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Soundtrack review: The man in the high castle (season 2) (Dominic Lewis – 2017)

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Soundtrack review: The man in the high castle (season 2) (Dominic Lewis – 2017)

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“The Man in the High Castle” is an American dystopian alternative history television series produced by Amazon Studios, Scott Free, Headline Pictures, Electric Shepherd Productions and Big Light Productions.The series is loosely based on the 1962 novel of the same name by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick. Taking place in 1962—in an alternate history of the world in which the Axis powers won World War II and subdivided the world, splitting the United States into two powers, the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States—the series follows characters from both sides whose destinies intertwine after coming into contact with a series of propaganda films that show a vastly different history to that of their own. The music for the second season was written by Dominic Lewis.

I enjoyed a lot the music for the first season which also featured Henry Jackman and now I get to further explore Lewis’ ideas for the second season. I feel as if I’m getting a chance to isolate some of the things that impressed me in the first album as if I was at the mixing table myself. There’s nothing but emotion in the opening cues of this second album as the beautiful and haunting cello sound that left echoes inside me returns a early as “Juliana’s letter”; the build up is there and I get that choking feeling as I understand what the composer tells me and I feel what the characters feel. There’s a build up at the end that tightens the grip over my heart.

As I listen to the various string instruments and look over the cue titles I realise that this second season and album focuses more on the Japanese part of the story. I find that Asian subtlety and fragility in “Cherry blossoms” and I just feel the need to close my eyes and enjoy the way the string bow caresses the chords.

If the music of the first album had some quirky and alert moments this second one focuses on elegance and a broader sound; the first season felt more intimate and to the ground while this second composition, while just as intimate, feels a bit more grandiose at times. In my mind this second season focuses more on thoughts and feelings and less on action.

The Asian influence gets even deeper on the beautiful “Kotimichi” where the Koto just makes everything around me disappear in a lake mist. What better way to reflect and relax than in this meaningful silence? The flute joins in for an even more peaceful meditation. This is the core of the score and it’s the place from which the other cues blossom.

Intriguing and touching, the score of the second season of “The man in the high castle” isolates the a lot of what made the first score shine. Dominic Lewis creates a fascinating and emotional world and I can’t wait to listen to the music in context. If you are looking for a quiet and deep score with subtle Japanese influences this one is for you; this one is exceptional at it.

Cue rating: 93 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 22 / 38
Album excellence: 58%
Highlights:

Kintsugi
Juliana’s Letter
Cherry Blossoms
Dinner and a Funeral
Donning the Suit
Leaving Work Early
Kotimichi
Fulfilled Prophecy
Hitler Youth

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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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