Oct 2012 04

Paul Leonard Morgan - Dredd (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)Paul Leonard Morgan
Category: Electronica
Album: Dredd (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: The cinematic incarnation of classic comic book anti-hero is revitalized and energized thanks to this pounding score.


Whether it was the immense success of Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy or purely economic reasoning that brought the current ascension of electronic driven film scores, Dredd is a treat for industrial fans because it blends several facets of the genre and molds them into a perfect accompaniment for both the kinetic onscreen violence and leisured domestic listen. Paul Leonard Morgan aligns the cinematic vision of director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland and his music emphasizes both the gritty, realistic nature of the reboot and its dynamic, relentless pacing. At times almost ascetic but always uncompromisingly harsh, the score to Dredd is, like all good scores should be, a pleasure to experience in and outside of the darkness and confinement of the theater near you.

The album contains a rather lengthy track list and the entire soundtrack is broken into brief, episodic doses of electronic goodness. Some of the compositions run little over a minute and while this approach maximizes the variety, often the atmosphere of individual pieces becomes impossible to grasp, slipping away instantly only to be quickly replaced by the next track. “Undefined Space,” “Order in the Chaos,” the NIN-esque “Judgement Time,” and the guitar heavy “Taking Over Peach Trees” are examples of this shattered coherency, but this complaint to certain extent applies to the entirety of the score. Thankfully, there is an abundance of quality defining moments on Dredd. The opening track, “She’s a Pass” is rhythmically paced and punctuated by a fuss of distortions and while by all means conventionally tripping, it sets the tone for the much denser and noise oriented material to follow. “Mega City One” takes a long moment to gain momentum but illustrates well the titular urban Moloch and when it finally unleashes swirling beats, it does so with infectious verve. Given the action packed content of the movie, the dominating mode on Morgan’s score is one that shifts constantly from silence ornate with singular beeps and glitches to fast-paced guitar assaults that are phased out as the imaginary body count rises. Dredd, much like a cinematic narrative, is defined by anticipation for another, inevitable dynamic spike that deteriorates into layers of cacophony. To prevent the album from lapsing into monotony, tracks like “Slo-Mo” and “Ma-Ma’s Requiem” flirt with elements of quiet, gentle ambience that ultimately bring order and balance to otherwise aggressive soundscapes. The scope is never as bombastic as that of the 1995 effort by Alan Silvestri, but although the grandiose orchestral setup is never missed, the lack of memorable musical motifs that could be bound to the titular character is somehow disappointing. There is a clear attempt to establish it but recurring melody, rich in drums, bass, and guitar riffs mirroring (how aptly) Lalo Schifrin’s Dirty Harry and redeployed in i.e. “Bad Judges,” albeit enjoyable, never actually gels with the faceless protagonist.

While it isn’t as engaging in separation from its visual manifestation as Tron: Legacy was, Morgan’s score still is a rather special compromise between tension building clichés of film music and modern, edgy electronica. It’s a brisk ride that manages to perfectly encapsulate the mood, the grit, and the escalating danger and even for those who haven’t yet seen the movie will be a tasty, stimulating treat.
Track list:

  1. She’s a Pass
  2. Mega City One
  3. The Rise of Ma-Ma
  4. Anderson’s Theme
  5. Lockdown
  6. Cornered
  7. Kay Escapes
  8. Mini Guns
  9. Undefined Space
  10. Bad Judges
  11. Judgment Time
  12. Hiding Out
  13. Order in the Chaos
  14. Slo-Mo
  15. Taking Over Peach Trees
  16. It’s All a Deep End
  17. Judge, Jury, and Executioner
  18. Any Last Requests
  19. You Look Ready
  20. Ma-Ma’s Requiem
  21. Apocalyptic Wasteland

Paul Leonard Morgan Website http://www.paulleonardmorgan.com
Paul Leonard Morgan Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-Leonard-Morgan/188200017936640
Dredd Website http://dreddthemovie.com
Dredd Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dreddthemovie
Metropolis Group Website http://www.metropolis-group.co.uk
Metropolis Group Facebook https://www.facebook.com/metropolisstudios
Metropolis Group Twitter http://www.twitter.com/metropolisgroup
Universal Music Group Website http://universal-music.com
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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