Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2023 September 25 • Monday

For the 797th Soundtrack of the Week we return to one of our favorite composers still active today: Howard Shore and his music for the movie Sliver.

“Main Title/Naomi’s Fall” begins with a repeated figure om harp, soon joined by a heavy drum beat and a reverby trumpet melody. Strings come in and flute takes up the harp melody until the track ends with some stings and dissonant long tones that suggest something horrific.

The trumpet returns with lush string and harp accompaniment for the richly layered “Carly Comes to Sliver”, which mixes elements of jazz ballad and dramatic underscore.

Then the flute alternates between major and minor keys for the contemplative “Carly Meets Zeke”, followed by the short and suspenseful “She Jumped”.

“Golfing” presents a wistful and slightly mysterious melody that sounds like it’s played on a recorder or some other wood flute, again with strings and harp backing.

The main title theme is reprised for “Voyeur” while “Telescope” brings in clarinet for a different theme with ominous swelling bass tones and harp that gestures toward the main title theme.

Various long tones get stacked upon each other, leading to solid unison lines and then a second melody with chimes, brass and woodwinds in “Gus Is Dead/Microfiche”.

Piano and strings create a mostly sunny mood for “I’ll Call You” while the first half of “Laundry Room” is more or less one long mote and the second half two or three slightly shorter notes.

The main title theme is reprised for “First Sex” and then altered and built upon for “Zeke Owns the Building”, which has some very precise use of strings and chimes.

A gentler feel followed by sultry jazz trumpet comes next in “The Rose/He Was So Good”.

Then there’s the mini suite of “The Game/I Win, You Lose/The Rain”, which floats on delicate harmonic movement and serene, lyrical melodies.

Shades of Herrmann and Barry creep into “Vida’s Death/Carly Sees Vida” and Shore brings out timpani and string-driven energy for intensity.

After that we hear a reprise of the main title theme in “Monitor Room Reveal” followed by a longer, alternate take of “Golfing”.

“Rose II/Grab” begins with a soaring melody and ends in a more apprehensive mood, leading to “The Fight/To the Key”, which begins with the main title theme before reprising a secondary theme.

For “The End” we get some interesting variations on what’s come before, as opposed to simple restatements of the main theme. The big beat from the opening track is back but this time has an interesting string melody on top, for instance.

Then there are some alternate cues, apparently versions used in the movie, by Christopher Young.

“Microfiche” is light and airy but suspenseful with cool use of percussion and breathing sounds.

“The Fight” is sparse, percussive and electronic while “To the Key” uses synthesizers to create a mood not too different from Shore’s.

Young’s “The End” nods to Shore’s main title but brings in more electronic instruments and a different drum and percussion groove.

The work of both composers is very good but different enough that I wonder if the contrast in the actual movie was jarring.