Soundtracks are hot. And quite a lot of them border on ‘ambient’ music because of their inherent atmospherics. Or on ‘post-classical’ music because of their instrumental arrangements.
‘The Revenant’ combines the best of both worlds!
The movie’s director Alejandro Iñárritu chose to have a lot of layers of both acoustic and electronic sounds, and for that he invited Ryuichi Sakamoto to work together with Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) as well as with Bryce Dessner.
A very impressive trio – but it must be noted that this album is first and foremost a Ryuichi Sakamoto soundtrack, with Noto and Dressner in strong ‘supporting roles’.
Ryuichi Sakamoto has a long and impressive musical history. He is no stranger to composing soundtracks, which he did for some quite remarkable movies, too.
Alva Noto is a near-legendary composer of electronic music but not a name you will easily associate with soundtrack music.
Bryce Dessner is known as a member of The National, and also for his compositions for Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can and such, as well as for his collaboration with Johnny Greenwood.
With 12 Oscar nominations, The Revenant has had its share of attention by now. There was no nomination for the score, however, but the soundtrack wás nominated for the 2016 Golden Globe award. I don’t really know what Oscars and Golden Globes réally mean… after all it’s your own personal experience that counts.. And for that matter: I haven’t heard a better soundtrack in a lóng time.
These are not “full” compositions re-arranged into thematic fragments to fit the screenplay. It’s a ‘true’ soundtrack in the basic sense: most of the pieces are fairly short (with some exceptions), and thematically they are often mere sketches, but each with an intense and haunting atmosphere.
The themes are restrained and supportive, a very subtle approach to background music design. There are some remarkable performances by Hildur Gudnadottir on cello, and Motoko Oya on Ondes Martenot.
Movie soundtracks have become a genre in itself, and there are many to choose from. But if I had to pick one to listen to this year, It’d be this one – even though it’s only still January!
This album features the original music specifically written for the movie. But The Revenant features a lot of other music too. In fact, a jaw dropping list of contemporary music is credited in the end titles: compositions by John Luther Adams, Alva Noto (some of his Xerrox work), Eliane Radigue, Hildur Gudnadottir, Olivier Messiaen, Ryoji Ikeda and Vladislav Delay.
How many Oscar/Golden Globe nominated movies can boast a soundtrack like that?!
Ryuichi Sakamoto/Alva Noto – The Revenant Theme (Alva Noto Remodel)