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Undistinguished television music turned into something better on well-produced album
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album cover copyright (c) 2009 NBC Studios; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
For a while it was the hot new thing, as Heroes seemed quite likely to dispose Lost from its perch at the top of the televised sci-fi drama tree. The show, following the adventures of various ordinary people who have extraordinary abilities, was pretty good in its first year, dealing with all these people discovering their special powers. Sadly, it's completely lost it since, descending into a completely inconsequential, unfocused mess as it has progressed. It's a shame that a show with such potential has charted the course it has; but that's what happens when you make a serialised drama with absolutely no idea where it's going.
Musically, the show has not been especially distinguished, with Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin's music rarely even being noticeable, let alone making any impact. It is a surprise, therefore, that this album (featuring music from the show's first season) has turned out as well as it has - great credit to its producer. The album is split into suites, each one made up of music used to represent one of the characters and culled from various episodes. Some of these are more interesting than others, but even the weakest generally make for nice chilled-out instrumentals.
Taking "Claire" as an example, it is hard to imagine what dramatic purpose the music is intended to serve when in the show, but the seven-minute piece on this album would be a decent one to put on if you happen to live in a penthouse at the top of a modern apartment building, have a great view over the city, it's at night, and you're hosting a cocktail party. I don't know what proportion of the Movie Wave readership falls into that particular category, but if it's you, by all means fill your boots.
The music's USP is the use of the voice of an Indian gentleman by the name of Shenkar, whose throaty contributions do give the show an identifiable aural feature, though I've never quite been able to work out what the significance of it is. The device features in - amongst other places - the tracks associated with the show's two "villains", "HRG" (who later turns out not to be a villain at all - or does he?) and "Sylar", this album's most interesting piece. Perhaps the most memorable music comes in "Mohinder", with its mysterious little motif which seems to crop up in every episode; but deep down, it's just a piece of grungy instrumental music that happens to be included in the sound mix of a television show, rather than anything of particular dramatic value.
At the end of the album come a couple of complete cues from the first season's finale (abandoning the suite format). This is another good album production decision - again, there's nothing noteworthy about the music, but it rounds of the album well. If you love the show (or, even if you don't love it now, if you loved it at first) then you're likely to really enjoy this album; and even if you're never watched it, you'll find a decent album of instrumental electronic music. Just don't expect it to sound like dramatic underscore, which is perhaps what most people who read this website will be looking for.