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Soundtrack review: Deep (Fernando Velazquez – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Deep (Fernando Velazquez – 2018)

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“Deep” is a 2017 American and Spanish computer-animated film directed by Julio Soto Gurpide. Inspiration for the film came from Julio’s deep sea diving experiences. In 2100, when humanity has abandoned the earth, a colony of extravagant creatures still thrives in the deepest abyss of the ocean. Deep, an adventurous “dumbo” octopus and the last one of his kind lives there with his two unconditional friends: Evo, a nerdy and clumsy angler fish, and Alice, a neurotic deep-sea shrimp. When an accident destroys their home, the guardian of the abyss, The Kraken, will send Deep and his friends on a perilous journey to find a new home. Fernando Velazquez.

Usually Velazquez is one of the best in the world at writing dark fantasy or horror scores; the beginning of 2018 thought finds him with three Spanish releases that are all for comedies. I usually have difficulties enjoying animations scores and this one is a massive 80 minutes long but since it’s Velazquez, I have faith. The opening cue “Into the abyss” adds to that feeling; it’s a majestic ocean exploration piece that could very well be found on an underwater documentary score; incidentally in the past year there were a few of those, very good ones and this cue keeps the trend going. It’s Fernando Velazquez and he writes fantasy like no other.

As much of a hard time as I usually have with animation scores, I do know that compositions like “How to train your dragon” are among my favourites and when I find in the beginning of “Deep” a similar fervour, I am happy. Cues like “Mighty kraken” and “The outside world” include explosions of pure musical joy, playful and infectious. I am enjoying the musical journey that evokes both emotions and the underwater setting with vast brass motifs and cues that feel broad and endless.

It’s a pleasure and privilege to hear a composer so used to darkness turn his craft towards the light, towards the positive and optimistic and deliver an animation score for the ages: beautiful, tender when it needs to, believable and soft to the touch. The instrumentation is feverish when the action starts and I just wish I could have been there for the recording sessions; Velazquez uses a full orchestra and uses it to the max. In cues like “Zombie fish” for example I feel as if I am part of the most exciting ride of the amusement park. I live to listen to film music like this.

If you know how Fernando Velazquez writes, you will jump in to listen to this one; it’s up there with the best animation works of John Powell or Michael Giacchino and an early contender for animation score of the year. I invite you to take part in this musical celebration of life and joy.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 47 / 72

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:
Into the Abyss
Mightly Kraken
The World Outside
A Golden Cage
Out in the Blue
Trouble in Titanic
Coral Canyon
Zombie Fish
Nathan AKA Moby Dick
Going on the Fritz
Freeze
Unlocking the Seas

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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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