his teeth in the film scoring world working with Trevor Jones on scores such as Dinotopia and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A sideways move into music editing led him to working with composers as varied as Howard Shore, Anne Dudley, Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer and David Arnold - not a bad pedigree! - before he made his feature composing debut in 2011 with the British sci-fi comedy Attack the Block. With these two scores in 2013, and Gravity in particular, Price has announced himself as major new talent in the film scoring world with a bright future ahead of him.
Price's major problem in scoring Gravity was self-imposed. As space is a vacuum, and as there is no sound there, and in order to make the film as realistic as possible in that respect, director Cuarón kept the sound effects to an absolute minimum - meaning that Price, to compensate, had to both convey the film's emotion through music, while also providing some of the sound effects elements. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Price said "Cuarón was only interested in allowing sounds that the astronauts would hear themselves. You'd hear stuff within their spacesuits; if they touched something, you'd hear the vibration that they'd hear, but you don't hear any exterior noises. We kind of knew the music would be responsible for all the other things. I was asked to try and tonally represent things that would ordinarily be sound. You don't hear an explosion in the film, but you might hear some pulsation in the music that reflects it. The score is doing the job of traditional sound, while the sound crew was able to do an interesting job on their own".
The end result of all this is a score which treads a fine line between being traditional film music, and being a dissonant effects track, and under normal circumstances this is a kind of score that I would tend to shy away from. However, for some reason, Gravity is different. The music has a compelling, fascinating aura that captures the attention, not with traditional themes and melodies - although there are some of those - but instead with a challenging collision of sounds and styles that draws the listener in. Some of the sounds are enormous and overwhelming - the electronic pulse that opens the score in "Above Earth" is simply ear-shattering - but these are tempered by some beautiful, almost celestial spacey ambiances accompanied by the merest hint of a solo vocal and an electric cello. This is the wonder of Earth, as seen from high above.
The two-note electronic pulse, ominous and persistent, accompanies every bad thing that happens to Bullock and Clooney, from the devastating disaster as the "Debris" hits, to the terrifying blackness of "The Void", and the breathless energy and sense of panic in "Don't Let Go". The opening 20-plus minutes of the score are very much rooted in this dark, oppressive style, and listeners will find these cues are the most challenging, and the most difficult to swallow in terms of conventional `enjoyment'. The electronic tones build and overlap and swirl around each other in frightening ways to the point of sheer cacophony, although the voices and the cello are never too far away to keep the listener grounded in the human world. The action returns later in the score in the frantic and frenzied pair "Fire" and "Parachute"; the latter of these two is especially notable for the cracking cello ostinati and unexpected flutter-tongued brass triplets that really help raise the sense of urgency.
The first hint of anything remotely hopeful begins to appear in the first portion of "Don't Let Go", which retains the same orchestration and electronic palette as before, but twists things around to make the stark tones of the electric cello and the soulful, plaintive vocals into a forlorn lament speaking of loss and self-sacrifice. Later, "Airlock" features a peaceful piano solo - a moment of calm amongst the chaos. Subsequent cues such as "ISS", "Aurora Borealis", the blissful "Aningaaq", and the gossamer-light "Soyuz" also continue the trend with dreamy, swooning ambiences that are very appealing indeed.
The score's finale, comprising the cues "Tiangong", "Shenzou" and "Gravity" and running for just over 16 minutes, is where Price finally allows the thematic presence and emotional content to rise to the fore and shine at its fullest. "Tiangong" and the first half of "Shenzou" are all about painful, desperate anticipation, as Price gradually but relentlessly raises the tension levels through stepwise changes in key and gradual layering of vocals over acoustic instruments over electronics. The soaring vocal effect and increased melodic performance of the orchestra in the cue's second half, and in the conclusive "Gravity", bring blessed relief, sounding almost like something Ennio Morricone might have written on one of his more emotional days, perhaps recalling the vigorous anthem-like statements at the end of Queimada or The Mission. It's a wonderfully powerful and compelling - and human - conclusion to such an other-worldly story, and it's perhaps telling, and appropriate, that the closer the film gets to Earth, the more prominent the voices of those souls upon it become in the score.
Gravity is not a score which will appeal to the masses. A large part of it is made up of challenging, uncompromising electronic dissonance, and if that sort of music leaves you running for the hills, then you can expect to be going there after listening to the first 15 minutes of this score. Similarly, anyone who immediately expects space music to be grand and symphonic, á la Holst, will also be disappointed; this is not that kind of score, and it would have overwhelmed and undermined the film if Price had gone down that road. What more adventurous listeners will find instead is a bold, difficult, enchanting score by a talented newcomer which scares and crushes the listener as much as it entertains, but builds to a rousing and cathartic finale.
At nearly 72 minutes in length, "Gravity" is a bit longer than most other soundtrack albums. I say the more music the better. In fact, since the movie is just over 90 minutes long, I'd guess we're getting a score here that's probably just about complete.
At the time of this review, I haven't seen the film yet - but after hearing the soundtrack I'm even more excited to do so.
EDIT: Have now seen the movie, it is fantastic. The music has a very prominent role in the film, given the decision to use almost no sound effects. Steve Price's score works very well in the film, but it's just as great to listen to on its own.
 The Void
In the first track "Above Earth," Price sets the tone by offering some eerie, static-y sounds that move into a somber, electronic orchestra that is just beautiful in ever way. In the second track "Debris," the intensity kicks into gear. A viola and electronics make this track stand out at the beginning, sounding very tense and perilous in itself. The third track "The Void" establishes this intense theme even further, keeping in track with the previous "Debris" but also offering haunting vocals. It's the second to last track, "Shenzou," though that is truly epic and mesmerizing, and the track alone makes this score worth owning.
I'll stop there with the track analysis, but I will say, anyone who likes electronic scores will go bonkers for this masterpiece. Now, with other masterful scores released this year (including The Lone Ranger, Europa Report, Elysium, Pacific Rim and Captain Phillips), Gravity does have competition. Happily, I definitely place it on the top 5 of the year, just for being so fulfilling and all-around epic.
The pulsating, layered electronic sounds and dissonant strings that characterize most of this album are not entertaining in the conventional sense-even for a film music buff-but they are effective in building tension. Ferocious action cues intermingle with extended background music. However, the climax is appropriately thrilling and becomes more melodic, and a nonverbal vocal element is introduced to highlight the increasing humanity of the situation.
Perhaps the most important criteria for evaluating any soundtrack is that it fits the movie, and this one definitely does. Minimalist, gut-wrenching, and uplifting.