Out Of The Dark Room by Max Richter (CD review).

The work of German-born and British-bred minimalist composer Max Richter has always lent itself to the cinema. His debut album, the towering ‘Memoryhouse’, a landmark in modern classical music would find many of the tracks wending their way onto film trailers. Tracks such as ‘Sarajevo’ was matched to the trailer of ‘Prometheus’ while ‘November’ also proved popular. It is unsurprising that Richter would soon find himself providing film scores and ‘Out Of The Dark Room’ is a collection of some of the pieces that has provided across an eclectic selection of films.

Much of Richter’s work reflects the juxtaposition between the sparse and intimate and the bold and epic. This is seen in the first collection of tracks, all taken from Richter’s collaboration with Ari Folman for the animated film ‘Waltz With Bashir – The Haunted Ocean 4’ is a sombre and sparse affair of low brass and sweeping strings that is haunting and beautiful. ‘Any Minute Now/Thinking Back’ is a synthesizer heavy piece with driving drums and energetic violins that all combine to scream ‘chase sequence’. These two very different pieces complement each other and show off Richter’s skill in being able to compose individually compelling tracks that are also manage to be an integral part of the images they accompany.

Richter’s contributions to ‘The Congress’, another Ari Folman animation this time based on the SF novel from Stanislaw Lem, show Richter dabbling with some traditional genre themes. ‘In The Cosmic Lobby’ uses synthesizers to create a piece redolent of 60 SF. But there’s also a dream-like and ethereal quality to the piece that has a sense of the achingly human. ‘On The Road To Abrahama 1’ is a cheeky piece of electronica that has an air of playfulness.

Other films represented in this collection include French holocaust drama ‘Sarah’s Key’ and Saudi Arabian drama ‘Wadjda’. Both are wildly different films yet are connected by the beauty of Richter’s work which manages to strike the balance between the tense and the hopeful. As one of the great modern composers, this collection will allow fans of Richter to indulge in a well-chosen sampler of some of his best film works. For those who have yet to discover him, ‘Out Of The Dark Room’ should also provide an excellent introduction to his music and shows that he can work in a number of diverse styles whilst also bringing a unique beauty.

Laurence Boyce

September 2017

(pub: Milan Records. 2 CDS 88 minutes 28 tracks. Price: £12.99 (UK). ASIN: B06WD6JTBV)

check out website: https://milanrecords.com/


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