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- Released: June 29, 2018
- Originally Released: 2018
- Label: Lakeshore Records
- 1.Annihilation: What Do You Know? - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 2.Annihilation: Ambulance Chase - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 3.Annihilation: Approaching the Shimmer - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 4.Annihilation: Disoriented - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 5.Annihilation: The Alligator - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 6.Annihilation: For Those That Follow - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 7.Annihilation: The Swimming Pool - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 8.Annihilation: The Watchtower - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 9.Annihilation: Sheppard - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 10.Annihilation: The Body - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 11.Annihilation: Plant People - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 12.Annihilation: Cells Divide - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 13.Annihilation: The Bear - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 14.Annihilation: The Beach - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 15.Annihilation: Were You Me? - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 16.Annihilation: Lighthouse Chamber - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 17.Annihilation: The Alien - (with Ben Salisbury)
- 18.Annihilation: Annihilation - (with Ben Salisbury)
Audio Mixer: Rupert Coulson.
Recording information: Air Edel Studios, London; Invada Studios, Bristol.
Director: Eric Craig.
Editor: Yann McCullough.
Following their enticing, percussion-less, synth-laden score for 2014's Ex Machina, composers Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow deliver their second score, this time for Alex Garland's Annihilation, a sci-fi psychological thriller that explores the themes of identity and biology. The effort is a sure-fire sonic departure from the sound that ran throughout their former effort: Whereas Ex Machina was made up of pulsating, arpeggiated synths and fuzzy basslines that filtered and weaved in and out of the mix, Annihilation approaches tension and mood in an altogether different way. The first half of the score consists of heavily reverberated percussion, ethereal soundscapes, and arpeggiated acoustic guitar that juxtapose threat and intrigue equally. Tracks such as "What Do You Know?" and "Approaching the Shimmer" do this wonderfully, focusing purely on atmosphere rather than structure. As the album progresses, forlorn strings adorn each piece, such as on "Plant People" -- an eerie piece composed of discordant bass, foreboding cello, tinkling wind chimes, and the occasional sweltering sound effect that recalls some of the noise involved in late composer J¢hann J¢hannsson's final score for Denis Villeneuve's Arrival in 2016. The final third of the album segues into more threatening and mysterious territory -- "Lighthouse Chamber" delivers a kind of nauseating, swirling ambience before the 12-minute-long "The Alien" begins. The latter is a highlight of the album, bringing together many of the aforementioned elements into one cohesive composition; wonderfully rich strings rise to a crescendo before suddenly, out of nowhere, fuzzy synth leads break through, giving way to ghostly ambience and unexpected stabs of electronica that build to a tumultuous end. The score for Annihilation is a refreshing listen for soundtrack aficionados and proves that Salisbury and Barrow have plenty of tricks up their sleeves as innovative composers. ~ Rob Wacey
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