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Soundtrack review: Hidden worlds (Khaled Hammad – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Hidden worlds (Khaled Hammad – 2018)

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“Hidden worlds” (‘Awalem khafeya’) is an Egyptian Ramadan series written by Adel Emam, that revolves around a journalist and a novelist that tries to solve and expose complex cases that gained the attention of the public in recent years. Khaled Hammad wrote the score.

Right from the start of this album I am transported to a beautiful and lyrical world where the peaceful piano reigns and the string section is just as tender. There is so much chaos, so much agitation and density in today’s film and TV music world that when I run into a score like this one, that seems to come from another age when emotions mattered more and when taking the time to explore them and listen to them was a priority. After this beautiful, soulful opening the story kicks in and the orchestra plays more alert and evokes to me the feverishness of investigative journalism. The music is rich and clean, it’s full orchestral music done right. The faster paced cues still captivate me and keep me connected with this score which cannot stay in the background; even if I am listening to it outside the context of the TV show it still grabs my hand and makes me pay attention to it.

I grew up watching a lot of French and Italian movies and this serious, lush orchestral sound was always present on those scores. Nowadays this sound is not as present as it was, say, 30 years ago so whenever a composer comes back to it and writes a score like this one I am just happy to be able to discover it and recommend it; “Hidden worlds” is truly a hidden world, a sanctuary from everything that happens around me and a beautiful, quiet place where I can just close my eyes and focus on the music and how it makes me feel; this orchestral score for me is like an homage to the classics, to the greats and this is one of the best things about being a film music journalist: I receive for review compositions like this one that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard and it would have been a pity; the Middle Eastern film music world is far away from me, my exposure to it is limited but if if hides more gems like this one I would need to explore it more.

“Hidden worlds” is one of those stunning orchestral scores that will just brighten your day no matter what; there are even accordion motifs somewhere in there that bring even more nostalgia for the Italian and French movies of old. If you get a chance to listen to “Hidden worlds” absolutely do not miss it and from now on Khaled Hammad is on my radar and I will look for more of his music. I loved everything about this score, from the instrumentation to the pace, the emotion and the very subtle Middle Eastern accords that appear every now and then. This was quite an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. This right here is why I love film music so much.

Cue rating: 88 / 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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