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Soundtrack review: Clash of futures (Laurent Eyquem – 2018)

Best of 2018 Film scores

Soundtrack review: Clash of futures (Laurent Eyquem – 2018)

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“Clash of futures” is a historical miniseries which explores the dramatic era of the 1920s and ’30s. The eight-part series follows the fates of extraordinary men, women and children from France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Sweden, Poland and the Soviet Union using their own diary entries, letters and memoirs. These are people drawn into the war by their convictions, who with their loves and decisions bring the history of Europe with all its contradictions to life. Laurent Eyquem wrote the score.

Laurent Eyquem already has one candidate to score of the year 2018 in “Nostalgia” and I was eagerly awaiting for more music for one of the composers who can exert the biggest emotional impact on me. If until now piano and strings were his instrument of choice, the story at hand here demanded something different, something to identify that particular age. The composer and director chose the trumpet as the driving force of this score. For me there is barely enough trumpet or horn in today’s film music and it’s a shame because that particular sound can evoke both melancholy and heroism. Just check the moody way it which it plays on “Uncertain hope”; I must admit that this mood is one of my favorite things to listen to and it brings a bit of nostalgia for military and political dramas.

The story describes 20 of the more turbulent years in human history so the music could not be quiet and with a calm flow; there is a wonderful turbulence in this score, a turbulence explored through vigorous strings and percussion motifs that move the narrative thread of the score forward. The 20s and the 30s were times of decisions and strides and Laurent Eyquem expresses these strong and clear character treats with his music. This stark movement of the music sometimes reminds me of the way Ennio Morricone writes the action pieces of police dramas, where the investigation goes second to nothing, no matter what. Other times the composer seems like he improvises, like in “Perpetual movement” and I love where the music takes me; after all there were the decades where jazz emerged and improvisation was what made this genre so strong. Then there are moments like the piano motif at the beginning of “Freedom” which is classical Laurent Eyquem. At every corner this score cradles a nice musical surprise.

The strength of “Clash of future” likes in the feverish orchestral pace and the richness of melodic content; it doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen the movie yet, the music is rewarding enough on its own; I almost marvel at how beautifully some of the cues are written and performed. I mentioned “Freedom” and I will mention it again at the end of the year when I review my favorite cues of 2018.

Laurent Eyquem knows the human soul like few composers do and has the extraordinary ability to express very clearly all its complex nuances, from love to sadness to doubt to determination through music. I receive his messages, I understand what he tells me and I can experience the tribulations of the characters by listening to this score. The composer took elements of jazz, of noir and of minimalism and blend them into a poignant mix. It’s the kind of score I can see myself returning to quite often and one hour I’m sure you will consider gained once you’ve spent it.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Highlights:
Uncertain Hope
Perpetual Movement
Freedom
Armistice and Alive
Thoughts
The Unfolding
After Dark
A Walk in the Past
Berlin
Ho Chi Minh
Uncertain Future

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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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