Headspace/Ryan Shore

September 15, 2006


Released in 2005, Headspace is a psychological thriller/horror/independent film directed by Andrew van de Houten with Olivia Hussey, Dee Wallace-Stone, William Atherton, and newcomer Christopher Denham in the role of troubled Alex Borden who the story revolves around. The story is about Alex who at first finds uncanny mental capacity such as memorizing books and beating chess masters but all too soon it seems his brain has become a place for demons and devils wanting to wreak terror and havoc.

Ryan Shore, the composer, has created quite a different style of music from the typical horror film. So many of the horror films today are headache producing, teeth grinding, and metal sounding with slashing and banging that your normal listening level needs to be turned down to listen to it at all! Yes Ryan has included a small amount of that but there is much more to offer! First of all the first time I listened to the main theme in the first track “Headspace” I remembered the theme! Its a small (5) note motif played on the piano which is very distinct and expanded on the piano, strings and electronics. “Phrenology” is a great cue that features a chamber string quartet (no credit given) in a fairly simple melody but expanded on quite nicely. For those of you who don’t know phrenology is the study of personality traits based on what your skull looks like (didn’t know either but looked it up). Both “Bulletin Board” and “Dr. Murphy” (Olivia Hussey) feature the motif again played simply on the piano. “Lady In Waiting” is a jazz quartet number well played with good sax work from Ryan himself. He reminded me a little bit like Phil Woods one of my favorites for quite a number of years. Wish it could have been longer as it had a good beat and feeling to it. “Boris Pavlovsky” (Mark Margolis) is quite creepy with long slow string notes and complemented by small brass statements. “Christa Spiritu” is quite an eloquent male chorus track. The final track is Bach’s “Ava Maria” nicely adapted by Shore and performed by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra with Katarina Silhavikova performing the soprano solo. The eloquence of the harp and the singing of Katarina is one that will put a tear in your eye if you have a fondness for opera. Well done!!! Overall, this score is quite diverse in nature considering the chamber, hot jazz, and eerie music. Since this was a high quality download there was no distortion present. In addition, the playing from the Slovak Symphony was fine. There was a time when I could not say that but in recent times they seem to be improving and they are getting a lot more recording dates. There are a small amount of liner notes which you download with the release, not enough information but better than no information which is sometimes the case with other distributors. Would like to see more information in the future.

With films such as Prime (Streep and Thurman) and Fur (Kidman) upcoming in the near future Shore is definitely in the “up up and away” mode. And at only 31 we can look forward to a long and success laden career from Ryan. Anytime I see (4) years of classical training at Berklee College it gets my attention. This recording is a Mikael Carlsson produced one and available as a download. I would urge you to go to his website at http://www.moviescoremedia.com and check out this one as well as (10) other titles from other young composers who you are likely unfamiliar with. Small companies like movie score media, perseverance, la-la land, and others need to be supported. Recommended.

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