The power of this film, much like 2001 – a film that this draws many influences from – would not be the experience that it is without Johann Johannsson’s bespoke soundtrack to accompany it. It hits every note to match its accompanying scene perfectly. Such as when we first see the incredible ship that has landed:
Then we make first contact – we see the creatures for the first time – and this alien sounding track could not be more appropriate. Much like its title: ‘First Encounter’. Like most of the tracks here, it sends chills up my spine every time I hear it:
As the film starts to pack an emotional punch, some melodies warm the music from the cold, alien experience that it has been for the most part. A brief reprieve from the unearthly sounds that fill this album:
As someone who dabbles in music-making, I would love to know how this man created these sounds. The power of it is enough to suck you in on its own, while the more alien sounding elements grip me every time I hear them. Just listen to this and tell me it doesn’t sound like it is from another planet:
How?! I want to know, damnit!!
Having also brilliantly scored Villeneuve’s last film Sicario, Johann Johannsson has set a very high bar for himself now. I’ll be keeping an eye on what he is up to, not to mention what else he has done in the past, as he is certainly a composer of incredibly powerful music that can deeply affect the film it accompanies.
In this case, the music is so powerful, the movie would not be the same were it any different. Soundtracks can be powerful albums, and this is perhaps the best yet, though the scores to Under The Skin, The Witch and It Follows are pretty damned amazing too.
Another fine track from near the end of the film:
This has quickly become my favourite album to listen to, at any time. While trying to sleep, while writing, while driving, while sitting on a train… it doesn’t matter how, as long as the bass and the intricate sounds can be heard clearly through high-end speakers or headphones. The experience is hypnotic and trance-inducing, much like the film.
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