If there’s something we could tell composer Clint Mansell if we met him in person, it’d be this: "You’ve got guts, sir". For readers who are familiar with the English musician’s works, the devastatingly beautiful tunes of scores from films like "Requiem for a Dream", "The Fountain" and "Moon" are probably haunting you – in a good way, of course.
A friend of auteur director Darren Aronofsky, his latest work for the psychological drama is, needless to say, another breathtaking piece of work. And which other composer would adapt Tchaikovsky’s ballet piece into a bravura score that evokes sensations of thrill and horror? Furthermore, this daring piece of work is chilling at its best, and Mansell probably knows that he would be disqualified for an Oscar nomination by using tracked themes of other pre existing music.
But he went ahead and did what was best for Aronofsky’s erotic psycho thriller, and boy, what a mind blowing listening experience it is.
The 42 minute album begins hypnotising you with "Nina’s Dream", a alluring but innocent sounding cue. In "Mother Me", the piano and strings motif is introduced, and it is these two elements which will take centre stage as the album progresses. Emotions of repression are heard in following tracks like "A Room of Her Own", "A New Swan Queen" and "Lose Yourself". These tracks are underplayed with an unspoken sensation of tyranny, and you know very well that something dramatic is brewing.
In "Power, Seduction, Cries", Mansell brings on a menacingly lush orchestration which brings to mind pictures of doom and destruction. The action begins in "Night of Terror", and from there, the music never lets you go – "Stumbled Beginnings", "It’s My Time", "A Swan is Born" and "Perfection" take you on a roller coaster ride of heightened senses and concludes the sequence with a crashing finale which leaves you almost breathless.
This, of course, is done by crafting and bending Tchaikovsky’s masterful classic tune of "Swan Lake".
When the addictive album ends with "A Swan Song (for Nina)", you feel like you are left hanging over a cliff with a disturbing peace wants to cling on to you forever.
Recommended Track: (14) A Swan Is Born
Review by John Li
Posted on 12 February 2011