M83, Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese – Oblivion OST M83, Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese – Oblivion OST

oblivionIf I remember anything from listening to Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy it’s that making music for a film is different than making music for an album. There are certain responsibilities for a score to become a part of a greater structure and take secondary role, accenting the emotional content of the visuals. This is different than throwing an already established song in the middle of the action. Scores are a part of a film. Listening to an original soundtrack or score without the accompanying visuals can be odd unless one understands the function and industrial use of soundtracks. However, with the right amount of content in the hands of the right composer, a score can just be as entertaining and breathtaking as an album. Together, Anthony Gonzalez from M83, along with film composer Joseph Trapanese, grab hands and plummet 50,000 feet into a desolate earth with a soundtrack for a film about a robot repairman. I swear it is actually more dramatic than what it sounds like. Cue credits.

Oblivion, based on a graphic novel of the same name, follows a drone repairman working on an Earth which was ravaged 60 years prior in an alien invasion. Jack Harper, the film’s protagonist repairs drones which assist in the last eradication of alien life forms. Harper is assisted by his workmate Victoria. To the best of their knowledge, they are the last remaining humans on earth. The bleak and solitary atmosphere of the film’s context exquisitely compliments the bleak and alientating score from Gonzolalez and Trapanese. That or the other way around. I understand there is more to the plot of the film than that brief summation suggests but let’s not worry about the action yet.

Oblivion, the soundtrack, works when allowed time to breathe and properly stretch. This is first achieved with the combination of tracks “Waking Up” and “Supercell.” These tracks follow the a traditional cinematic arc wherein early melodies are proposed and then given a mammoth wash of volume and general epic tone. Just the fact that these tracks follow such a standard protocol but still resonate with its listener is fascinating. This successful connection is seen throughout the soundtrack in the ghostly M83 (proper) track “Starwaves,” the motivating “Earth 2077” and the microcosm of the near 7 minute “Return to Empire State.” I sort of do not want to see the movie now that I have grown so accustomed to its music. The film I have etched into my imagination is working just fine.

I understand that, in the first paragraph, I sort of argued against an imaginary critic of scores and soundtracks. The opening paragph was written out of combination of vast enjoyment of Oblivion‘s score, a deep dedication to background and industrial music and a sense of underwhelming at M83’s closing song “Oblivion” which is a traditional track that doesn’t really fit the album. Oblivion works as well as any other album given the right context and understanding of its purpose.

Trapanese’s work on the Oblivion soundtrack makes sense following his work for the musical side of Tron: Legacy. The similarities are apparent. Lush string orchestration, deep drums, widescreen scope complete with cinematic crescendos – all slightly chilled within an electronic shell. Throughout its running time (either 70 or 113 minutes depending on what edition you pick up) Oblivion‘s music never ceases to be engaging, entertaining, and emotionally validating. To be quite honest, I have fallen in love with the soundtrack which will be accompanying a film I am predicting will not be half as good as the music it was made for.

Oblivion OST Tracklist

1. Jack’s Dream (1:29)
2. Waking Up (4:17)
3. Supercell (4:18)
4. Tech 49 (6:01)
5. The Library (3:26)
6. Horatius (2:31)
7. StarWaves (3:41)
8. Hydrorig (2:22)
9. Crater Lake (1:27)
10. Unidentified Object (2:31)
11. Odyssey Rescue (4:11)
12. Return from Delta (2:22)
13. Retrieval (6:47)
14. Earth 2077 (2:22)
15. Revelations (1:42)
16. Drone Attack (3:26)
17. Return to Empire State (6:41)
18. Losing Control (3:57)
19. Canyon Battle (5:57)
20. Radiation Zone (4:12)
21. You Can’t Save Her (4:58)
22. Welcome Back (1:46)
23. Raven Rock (4:35)
24. Knife Fight In a Phone Booth (4:39)
25. I’m Sending You Away (5:39)
26. Ashes of Our Fathers (3:32)
27. Temples of Our Gods (3:15)
28. Fearful Odds (3:11)
29. Undimmed By Time, Unbound By Death (2:26)
30. Oblivion (M83 feat. Susanne Sundfør) (5:56)

M83, Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese - Oblivion OST, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2013-04-15T10:41:12-07:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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