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Soundtrack review: Jasmine (Shie Rozow – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Jasmine (Shie Rozow – 2017)

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“Jasmine” is a 2017 inde movie. A year after his wife’s murder, once-successful Hong Kong businessman Leonard To (Jason Tobin, THE FAST AND THE FUTURE: TOKYO DRIFT) is still reeling from the tragedy. Having lost his job, friends and all sense of order in his life, Leonard becomes obsessed with a mysterious stranger (Byron Mann, THE BIG SHORT) he sees at his wife’s grave, believing him to be responsible for her death. The score was written by Shie Rozow.

An electronic score with an emotional core made of strings; a melodic electronic score that features the keyboards heavily. A lot of favourite elements of mine come together in this album and I am hooked right from the start; I like how the electric cello features in “Hong Kong”, an industrial sounding theme. No matter what happens in the score or the movie there’s always that echo of the cello, that piercing sound of a bow going over a string that reminds me that this is ultimately a story about love, about remembering someone you love. The cello is never intrusive and rarely more than an echo that blends with the rest of the electronic elements; I know the composer took a lot of different sounds and instruments and put them through the electronic grinder to turn them into electronic sounds. The result is very enjoyable as it’s both dark and emotional. “Jasmine” is a dense electronic score that thins out to let the light in in the moments when the invisible Jasmine who is only a memory in this movie is remembered by her husband. Cues like “Hair pin” feature the subtle electric cello and a dreamier mood.

Then there’s a cue like “Packing” which is every electronic and ambient dream of mine come true; a stunningly beautiful dreamy and reflective piece which the cello graces with a haunting and heartbreaking motif. A cue like this makes an entire score worthwhile. I like how Shie Rozow switches between suspenseful and emotional, between industrial discomfort and quieter pieces where the instruments sound almost tortured. It’s obvious in almost every cue that this was not a simple score to write and record.

I like “Jasmine” more than I usually like the thriller scores of the last few years because it tries to do something different. The music is thick and varied and gives me the sensation of a story moving forward, of an alert pace. I don’t feel the need to skip cues, I want to listen to everything.

“Jasmine” is not your usual electronic score; the composer improvises and plays also with sounds you wouldn’t normally find in an electronic score. For me a thriller score should be gripping and alert and not give me a moment to breathe; “Jasmine” accomplishes all this and does it with an electronic sound. There are also ambient and emotional moments that complete this composition and make it even more enjoyable. There are no standalone themes to remember but it’s a score to be listened to in its entirety.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 47

Album excellence: 33%

Highlights:
Hong Kong
Cemetery
Packing
Anonymous Tip
Taxi Ride
Following Anna
Voice Mail
Jasmine’s Theme

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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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