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White Lines
  • Composed by Tom Holkenborg
  • Milan / 63m

A ten-episode thriller from Álex Pina, creator of the popular Money Heist, White Lines is a reasonably enjoyable if completely silly drama about a woman investigating the death of her brother, whose body has just been found twenty years after he disappeared on the Spanish island of Ibiza (and the white lines in question aren’t the ones painted on a road). With a decent amount of it set in flashback to the late 1990s, Tom Holkenborg was a natural choice to score it, with him having been a hugely popular figure in dance and trance music at the time and on that island – Europe’s party capital – in particular. Actually most of the dance music heard in the series is real so Holkenborg was left to score the drama around it, but needless to say there are stylistic influences. I’ve not always really been clear what qualities in his music have led to him working on certain film projects, but this time it’s very clear.

The music is for the most part very chilled-out (when I was at university from 1996-99 the local record shop put the soundtrack section – where I was to be found quite frequently – next to the “dance and trance” section – and I recall all the “Chilled Ibiza” albums I saw in my peripheral vision, even though obviously I never touched any of them). It’s really good – whether smooth instrumentals, sometimes wordless vocals (which remind me a bit of Ennio Morricone’s more psychadelic scores from the 1970s), in one track (“Manchester Life”) a really nice nod to Oasis in the guitar style. My favourite tracks – and I wouldn’t have predicted this – are where Holkenborg goes more full-on with diagetic tracks that serve both as source music and dramatic underscore, like “Time Gone By”, “In the Club” and “Infinity”. I can close my eyes, put my head back and I’m taken back to lying by a pool, beer at the ready, that sort of music seeping through my cheap headphones while I was trying to listen to Miklós Rózsa. (I was such a wild teenager.) There isn’t a great deal of what you might think of as more “traditional” dramatic score – the pick of the bunch is the excellent pairing of the solo piano piece “Repercussions” and the dreamy “Romance” – and for the most part it’s not – you may have gathered – a style of music I would choose to listen to often, but it’s done very well indeed and Holkenborg excels in his natural territory. This is his finest score, both within context and on album.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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