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The Crow: Salvation - Original Film Score Composed by: Marco Beltrami (and Lauri Crook)

Review by Vivian Lee

Whenever a movie is released, much is made of the soundtrack. A soundtrack, considered a film's core, usually features rock, rap or soul done by either the latest supergroup or old faves. I like soundtracks, but there's much to say (that isn't said) for a film's score. The score is the film's aural backbone, designed to accompany the images. Ideally, the two work cooperatively to create a scene or provoke the viewer/listener. A score can make or break a film just as easily as an actor's performance - either holding a filmgoer's interest if the rest of the film plain stinks or marring an otherwise good movie.

Marco Beltrami's score is so vivid that I could almost picture a scene in my head while listening to it. He goes all over the musical map of instruments and forms without being haphazard or showy. The fault of ignoring the Main Theme laid out in the previous Crow films aside, The Crow: Salvation's score is straightforward, to the point. From hearing his other work (Mimic, Scream), one sees that he knows how to use music to affect people.

Fans of film scores owe it to themselves to at least give Beltrami's work for The Crow: Salvation a listen.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Crow: Salvation- Main Title
The main title opens with an echoing gong that leads to a low-pitched string section intro. The body of this piece has the feel of crackling glass thanks to samplings of female voices and what sounds like a harp being assaulted, a prelude to the eerie symphony of samples of wind and tense percussion, that synth-creeps toward the sudden outro.
Evidence Room
A city police evidence room seems an odd setting for Javanese folk-flavored music peppered with metal and bamboo gamelans, and softened with a shakuhachi flute. That alone makes me prick up my ears. The rhythmic near-lull of Asian percussion instruments combined with the almost imperceptible bass groove dancing underfoot evokes anticipation that something is about to happen; and the distorted voices and breaks of silence makes me feel like ghosts are about, watching.
Alex Visits Lauren's Grave
In keeping with most funereal scene music, "Alex Visits Lauren's Grave" features heavyhearted cello strings moaning slowly in grief while an echo-y female voice sings wordlessly amid soft, melodic piano and flute notes designed to play with one's tear ducts. I resisted the impulse to skip it to be fair to the song, but it's too sappy for repeated listening.
Houdini
  A distorted shakuhachi trills, then trails off into quiet. A shrieking violin accompanied by loud rumbling kettledrums creates an overwhelming claustrophobic mood. One feels like one has to get away from something, something that seems to be all around. It is a feeling facilitated by violins shrieking at bows' touches; rumbling kettle drums and soundless breaks that seem to go non-stop. The martial tempo in the rising action of instruments denotes conflict, but is cut off by the jarring outro.

GD Picasso
GD Picasso makes the most of its two minutes, drawing out each slow note with low strings, and sticks clinking intermittently in the background. The languid mood is lightened by high tuned flute playing an odd melody. Many-pitched strings keen in discordant union until the sudden end.
Industrial Strength Creeps
 Even shorter than GD Picasso at thirty-six seconds, wailing and moaning strings show how the song got its title. The Main Theme appears again in this aptly named track, featuring the muffled sound of pumping blood keeping time with a chorus of rhythmic strings backing their high-pitched counterparts.
Make Me Like You
An angelic chorus sets the tone, solidified by bass synth mingling with an acoustic guitar and harp.
Officer Down
Almost like a reprise of Evidence Room combined with The Main Theme, Officer Down begins with the voice of a gong, summoning the percussion chorus to follow its lead in a melodic Afro-Asian melange until it surrenders the stage to an orchestra playing in the dramatic key of arriving danger.
Slow-Mo Walking
The sparse rhythm of piano chords in Slow-Mo Walking takes the lead at first, then plays underneath a low violin melody that slowly meanders toward a rising action comprised of caterwauling guitar line supplying tension, and booming horns and kettle drums that march toward the song's end.
Alex Corvis' Execution
  At one minute and one second, Alex Corvis' Execution features a female vocal in angel's choir style amid bells, gentle chimes, and a pulsating tabla line. It is odd music to tie to an execution scene, leading to the conclusion that there is more at work than the obvious.

Your Daddy Owns D.E.R.T.
East meets West in Your Daddy Owns D.E.R.T., where a gamelan mingles with violins, flamenco and rocky guitar and piano. The eerie mingling of the two forms is accentuated with a slow drum and cello movement.
Alex Visits Thomas
Being slow in tempo doesn't slow Alex Visits Thomas down in the creep department. Introduced by ragged flute evoking a body audibly fighting for air, the track features an otherworldly angel's choir signaling that the Spirits are At Work, and a loud drum brings us back to earth.
Majorly Demented
A bass line with few notes in it tersely sets an ominous tone in this track. The string movement of "The Crow-Main Theme" shows up briefly but is lost in rising and falling orchestral movement changes accented with tabla tones and other percussion instruments. The sound of doves cooing and taking to wing amid chimes says 'move on'.
The Crow Croaks
The slow cello movement at the beginning seems to signal a passing. But as the song's body (comprised of foreboding strings and pulsating percussion) gains momentum and volume, that feeling is less of passing than a return.

More Slow-Mo Walking
 The sad piano notes and unnerving flutes layered with regular percussion and kettle drums in between movements create a kind of tense confusion.
Chasing Sis:
The fast movement changes in the string section express tension while the percussion section expresses foreboding, punctuated by a sudden cymbal crash at the end.
Captain Gets A Shock
  The Main Title is truncated to give more tension.

Love Theme - Ending
The Love Theme is a variation of the movement in Alex Visits Lauren's Grave; it is a beautiful piece aided by female voice singing angelically and feather-soft flute notes. What differentiates the Love Theme from Lauren's Grave is the tendency to let the song haunt the listener as it wills, rather than try to manipulate the listener toward the maudlin.
Meet Again
  The album closes with an antithetic Goth-pop song that features generic lyrics about everlasting love ("There's a place/Where we'll be one/Forever") by Lauri Crook and decent vocals by The Dolls' lead singer Jane Jensen (who sounds like a cross between Julee Cruise and Siouxsie Sioux).

 
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