Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2010 September 20 • Monday

The 131st Soundtrack of the Week is Patrick Williams's score for Cuba.

The first track, "Cuba", begins with a percussion ensemble getting deep into island rhythms. Ominous tones from strings start to come in and are joined by a heavy pounding beat on a large drum. There's a pause, then everything starts up again, but more insistent. Unison lines for a couple of bass clarinets sound ageeably Herrmannesque.

The next piece, "First Sight", is a dreamy and melancholy piece for nylon-string guitar."Truck Drive/Julio Runs For It" is almost all Cuban percussion, with percussive vocalizing as well.

"Alex Remembers" is a variation of "First Sight" which adds wordless female vocals that suggest what a collaboration between Astrud Gilberto and Angelo Badalamenti might sound like.

"I Don't Want To Leave Cuba" is tense, dramatic underscore. "The Reunion" is another branch of the "First Sight"/"Alex Remembers" family tree, with the same ethereal vocals and nylon-string guitar.

"Ambush" is another tense cue, more driving and action oriented. "The Preparation/No Explanation" continues in this vein but suggests more suspense and peril.

"I Adored It/Beach Talk/I Knew You Would" begins with the familiar wordless vocals and guitar but with more of a bossa nova feel. Then there are lush strings without a strong pulse of any kind. The vocals and guitar return but again without a rhythm section. It's close to something Mancini might have done.

"Skinner's Escape" sounds violent and frantic with various parts of the orchestra stabbing at different times whil surrounded by percussion chaos "I May Kill Him" sounds like a climactic moment with heavy bass statements and overblown flute. Another percussion jam takes over.

"Air Rescue" brings out the brass section, alternating it with marimba and other contrasting timbres. The strings take over at the end with some excitingly fast lines.

"The Parting" brings back the "First Sight" melody, but on flute with vocals, piano and strings making it a tearjerker. The "End Titles" bring back the same rocking percussion ensemble that has performed so well throughout. A bonus track is "Poolside Chat (A Certain Smile)", source music very much in the Mancini vein.