TV

Soundtrack review: In the flesh (Edmund Butt – 2015)

In The Flesh

„In the flesh” is a British zombie series about members of a community who died during „The rising” (their version of a zombie apocalypse) and are now reanimated and return to their home town. It would be interesting to see the British take on a subject like this. I wasn’t familiar with composer Edmund Butt before hearing this score.

The first couple of cues from “In the flesh” make me think the composer took a straightforward pulsating electronic approach to this score. Zombies are simple minded and move at the same pace so this choice makes sense. Naturally it’s not all about these creatures and their hunger so welcome romantic flute and violin tune that makes me forget all about the apocalypse! “Back to Roarton” sounds like the return to an idyllic country landscape with beautiful meadows and ice cold brooks. The romance continues with “The rotters” and I see what Edmund Butt did here… Since the reanimated zombies are coming back to their home town they are not just brainless strangers out to kill you… People recognize them, people who cared for them hence this melancholic cue.

“In the flesh” is all about emptiness and loneliness. The music sounds personal and intimate, with quiet piano strokes and strings. Everything moves at that slow pace and it sounds as if each cue is taking its time to look at the surroundings and try to recognize past points of interest. Edmund Butt’s composition evokes a desolate landscape and there’s a constant hum or buzzing in the music. When it gets livelier, the score pulsates like a beating heart inside the fist of one of those zombies. “Wolf” sounds like a different creature and this is where the score changes pace. When it gets innocent, the composition stops into a beautiful clearing like “The Goddess Ishtar”.

I love a score that surprises me, and “In the flesh” does just that. After those random electronic pulses comes a beautiful romantic gem like “Kieren comes home”. I close my eyes and imagine caring for that character; what a heart break I must feel seeing her return in that form, broken, changed… with just the flesh left… This is the kind of cue to listen to on the way to the beach when you’re feeling melancholic and in love.

I think of “In the flesh” as a fantasy. The music makes me do that with its subtle inflexions and alluring echoes. “The second coming” is so beautiful and romantic that I almost feel I’m listening to Max Richter’s amazing “The leftovers” score. This cue is too beautiful for a zombie apocalypse. It sparkles and it soothes and I will listen to it again for sure. It sits in a very stark contrast with a track like “PDS” which is electronic noise meant to cause discomfort. But moments like these are scarce and needed to fit the story.

“It the flesh” ends up as a very interesting score. I discovered way more than I thought I would between its first and last pages. The journey of listening to it was rewarding and romantic. I am left with a peaceful feeling inside and, I must admit, a bit intrigued about the show the score was written for. It must focus on different elements than “The walking dead” for example and it might be worth a watch. Edmund’s Butt composition is definitely worth a listen. You will surely find something to care for “In the flesh”…

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 46

Album excellence: 38%

Highlights:

03_back_to_roarton

04_the_rotters

08_wolf

09_the Goddess Ishtar

10_kieren Comes Home

12_the Second Coming

15_my Beautiful Mother

 

About the author

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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