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  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2012 / 50:25

“XYZ is about to have a very bad day” is one of my favourite movie taglines.  There can be few things more satisfying than watching someone have a very bad day.  XYZ in the case of Brake is Stephen Dorff and his bad day begins when he wakes up to find himself locked in the boot (that’s trunk to some of you overseas types) of a moving car.  (Note – this isn’t always a sign of bad things to come – last time it happened to me it turned out that the car was being driven by a host of nubile blondes, taking me to their love nest – so don’t get too disheartened if you do find yourself in this position – it could go one of two ways.)  Providing the score is the prolific Brian Tyler, who seems to never stop working.  And “providing” in this case can be taken literally – not only did he compose it, he performed the whole thing himself, even recorded it.  If word reaches me that at the same time as doing all that he was helping old ladies cross the road and cooking a nice soup for homeless people, it would hardly be a surprise.

So, the circumstances surrounding the score’s creation are certainly impressive – but what’s the music actually like?  Well, Tyler is going for a Cliff Martinez vibe I guess, with layers of synths dominating, along with percussion and guitars.  (He even includes various car parts in his “percussion section”!)  In particular, Drive comes to mind – it doesn’t create the immediate impression that score did, but after a few listens, it weaves a pretty hypnotic spell.  Some of the synths are a bit too “dirty” for me, but that’s a matter of taste; the claustrophobic feeling sounds perfect for the film, the various sounds that drift in and out of the ambience adding sometimes unsettling, sometimes calming little touches.  It’s very well-realised music – the main question is whether or not it’s actually “enjoyable”.  I think it is, but would prefer a smaller dose than 50 minutes; I’m a fan of Martinez and this doesn’t float my boat quite like the best of his work does (frankly he’s easily the best at that kind of score) – it’s certainly creative and technically impressive, a nice side to Tyler that hasn’t been heard too often before, and I’m sure many will feel this is a very worthwhile addition to their collections.  *** |

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  1. Orlando Gonzalez (Reply) on Monday 26 March, 2012 at 03:22

    I wasnt so sure about this score, after reading some reviews about the movie my guess was this score was going through the same veins as “Law Abding Citizen” which proved to be very boring for my taste. I was intrigued that Tyler wrote the whole score himself, it is incredible what this man can do, should we name him a One Man Orchestra??

    The score is gritty and dirty as Mr. Southall said. You have to be pacient with this one before it starts to develop. I would say in order to enjoy just forget whatever the composer has done in the past, then accept the idea that the score goes well within the film, once this two constants are out then you willl start to enjoy.

    As far as Im concerned it is an accomplishment that not so many composers can do, and on behalf of that I respect this score for what it is, a claustrophobic, ambient , syntethic and percussive sound.