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Soundtrack review: Down the deep, dark web (Frank Ilfman – 2017)


Soundtrack review: Down the deep, dark web (Frank Ilfman – 2017)


“Down the deep, dark web” reverses everything you thought you knew about the internet and the dangers of the digital world. Our guide is Yuval Orr, a young journalist born in 1984 and well-aware of the gradual encroachment of Big Brother. Assigned with writing an article about the Darknet, he dives headfirst down the rabbit hole. On a journey that takes us through Tel Aviv, Prague and Berlin, Yuval meets tech experts, cybercrime watchmen, and a group of self-appointed underground freedom fighters. This latter group – an assembly of hackers, crypto-anarchists and libertarians are united across borders to defend the universal human rights which are quickly falling by the wayside in our privacy-free online age. Here, in the depths of the Darknet, we find the people lighting the way to the freedoms of tomorrow. Frank Ilfman wrote the score.

This year there have been quite a few, maybe more than usual, internet oriented movies and documentaries and this is great for me because I love the electronic sound the scores are bound to have. Here as well Frank Ilfman opens with a main theme that’s simple and almost dreamy. I feel like I am already floating through space as I listen to this one and it fits every idea I ever head about electronic music. I can imagine myself getting immersed in a video game that had this cue on the score. I like it that Frank Ilfman decided to treat the deep dark web as something as vast and unknown as space instead of making his music sound small scale and restricted; the score is dark and alert but also unintrusive because a documentary score should not be more than the story it was written for. I am enjoying the retro synth vibes that come every now and then and as I listen to this score I realise that I was missing a good old electronic score without bells and whistles. Frank Ilfman infuses each cue with a bit of retro electronic star dust and manages to write a warm and melodic electronic score I am in love with right from the start.

A cue like “The conspiracy” sounds way more beautiful than its title; I just close my eyes and enjoy the electronic vibe and the dreamy state the music gives me. My praise for the dreamy moments doesn’t mean that the more alert ones aren’t just as good. The music is simple yet varied and follows very well the steps of the investigation; “Graycell” is uncomfortable and almost electric in sound, “The discovery” is lighter and more melodic while the quiet “Gray hats in Berlin” is the most emotional cue of the score. Even “Blue screens” with its aggressive opening makes sense in a computer world. All of this wrapped in tin foil for the sweetest purely electronic sound I’ve heard this year. My nostalgia bone is tickled and I am just feeling joy while listening to this score. I want to keep it close because Frank Ilfman managed to nail everything that I love about electronic music with “Down the deep, dark web”.

I think back to my many years of listening to electronic pioneers like Jean Michel Jarre and I love it that the sound is kept alive by composers who love this kind of music and know how to write it. Don’t expect the kind of score that evokes danger and negativity regarding the internet; this is positive and beautiful music. If you love electronic music don’t miss this album. And if you don’t love electronic music yet, you will after hearing it.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 55

Album excellence: 56%

The Conspiracy
The Discovery
Gray Hats in Berlin
The Underground Movement
Nakatani’s Theme
Grido The Hacker
BarCode 01001001

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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