Review: World\'s Fastest Indian, The
3.5 / 5 Stars
There is a moment 45 seconds into the track "Beach Race" of J. Peter Robinson\'s score to The World\'s Fastest Indian that took me by surprise. After nearly eight minutes of quiet acoustic riffs and near-Americana harmonies, a pulsing electronic beat came in to propel the music forward. Just like the movie, which begins in New Zealand in an intimate fashion, moves to America, turns into a road trip and, finally, becomes your classic sportsman underdog story, Robinson\'s playful and touching score stretches genre boundaries, at times relying on the eccentric vibe of the marimba, at others stepping on the proverbial clutch and changing gears to heighten the drama with a small assortment of electronics over racing strings.
It is not a groundbreaking score, but Robinson\'s passionate involvement can be felt in every track, for the score never stalls and never becomes boring. If those longing string chords get on your nerves after three minutes, a crisp guitar melody takes center stage for a ride through America in "Road Encounters". If that isn\'t your cup of tea, listen to "The World\'s Fastest Indian", where the big race is scored in a fashion recalling David Newman\'s Serenity: electronic pounding accentuates dissonant piano lines and stretched out brass chords, before shrieking violins give way to a propulsive bass line and a brass motif. Rhythmic ideas collide throughout the cue, merging and playing tugs-of-war in a sequence that perfectly mixes the orchestra with samples and electronics. The quieter pieces on the album owe much to another famous Newman, Thomas this time, with that distinct American Beauty vibe of combining quirky marimba motifs with piano riffs and light percussion.
The recording is crisp, the music is addictive and fun, and Robinson is given the opportunity to stretch his wings and color this score with a broad palette. There\'s the effervescent and erratic music to represent Anthony Hopkins\' character; there\'s the bittersweet music of piano and woodwinds, laced with melancholic string harmonies, for the beauty of New Zealand; there\'s the "Snuffy" Walden-esque guitar duos to represent Utah; and, finally, the dissonant racing sequences, making good use of brass and electronic beats. If anything, The World\'s Fastest Indian is the perfect way to introduce someone to the world of film music. It is a unified sampler that showcases, if not a unique voice, at least the talent and craft of J. Peter Robinson.
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