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Soundtrack review: Trust (James Lavelle – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: Trust (James Lavelle – 2018)

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“Trust” is an American anthology drama television series created by Simon Beaufoy that premiered on March 25, 2018 on FX. The 10-episode first season, written by Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle and others, is set in 1973 and recounts the abduction of John Paul Getty III, then-heir to Getty Oil, while he was in Italy. Trust follows “the trials and triumphs of one of America’s wealthiest and unhappiest families, the Gettys. Told over multiple seasons and spanning the 20th century, the series begins in 1973 with the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, an heir to the Getty oil fortune, by the Italian mafia in Rome. James Lavelle wrote the score, with some trucks under his stage name UNKLE.

Naturally seeing who wrote this score I expected a loud industrial affair, uncomfortable and riling. The opening cue “Trooper” is mostly a blues tune far away tonally from what I was expecting despite the whipping 70s like sounds at the end. Since the story is set in the 70s the composer decided to include elements of the unique funky sound of that decade in his music as the main theme shows. That indescribable vibe runs through the cue and evokes images of 70s urban stories. The orchestration of the cues has the same nostalgic stamp; in a way for me this is the sound of that decade, when funk and disco ruled and electronic music was just being born. “Low” (incidentally the name of one of the most influential albums of the decade, by David Bowie, in his period of experimenting with electronic and ambient music) is right up my alley with the atmospheric mood. The music is minimalistic but lively and this minimalism, so opposed to the business of current life, also helps with the identity of the score.

What dominates this album is the mellow, chill tone of the music; the composition is theme less, mostly textural, but this texture is very comfortable and pleasant to listen to. There isn’t much action in the music and the experience of listening to it is similar to that of watching an old picture, say from that age, but a photo where a lot is happening and which brings back many memories; it doesn’t move but it creates something inside ad time stops and passing memories take center stage. The photo doesn’t replace the memories since they aren’t so old as to be completely forgotten; it merely fills in some blanks. There are Trent Reznor like piano passages inside (I got very nostalgic listening to “Old Paul”), retro electronic pieces and inserts and orchestral motifs all mixed into an enjoyable whole. I enjoy textural, ambient composition, especially ones that sound as if they stay right at the edge between dream and reality. The music is hazy and spacious and “Trust” is definitely an album I will return to.

Cue rating: 87 /100

Highlights:
2. Theme from Trust (Shadow Beat) (Orchestral Variation) (4:48)
3. Low (4:57)
5. Old Paul (4:25)
11. Low Variation (4:07)
12. Opening (1:43)
14. End Of Innocence (2:18)
16. Primo Burns (2:56)
21. Paul Fishes (1:58)
23. Theme from Trust (Shadow Beat) (Original Version) (3:04)

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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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