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Soundtrack review: Holding the wire (Henrik Astrom – 2016)


Soundtrack review: Holding the wire (Henrik Astrom – 2016)


“Holding the wire” is a unique portrait of tournament paintball during an economically turbulent time. Jose Diaz is a veteran high school teacher sets out to document the lives and experiences of tournament paintball players. Along the way, he encounters a variety of individuals, from different walks of life, all united by a fierce passion for tournament paintball. It is a compelling look into an enthralling sport, uncovering a passion unknown and unsung. The score was written by Henrik Astrom.

I never thought paintball could raise such passions as those described in the documentary. The music takes this very seriously and the opening theme “The San Diego Pirates” is worthy of the best of sports dramas. I like the optimistic tone of this score it its first cues. It’s that stride you get when preparing to do something you love and put a lot of passion in. The music is carried on the wings of a brass section that makes it soar and shine. I always feel different when listening to a purely orchestral score. It’s very easy for me to connect for a composition like this and it travels familiar paths inside me. The piano in “Brandon” tells me a beautiful story I’m familiar with but I can’t get enough of.

The sound of “Holding the wire” is sunny like a summer’s day. I love the feeling it gives me. It’s like a sports drama score written with Thomas Newman’s usual lightness. A lot of cues give me the feeling of motivational anthems. The score doesn’t get overly epic or heavy so it will be a very pleasant listening experience for everyone. After all regardless of the emotions portrayed this is a documentary and more than any genre, here the focus should be on the on screen images.

Don’t expect a rousing score; expect a beautiful one. Don’t expect the music to move you tears; expect it to make you smile and want to get out in the sun. Expect it to inspire you and show you that being passionate about something is a beautiful thing. Expect it to touch you lightly but poignantly. The music of “Holding the wire” left me with joy in my heart and with a strong desire to hear more from this composer. I feel nothing but gratitude when I hear a score like this because I was lucky enough to discover it. I can’t escape from the feeling of a bright summer day I get from the album. There’s no shadow, no chill, just the piano creating the image of a glimmering sea and the other instruments painting an equally warm landscape.

A theme like the superbly melancholic “Kraig” will be on my list for the best cues I’ve heard this year. I can’t get enough of it with the piano and the strings coming together in a touching piece. There are many moments like these on the score and I’m sure each of you will find something to remember.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 49

Album excellence: 71%


The San Diego Pirates





The World Cup


The Happiest Place On Earth

Best In The World

Holding The Wire

End Credits

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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