August 10, 2013
Sparks and shadows #SN54007
Europa is one of the many moons of Jupiter which is where this film takes place, shot as a semi documentary style and telling an incredible story of six astronauts sent to explore the possibility of single cell life found in its ocean. Starring Michael Nyqvist, who portrayed Mikael Blomkvist in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films, is an immediate bonus to any film and this video on demand picture has received mostly favorable reviews.
Bear McCreary has firmly established himself in Hollywood as an up and coming television composer and is now moving forward to doing films and it won’t be too much longer until he will be given the opportunity to do an ‘A’ picture. It has been released on his new CD label Sparks and Shadows and is available thru Amazon and other CD sellers. “Lift Off,” the opening track begins with a disturbing synth pulse that acts as percussion as well as a contrast to the music. Chords from the lower register of the orchestra set a depressing mood until the violins offer the Europa melody, quite tranquil and peaceful in nature. As the level of intensity increases so does the ever present synth beat and the track ends abruptly. The overall feeling that I got from this cue reminded me of the string work that David Julyan did in Insomnia. While the writing sounds minimalist it is in fact quite complex with lines being written for several string parts at the same time.”The View” continues the Europa melody with a solo violin playing the melody somewhat tragically eventually giving way to the strings without the pulsating synth. “Landing on Europa” is a return to the synth beat with an offering of fluttering strings with chords in the background from the Europa melody. It gives off a feeling of nervous tension and the cue builds to a climax with the entire string section. It concludes with a return to the Europa theme, a peaceful tranquil setting as a flute offers the melody at the end of the track. “Europa Report” for solo piano, my favorite track on the CD, is a classical rendition of the Europa theme with both hands playing a role in the solo.”Cosmically Astounding” is a contrast in styles offering a timpani over sad strings with an electronic haze sound in the background. Midway through we hear the return of the synth pulse and a feeling of dread before part of the Europa theme returns. The CD concludes with the synth pulse and the Europa theme being played in the background in a quicker tempo, another solo piano rendition of the theme and as the pulse and strings disappear it ends with the solo piano.
As with many recordings your first listen will not be an indication of how you’ll feel about the material. In the case of Europa Report I had to listen to it many times, one listen in particular where there were no distractions and I was fully able to concentrate on the material. As a result I feel that I have some insight on the ideas that McCreary was conveying. I urge you the listener to do the same.
1… Lift Off (3:12)
2… The View (2:49)
3… Landing On Europa (4:18)
4… Mausoleum (4:26)
5… The Drill (3:57)
6… Europa Report (For Solo Piano) (2:48)
7… Cosmically Astounding (5:11)
8… Water (2:47)
9… Under The Ice (5:03)
10. Hydrazine (5:26)
11. That Brings Us To Now (6:13)
12. Airlock (3:18)
13. A World Other Than Our Own (1:48)
14. Theme from Europa Report (5:31)