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Soundtrack review: Wild (Matthijs Kieboom – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Wild (Matthijs Kieboom – 2018)

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Directed by Luc Enting, Wild was shot in the woods of Veluwe in the province of Gelderland. Following the life cycle of the forest for a year, the movie focuses on three particular animal species: the boar, the deer and the fox. Each animal takes a unique place in the ecosystem of the forest, some of them are hunters, others are prey – but will all of them survive the year? Matthijs Kieboom wrote the score.

Nature documentaries have gained exposure in the film music world by employing lately big time composers like Hans Zimmer or Daniel Pemberton; this exposure also helps raise awareness for other documentaries and other composers, as is the case here. As which each score I have some expectations going in related to the sound and here, since it’s a tale of a forest I don’t expect a linear sound; the composer thought the same and right from the opening cue “The Veluwe” there is a mix of playfulness, reflection and joy that feels like it brings that entire world together and gives me hope for this album. The next cue “Bathing birds” enhances that feeling as it’s a beautiful and positive orchestral cue that evokes nothing but joy and the magic of nature.

The music of “Wild” is lively and always moving; the composer navigates quite nicely between comedic, serious and quiet not only from cue to cue but also within particular cues; this is the kind of score that you can pick up from any point and have just as much fun. No matter where you are something is bound to happen musically. I know there is a tendency to make nature documentaries sound ambient, evocative, broad but this is a story about a forest and things are different here; the scale is smaller, the focus is more detailed and the smaller the elements, the more frantic and different their movement. I am enjoying both the bursts of playful energy and the more textural moments.

The forest is one of the most complex orchestras in nature and the music of “Wild” just put a little order in it and transformed that swarming into pleasant cues. I just smiled from start to finish as I also heard instruments like the flute or the xylophone mimic the sounds of nature. Matthijs Kieboom wrote a complex and positive score that could work very well for a fairy tale as well. I listened to a refreshing, sweeping orchestral score that was rewarding as a standalone listening experience as well. There are definitely a few cues here that I will keep on my playlist and one composer I will keep my ears opened for.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16/ 63

Album excellence: 25%

Highlights:
Bathing Birds
The Wild Boar
New Life
A Change of Seasons: Pt. 2, Summer
Catching Ants
Antlers Dance
Lucanus Cervus
A Change of Seasons: Pt. 3, Autumn
A Change of Seasons: Pt. 4, Winter

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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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