2016, Movies, Music

The Phantom Carriage (2016) by KTL

I feel like, when an early silent feature gets a new soundtrack, it regularly tries to (at least partially) ape the sounds we associate with early silent films. So there’s often a lot of Steinway piano and the sounds are often vaguely jazz-ish. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve seen a lot of early silent features with 21st century scores, so it’s entirely possible the trend is now away from that, but you only know what you know.

I appreciate how much this score deviates from convention. It’s clear the composers care about what’s on screen rather than of trying to evoke the experience of going to a cinema in 1921. Instead, the score often seems out of time, though occasionally you can make out specific instruments that didn’t exist in 1921.

The music is eerily pastoral or something like that – maybe gothic is a better word but without all of the connotations gothic brings along. Sometimes it is not recognizable as “music” in the traditional sense of the word but is closer to Foley. However, having seen the movie, I know it’s never actually Foley.

I must say I loved the score while I was watching the film. Just loved it. But like so many film scores – easily the vast majority – it works less well as a standalone piece of music. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy this as background music, as I think it’s fine as such. But it doesn’t have the same impact without the visuals – specifically the 1921 proto horror movie visuals. It’s music I can’t imagine seeing in concert without he film. So I think it is much better as a soundtrack than it is as a score. (If you view a score as a piece of music that is composed for a film but can be listened to on its own.)

Still really enjoyed it a lot when I was watching the film.


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