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Soundtrack review: Sea of life (Jeff Ronna – 2017)

Documentary

Soundtrack review: Sea of life (Jeff Ronna – 2017)

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Inspired by Rob Stewart’s Revolution, young filmmaker Julia Barnes embarks on an epic journey around the world to save the ecosystems we depend on for survival, as we come closer to causing a mass extinction in the oceans. With access to renowned environmental experts and breathtaking underwater cinematography, award-winning filmmaker Julia Barnes takes audiences on a provocative journey, through the most stunning and threatened ecosystems on the planet and the rallying movement to save them, leaving audiences around the world inspired to fight for our oceans – and our future. The music was written byJeff Rona.

Nature documentaries and, especially, underwater documentaries are quite inspirational for musicians as the mystery and the beauty of that unique world needs a soundscape to match. I always expect beautiful, eerie and etherial music and Jeff Rona gives me that right from the start; he also makes his music livelier, not just dreamy and reflective and this suggest to me the permanent movement of the hundreds of small creatures and plants that inhabit the bottom of the ocean. Sharp electronic pulses and glimmering melodic motifs give me the impression of taking part in the journey myself and not just as a bystander. I feel involved, I get the feeling of exploration, of surprise, with every new sound that Jeff Rona adds to his cues. There’s a lot of percussion and vivid string motifs in this score as the music is both engaging and peaceful. Sometimes the cues get full electronic like in “Our ocean” and “Plankton” and nostalgia kicks in for me as I grew up with electronic music. This sound reminds me of the electronic joy of Harry Gregson Williams’ “The Martian” score from a couple of years ago; my mind instantly goes there as cues like “Climate summit” and “Ocean imbalance” play in my ears.

I am having fun with this score, I am enjoying it. When I hear a score like “Windows to the past” I just feel joy and ambient nostalgia and a certitude that things are going to be alright; the music is fresh, optimistic, the mood is light and sunny and it’s a perfect score to listen to in the park on a sunny and carefree Sunday afternoon. “Mass extinction” as well is a cue that somehow takes me back to my childhood when I was discovering music by Jean Michel Jarre and other electronic pioneers; sometimes the music makes me think of Yanni but no matter what, it always makes me think of something that I love and is close to me. The overall sound of “Sea of life” is addictive and hits the right spot with me as it strikes the right balance between melodic, ambient and emotional and I just love this album from start to finish; it’s a composition I can listen to no matter the moments, be it a walk, work or even a run. It just puts me in a good and inspired mood and I am curious to know how Jeff Rona’s score affected you.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 59

Album excellence: 44%

Highlights:
Weapons of Mass Construction
Deep Sea Corals
Plankton
Harvesting the Sea
Windows into the Past
Mass Extinction
Coral Bleaching
Rise to the Challenge

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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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