documentary

Soundtrack review: The last colony (various artists – 2015)

the-last-colony-soundtrack

The string and electronic based opening of “The last colony” instantly made me think of Charlie Clouser’s music and, more specifically, the atmosphere of his “Saw” scores. Tyler Finck’s (even his name would fit with Nine Inch Nails or at least that’s what my twisted mind thinks) “Colonial problems – A prelude” is more melodic though but just as powerful and intense.

But he’s just one composer of this score and if this deceitful beginning could make the listener think that “The last colony” refers to a remote planet from a Sci-fi story, the next cue by El Tarot turns on the latin vibe and brings us closer musically to the actual story from the documentary by Juan Agustín Márquez.: the relationship between the Puerto Rican people and the United States as seen through the eyes of leading politicians, historians, sociologists, and economists.

There’s something strange with this score; it feels as if I’m on TV watching the documentary and every now and then the signal is scrambled and the Sci-Fi movie of the same title interferes. All Tyler Finck’s cues sound raw and electronic and even the titles “Turbothrusted” and “Signal loss” are appropriate for a different kind of story. They are my favorites from “The last colony” and I still had to check a couple of times to make sure I didn’t actually mix two scores on my playlist.

The rest of the music is also entertaining; “The will of the people” brings both a tango and a comedic effect and is, once again, different from everything else on this score. The album sounds like a collection of cues and I am having a hard time imagining how it feels in the context of the documentary. Slowly this sound charms me because of that comedic / sarcastic string tone which intrigues me. It feels as if El Tarot is trying to chip a little from the seriousness of the topic, or maybe shine a light on the actual ways of the Puerto Rican people.

I would call this music Latin Electronic video game music, if there was such a thing. Nothing in this score makes me thing of serious political issues or ardent debates about the political fate of a nation. The interesting part comes at the end when there are three long themes, one for each of the three choices: independence, statehood and sovereignty. This time the sound varies subtly between the three and from the musical point of view I would choose the freshness of statehood.

“The last colony” ends up as quite an interesting and sarcastic score, one of the more special ones of the year.

Cue rating: 75 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 3 / 44

Album excellence: 28%

Highlights:

Colonial Problems: A Prelude

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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