Film scores

Soundtrack review: Invitation au voyage (Gabriel Yared – 1982)

Gabriel Yared - Invitation au Voyage

“Invitation au voyage” sounds like a strange and disturbing movie. Young lovers ask, “What would you do if I died?” In this case, the young lovers are twins, Nina and Lucien, brother and sister. He answers, “I’ll make you live again.” Then, in an accident, Nina dies. He seals her body in the case of a bass fiddle, straps it to the top of his car, and travels across France, listening to her music and trying to find a way to make her live again. The score was written in 1982 by Gabriel Yared; it’s one of his first scores and his is a name I wish I heard more often these days. The score is part of the Varese Sarabande LP-to-CD series.

Normally I would say I can’t wait to hear another dramatic orchestral effort from Yared but this being a weird movie from 1982, we get a weird sound as well. Now I am all for weird, industrial or even experimental sounds in a film music score but this…I can’t really connect with and I feel that from the first couple of cues. They are a right on the edge of electronic and gothic with some repetitive vocal inserts. This is a little too experimental even for me. I like the general mood and the synth subtext but what comes over that is not rewarding enough. At times I feel as if I’m listening to outtakes from early Radiohead albums with the beats and constant pulses. Other times I feel as if this is a score composed for a 50s vampire movie. There are melodic moments like “After death II” and I do find something to keep me going in every cue. I think I am just curious to see where this can go and to maybe find some root of Gabriel Yared’s music.

The messed up order of the cues, with “End titles” coming in the middle and way before “Main titles” while “After death” comes long after “After death II” doesn’t help either. The score is too simple and too automatic to make me feel anything. I would rather forget “Invitation au voyage” or chalk it up as Thom Yorke preparing to write an album in one of his trances. The Yared name is the only thing that keeps me going for the duration of the album. That and the dreamy ambient mood the score sets. I know the mood well and I can imagine the tone of the movie as well. I’d rather listen to Yared’s more recent compositions.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 0 / 27

Album excellence: 0%

 

 

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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