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Piranha 3D
  • Composed by Michael Wandmacher
  • Lakeshore Records LKS341872 / 2010 / 58:06

The first two Piranha movies marked the famously inauspicious debuts of directors who went on to rather bigger and better things, Joe Dante and James Cameron.  The third (unrelated apart from its name) seems a bit different – it’s nobody’s directorial debut (Alexandre Aja has previously made, amongst other things, last year’s The Hills Have Eyes), seems to have a rather bigger budget (not automatically a guarantee of quality, of course) and actually stars some people I’ve heard of.  The presence of Kelly Brook alone would seem to offer two reasons to make it worth watching.  For the score, Aja turned to Michael Wandmacher, whose credits also include My Bloody Valentine 3D and the upcoming Drive Angry 3D.  I believe he has also scored some 2D films.  The press release suggests that Wandmacher’s USP is his command of electronic music, so it’s a surprise to find that the score is primarily orchestral – and furiously well-orchestrated for a very big ensemble, at that.

It’s action almost all the way, very noisy action – the full orchestra being wrung for all its worth.  It is nothing which hasn’t been heard before – the sense of chaos, the creepy fish getting unsettling strings – but it’s done with panache.  Wandmacher adds in electric guitars and rock percussion for several of the action sequences and these are integrated well, used as a natural extension of the orchestra (which is how it should be).  There are mercifully some brief moments of respite – it would be impossible to listen to an hour of music this intense without any time for breath – but “brief” is the operative word.  The score is similar in approach to some of Brian Tyler’s action scores (particularly Aliens vs Predators: Requiem) and it’s not one which is likely to win many awards; but it does make for a very enjoyable album.  ***

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  1. Mastadge (Reply) on Sunday 8 August, 2010 at 18:29

    I’m curious about this one. Wandmacher seems to straddle the worlds of orchestra and electronics, but hasn’t yet established a particular voice for himself. I like some of his themes, as for Punisher: War Zone, but tend to find his albums as a whole not terribly satisfying, and don’t understand the gushing love that some have for My Bloody Valentine, which I thought was pretty generic and boring.

    Anyway, he’s on my radar at the moment. I haven’t yet been blown away by him but I’ve been impressed enough with some bits I’ve heard that I’m curious to see where he goes.