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Soundtrack review: Black mirror – Black museum (Cristobal Tapia de Veer – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Black mirror – Black museum (Cristobal Tapia de Veer – 2018)

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“Black Mirror” is a British science fiction anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker, with Brooker and Annabel Jones serving as the programme’s showrunners. It centres on dark and satirical themes that examine modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Episodes are standalone works, usually set in an alternative present or the near future.The Black Museum episode is presented as a series of three stories told by Rolo Haynes (Douglas Hodge), proprietor of the remote “Black Museum” to his solitary visitor Nish (Letitia Wright), all involving various exhibits related to cutting edge technological connections and transfers with the human brain that Rolo had developed in his career. The score was written by Cristobal Tapia de Veer.

I already heard two “Black mirror” scores in 2018, “USS Callister” from Daniel Pemberton and “Hang the DJ” by Alex Somers and Sigur Ros and both of them were pretty much perfect. Even if I haven’t watched season 4 yet, this track record is encouraging. “Black mirror” is a weird show and I am sure that Cristobal Tapia de Veer won’t mind if I say that weird show and composer of weird music are the right match; I am one of those who usually appreciate de Veer’s sonic experiments so I have high hopes from this one. The composer maybe wants to know right from the start who is in for the ride as he opens with a massive 9 minutes long cue “Luring”. My instant reaction, not even half a minute in, is that I’ve stumbled into a future where all music sound like the instrumental songs of Nine Inch Nails and I could actually live in a world like that. The same distorted echo of a sparse piano motif blending in with a sharp and pointy electronic texture that makes me doubt reality while in the same time luring me into that atmosphere. Loneliness and silent human brain connections are the main themes of the episode and the music evokes them poignantly. There is discomfort in the music but it makes me think of such a vast time and space that I’ve gotten used to it. I am a big fan of minimalistic and reflective music, of very slow burning compositions and this is what I am getting here so me, I am in for the ride.

It’s not always that reflective; some moments are raw industrial and if they were to be listened by people who are not into uncomfortable, experimental music, in a basement with flickering lights and at top volume might be interpreted as an acid trip; to me though the music is strangely melodic and makes complete sense. I find myself enjoying a lot more cues than not and after all you know what you get into when you listen to Cristobal Tapia de Veer; I welcome his presence in the film music world and I enjoy his scores, I am happy to discover what more he thought of or which twisted way to use sound effects and voices he cooked up.

“Black mirror – Black museum” is definitely not a score for everyone, but it was for me. I am very curious to hear it in the context of the show.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 54

Album excellence: 58%

Highlights:
Luring
We Got a Miracle
One Man Fractal F**kfest
Pain Speedball
To Live Via You
I Really Feel
Dead Man Walking
Souvenir

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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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