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Soundtrack review: Guerilla (Max Richter – 2017)


Soundtrack review: Guerilla (Max Richter – 2017)


“Guerrilla” is a six-part British drama miniseries set in early 1970s London, against the backdrop of the Immigration Act 1971 and British black power movements such as the British Black Panthers and Race Today Collective. A love story set against the backdrop of one of the most politically explosive times in UK history. A politically active couple (played by Freida Pinto and Babou Ceesay) have their relationship and values tested, when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. Max Richter wrote the score.

Ever since I heard his first “The leftovers” score I have been fascinated with Max Richter and his compositions; the presence of a classically trained composer, of a classical music composer in the film music world brings a little bit more and I am tingly with anticipation every time I see his name because I can’t wait for new piano themes. “Love song 1” is his first piece from this crowded soundtrack album that also includes a lot of vocal songs and voiceovers from the movie. “Love song 1” brings the solo piano goodness with that unmistakable combination of melancholy and loneliness that this minimalistic sound evokes to me.

The composer changes the tone for “Prepared for violence” as the guitar and electronic sounds take the place of the melodic piano. This is one of the more unusually colder Max Richter cues as I haven’t heard him write thriller music very often. “We got movement” is even darker and adds another small territory in the ever growing Max Richter musical map. The cue is menacing and as uncomfortable as a rumbling or whirring sound that keeps growing closer and closer without being seen yet. This score is keeping me on my toes as it goes from cold to warm in an instant; “We got movement” is followed by “Wash away the sins”, one of those poignant and affecting minimalistic cues where every cut of the bow on the string leaves a mark. This is classic Max Richter and he’s the kind of composer that with one cue like this lights up an entire score.

Even with under 15 minutes of score Max Richter manages to make an impression and showcase his incredible talent; I am happy that his scores are starting to pop up more often and that he is getting all sorts of different assignments. Think of “Guerilla” as a portfolio presentations of different ways in which he can write enjoyable music, from classical piano to pioneering ambient like in “Love song 2”.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 14

Album excellence: 73%

Love Song 1 (Max Richter)
Wash Away the Sins (Max Richter)
So Fucking Cool (Max Richter)
Love Song 2 (Max Richter)

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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