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Soundtrack review: Ploey, you never fly alone (Atli Orvarsson – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Ploey, you never fly alone (Atli Orvarsson – 2018)



“Ploey, you’ll never fly alone” (or “Leaving the nest”) is a 2018 animation movie. A plover chick has not learned to fly when his family migrates in the fall. He must survive the arctic winter, vicious enemies and himself in order to be reunited with his beloved one next spring. Atli Orvarsson wrote the score.

The first thoughts that go through my head as the wonderful opening cue “Ploey” transports me instantly in a magical, fairy tale land with the flute, the horn section and the superb choir, is that this is the guy who wrote “Rams”, my favourite score of his; this is so far from the bleak, minimalistic mood from that one that I can only applaud the range of this composer as the orchestral starts the storm. Those menacing horns make me think of Star Wars and you can’t make me take that back. It’s just a motif but that’s the height this score can reach. Of course I get right away the playful comedic nudges I was expecting but it’s always nice when they are full orchestral; everything sounds beautiful with a fiery orchestra like this one.

There are some moments during the score when the music simply breathes new life into me; film music done right can do that and there are times when the orchestra soars so high that I just feel inspired and motivated and grateful and there’s an avalanche of positive feelings over me; “Shadow attacks” is one of those beautiful, soulful cues that shoots right into my list of favourite animation pieces; it’s a combination of action and emotion that is simply perfect. “Time to fly” makes me actually care for a cartoon character, for the emotions he’s experience, for his doubts and I am right there by Ploey’s side. This is the power of music; I don’t care what the plot or genre is, this music makes me care, it makes me give back the care the composer put in when writing it. Every now and then there’s a piano or flute motif that just makes my heart skip a beat.

Once every couple of years an animation score comes along that is simply memorable; powerful, entertaining, emotional compositions like John Powell’s “How to train your dragon” and, now, Atli Orvarsson’s “Ploey, you never fly alone”. Do yourselves a favour and listen to this one; it’s an enriching musical experience, varied, complex and fun that will charm you from the first note. Surely one of the best compositions he’s written yet.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Ploey Hatches
Flight School
Shadow Attacks
Time to Fly
First Snow
Continue Without Me
I’m Still Alive
Paradise Valley
Fly Alone

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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