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Soundtrack review: Orbiter 9 (Federico Jusid – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Orbiter 9 (Federico Jusid – 2018)



“Orbiter 9” is a Spanish-Colombian sci-fi co-production written and directed by Hatem Khraiche. The film tells the story of Helena, a girl who has lived all her life on a spaceships, isolated from all human contacts after their parents committed suicide due to depleting oxygen levels. Her first ever contact with mankind is Alex, an engineer who has been sent to her spaceship for repairing – but Helena wants to experience more of what it is to be with someone else, only to discover her whole life was not what she believed it to be. Federico Jusid wrote the score.

The score opens with the theme for Helena and the composers uses a uncertain, almost shivering electronic sound to evoke the isolation in which the main character has lived so far. Maybe I expected more warmth in this theme but it’s only the beginning. The dystopian nature of the story is most poignant in the first couple of cues as Federico Jusid goes for the uncomfortable sci-fi sound. “You left without getting lost” is the first warmer moment of the score, with the hint of a piano motif and a more reflective sound. This goes even deeper in “News”, and I enjoy this quieter sound.

The score never goes beyond that though; to me it feels a bit unfinished, as if these cues were drafts of some sort. The general sound fits the sci-fi genre, there are dreamy moments, uncomfortable moments, even aggressive moments but the story at hand demanded maybe more depth for me. I expected music that would affect me more, instead of this nice, but just nice, composition that doesn’t really make an impression. The composer went for texture instead of story, maybe the director or producers asked for it, maybe it was his choice but for my standalone listening experience I needed more.

That’s not to say that the score was frustrating to listen to; far from that, especially since I am attracted to minimalistic film music. I didn’t have any trouble sitting through it, it’s just that once it was over, I didn’t remember much of it. I wish moments like “Rain” had been developed and explored more because that was the place where I connected with this composition; the one cue that excited me. Maybe it will work better for you.

Cue rating: 63 / 100


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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