The Hole is the latest offering from quirky but accomplished filmmaker Joe Dante, of course we all know that Dante has nearly always turned to Jerry goldsmith for his musical accompaniments, but sadly the great Mr Goldsmith is no longer with us so I am guessing that the director had a bit of a struggle deciding on who would score his movie, according to the liner notes of this CD Dante was impressed with the score for PANS LABYRINTH and decided to see if Javier Navarette was available. Dante remarks in his notes for the release that Navarette was certainly the right choice for the movie and after listening to the composer’s music I have to say I am pleased that Navarette and Dante collaborated on this project. The composers score is in a word “Scary” but also it contains freshness and also a beauty within its frame work. Being a film of the horror variety one would expect a few musical stabs, jolts and jumps and we certainly get our fair share of these but the composer also provides us with passages within the score that are more light than dark and the soundtrack is a perfect balance of both of these musical textures. The work has various themes that are peaceful and more settled in their tone and mood with the composer utilizing light sounding strings and delicately punctuating pizzicato and woods to establish a more or less carefree and safe atmosphere, he also makes effective use of female voice as an eerie but attractive component within the score. In fact Navarette manages to accomplish again what he did in PANS LABYRINTH, a mesmerizing and soothing lullaby of sorts that sets minds at ease and conveys an atmosphere of calm when in fact that is so far from the truth. This is a horror score but it remains an entertaining listen, by this I mean that even when the going gets somewhat atonal in places with hissing strings, ominous piano entries and dark sounding brass that seems to erupt and then engulf proceedings the music remains interesting and in many ways compelling and entertaining. The compact disc opens with, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK, this is a wonderfully chilling and highly foreboding opening to the score, rumbling percussion and tense sounding strings build and gain in memento until joined by a brief brass flourish that adds tension to the proceedings and it seems that they will more or less burst if they continue but are cut short and the cue moves into a more relaxed atmosphere with piano picking out an attractive melody whilst being underlined by strings. Track number two, MAYBE A TREASURE is filled with darkness and relays a real feeling of dread to the listener. Again Navarette employs strings that build into a swirling and menacing whirlpool of sound that is embellished by various percussive elements with support from macabre brass that seems to be trying to claw its way out of the earth, the mood and sound created here is truly disconcerting it is layer upon layer of tension masterfully constructed and oozing menace and anxiety.
Track number four, WALKING THE TOWN, is one of the scores more melodic moments, but the melodic and tranquil introduction from the string section is rudely interrupted by a startling stab from percussion that is followed by a rush of frenzied strings, the tense atmosphere continues but gradually segues into a solo female voice, this creates an air of mystery and although an uneasy atmosphere is achieved the voice is also slightly calming, menacing brass is heard in the background as again the swirling strings take the lead and create a terror filled conclusion to the track. IT’S STILL DOWN THERE is the title of track number five on the CD, Female voice is again utilized and accompanied by underlying strings that usher in more threatening and driven sounding strings that are supported by percussion and brass, again tension is the order of the day. THE HOLE I think will mark the beginning of a partnership that will be long and fruitful between composer Navarette and director Dante. The music for THE HOLE is the thinking mans horror score, intelligently crafted by the Spanish music-smith. Presented nicely by La La Land records who never cease to amaze me with their wonderful releases.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light