hybridmagazine.com - review
by Jason Dunn
John Carpenter, I've written a couple of New
Year's resolutions for you:
1. Stop making shitty movies.
2. Hire Dave Halverson to score next, great SF/Horror
Upon first hearing this
CD I wondered: "Why exactly am I going to review this?" It listens
like a resume for an aspiring composer who desires a career scoring film. But,
I reasoned, there is a market for movie soundtracks, albeit a small one, so
I'll give it a go even if this particular one has no actual film to accompany
It doesn't matter. Halverson's
compositions bear the mark of an experienced master of the craft. I listened
to this CD with a friend of mine, and when I asked him to visualize the sorts
of film events that would suit the current track, we invariably envisioned the
same things. To me, that is the mark of an effective film composer: the music
should accentuate the events that unfold onscreen, and be relevant with regard
to the viewer's prejudices regarding music, film, and mood.
From my intro, it can be
inferred that Carpenter's film style could benefit greatly from Halverson's
music (in much the same way that 1982's The Thing was given much better pacing (than if Carpenter had
scored it himself as he often does) and more palpable tension by Sergio Leone's maestro, Ennio Morricone) but there are other
applicable genres as well. Sometimes his tracks sounded like they came from a
particularly seedy episode of Miami Vice or one of the subsequent Dirty Harry films like Magnum Force or Sudden Impact. Some of them could work in
mind-bending SF films too, the kind that leave you in a metaphorical (or
metaphysical) haze upon exiting the building (presumably because the music
itself already has that effect).
Halverson claims that the
music contains electro-rock, atmospheric, jazz, experimental elements,
abstraction and darkness. Which is another way of saying that he threw in
everything but the kitchen sink. And let's not forget that Wurlitzer… (“The
Fair”) I would also add moody, mood-altering and ambient to that list of
I would recommend this CD
simply on its technical merits, and its ability to draw the listener into its
microcosmic world, but film producers are the ones who really need to check it out. I even
uttered a Keanuesque "Whoa!" upon hearing "Erstwhile Horns,” a
short piece that sounds as though it had been lifted out of Slava Tsukerman's obscure, 1982, sci-fi
cult-classic Liquid Sky.
Fragments of What is a considerable divergence
from Dave Halverson's other band Trance Lucid, and may not exactly appeal to fans of the former.
From what I've heard of his other two albums, FoW is more significant and
creative. Jazz-rock, like any closed-loop musical genre, is somewhat
degenerate, and hardcore genre fans tend to have stunted musical palates. Oft
times it requires stepping outside of a familiar musical paradigm for a
musician to truly discover the depths of his or her talent.
my initial hesitations, or resistance to writing about this as a listening
piece, I actually quite enjoy it now. I feel like I have a driving sense of
purpose as this dark soundtrack for my life plays out-- on my way to buy more
milk and toilet paper.
even Dirty Harry had to go grocery shopping...