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Soundtrack review: Echoes (Gergo Elekes – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Echoes (Gergo Elekes – 2018)

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“Echoes” is a 2018 short Hungarian thriller which follows a middle-aged man and his infant son who are haunted by strange entities in a remote cabin in the woods.The film stars Shawn Michael Clankie (Taroki, A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex), Tímea Virga (Janus, Eternal Winter), Péter Inoka (180/100, Gimi, Parallel) and Bea Kocsis and is written and directed by József Gallai, director of award-winning films Moth and A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex. Now whenever there is a short horror movie like this, Gergő Elekes is involved and usually not just with the music. Over the last couple of years his short scores for “Moth”, “The girl in the woods” and, especially, “Perihelion” have been favourites of mine so I was excited to hear about this new one.

The score opens with two cues “Hush little baby” and “The first night” that chill me to the bones; it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to get me in that terrifying mood and make me feel as if I was being haunted in that remote cabin in the woods. I know Gergo Elekes can write horror just as I know he can write the most beautiful and haunting (in a good way, this time) ambient melodic pieces; “Our tree with red hearts” is a powerful little gem, minimalistic and magical, that for me captures the essence and simplicity of a unique emotion like playing with my child. A cue like this puts the same smile on my face that I get when I watch my little girl play and be happy.

“Burial” somehow combines the terror with the warm emotion and once again that retro synth vibe, that sound that’s both peaceful and painful that completely floored me in “Perihelion” comes back like the most welcomed of ghosts. I am not sure how a horror score can be whimsical but I find here proper echoes that make the music feel as charming as its sometimes scary.

Once of the hardest thing for a composer to get right are both the very very short cues, inserts actually, and the truly long suites; Gergo Elekes shows in the just 17 seconds long “A promise that you should keep” that he has no trouble concentrating emotion in such an unimaginable small dose and making a cue this short matter and be memorable. I remember I’ve been this impressed by a short cue only a few times before, once in Thomas Newman’s “Meet Joe Black” (“A frequent thing”), once in John Williams’ “Artificial Intelligence” and most recently as a release in the opening cue of W.G. Snuffy Walden’s “The west wing”.

I know this is mainly a thriller / horror score but for me the ambient reflective moments are what make this the memorable composition it is; “Protection”, “A great father” are cues that simply hit my sweetest musical spot because this is my favourite kind of music. I can dream, I can love, I can remember while listening to this music and the composer makes his sounds feel precious, vulnerable and strong in the same time. If you haven’t followed my advice to listen to his music until now, it’s time to do so with “Echoes”, a perfect title for what this score represents. I really hope Gergo Elekes starts getting longer assignments for regular movies because his musical voice is one that deserves to be heard on a wider scale.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 12 / 17

Album excellence: 72%

Highlights:
Hush, Little Baby
Our Tree with Red Hearts
Burial
The Uninvited
A Promise You Should Keep
Protection
A Great Father

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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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