Latest reviews of new albums:
The Mountain Between Us
  • Composed by Ramin Djawadi
  • Lakeshore / 2017 / 49m

Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star in The Mountain Between Us, which doesn’t seem to feature a mountain between them – rather, they’re stranded on one after their plane crashes.  With a dog.  Heaven only knows if they fall in love with each other – it seems pretty implausible that they might, but I guess stranger things have happened.  An example of the stranger things that have happened comes in the opening track of this album, when Ramin Djawadi’s main theme starts playing and you wonder if you’ve put a Michael Nyman album on by mistake.  It really does start off as if Nyman himself may have written it, with the elegant piano and strings and cellular structure.  The six minute piece becomes more sprawling and less focused than the real thing would have been, but it’s a decent imitation and something genuinely completely different for this composer.

The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to it – the second cue “Don’t Say Anything” is also excellent but after that it’s more of a mixed bag, with some soap opera-style dramatics and some very basic ideas which ultimately get spread rather thin.  The first half of the album is pretty dull (the one moment of “action” really very grating) but it picks up considerably later on, leading up to a genuinely touching finale “The Meaning of Life” (a pretty weighty subject, that).  The variations on the main theme peppered through the album don’t see it get much development, but it’s a nice tune and usually very pleasant to hear.  Some of the incidental moments seem rather perfunctory and could easily have been excised from the album, which seems to last longer than its 49 minutes, but all in all it’s a decent effort and I’m pleased to hear this composer do something so different and hope he gets to explore and develop this side of his musical personality more often in future.

Decent romantic drama score | |

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  1. Remain Positive (Reply) on Thursday 12 October, 2017 at 01:52

    Hey James,
    Just wondering if you know any good outlets to find some of Mark Mothersbaugh’s older stuff (specifically his Wes Anderson films). Not really sure where to start for scores that don’t get high profile releases…
    Thanks, and really enjoying your reviews for the half-year I’ve been reading them.

    • James Southall (Reply) on Thursday 12 October, 2017 at 23:55

      Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore seem to be quite widely available (Amazon has them) but the rest seem to be hard to come by (I don’t have any of them)…

  2. Stuart (Reply) on Monday 16 November, 2020 at 19:14

    I’ve just managed to get hold of a copy of this on CD (quite an achievement – they seem to be like hen’s teeth…).
    Agree that aspects of this are quite a different sound for Djawadi, and I can definitely detect the similarity to Nyman (to my ear there is also a similarity to Adrian Johnston).
    And, is it just me or is one of the score’s main melodies also very reminiscent of the chorus from the 1986 Genesis song ‘Land of Confusion’…?