Film scores

Soundtrack review: Gorgeous vortex (Joseph Bishara – 2015)

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For me the name of Joseph Bishara is synonym to fear. Guy can write horror music and he constantly delivers terrifying and efficient scores. I always approach a new score from him with a mix of caution and excitement because I know that no matter what might wait for me inside, it’s going to be insane and surprising. “Gorgeous vortex” is a nice title. It makes me think of time travel and of my possible reaction in front of such an occurrence. There’s no time travelling here from what I can tell, just a sinister, shadowy organization which is tracking a serial killer. Just four tracks on this score for a total of 17 minutes.

“Dreams of life”, the opening track, is very busy. It mixes noises with a cello motif and some electronic pulses that simulate the mystery in which this organization works. I have a hard time connecting with this first cue because it lacks heart. This is an emotionless piece which gives me chills and I would rather stay away. Towards the end Joseph Bishara does what he does best and starts abusing those strings for a worrying effect.

I turn up the volume for “Legs” to feel its every inflexion. This score seems to be all about the atmosphere and not punctual moments. The composer creates a dark and thick spider web full of echoes and ghosts and I realize now that he can scare me in many different ways. This second cue is like a neverending nightmare in a room with no doors.

The third cue relies on a sweet violin theme to maybe suggest a soul in need of saving. The resonating electronic pulses that follow could be the evil entity torturing said soul. Then the cue turns into club / rave mode or 80s arcade game mode and I remember some moments of “Tron” when I listen to it. I wasn’t expecting to get those seconds of nostalgia from this score. Those retro moments are my favorites from “Gorgeous vortex”.

There’s not much time for Joseph Bishara to develop a lot of themes in this score but what I’ve heard is enough. With every score I hear from him he earns more and more credit. His music is always interesting and challenging and I am starting to get addicted to his brand of electronic darkness. “Gorgeous vortex” is worth a listen for his fans for sure.

Cue rating: 85 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 17

Album excellence: 13%

Highlights:

Legs

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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