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Soundtrack review: 12 monkeys (season 4) (Stephen Barton – 2017)

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Soundtrack review: 12 monkeys (season 4) (Stephen Barton – 2017)

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“12 monkeys” is a TV show based on one of my favourite movies ever which stared Bruce Willis and Brad Putt. Time traveler James Cole travels from the year 2043 to the present day to stop the release of a deadly virus by the enigmatic organization known as “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys”. As Cole races through time to stop the virus, he realizes the Army of the 12 Monkeys have a larger, more mysterious agenda. Season 4 brings the saga of 12 MONKEYS to a blockbuster conclusion, Cole and Cassie search for a weapon to finally end The Army of the Twelve Monkeys and save time itself. It is the beginning of the end of humanity as Titan, a massive time-traveling industrial facility, splinters casting friend and foe into the timeline. Stephen Barton wrote the music.

The music for the first two seasons was written by Trevor Rabin and Paul Linford and I absolutely loved it. I missed the score from season 3 and now I get to listen to the score for season 4. I am pleasantly surprised by the warm and melodic opening cue “The first splinter”. It’s good, evocative Sci-fi music. I didn’t know what to expect from the change of composer but I am discovering a meaningful, tense score that gets me all excited for the TV show once again. It brings the best of Sci-fi music, from abrasive horror like to broad and melodic. I am getting my fix from a cue like “A toast to family” because in less than two minutes it makes me care for these characters and for the story.

What works best for this score is precisely the mix of action and emotional, sometimes even in the same cue because it sounds natural and both sounds are done right. The music is simply exciting and it keeps me interested and invested. My biggest fear when listening to a score like this, especially if I don’t yet have an emotional connection with the show, is to run into a lot of filler cues that mean nothing to me on their own; it’s not the case here as beautiful piece such as “Katarina’s sacrifice” and “The good, the bad and the primary” make for a rewarding standalone listening experience.

The music for the fourth season of “12 monkeys” is a carefully crafted composition that works very well also outside the context of the show. Without getting epic or overly dramatic, Stephen Barton’s composition gives me the Sci-fi fix I need with powerful action sequences and just the right amount of emotional moments. The music makes me care, the music makes me want to see the show and experience it in context. The album clocks in at almost 90 minutes and yet manages to avoid the dreaded filler moments as almost each cue has a story to tell, a drama to evoke or emotions to explore. The music might be mostly dark but it’s a velvety, comfortable darkness. With enough heroic moments to inspire me and even shadows of the RCP buildup sound, I simply loved this one and I am sure that you will enjoy it even if you are not into the show.

Cue rating: 85 / 100

Highlights:
A Toast To Family
The Good, The Bad, And the Primary
Red Forest
The Time Is Now
The Keyes
Cassie’s Choice
The Right Thing the Right Way
Death Can Be Undone, Love Cannot

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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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