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Soundtrack review: Timeless (Robert Duncan – 2017)

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Soundtrack review: Timeless (Robert Duncan – 2017)

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From Eric Kripke (REVOLUTION, SUPERNATURAL), Shawn Ryan (THE SHIELD), John Fox and John Davis (THE BLACKLIST), comes this thrilling action-adventure series. In season 1, a mysterious criminal, Flynn (Goran Visnjic), steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist, who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Robert Duncan wrote the score.

Whenever I start to listen to a score I naturally look over the tracklist as some sort of a teaser, to anticipate some great moments, remember scenes from the respective movie or show or just hype myself by bookmarking some long suites; the downside of that is that whenever I see a score that is an hour long split in no less than 51 cues I anticipate a very difficult listening experience right of the bad. I just can’t work well with a collection of cues which are shorter than one minute. The opening track though, “Might want to hold on” is an exciting action piece and 2 minutes long so I can make something of it. It balances my initial worries with its pace and execution. Robert Duncan knows what he’s doing and since his music comes in such short doses he decides to make the most of them and concentrate the essence of his music. These cues are not just mere inserts, they are either adrenaline shots or heroic motifs like the lovely “The original lone ranger”.

I am constantly charmed by the nuggets of emotion that Robert Duncan provides; instead of a generic thriller score, or underscore more like it, I am getting melodic gems like “Wyatt and Lucy” which actually makes me instantly care about these characters I don’t know. The piano, the retro vibe, the subtle orchestral buildup make for a rewarding piece of music with emotional depth. Even if such short doses I am able to grasp the emotional content of the show, I am able to witness different moments as if looking at a highlight reel or a collage of family movies. I am focusing so much on the melodic cues because I connect better with them; the action tracks are exciting enough to keep me interested in the score for the duration.

“Timeless” is one of the first scores to convince me that very short cues can work as well; between the emotional bits, the heroic inserts and the action moments I enjoyed Robert Duncan’s composition much more than I was expecting, especially since I haven’t watched the show and I have no emotional connection with it. After all, I am sure the time jumping is frantic and the scenery changes all the time so the music fits. “Timeless” is a robust score that works well on its own and with the variety of content will please most listeners.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Highlights:
The Original Lone Ranger
Wyatt And Lucy
The Next Morning
Lucy’s Letter
Clockmaker And The Peasants
Over The Hump
Almost Kiss

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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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