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Soundtrack review: The changes (Paddy Kingsland – 1975)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The changes (Paddy Kingsland – 1975)

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“The Changes” posits a Britain where a sudden enveloping noise emanating from all machinery and technology causes the population to destroy them. The resulting upheaval displaces many people and reverts society to a pre-industrial age where there is a deep suspicion of anyone who may be harbouring machinery. Even the words for technology are taboo. The remnants of modern technology that escape destruction (such as electricity pylons) produce a physical and sometimes violent repulsion among those left in Britain. Paddy Kingsland wrote the score and Silva Screen is releasing it in 2018 for Record store day.

Naturally from a Sci-fi score from almost 50 years ago I expect the best kind of early and amusing electronic music. Back in those days Paddy Kingsland apparently used a synth so big that they had to remove the studio doors to make it fit. The pioneering sounds on this score sometimes remind me of early computer games so nostalgia is high in some moments. The composer uses the synth music sometimes as the base on which he adds other instruments to make the music richer and a bit more complex. Some of the electronic motifs are repetitive and that main theme helps enhance the sensation of playing an early computer game which could either be Sci-fi or Western by the sound of it.

The tone of the score is lighter or, better said, more optimistic than I expected give the story. The music doesn’t depict a dystopian or menacing future but plays on the decision to keep life simple and technology free. Even if the sound is retro the comedic and optimistic construction of the cues s more ahead of its time and this provides an interesting contradiction. The music just breezes by, without frustrating me but without exciting me either; it’s quite OK as a background listen as the electronic sound is melodic and comfortable to the ears. Sometimes I hear some Asian influences in the electronica, other times Arabian ones while in the various renditions of the closing titles there is an attempt at an epic fanfare motif.

As a score “The changes” is simple and not very varied; that main theme is played with in different versions and after a while most of the cues start sounding the same and the sweet early electronic sound is not enough to warrant an enjoyable standalone listening experience. This special release is definitely a gem for fans of the show and of the composer but for me the lack of tone variation or storytelling made it less than interesting; mark it as a harmless, sometimes amusing composition.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

 

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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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