Cinefonia Records (CFR017)
Release Date: 2006
|11.||Trailer Park Chase||2:53|
|12.||How Can I Heal?||5:19|
|14.||Driving the Kids||1:38|
|15.||Auntie Vee's House||2:16|
|21.||Goodbye to the Kids||2:08|
|Total Album Time:||44:38|
|by Jonathan Jarry
April 23, 2006
You know you're listening to something special when the first track reminds you of a mini-washer on spin cycle with a bad load. Then again, maybe not. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm doing laundry right now. This Cinefonia Records' release can be seen as a study in the evolution of a style. Most people are familiar with David Julyan's music thanks to Insomnia, a finely-crafted score mixing airy atmospherics with orchestral elements. It may come as a disappointment to find out that this current release, which offers selections from Following (1998), Memento (2000), and Spivs (2004, two years after Insomnia), is simply not that interesting.
Following's "Opening" serves to introduce the synthetic elements of the score and this throbbing "washer" synth (which reminds me a bit of the Cylon motif from the recent Battlestar Galactica) is used as the pulse of the score in the following tracks (no pun intended). Julyan's love affair with synth atmospherics goes a little overboard but, with an $8 budget, what else can you do? Synth strings ooze in and out from track to track, like an ethereal marriage between Christopher Franke's and Richard Gibbs' styles. While the composer makes use of an annoyingly high-pitched whistle once in a while (forcing me to remind you to keep your dog out of the house when listening to this score), the track "Confessions" does hint at the power Julyan would later muster for "Let Me Sleep" in Insomnia, with slow chord progressions for a synthesized ensemble.
Memento is represented here with only two tracks: "Trailer Park Chase" sees some pulsing synths come back for a rather low-key pursuit with an occasional burst from the strings, while "How Can I Heal?" fleshes out the skeleton of "Confessions" with a heart-felt, five-minute adagio for strings that reveals Julyan's human sensibilities.
While Spivs, with its diverse styles and homey pianos, might stick out like a sore thumb, it is perhaps the most listenable of the three scores offered here. The film about a trio of East End con men is scored with a different sound: a little jazz, a little Bond-ish techno, and a decent amount of fiddle, piano, and clarinet feel-good pieces. While Spivs is the most recent of the three scores, Julyan's style is more prevalent in the earlier pieces; with Spivs, he stretches all over the place and fails to create a sense of unity or originality.
Hence, we are left with tepid orchestral stuff that is listenable and synthesized atmospherics which, while a signature of Julyan's style, can become repetitive and boring. Following / Memento / Spivs is by no means particularly annoying, but it is nothing glorious either. Insomnia stands out as a more solid piece of work and his post-Spivs projects, namely The Descent and the sequel to Dungeons & Dragons, seem to hold more promise than this sometimes tepid, sometimes pleasant release.
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