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THE BIG EMPTY
So laid back it's horizontal
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2003 ERA Films LLC; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall
An offbeat horror / sci-fi / western with an excellent cast, The Big Empty was one of the earlier films scored by Brian Tyler. There was a time in my life when I would go and see anything which had Kelsey Grammer in it - a dark time indeed - but those days were gone by the time this was released in 2003 so I missed it, but the description in this album's liner notes certainly make it sound interesting. Leading the case is Jon Favreau, and aside from Grammer it also features Sean Bean, Bud Cort and other people you might have heard of. This album is a new limited edition from La-La Land Records, of just 1,500 copies.
Tyler's music is so chilled out that when I'm listening to the CD I can't get the oven to work (even a McDonald's Hot Apple Pie might cool down in a less-than-geological timeframe when in its presence) - mostly performed by a very small ensemble (piano, guitar, drums, bass, synths and everyone's favourite, the duduk) it's the ultimate in laid back film music, music for those who find Thomas Newman's White Oleander just a shade too bombastic.
To be honest, after about fifteen minutes of listening, I always have to double-check the CD to make sure it's not just repeating one track over and over again, such is the never-changing mood. It isn't until the 14th track, "Free Catalogue", that anything particularly different happens (and the score goes rather strange at that point, with sampled voices joining in the fun) - but normal service is resumed thereafter.
It's all perfectly pleasant and, in its own way, relaxing, but so little happens that it struggles to maintain interest even over its relatively modest running time of 46 minutes. From the description of the film, it sounds perfect for it, and I can certainly imagine that there is a large group of people out there who would love this album, but that group isn't necessarily film music fans (it really doesn't sound like a film score at all). If you love chilled out instrumental music, you'll be in for a treat.