Newcomer Chris Bacon got an interesting oppurtunity with 'Source Code', a 2011 film starring Jake Gyllenhal as a confused military soldier who is forced to relive the last 8 minutes through the eyes of an unlucky passenger of a bombed commuter train. The film was positively received by critics and audiences were intrigued by the Inception-esque plot. As for the score, Chris Bacon (whose previous credits were mostly as a conductor under James Newton Howard) delivers a surprisingly suspenseful yet fun score. In it he combines elements from James Newton Howard and even Marco Beltrami.
The Opening titles of the soundtrack provide a thrilling orchestral sound with heavy percussion pounding in the background and quick trumpets blaring alongside the train. Following up is 'You Don't Know Me' and '8 Minutes', two interesting choices to match with the confusion Gyllenhal is feeling. In both Bacon slightly references Marco Beltrami's score to I Robot through various crescendos and dark electronics. In a few of the tracks Bacon also seems to take inspiration from Don Davis's Matrix scores as he builds the tension.
As the album continues, the action material starts to kick in. 'Coffe Will Have to Wait' starts of slowly with a quiet orchestra and explodes into a fully percussive second half. Chris Bacon really does shine when it comes to the tension and when it is pushed into full throttle it works perfectly. The trumpet solos that appear as everything is pieced together work and sound fantastic. The quality of the album is also pretty good, each percussive hit sends a vibration through the speakers. Some of James Newton Howard's older material is also referenced with a little bit of synthetic addition. It's also worth noting the flashes of brass on the outset of 'Piecing it Together.'
Unfortunately, the score does slow down about halfway into the album. Alot of the tracks blend together and become sadly repetitive (with the exception of the occasional burst of orchestral music.) While this does slow the music down a bit, Bacon manages to make a save in the second half of the score. 'Am I Dead' captures the feeling of being surrounded with a massive orchestra which gives the impression of gradually crescendoing and expanding as well as reintroducing the brassy main theme. The highlights of the score do also come mostly in the second half. 'Regret and Reconciliation' and 'Frozen Moment' offer some really beautiful piano solos and orchestral textures heavily reminiscient of JNH's lighter music. The album comes full circle with 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay', a faster and more exhilarating take on the main titles.
How did Chris Bacon do overall? Very well for one of his big first composing jobs. In this day and age where most thrillers are done with minimal orchestral and rely heavily on the synth music, it's a nice change of pace for someone to take advantage of using actual instruments. The score itself is very good, with brilliant compositions and nice, subtle suspense work. As far as the album goes, the sound quality is great but aesthetically the score does become repetitive about halfway through. Also, the music itself isn't anything startingly new but is definitely worth a listen. Overall a great start to a promising career.