Film scores

Soundtrack review: I play dead (Kaveh Akaber – 2012)

I-PLAY-DEAD-DANCE-photo-ELLA-GUSTAVSSON

“I play dead” seems to be a project done from top to bottom by Kaveh Akaber. He wrote, produced and directed and even wrote the score for this surreal dance / thriller film that evokes a sense of an untold tragedy. A woman visits a deserted old industrial building. Once there, she encounters two children. They lead her deeper inside the building and closer to their dark secret.

The score starts in a weird (of course) Twin Peaks like vibe. From the first seconds of “Weird act” I remembered some of the more obscure and twisted pieces from Angelo Badalamenti’s score, usually the distorted variations of the main themes. But then the noise quiets down and the cue goes to my sweet spot: it becomes atmospheric.

I like the way the composer muffles the sounds and the instruments. They music sounds as if it was heard from just below the surface of the water or from a room a few doors down from where it is being played. There’s always an echo, always a question in the music. Then the mood changes again and we get to industrial clubbing music. For such a short score the composer surely had time to vary and he takes us through a labyrinth of sound. I stop and enjoy my time when I hear “Isobel strings” because I am a sucker for strings.

“I play dead” certainly is one of the more interesting and intriguing scores I’ve heard lately. It is very short but it has time to place enough hooks in the listener in order to feel longer. It plays like a dream or a hallucination and at the end I wonder if anything I saw or heard was real. From the weird start to the melodic tango finish with “Isobel’s game” the journey Kaveh Akaber invited us on doesn’t disappoint.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 5 / 12

Album excellence: 39%

Highlights:

Isobel strings

 

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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