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Source Code (Original Motion Picture Score)

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Album Review

In his appreciative liner notes to the soundtrack album for Source Code, film director Duncan Jones places an emphasis on the "tight," "extremely compressed" "time frame" in which Chris Bacon, an exhausted new father "half-dead on his feet" was forced to compose the score. While Jones may be using these descriptions as a way of praising Bacon, they also come off as special pleading. In fact, film scores are almost always written on demanding deadlines toward the end of post-production periods. But Jones' depiction of Bacon's rapid writing turns out to be a good indication of the contents, since the composer has come up with mostly generic thriller music for this science-fiction action feature starring Jake Gyllenhaal. From the opening theme ("Source Code Main Title"), Bacon is using familiar means to signal the genre, with sudden shifts in volume and pacing, bringing his strings swooping in or straining on high notes to signal suspense. Following the plot, he allows interludes of respite ("Source Code Explained," "One Death Is Enough"), but always with an underlying tension to suggest that chases and action beats are likely to follow. And they do. There is some calm, melodic material toward the end, but for the most part, the score for Source Code is functional and familiar, just the sort of thing a professional composer with little time and less sleep might have come up with under pressure.

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Source Code (Original Motion Picture Score), Chris Bacon
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