December 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Alien Vs Predator  
Music composed by Harald Kloser
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records VSD-6605
Running Time: 37:56
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

alien vs predator

An interesting opportunity for Harald Kloser to further establish himself as a contender for A-list composing duties with this high profile job on the long awaited twin sequel romp for the titular sci-fi icons.

The 'Main Theme' is rather understated, intriguingly elegiac piece that sets a sombre and serious tone to the proceedings, full of dark gravity and doom-laden brass and strings and this motif gets a few reprises on tracks such as 'History of the World' and it gives the score some much needed cohesion.

What strikes me about Kloser, after also reviewing his work on The Day After Tomorrow, is that he knows all of the tricks of the trade, he hits the expected highs and lows, the tension builds, the pulse races. But I'm not sure if there is a real heart behind it all. The best film music always has a soul. Otherwise all we have left is cut and paste scoring. On a related note there is an additional music credit given to Thomas Wanker, Thomas Schobel and James Brett. Why this was necessary and what they are actually composed is open to debate, but on a soundtrack that only runs to thirty seven minutes or so it seems odd that Kloser needed the assistance. It also undermines the sense of an artist attempting to create music with depth and quality and raises the kind of production line concerns I have been talking about. Ultimately, I think the jury is still out on Mr Kloser, but there are at least some signs of something worthwhile within his music (presuming the work is his!) with cues like 'Bouvetoya Island' displaying some subtle string arrangements and several other tracks generating undeniable excitement ('Down the Tunnel' etc.). Elsewhere however, many pieces are too brief to do anything other than provide background ambience and while effective they are unlikely to bring listeners back for more.

A solid, slightly better than might have been expected score, although still a long way behind the celebrated work of Goldsmith, Horner and Silvestri that paved the way in the dark and dangerous Alien and Predator universe.

Mark Hockley

*** 3

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