Film scores

Soundtrack review: Stasis (Alex Burnett – 2015)

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It takes a while for me to warm up on “Stasis”. Warming up to a score of a movie set in space is a strange expression to use but that was how I felt. Naturally when it started with “Ren’s theme” I wanted it to become something close to “Oblivion” which is my favorite Sci-Fi score ever. But for the first couple of cues Alex Burnett’s music struggled and gave me short bursts of sound effects rather than music. The atmosphere was there but it was cold, hence my desire to… warm up to the score.

Enter “Starlight” (incidentally the title of one of my favorite cues from “Oblivion”). It resonates through that emptiness with strings that sound like the echo of a poignant but long forgotten memory. It’s like an elegy in space and I get the feeling of a short moment when the loneliness becomes too much and I wish for something else. It’s a lot to get from a 43 seconds long cue, but props to the composer. The extended version if even more beautiful.

When “Ren’s theme” returns in an extended form I understand it better. I can connect to it, it feels like the few minutes between the two versions were deep and meaningful enough to make me feel as if I know the character the music was written for. It’s a melodic and moody keyboard theme that feels confined but this helps it become more personal. I love the sound Alex Burnett uses here.

“Binary star” prolongs that reflective and melodic feeling. This is music to listen to when you are alone on a rainy day and in the mood to fantasize about a place with no restrictions and deadlines, a place where time stands still and you can get lost in without worries that you won’t find your way back. This type of film music speaks to me in one of the most intimate ways. It knows me and I know it. It’s a nice moment when nothing from outside world matters.

The doses of music from “Stasis” are just right. Maybe they wouldn’t have worked so well if the cues had been longer. If you ask me this score would work even better on an exploration video game, rather than on a movie. It’s interesting that even on such a short score there’s time to have extended version of some of the themes and also a bonus track. The music is what matters though and if you are looking for a dreamy atmospheric score with enough heart to make an impression, “Stasis” by Alex Burnett is an excellent choice.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 13 / 18

Album excellence: 72%

Highlights:

Ren’s Theme

Apastron

Starlight

Ren’s Theme (Extended Version)

Binary Star

Comet (Extended Version)

Starlight (Extended Version)

Nebula (Bonus Track)

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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