GLORIA BELL Soundtrack Review

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When is a soundtrack not a soundtrack? This is the age old question asked by many who enjoy film music. I was a resounding ‘no’ when it came to Hans Zimmer’s score to Dunkirk whilst others fiercely supported it. Regarding the structure of  soundscapes we have all had to go on a learning curve. I ask the question as I absolutely love the soundtrack to Gloria Bell by Matthew Herbert but I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s a sum of its parts,  the whole

creating an ethereal feeling of happiness. I could say it’s  music to a really enjoyable dream! Gloria Bell is played by Juliane  Moore who is in her 50’s, divorced and working. She has 2 grown up children and works in an insurance office but at night she loves to dance and it’s while dancing that she meets Arnold who is recently divorced. Not exactly a plot which drags you in.

The score is my British electronic music composer and DJ Matthew Herbert who also did the score for Disobedience which was released earlier this year and which I also really liked. There is no discernible theme but the opening track called Gloria Bell sets the tone with with an electronic flurry which is somehow childlike and very likeable whilst high note strings flutter in the background. Short but captivating. Strings return in Bell Theme a beautiful but all too short cue. Reunion has a distance about it musically whilst The Joint pushes the theme used in in the opening track, this time on saxophone with a cool electronic beat underneath.

The Whale has all the dream like allure as previous tracks but three quarters of the way in a night club bass is added, a strange juxtaposition but it so works, again short and leaving you wanting more. Get Ready brings us full circle with a richer version of the opening track and it all comes to a close with Waterfall where the main refrain is gently played on piano.

Its’s quirky and it’s a delight and at only 24 minutes and 13 seconds long it’s worth ekeing it out, I can guarantee  it will relax you.

Milan Music Label

Tracklisting

1 Gloria Bell 1:20
2 Zombies 1:11
3 Bell Theme 1:17
4 Reunion 1:27
5 Behind The Door 0:46
6 Gone 1:16
7 The Gnome 0:18
8 The Joint 1:22
9 Airport 1:12
10 Afloat 2:45
11 Up The Stairs 1:36
12 The Whale 1:43
13 By The Pool 2:43
14 Home 2:29
15 Get Ready 1:11
16 Waterfall 1:

 

 

 

HIDDEN FIGURES BY HANS ZIMMER, PHARRELL WILLIAMS & BENJAMIN WALLFISCH – SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

HIDDENFIGURESOST

“This started off with all of us piling into a room and playing together. I had this idea: How do these women think differently about mathematics? They dance about math. The rhythm shouldn’t be straight, it should swing a little. It really was the three of us. People don’t understand that we really do work well as musicians in bands.
Hans Zimmer

Initially this was a problem for me, I don’t really like it when two composers work on a soundtrack let alone three. Call me a purist but I have heard a few collaborations on scores and they always come across as uneven. So I put some work in and read about how they they put it all together. Williams is one the films producers who was working on some songs with a 60’s vibe, Zimmer said that he would have “the right playbook”. And of course Wallfisch had previously contributed music to Zimmer’s ‘Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice’ score. It still didn’t sell the idea to me but I settled sown to listen to the score.

Hidden Figures is the story [not well known before the movie] of African American women working at NASA in the early 60″s.  It opens with Katherine, a plaintive piano that is overtaken by a female voice which accompanies it well. Mission Control gives us the first rush of a ‘spacey’ sound – a short pulse with a driving under bass. This returns in the start of Space Task Group, the piano returns and the low tones telling of the continued failures of the group. Plucked strings and a short base line gives a comedic nuance to Slice of Pie.

Redacted is a joy of a cue with those plucky strings re-apearring and then at 1:01 a bass and a muted trumpet make a delicious sound [I love this cue!] Redstone is another strong cue where  ‘babbling’ voices gives a sense of a puzzled mind working at 100 miles an hour, it’s a clever twist. The babble is reprised in the tense cue Launch. Rocket Peril is not short of a small symphony which soars.

All the rich elements which make this soundtrack follow through in cue after cue, giving the soundtrack a richness of texture. It’s a soundtrack I will return to. To say it has a feel-good factor does not cheapen the overall score, it strives and lifts. I heard the signatures of all three composers albeit that Williams touch only came to my mind a couple of times. Has it changed my mind about collaborations? Well, I will admit that as much as I really enjoyed this score I think I remain cautious.

TRACK LIST

1. Katherine 2:37
2. Mission Control 1:17
3. I’d Already Be One 1:08
4. Space Task Group 2:56
5. Slice Of Pie 1:05
6. Redacted 1:26
7. With All The Angels 1:35
8. Redstone 1:36
9. Call Your Wives 3:23
10. Launch 2:21
11. That’s Just The Way Things Are 2:25
12. Sign 1:11
13. Kitchen Kiss 0:55
14. Mary And The Judge 1:30
15. I Like Her Numbers 2:07
16. Ladies’ March 1:25
17. Mary And Levi 2:12
18. Euler’s Method 1:23
19. Proposal 1:40
20. Pearls 2:41
21. Katherine Calculates 1:32
22. Lift Off 3:11
23. Warning Light 0:59
24. Rocket Peril 3:10
25. Hidden Figures 3:50
26. Epilogue 0:38
Total Album Time: 50:13

Columbia Label

Note that there is also Hidden Figures The Album featuring songs used in the film together with songs composed by Pharrell Williams, also on the Columbia label.