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Soundtrack review: Nude (Reza Safinia – 2017)

Documentary

Soundtrack review: Nude (Reza Safinia – 2017)

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“Nude” – a feature-length documentary – explores modern perceptions of modelling, nude photography and body image connected to the evolving social media landscape documenting a group of women working as professional models today. The film chronicles the casting and creation of Steve Shaw’s inaugural NU Muses project, a high-end calendar photographed by David Bellemere that celebrates the forgotten art of the classic nude, set to debut at Art Basel in Miami. Reza Safinia wrote the score.

Reza Safinia is just the type of composer to get for an assignment like this where there is no story really just an opportunity to experiment musically without even having to name the cues or link them to anything; it’s full creative freedom and an innovative and experimental composer like Reza thrives on this. I am surprised by “Nude 1” the opening cue because it’s a normal, melodic piano theme. I am even happier to discover 2 as it’s an electronic cue bordering with EDM, including the female vocalisation. As an electronic music fan I enjoy this and somehow I have an easy time associating this pulsating cue with the modelling topic at hand. I feel the need to turn off the lights and turn up the volume for this cue. There’s also a bit of 90s Euro dance nostalgia in this for me. Leave it to Reza Safinia to bring something extra and different and fresh in a score and this is why I am always interested in his music.

As the score progresses the music gets sensually electronic and once again the composer manages to brilliantly evoke the topic of the documentary with his electronic and orchestral electronic sounds. I don’t know if years of watching media have programmed me to make these associations but this dark and flickering electronic texture, sometimes ambient and other times aggressive brings inside me visions of both innocence and abuse, of inner darkness and demons, of pain and masks. At its core “Nude” is a very dark and raw industrial score, addictive and hypnotic for me. I like both the frantic electronic cues and the ones where orchestral motifs blend in so nicely with the electronica or when the tone is almost playful like in “Nude 7”.

“Nude” is an electrifying and fascinating musical journey through dark basements and strangely lit studios, through illusions, dreams and fears. It will not be an easy score to listen to for everyone or at all times but it’s worth it because scores like these and composers like Reza Safinia that take it one step further and explore different sounds and emotions. If you are not a fan of electronic or industrial music you will probably struggle with this score even if there are cues like “Nude 11” and “Nude 12” which are purely beautiful and melodic cello based pieces. I enjoyed it all and even found some cues that I will explore again and at a higher volume. I want to see the documentary and appreciate the music in context because I am sure it will enhance the experience.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 27 / 41

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:
Nude1
Nude2
Nude3
Nude6
Nude7
Nude10
Nude11
Nude12

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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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