April 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Richard JACQUES
Headhunter  
  Sega   [67:57]

Headhunter

This promo disc hails from a Sega video game. A lot of preconceptions exist for what game music should be. Fortunately there have been some composers given free reign to go against the grain in recent years (e.g. Michael Giacchino). Most everyone else has been under the thumb of their producers to keep those preconceptions alive (OK - I'm talking about electronics and nothing but here). Richard Jacques here seems to have belonged to both scenarios. There's a great deal of exciting orchestration going on, but, more often than not, a limp beat (mostly drum loops) spoils things by sitting prominently above it. The electronic aspects of this score are in this reviewer's opinion, an unnecessary capitulation to the genre. The other 'clue' that would indicate following tastes and ideas other than the composers is more than just a few moments of familiarity. Temp track or no, Star Wars ("Escape from the Lab") might be someone's idea of an homage. But David Arnold's Stargate ("Final Conflict") and Craig Armstrong's The Space Between Us ("The Stern Legacy") are clearly a case of someone insisting upon a sound-alike. It's a shame to be thus distracted, because there is so much else going on deserving attention. "Jack's Dream" features a very sweet piano and solo violin duet. "Fulci's Final Threat" is an exhilaratingly accelerative and accumulative percussive action cue. Yet just as your ear pricks up to such a highlight, it's likely to quickly deflate at the next drum loop or 'homage'. The even bigger shame of course is knowing that even the greatest aspects of this score will undoubtedly be lost under OTT sound design. Here's hoping Jacques soon secures a project that allows him to do his own thing.

Paul Tonks

**(*)

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