Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Emile Mosseri
  • Milan / 33m

One of 2020’s most critically-acclaimed films, Minari tells the story of a South Korean family’s attempts to make it in rural Arkansas in the 1980s. It’s based on its director Lee Isaac Chung’s own upbringing. For the music, Chung turned to the up-and-coming composer Emile Mosseri, who achieved some good notices for The Last Black Man in San Francisco a couple of years ago and more recently the second season of Homecoming; his lovely score is a gentle, small-scale one which is really very charming. What’s interesting about it is that, while there is much warmth, this is often set against very slight dissonance which creates a sound highlighting contrasts – a kind of bliss on the surface but with something just bubbling away underneath.

Amongst my favourite tracks are actually a couple of songs, sung (in Korean) by actress Yeri Han, a lullaby called “Rain Song” and the kaleidoscopic “Wind Song” – they’re both captivating. The centrepiece of the score is “Grandma Picked a Good Spot”, with a classical piano solo running throughout, backed by strings – as with much of the score, it is calm and contemplative. Elsewhere, Mosseri sometimes uses a wordless vocal to great effect (“Jacob’s Prayer” is ravishingly beautiful). The electronics can sometimes create a kind of hypnosis – in many ways, the music reminds me of Angelo Badalamenti’s music for David Lynch – it’s like listening to a dream. The album’s highlight is undoubtedly “Minari Suite” (which oddly appears a few tracks before the end), which presents a really lovely version of the main theme for piano and wordless vocal. I really like Minari – it’s a distinctive score, one which achieves its emotional support in unusual and creative ways, and it makes for a really satisfying album.

Rating: **** | |

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