Music, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion. This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages.
Oblivion (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Score Composed by Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese
Original Music by M83
Listen to with:
An action-packed sci-fi epic
Welcome back to another week of Bookish Beats. We’ve had a little break from this feature whilst I attempt to organise myself but this week we’re back with a vengence with the Oblivion OST.
This soundtrack is the result of a phenomenal collaboration between director Joseph Kosinski and the French electronic group M83. Following the success of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, in which Kosinski drafted in Daft Punk to create the score, the Oblivion director again went down the alternative route and selected M83 to score the soundtrack alongside Joseph Trapanese. M83 have succeeded in creating a powerfully tense and mesmerising score which compliments the movie whilst being a stunning album in its own right.
With nods to traditional classically composed soundtracks, M83 have created an electronic symphony which flows effortlessly from one track to another and provides the perfect backdrop to any science fiction novel. Opening up with Jack’s Dream, a short piece which feels at home in a science fiction epic – grand, slow and powerful – and flowing on to Waking Up, a brilliant, slow building track which introduces the main theme present throughout the OST; this soundtrack builds to fantastic heights and provides a full complement of tracks for action, for atmosphere and tension, and for haunting emotive scenes.
Atmospheric tension is a common theme throughout this soundtrack where discordant sounds and repetitive beats create pieces which wouldn’t be out of place on a game soundtrack. Tech 49, Odyssey Rescue and Losing Control are all slow building, tense tracks which reach powerful and often haunting crescendos, Radiation Zone uses elements from the main theme and overlays it with a powerful drum solo, and Temples of Our Gods uses choral pieces to give a tense track an element of grandeur.
The Oblivion OST also presents a number of impressive action tracks with Earth 2077, which weaves an electronic theme throughout this epic and all encompassing symphonic number, and Canyon Battle, a similarly tense and powerful action track which uses electronic synth melodies to get your heart pumping and succeeds in creating one of the best action tracks I’ve heard in a long while.
But this soundtrack is not without its truly haunting an emotive pieces either. You Can’t Save Her, Raven Rock, Starwaves are all incredibly beautiful and emotive tracks, and Ashes of Our Fathers, Undimmed by Time, Unbound by Death, I’m Sending You Away and Fearful Odds are all downbeat chillout numbers which use haunting renditions of the main theme to create a perfect combination of tension and emotion. Something which is similarly found in the final track of the album, Oblivion, performed by Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør.
If you’re looking for a soundtrack to a science fiction epic then you could do much worse than the Oblivion OST. The electronic overlays give it a true science fiction feeling making it the perfect backdrop to a good book.
Top track for action
Top track for tension
Top track for emotion