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THE LAZARUS PROJECT
Low budget thriller score allows Tyler some creativity to create smooth, chilled-out album
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2009 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
A very odd-sounding straight-to-DVD film starring Paul Walker, The Lazarus Project concerns a man on death row who mysteriously wakes up and finds himself working at a psychiatric facility, where he befriends a man with learning difficulties, an angel, a dog and a therapist. As you do. It's directed by John Glenn - presumably not the astronaut-turned-senator; and not the former James Bond director either. A pretty obscure direct-to-DVD film would not usually produce a score album, but since the score in question was written by Brian Tyler, Varese Sarabande has done the honours. One presumes that Tyler scored the film as a favour to Glenn (who had co-written Eagle Eye).
It's a low-budget score, performed almost entirely by Tyler himself - according to the album credits, he played cello, vibraphone, guitars, percussion and piano - if he did them all at the same time, then that's a pretty impressive feat. I guess not, but it's still an impressive feat - you'd never know the music was recorded in individual layers by listening to it. Along with that one-man-band, there's judicious use of synths. Sometimes when presented with a low-budget environment such as this, a film composer can find an extra ounce of creativity (witness Mark Isham with Crash) - and that seems to be the case for Brian Tyler on The Lazarus Project, which while unspectacular, is very pleasant.
The relevant adjective is "hypnotic". Tyler has created a dreamy soundscape, full of soothing textures. You won't come away from it humming the theme, and if your appreciation of film scores starts and ends with either grand orchestral epics or cheap Remote Control thrills then you're unlikely to derive much benefit, but personally I find it to be a highly-impressive listen. It's somehow completely immersive even though you may not notice all of it, and the occasional forays into grungy action music fit like a glove (and liven things up to just the right degree). Making the album 56 minutes long is pushing things a bit (music like this is never going to work at such a great length) and the star rating is lower than it otherwise would have been because of that; but still, those who like chilled-out thriller music - and don't require a big orchestra to satisfy their needs - should find much to enjoy.