Film scores

Soundtrack review: After the world ended (Nikolas Labrinakos – 2015)

aftertheworldended

“After the world ended” is a strange and unique sci-fi movie set 500 years in the future, a dystopian future that is. The movie tells three interconnected stories focusing on an astronaut who crashes in the middle of nowhere, a young woman in search of her family in an abandoned urban wasteland and a prisoner who is preparing for a dangerous space program that will make him the first human being on Mars. The score was written by Greek composer Nikolas Labrinakos.

Nobody knows how the music 500 years from now will sound, but the vision of the filmmakers was that “After the world ended” everything will be dark and desolate. The opening cue is a wide and heavy atmospheric orchestral cue, beautiful and cold as this vision of the future that the movie wants to present. I am instantly into the music; this is my kind of darkness. I don’t need more than this to know I am going to enjoy a composer’s work. Nikolas Labrinakos introduces himself to me with a majestic and powerful piece of music.

Naturally after a prelude like “After the world ended” I would be looking for the same feelings throughout this score. I don’t care about thematic variety, give me more of that! “Opening” does that and sets the tone of the world the story creates. It’s a world made of warm echoes and cold metallic sounds, a lonely and distant world you wouldn’t envision if you looked around you today.

“Everything is dust” breaks my heart and then puts it back together with the sweetest combination of soft piano and ethereal sounds. This is a complex cue in which every layer adds another communication line between me and Nikolas Labrinakos’ music. I enjoy the story this composer is telling me. I will be looking for the rays of hope in this cue once I hear “Despair”. In a strange way I feel that this score could also work for a Sci-Fi game. I can see myself immersed in game play and being guided by these ghostly sounds.

“After the world ended” plays like a dream sometimes. It jumps from darkness and despair to the playful “The toy”, everything cut from the same thick material. The music is everything but light and it will leave a mark. Some moments make me think I could listen to this before I go to sleep while others I wouldn’t enjoy with the lights out.

“Suspicions” and “Illusions” are the most atmospheric cue for me and make me think of ripples in the water. I could relax and let my mind flow freely listening to these themes. They sometimes remind me of Mike Oldfield’s music. “Civilizations” makes me think once again of a computer game. For some reason Arthur C Clarkes’s “Rama” comes to mind. After that powerful and intense beginning the score has moved into dreamland and I am enjoying every second of it. This is the kind of composition I can return to no matter what I might be feeling. It strikes a forgotten chord inside me and it soothes me.

“After the world ended” is an ethereal symphony which gets better and better with every cue. It gets deeper, it gets dreamier and it gets more rewarding. There’s a special place for a score like this and Nikolas Labrinakos has got my attention. I loved this score.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 19 / 37

Album excellence: 51%

Highlights:

After The World Ended

Everything Is Dust

The Toy

Suspicions

Illusions

Civilisations

Asrae

 

 

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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