A great film score is one of the most beguiling and amazing works of art to me.
It exists as a work of art designed to work in concert with (and support) another work of art. It has to subtlely emote a truth about the thing, without overwhelming any given moment or cheesily phone in some obvious emotional signifier.
And after all that, it should still be listenable on it’s own terms without the picture.
A really great score will remind you of a feeling, not necessarily a definitive image.
That’s why although I can appreciate the epic swooning of a John Williams or Hans Zimmer score, if I want peaceful inspiration I’ll reach for Cliff Martinez’s music for Soderbergh’s “Solaris” or “The Limey”.
The Cinematic Orchestra’s Phil France has a new album called “The Swimmer” that works like a stunningly gorgeous score to a film that doesn’t exist, but would be a Cannes phenom if it did.
As deeply immersive as it’s sport namesake, France has created a work that is engrossing, meditative and intensely emotive stuff. Triumphant and lonesome, focused and passionate…it’s insightful and precise on a minimalist scale.
This is Steve Reich/Phillip Glass territory where you go into it and the space in the music is just as powerful as any given note and the music envelops, reflects and reveals you on the other side.