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Soundtrack review: Cloak & Dagger (Mark Isham – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: Cloak & Dagger (Mark Isham – 2018)

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“Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger”, or simply Cloak & Dagger, is an American cable television series created for Freeform by Joe Pokaski, based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise. The series is produced by ABC Signature Studios, Marvel Television, and Wandering Rocks Productions, with Pokaski serving as showrunner. The series stars Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as Tandy Bowen / Dagger and Tyrone Johnson / Cloak. In New Orleans, teenagers Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson come from different backgrounds and have acquired superpowers after a life-changing event that revolved around the collapse of the Roxxon Gulf Platform. While forming a romantic relationship, they soon realize that their powers work better when they are together, “but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging”. Mark Isham wrote the score.

Mark Isham has been going through a revival period for me this past couple of years with a few strong scores. This time once again he starts with a fresh sound, light and electronic, that is common in Marvel TV shows these days. Even if, just as in the case of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a lot of different composers writing the music, the scores seem to be converging towards a similar sound with slight variations. In this case a lot of the cues sound like opening credits cues for TV shows, with an electronic pace buildup as if the scenes were developing very rapidly. “Disasters” is the first cue where I recognise Mark Isham’s music, quieter, more reflective. It’s a natural passage towards the downright ambient “Touch or no touch” with is a tender, emotional piece that represents the essence of the show for me. There’s a hint of a heroic theme in “Newfound power” and slowly and quietly the score develops into something. This cue works out like the equivalent of a “Training montage”.

With “Cloak & Dagger” Mark Isham continues to explore different corners of his sound; yes the music is quiet but there are subtle accents of 90s heroism, of ambient music, of emotion that makes the score feel human and real. Sensitive is the keyword for what I’ve just listened to. It’s not generic music, just there to support the on screen images; it’s a composition that tries to catch the nuances of the story and present them also to the ones who hear it outside the context of the TV show. I for one found enough here to like.

Cue rating: 78 / 100

Highlights:
Touch or Not Touch
Marie Laveau
Face This
Check Your Privilege
Suicide
Dads

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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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