Altered Carbon – Original Netflix Series Soundtrack by Jeff Russo (digital review).

February 24, 2018 | By | Reply More

The Netflix TV series ‘Altered Carbon’ is based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan. It’s described in the PR material I was sent as ‘…an intriguing story of murder, love, sex, and betrayal, set more than 300 years in the future.’ I’m not going to argue as I’ve yet to see it, although having listened to the soundtrack, it’s now on my list of things to do.

The soundtrack is the original score by Jeff Russo with three songs added at the end. As Jeff Russo had previously worked on the soundtracks of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and ‘Fargo’ I have heard his work before, although I might not have appreciated it was him at the time.

Track 1 is the unimaginably titled ‘Altered Carbon Main Titles’ which certainly grabs your attention. It starts slow before building up to a confident, almost strident tempo before fading out for the last few seconds. It’s only 1 minute and 40 seconds long which I think is a bit on the short side. I would have appreciated it to continue for quite a bit longer.

Moving on, track 1 nicely blends into track 2 ‘Consciousness’ which at 5 minutes and 24 seconds is easily the longest track. There’s a slow drum beat in this rather slow melodic track overlaid with some harmonic vocals. It is rather nicely done, although I had trouble identifying when this track ended and track 3 ‘Last Stand Kovacs V1’ began. As track 3 is only 34 seconds long it would be easy to miss it. To be hones,t I’m not sure why it’s not been included as part of track 2.

Track 4 ‘Bancroft Shows Kovacs’ is a haunting number that’s rather quiet until the drumbeat at about 2:08 and again at 2:16. You have now been warned so it shouldn’t make you jump. I’m glad to say that things speed up a little with track 5, ‘Her Daughter’. There’s quite a bit of apprehension building up in this track although it does calm down towards the end.

The calm is quickly broken with track 6, ‘Attacked By Troopers’. Again, this is a rather short track at just 1 minute and 3 seconds long but it is long enough to let you know something bad is happening. Track 7, ‘Passing The Book’ is another slower track but has dark undertones to it.

I’m not sure why track 8, ‘The Patchwork Man’ isn’t recognised as one of the vocal tracks as there’s a female voice singing but only for 47 seconds. The singer isn’t recognised in the credits supplied to me so I have no idea who it is.

I should say that the soundtrack is best listened too in either in a very quiet environment or through headphones. A lot of ambient noise will make you miss some of the finer details and if you’re going to get the maximum from this soundtrack a little quiet and concentration will pay dividends. This advice is really only relevant for tracks 1 to 8. Things are going to get rather loud after track 8.

The last three tracks are the vocal tracks. Track 9 is ‘Let My Baby Ride’ performed by Sune Rose Wagner as is track 10 ‘More Human Than Human’. People might recognise the latter one as a cover of White Zombie’s original version, but I suspect this would be a very select group of people. Both tracks feature what I think is a female voice but it’s not mentioned in the notes who this singer is.

Last but not least is a cover of the Johnny Cash number ‘Ain’t No Grave’ performed by Renée Elise Goldsberry who plays the character Quellcrist Falconer in the series. This a very good spooky number that actually gave me the goosebumps and still does. The music arrangement is very excellent as is Goldsberry’s singing.

Tracks 1 to 7 are Jeff Russo’s original soundtrack which seem to use traditional orchestra instruments. This is well worth listening to as it’s very well done. Track 8 ‘The Patchwork Man is more vocal than orchestral so bridges the gap between the soundtrack and the three vocal numbers that complete the album.

While I really enjoy this album and have listened to it quite a few times now, I do have one major complaint, most of the tracks are too short. The runtime for the album is just 28 minutes and 20 seconds. Perhaps it’s a marketing trick to keep us wanting more. It certainly worked with me.

However, even with my gripe about the short run time I do recommend this album. Jeff Russo certainly knows how to write a good soundtrack which is enjoyable without the visuals. I’d even buy the album just for Renée Elise Goldsberry’s version of ‘Ain’t No Grave’.

  1. Altered Carbon Main Titles 01:40
  2. Consciousness 05:24
  3. Last Stand Kovacs V1 00:34
  4. Bancroft Shows Kovacs 03:45
  5. Her Daughter 04:27
  6. Attacked By Troopers 01:03
  7. Passing The Book 02:11
  8. The Patchwork Man 00:47
  9. Let My Baby Ride – Sune Rose Wagner 03:47
  10. More Human Than Human – Sune Rose Wagner 01:53
  11. Ain’t No Grave – Renée Elise Goldsberry 02:49

Andy Whitaker

February 2018

(pub: Lakeshore Records. 1 CD 25 minutes 11 tracks. Price: $ 9.49 (US). ASIN: B079K69J64)

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Category: Music/Audio, Scifi

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About AndyWhitaker

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties.

My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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