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Soundtrack review: Camera Obscura (Steve Moore – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Camera Obscura (Steve Moore – 2017)



“Camera obscura” is a 2017 indie horror film. A veteran war photographer with PTSD sees imminent deaths in his developed photos, questioning his already fragile sanity and putting the lives of those he loves in danger. Steve Moore wrote the score and this is why I am reviewing it because he’s one of the few composers who keep the 80s synth flame going in film music.

I also like his music because somehow the way he writes it makes it a very short distance between ambient retro synth and textural horror; the transition seems natural, the music seems to evolve naturally from one place to the next with just an intensification of a certain sound or synth. It’s all in the first two cues of the score as the opening “Charlie Hibbert” is an industrial piece that sends shivers down my spine while the next one “The gift” is one of those reflective ambient cues that I often say represent my safest musical comfort zone; that dreamy, spatial, comforting sound that I could listen to for hours. He then switches is to a more metallic brand of electronic music for “Back on the house” in the true spirit of pioneers like Jean Michel Jarre. I’ve been waiting a long time for Steve Moore to write another score after “Cub” from a few years ago for this precise reason: even of there have been scores lately written in synth wave or in great retro fashion they rarely seem to capture (maybe with the exception of “Kung Fury” and “Turbo kid”) the exact 80s mood I am looking for.

It’s not easy to choose my favourite pieces from this score; when a cue like “Jack to the rescue” comes along with its pure Terminator sound I say this is it then “Up early” with its dreamy sound makes me change my mind and it’s a constant feeling with this score. It’s a cornucopia of 80s synth goodness and as good as the “Rise of the synths” compilation albums from earlier this year are, “Camera obscura” gives me all I need in regard to this sound. Ranging from peaceful to techno frantic to dark synth, Steve Moore’s composition shows me why I and any other fan of the genre should religiously follow his releases. There’s currently nobody like him to bring the nostalgia at this level.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 44 / 75

Album excellence: 59%

Back on the Horse
Night Run
A Bit of an Issue
Jack to the Rescue
Up Early
Get Some Sleep
Turning Point
Owner Manager Friend
Bad Week
How Far He Falls
Just One More
Always Going to Be You
Weird Things
Call It In
The End

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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