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Soundtrack review: 306 Hollywood (Troy Herion – 2018)

Documentary

Soundtrack review: 306 Hollywood (Troy Herion – 2018)

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This touching, visually stunning, and genre breaking film, directed by sister-brother artists and filmmakers Elan and Jonathan Bogarín, was the opening night film of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT section (and the first documentary ever to be selected for the program).When siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarin undertake an archeological excavation of their late grandmother’s house, they embark on a magical-realist journey in search of what life remains in the objects we leave behind. 306 HOLLYWOOD transforms the dusty fragments of an unassuming life into an epic metaphor for the nature of memory, time, and history. The Bogarins embark from Grandma’s cluttered New Jersey home to ancient Rome, traversing worlds from fashion to physics in the excavation of the extraordinary universe contained in a single house. With help of scientists, curators, and archivists, tchotchkes become artifacts in the profound exploration of the question: When a loved one dies, what should we do with everything they left behind? Troy Herion wrote the score.

For sure a project like this must be exciting for a composer to work on, as it’s all based on imagination and traveling through time in multiple musical ages. It comes naturally that the opening cue is fairy tale like before the score dives into the story with a 30s like jive vibe in “Grandma interviews”. I like this sound even with the slightly modern touch Troy Herion added. The temptation to highlight only the retro parts from this score would be a mistake as a cue like “Childhood memories”, a quirky string piece manages to capture the glow and diversity of childhood memories. I like how this score is dominated by a positive, optimistic tone, often playful, often whimsical. The assortment of instruments and sound effects used is colorful as a fresh vegetable salad in the summer. The way this score is written the line between the present time and evoking other ages is thin and natural so there is no break in the score’s flow no matter what happens in the story.

Troy Herion likes to experiment with sounds, mostly with strings, lots of strings, different kinds of strings, some vertical others horizontal, strings that are played in quirky ways and combined with either vocal passages that keep the tune or the flute or the piano. Either way his combinations are fresh and pleasant to listen to and single this score out a bit from the sea of current film scores. Part playful improvisation, part fairy tale but always imaginative, “306 Hollywood” was a nice surprise for me as its sound found a niche that has been empty this year.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Highlights:
Childhood Memories
A Woman Appears
Family
Let Go

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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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