AWAKEN/Brian Ralston & Kays Al-Atrakchi/Perseverance – cd + digital

Ralston and Al-Atrakchi rejoin director Mark Atkins, for whom they scored the Syfy original movie BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES in 2011 (see my interview with them about that score at Cinefantastique online), for this action thriller about a random group of people who wake up on an island where they are being hunted down in a sinister plot to harvest their organs. The film has won several festival awards, stars Darryl Hannah, Vinnie Jones, Edward Furlong, Robert Davi, and Natalie Burn (whose story idea launched the project). This mash up of MOST DANGEROUS GAME and the awful reality of organ harvesting is given a compelling score. With the film giving homage to late ‘80s and ‘90s action films, the composers had license to compose thematic themes and use a mix of instrumentation. The score is almost entirely MIDI synth for budgetary reasons, but sounds very authentic; a live acoustic guitar is used as a on some cues, mixed with digital pan-flutes and strings to provide a very eloquent primary theme, while elsewhere a mix of brass over jungle drums gives the music a great tonality and suggests the jungle island habitat in which the story takes place; this becomes a major element of the score which is gradually infected with mysterious voicings and other elements as the characters realize the island harbors far more dangers than the typical jungle paradise. AWAKEN is a splendidly listenable score on disk, with character, environment, and action cues that hold together nicely for listening apart from the film, developing through and across the story arc into a pleasing resolution at the end. Perseverance’s package includes album notes by Gergely Hubai with interviews with both composers, and an attractive end title pop song, written by Mark Gozman & Ethan Edwards, is performed vocally by Natalie Burn.