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Reservation Road (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

Composer Mark Isham had to come up with a dark score for director Terry George's suburban family nightmare film Reservation Road, based on a novel by John Burnham Schwartz about a child who is killed by a hit-and-run driver and the subsequent interaction between the child's grieving father and the guilt-ridden driver (who, in the sort of plot twist beloved by middle-brow novelists and Hollywood screenwriters, is hired unknowingly by the father as his lawyer). But Isham has to an extent worked against the melodramatic aspects of the movie, turning in a series of musical cues that are somewhat ambient and minimalist. Individual instruments, especially reeds (bassoon, clarinet), low strings (a cello), and Isham's own piano play slow, single-note passages in echoey, resonant mixes over eerie arrangements of strings or electronic pulses. Minor-key and occasionally dissonant, they maintain a mood of disturbed contemplation until interrupted here and there by thudding percussion. The entry of synthesizers into film scoring has sometimes blurred the line between music and sound effects, and so it is here when a moment of tension or violent action is suggested. Isham's thoughtful work brings depth to a film that critics tended to find closer to soap opera than tragedy.

Biography

Born: 07 September 1951 in New York, NY

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Trumpeter/synth programmer Mark Isham was not only an important part of the Windham Hill stable, but also a successful and versatile composer for film and television, garnering equal acclaim for both his new age and soundtrack work. Born September 7, 1951, to a musical family in New York, Isham began studying classical music (specifically trumpet, piano, and violin) as a child. His family later moved to San Francisco, where Isham played with several local orchestras. However, he was also interested...
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Reservation Road (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Mark Isham
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