Vincent Gillioz is a composer who I have been watching and also listening to for a while now, he has worked on numerous movies and television projects and it was only a matter of time before this very talented and also highly original composer would step into the full gaze of soundtrack collectors and the cinema going public. I am pleased to say that he has certainly done this with his latest score LAST BREATH, this is a taught and gripping soundtrack brimming with suspense filled musical passages that although at times are largely atonal in their make up still posses a sound that is melodic and haunting. The composer demonstrates his gift for creating affecting compositions early on in the score, in fact the opening cue LAST BREATH, for me sets the scene wonderfully, it is rather understated in the first instant, but builds into a piece that is gracious in its sound and also grandiose and effectual in its persona. Strings and faraway sounding horns combine to create this opening statement from Gillioz, the composer also introduces a two note chiming motif during the opening moments that relays a delicate near soothing effect, the strings become more strident and prominent as the composition develops and the conventional instrumentation is bolstered by the utilization of electronic sounds that fuse seamlessly with the symphonic layers, all of these elements combine and compliment each other to bring us a sound that is not only pleasing and entertaining but memorable and striking. The composer utilizes to maximum effect the string section within the score, he also calls upon both the percussion and brass throughout the work to create some heart stopping and exciting moments, I love the way in which the composer generates and creates an atmosphere of drama and nervous brooding tension within certain sections of the soundtrack by combining both the string and brass sections that are enhanced by echoing and driving percussive elements which are too supported by strategically placed synthetics. Gillioz is also responsible for creating some delightful lighter and more pensively attractive interludes during the proceedings and puts to effective use piano and gracefully placed woods. Track three on the disc, TO THE CORE, springs to mind immediately when thinking of more emotive passages within the score, although saying this there is still an underlying presence which is dark and foreboding which Gillioz interweaves with the more relaxed and poignant atmosphere that is the forefront of the composition.
Track 5, SCARS is certainly an interesting composition, it is filled with high octane material which creates a harrowing and uncertain atmosphere, the composer using percussion and timpani combined with visceral sounding strings to invent a tense and shadowy opening, which then segues into a less stressful interlude performed of woods, but this respite is short lived and moves back into a powerful and action led piece again with timpani being embellished by booming percussion and jagged sounding brass stabs. Track six, MYSTERY IN THE SHED, sees the return of the poignant piano theme, that evoked for me the style of composer Zbignew Preisner, it is light, thoughtful and subtle but again the composer manages to maintain an air of mystery and apprehension within the cue which more or less tells the listen not to get too comfortable. This is a powerful soundtrack, a work that has many attributes, that range from its highly emotive piano theme, to its growling brass and electronic elements through to its at times furious percussion and its harsh and uneasy strings. It is a work that entertains on a number of levels and surprises and delights, in short it is a score that deserves a place in any film music enthusiasts collection. The disc is presented well by Howling Wolf Records and has some very interesting notes as well as a number of stills from the movie. Recommended.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Erika
, Il Plenilunio delle Vergini
, Le Altre