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Soundtrack review: Skybound (Andrew Reich – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Skybound (Andrew Reich – 2017)

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Written and directed by Alex Tavakoli, “Skybound” finds five friends on a small airplane in the middle of some strange events. When the group mysteriously loses their its radio connection on a trip from New York to LA, it turns out that maybe they are better off in the air. As they continue their flight, they’re forced to assume that a major disaster happened on the ground. They discover a stowaway, Erik, who urges them not to land at any cost. Before they run out of fuel, they must find out the truth. Andrew Reich wrote the score.

The opening cue “Skybound” surprises me with end titles like electronic melodic vibe; it’s instant love for this score with a piece like this that hits right in the centre of my comfort zone and it’s a strange sensation when the first cue feels as intense as the last one should. It is the main theme of the movie so I suppose it’s normal for it to make an impression. The next cue “Rocky mountains” is a bit more fragmented and less comfortable to listen to but it does get me close to the atmosphere of the movie, with the tension and danger. There is a bit of RCP vibe in this score and I like it. Still I am more drawn to the melodic ambient pieces like “Formula” as reflective atmospheric music is where I feel the most comfortable; the keyboard plays warm rhythms that fit with the general mood of the score and give it a feeling of a musical story. The music feels honest and written with care and attention not just for the sake of it. This blend of warm melodic and cold menacing, pulsating works very well and also gets me interested in seeing the movie. There are also familiar motifs that I like to hear on action movie scores like whispering choirs.

I like it when a composer doesn’t add unnecessary elements to a score that doesn’t need them; the music of “Skybound” is trimmed down of extra fat and works as a lean, enjoyable tense score, sometimes even scary, other times softly emotional. It feels as if the cues are fleshed out characters that make this work even as a standalone listening experience. The cues are not just thrown in there but make up a lyrical narrative that keeps me connected for the duration of the album.

The variation of sound from reflective piano to percussion works as a thriller because things keep changing and surprises keep coming; my favourite piece is “New York” as I am a sucker for quiet heroic cues with a soft choir inside. There’s a bit of 90s nostalgia in it and it’s just one more thing to appreciate in “Skybound”. If you are looking for an action electronic score that sometimes is a throwback to the awesome action film music of the 90s you will definitely appreciate this one. I know I did and I will keep my ears opened for Andrew Reich in the future.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17  / 42

Album excellence: 41%

Highlights:
01 Skybound
03 Formula
05 Erik Lamarr
09 New York
12 Lisa and Kyle
14 The Engine Just Shut Off
15 Major Resolutions
16 Hawaii and Theme from _Skybound_

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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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