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Soundtrack review: You disappear (Mikkel Maltha – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: You disappear (Mikkel Maltha – 2017)



Written and directed by Peter Schønau Fog based on the novel by Christian Jungersen, You Disappear tells the story of Frederik Halling (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who is accused of fraud, but his case may get derailed by the fact he has a tumour in his brain. The tumour is credited with changing Frederik’s behaviour, meaning he cannot account for his actions, but the further inquiry into his past reveals that these anti-social tendencies may not necessarily correlate with the mental condition. Frederik’s disenchanted wife who seeks solace with his lawyer does not help matters. Mikkel Maltha wrote the score.

The album opens with the main theme “You disappear”. I like how it begins as it puts me straight in the mood of the story with a tense piano motif and in the background quietly tortured strings, barely touched. I like the restlessness of that motif, the trembling, the unease that contrasts with the clear and melodic piano motif. This motif is simple and repetitive but it does enough to create a mysterious atmosphere. By the time the cue ends I already have the main motif in my mind so I like it when the composer develops it further in “Respiratory” which is another beautiful and melodic solo piano peace, melancholic and addictive. As you know if you’ve read my reviews the piano is my favourite instrument and there is no wrong time to listen to a solo piano score and just get lost in it. “You disappear” is beautiful and immersive and I don’t even pay attention to when one cue ends and another one begins as I just let the piano sounds carry me.

Mikkel Maltha brings the guitar as well to join in on the melody and it feels like I am listening to an acoustic live album where two musicians, a pianist and and Al di Meola type guitar performer look at each other and pick up on the other’s melody in a wonderful improvisation. I am simply charmed by this score; there are certain sounds and moods that hit the spot no matter in what state of mind or place in my life I may be and quiet and melancholic piano musings are one of them. I listen to “You disappear” and actually what’s around me disappears until only the instruments are left to play emotion, mystery and doubt.

I know that some listeners will consider the piano motifs in this score too simple, too repetitive but I sometimes don’t need more to just enjoy the reflective and emotional nature of the music. Sometimes thematic complexity is not necessary to make a score count and have meaning and for me “You disappear” added this Danish composer firmly on my radar.

Cue rating: 93  / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 21

Album excellence: 55%

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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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