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Soundtrack review: White bird in a blizzard (Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: White bird in a blizzard (Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd, 2014)


I am a big fan of ambient music. It helps me think better, it puts me in a deep mood and it calms me and makes me dream. I’ve been listening to composers like Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine dream or Brian Eno long before I got into film music. I let myself be hypnotized by these sounds all the time. I actually think the addiction to film music was the natural continuation of this passion for atmospheric music I had ever since I was a kid.
I am very happy when a film score from this genre comes out. I loved Brian Eno’s score for “The lovely bones” a few years ago; it proved how well an atmospheric score can work in a drama. “White bird in a blizzard” is a different kind of drama, focused on the feelings of a girl whose mother disappears when she’s 17. The score was composed by the unlikely duo of Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins fame) and Harold Budd, both of them ambient music composers.
Scores like these are very rare these days, and it’s one of the reasons I liked this one so much. It’s pure atmospheric bliss in some parts, in dreamy cues like “The radiant bride”, “The affair” or “The drive”. I enjoy the livelier tracks as well, but it’s the quietest parts that really get to me. It’s ambient music at its best, both ignorable and interesting, disappearing and resurfacing depending on my level of commitment. “Lament for Eve” is my favorite track of the score, because it’s right there at the edge between ambient music and haunting piano ballad. A few piano notes sprinkled in the right place can really make a cue even better. Looking over my list of 5 star cues from this album, I realized that Harold Budd wrote all of them.
“White bird in a blizzard” is a very welcomed release in today’s film music world. I’m sure it will move like a ghost among the others, but my senses are astute enough to notice it, recognize it and greet it the way it deserves…     
My ratings:
Cue rating: 80 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 41
Album excellence: 70%
Cues to listen to:
The Radiant Bride
The Affair
You Know The Combination
Without A Trace
Lament For Eve
The Drive
White Bird
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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