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Source Code
  • Composed by Chris Bacon
  • Lakeshore Records / 2011 / 48:22

Following up his excellent sci-fi film Moon, director Duncan Jones has taken the unusual step of remaking Groundhog Day, with Jake Gyllenhaal in the Bill Murray role (and Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln).  I joke, of course (unsuccessfully, as usual).  Clint Mansell, who provided perhaps his best film score for Moon, was unavailable so Jones turned instead to young composer Chris Bacon, best known so far for his work assisting James Newton Howard in various capacities, including contributing additional music to many of his recent scores.  Source Code is by far his biggest solo project to date and there’s enough in here to suggest he could have a good career ahead of him.  I have to say that the one film composer whose name comes most prominently to mind while listening to it isn’t Howard (though there are touches which are reminiscent of him) but John Powell, whose influence seems to be spreading ever further.

The disc opens with a truly fantastic piece for the main titles – bustling, busy, exciting, if the rest of the score had been that good then we’d be talking score-of-the-year material.  But it isn’t.  Fortunately there are plenty of good moments – the action material is very good (fans of Powell’s Paycheck will like this) but the 48-minute album does feature a lot of passages which rather sag.  There’s probably a very impressive 30-minute album in here, but as presented it’s all a little uneven.  There’s plenty enough good to make it worthwhile hearing – it’s one of those very modern scores which combine orchestra with electronics in a very satisfying way.  Bacon generates a real sense of movement but at the same time a vague sense of claustrophobia through the ever-present, densely packed electronic percussion.  Take 15-20 minutes from the underwhelming middle section and you’d have a great album; this is still a perfectly decent one.  I look forward to hearing more from this composer.  ***

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  1. Mastadge on Friday 15 April, 2011 at 14:54

    Oh, thank you. I was beginning to think my ears were broken, being unable to reconcile my experience of the album with all the gushing over it.